A survey studying the relationship of Brazilians with the sea revealed that about 10% of the population has never been to the beach. Among those who frequent beaches, half only visit them once a year or less. Additionally, 40% of respondents said they believe their day-to-day actions have no impact on ocean conservation .
The research, carried out by Fundação Boticário in partnership with Unesco and The Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp) was released on June 30, 2022, at a side event of the UN Ocean Conference , in Lisbon.
The study, which included 2,000 interviews in all regions of Brazil, also assessed the knowledge of Brazilians about other coastal or marine environments, in addition to beaches.
Coral reefs , for example, which are threatened by the effects of climate change, such as rising sea temperatures and acidification, are one of the ecosystems that the population has heard most about, but visited the least. Although 80% of respondents know about coral reefs, 75% have never actually visited this environment.
93% of respondents had never heard of the Ocean Decade, a milestone created by the UN to designate the global movement of engagement on the topic between 2021 and 2030.
According to Brazilian researchers, the population's lack of knowledge about the sea is a barrier for concrete ocean conservation actions to have greater impact and reach.
“The ocean starts in our house, even if we are many kilometers away from the sea. As most people have little direct contact with marine environments, this perception needs to be stimulated," explained Ronaldo Christofoletti, professor at the Instituto do Mar at the Federal University of São Paulo (Unifesp).
In an interview with G1, the coordinator of the UNESCO Chair for Ocean Sustainability, Alexandre Turra, also highlighted the so-called promotion of oceanic culture.
“The promotion of oceanic culture is to make the ocean reach people's heads, hearts and souls. We have a huge challenge, which is to bring the importance of the sea to these people [who have never been to the beach] as well”, said Turra, from the Oceanographic Institute of the University of São Paulo.
Despite the emphasis on the creation of this culture of preservation during the UN Ocean Conference, the survey showed that the Brazilian population is poorly informed about the actions promoted by the international community for the conservation of the sea.
This story was produced as part of the 2022 UN Ocean Conference Fellowship organized by Internews’ Earth Journalism Network with support from the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation (UK Branch). The full story was originally published in Portuguese in G1 on June 30, 2022. It has been translated to English and lightly edited for length and clarity.
Banner image: A beach in Brazil / Credit: Beatriz Beltrame via Unsplash.