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Josef Hargrave

Global foresight manager

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Oceans

Oceans

Dr Chris Luebkeman
Arup Fellow and Global Director for Foresight, Research and Innovation
foresight@arup.com

How do we manage our demands on the ocean?

Almost 40% of the global population lives near the coast. From industry to food production, our demand and impact on oceans is increasing, whilst oceans themselves become increasingly polluted, their rising levels threatening coastal communities. How can we act to reduce environmental damage on our oceans and secure them a bountiful and sustainable future?

Could the oceans power our world?

Our oceans offer a variety of energy forms. Marine energy can be extracted from waves, tidal range, salinity gradient and temperature differences. The more general term 'offshore energy' includes wind turbines since the oceans provide access to a vast wind resource, and inventions such as wave-driven underwater turbines indicate how small coastal communities could generate their own local power.

Over the last 40 years the world’s urban communities have expanded towards the sea, but rising sea levels threaten coastal areas with flooding and erosion, whilst anthropogenic CO2 emissions have also caused ocean acidity levels to rise by 30%. Responses range from the installation of synthetic defensive sand banks to designing adaptive floating villages that harness wave power and encourage marine habitat regeneration. The future of our oceans provokes conservation efforts, but also a re-thinking of how we design and power our built environments. From marine energy to dead zones, the Drivers of Change: Oceans cards examine the key drivers and trends shaping change in our oceans.