It is vital for us to understand how we can create a safe and sustainable ocean economy. The volume of goods transported by sea is greater than ever and new maritime industries, such as off-shore renewable energy, are growing rapidly. Healthy oceans are critical to tackling climate change but as industrialised activity intensifies so stress on the ocean environment increases. At the same time, economic and environmental factors mean that coastal communities, especially in the developing world, are at risk of displacement and dislocation.
We believe that learning from the past can help tackle this complex and urgent challenge. Tangible evidence such as remains of coastal settlements, shipwrecks and historical records tell a story about our past interactions with the oceans and how current assumptions and attitudes have been shaped. Intangible evidence such as cultural practices, local skills and traditional knowledge can represent a very different source of insight and perspectives on more sustainable futures.
Learning from the past is not a new idea – a lot of great work has already been done. We believe that by building on existing partnerships and working with new partners we can bring existing evidence and insight to the attention of those that can make change happen. We can also develop new activities that will broaden engagement and increase impact.
The Learning From the Past programme will engage with all types of evidence about past endeavours that can help us to overcome the challenges that we face. We will do this by working with academic experts and also with citizen scientists. We will work with international institutions on complex regulatory issues and we will work with custodians of traditional knowledge in coastal communities. We will be mindful of the need to seek out evidence associated with groups that are underrepresented or excluded from conventional narratives about our maritime past. We will show that a historical perspective engages new audiences and helps to create well-informed ocean citizens. With the launch of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development there has never been a better time to contribute lessons from the past to global efforts to secure the future we want.
From its creation, Lloyd’s Register was deeply involved in all of the key maritime engineering transitions – from wind power to coal, from coal to oil. Now we will draw on that heritage to help ensure a safe and sustainable transition to zero-carbon shipping and by doing that help to create a safe, sustainable maritime economy that operates on a healthy ocean.