Developing a deeper understanding of public awareness of climate change, human impacts and the value and management of marine and coastal ecosystems

Marine and coastal ecosystems are important for hundreds of millions of people worldwide, providing food and support livelihoods and ways of life. But they increasingly face a variety of pressures, including climate change, which means we need to make sure we look after them better. Policy makers are increasingly aware of the importance of ocean health, but MaCoBioS wanted to better understand what people around the world think about marine and coastal ecosystems, the effects of climate change and human actions on them, and how we should manage them. This is because we think that understanding people’s views is critical as it can influence decision-making on the actions to take. MaCoBioS therefore conducted an online survey between November 2021 and February 2022 to try to understand these views.

We had 709 respondents from 42 countries, and most people expressed concern about climate change and thought society should be doing more to act on it. Our respondents placed high value on marine and coastal ecosystems for human wellbeing, climate regulation, and for their role in addressing climate change. They also thought they were essential for supporting local and global economies. Climate change was ranked as one of the top three threats that  marine and coastal ecosystems face, alongside plastic pollution and fishing or harvesting of marine and / or coastal life. Most people supported enhancing and preserving marine and coastal ecosystems as a key focus of policies that address climate change, nature conservation and sustainable development.

MaCoBioS is very grateful to everyone who completed our survey. In the interest of open access data and data transparency, MaCoBioS has published the “Survey data of public awareness on climate change and the value of marine and coastal ecosystems” in the journal Data in Brief. It can be accessed here. By making this data publicly available, MaCoBioS hopes that others interested in the governance of social-ecological marine and coastal ecosystems, and in understanding public perceptions regarding management of marine and coastal spaces can also benefit from these data.

A summary of the results of our survey is available to download as an infographic in English, French, Italian and Spanish. Please choose your language below.


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