Common cause brought a diverse range of people to Galway on Wednesday where efforts to grow positive engagement with Ireland’s rich ocean environment were explored.
The latest Irish Ocean Literacy Network (IOLN) members meeting took place in the Marine Institute Headquarters in Oranmore with members contributing to a productive day of talks, learning and discussion.
It began with a morning of inspiring talks with marine social scientist, academic and social activist, Dr Easkey Britton, and award-winning filmmaker of Ireland’s Deep Atlantic, Dr Ken O’Sullivan, who shared stories and science about the benefits and bounty that Ireland’s coast provides us.
An afternoon of brainstorming facilitated by David Murphy of AquaTT allowed space to delve into the topics and themes that bind this passionate group of IOLN members with each other and their common partner the ocean.
The Irish Ocean Literacy Network currently has 80 members from all around Ireland and that number is growing steadily. The group brings together and is open to all with an interest in Ireland’s coast, and given our status as a small island in the North Atlantic, this effectively means every citizen and organisation can join.
For some members of the Irish Ocean Literacy Network the ocean is a focus of scientific research or figures prominently in a business enterprise or their everyday work, for others an interest in marine conservation or education is the key connection, others still it is a focus of sport or a hobby.
By days end, what came across clearly was that the ocean is important to all attendees in many similar and different ways, the makeup of each person’s interest drives their engagement as well as their ability to contribute a unique perspective and skill set to a network that benefits the wider coastal community.
Fantastic day at the Irish Ocean Literacy Network @IOLNetwork meeting in the @MarineInst. Very inspirational talks from @Easkeysurf and @SeaFever2 and amazing workshop brainstorming with incredible minds who all have the same passion for the ocean. #weareislanders #IOLN19 pic.twitter.com/BTCvFIpFtQ
— Catherine Jordan (@jorrrdy) February 20, 2019
Every single one of us has a beneficial relationship with Ireland’s marine environment, no matter where we live on the island, and so have common cause to become more aware of our actions and their ramifications on this precious environment and the community that shares it.
What is for sure, if we properly manage our engagement with the ocean, the reward will continue to be a vitally important and renewable wellspring of health, wealth and inspiration.