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Observations - what do we see initially?

For Blue starts with observing some fundamental tensions in three dimensions of our oceans. These observations are fundamental and should be considered prior to diving into any or all of the nine propositions.

The question here is: "Are these tensions healthy, or how could the be?" and what questions or options for actions come up as a result?"

The three domains and some high-level observations are below.

›Healthy ecologies

Observations of the oceans, ecosystems and dependent humans include:

  • 71% of Earth is ocean. Australia’s has the 3rd largest exclusive economic zone (EEZ) and the largest network of marine protected areas.
  • 2.5 billion people live in 32 nations bordering the Indian Ocean, and that number is growing.
  • Oceans are under pressure and changing: warming, acidifying, reefs bleaching, fisheries collapsing and ecosystems irreversibly altered.
  • Neighbouring nations populations and economies are growing. Oceans are increasingly important to their, and Western Australians', livelihoods e.g. energy, food and water.

Economic activities

Observations of industries, infrastructure, and subsequent consequences, include:

  • WA has the largest coastline in the Indian Ocean. Perth is a hub for marine research and industry.
  • Minerals and petroleum commodities are 90% of WA’s exports. 53% of Gross State Product is exports, of which 47% are to China. WA is heavily dependent on a limited number of exports and buyers.
  • The marine industry is worth $68 billion and of greater economic value to Australia than either agriculture or the coal industry.
  • Australia’s economy, ecology and society are facing decline if critical challenges aren’t addressed, such as investing in high-growth export industries, and reducing carbon emissions.

Social ontologies

Observations of of concepts, relationships, goals and framing assumptions, include:

  • Oceans are: sources of solutions, spaces for opportunity, increasingly accessible thanks to technology, and predicted to double in economic value.
  • UN Sustainable Development Goal 14 focuses on ocean conservation and sustainable use, addressing: pollution, regulation, and more equitable distribution of benefits.
  • The ‘Blue Economy’ is an integrating yet contested concept. Broadly, it's seeking alignment of ecological sustainability, economic growth and social equity, but many conceptions and included industries are irreconcilable.
  • Human needs, activities and concepts are, at the same time, driving increased valuing of oceans, and systematically degrading its health, functioning and potential.

All statements are fully referenced and bibliography provided, in For Blue report.

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