The oceans - basis of the global system
Earth's oceans are what give our planet its identity - the blue planet, the watery globe. They are the cradle of life, the region with the highest level of biodiversity we know, an irreplaceable source of food, a source and a storage chamber in world-scale chemical and energy cycles, the engine of earth's climate. The oceans determine the nature and quality of the biosphere far beyond their coastlines. They are the sustaining, all-encompassing element in the global biosphere.
Human awareness of the oceans
The true global and local significance of the seas and oceans of our world is by no means reflected in our actual level of awareness of them. After many thousands of years of coastal and maritime human activity we are only just beginning to understand the depths and secrets of our watery planet. And the further we progress, the more clearly we are coming to recognize the extent of human influence on natural processes in the seas and oceans¾we are beginning to see what we have changed.
Focus on the coastal regions
Human activity is concentrating increasingly in the coastal regions, which already harbour 60% of world's population. Oceanic shelves and the coastline itself are highly attractive areas for marine, amphibian and terrestrial life forms and are the venues for intensive exchange processes with the oceans. The transition area between sea and land will therefore increasingly be a focus of future economic, social and ecological conflicts. Coastal regions are therefore predestined locations for the development and implementation of environmentally compatible concepts of a long-term nature.
Need for clear-cut, decisive approaches
The need for action oriented at its very inception towards the longer term and a holistic picture of the earth and the consequences of our presence on it has now gained general world-wide recognition. The peoples of the world adopted the goal of sustainable development at the Rio Conference of 1992.Since then, discussion on implementation of these goals has gone on at various levels. Everybody realizes that holistic approaches are needed and should be implemented, but the activities that actually see the light of day so often follow a cleanup or follow-up scheme that is hardly suitable for realizing concrete objectives. There is still a need for quality interdisciplinary approaches. The public and its decision-makers and opinion leaders must also open their eyes to exemplary positive developments.
These are the declared tasks of the Lighthouse Foundation
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