The Ocean and Us

Hinduism: ‘There is no life that is inferior. All lives enjoy the same importance in the Universe and all play their fixed roles. They are to function together and no link in the chain is to be lost. If some link is lost, the whole ecological balance would be disturbed.’ Islam: ‘Allah has invited us to partake of the fruits of the earth for our rightful nourishment and enjoyment, He has also directed us not to waste that which Allah has provided for us – for He loveth not wasters. Furthermore, Allah has also ordered us to administer his responsibilities with justice. Above all, humanity should conserve the balance of Allah›s creation on Earth.’ (UNEP, 1999)

The current state of resource depletion and ecosystem degradation evident in the ocean today suggests that we have lost this sense of guardianship. Recognising our dependence on the healthy functioning of the ocean is the necessary first step in redressing this loss. Developing an ecological world-view that acknowledges that dependence seems to be the critical next step in providing a framework for sustainable development in our relationship with the ocean. The UN Sustainable Development Goals are a way to guide our efforts towards global human well-being in harmony with nature, both on land and in the oceans. In this regard there is much we can learn from the wisdom of our ancestors preserved in our traditions, cultures, myths, and ready for us to rediscover.

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