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UMass Boston Ocean Experts Urge Priority Action on Coastal Protection, Warming Seas, and Melting Arctic Ice

          Earth Media

 International political and media consultants on environmental, economic and social issues


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Robbin Peach   robbin This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.   617  287-5770


UMass Boston Ocean Experts Urge Priority Action on Coastal Protection, Warming Seas, and Melting Arctic Ice

 Report from Global Conference Traces Web of Interconnections

 between Climate Change, Ocean Impacts and National Security Issues

 White Paper Recommends Advance Planning and Collaboration by

 Governments, U.S. Navy, Educators, NGOs and Businesses


(Boston, June 8, 2013)    On the fifth observance of World Oceans Day, the University of Massachusetts Boston’s Collaborative Institute for Oceans, Climate and Security (CIOCS) today released a policy and governance White Paper analyzing the pervasive effects on the world’s oceans from global climate change, and the multiple potential impacts on human and national security. 

The CIOCS White Paper highlights a series of recommendations for Priority Actions to anticipate the most destructive of those possible outcomes, and identifies the key political and economic actors needed to take leadership responsibility.  It defines dozens of specific actions and calls for advance cooperation among national and local governments, intergovernmental agencies, the private sector, educators, media, non-profit organizations (NGOs), the U.S. Navy and maritime forces.

The White Paper, titled Ocean-Related Impacts of Climate Change on Human and National Security, reports and expands upon conclusions  drawn from  the May 2012 Global Conference on Oceans, Climate, and Security (GC’12), organized by CIOCS. 

 U.S. Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus, who was among the 225 Conference participants, said, “Compared to a century ago, oceans are now warmer, higher, stormier, saltier, lower in oxygen and more acidic.  Any one of these would be cause for concern. Collectively, they cry out for action.”

 The three-day conference, hosted by UMass Boston, reviewed conditions that are likely to be produced by climate change, how these conditions will affect coastal and ocean ecosystems and communities, and how they may affect human and national security interests.

 World Oceans Day was designated by the United Nations as an annual observance to increase public awareness of the ways oceans provide nutrition and economic opportunities that support large populations in all global regions.

The White Paperlists recommendations for action in five priority areas: the Security Nexus, Coasts and Populations, Human Health, Ocean Benefits, and Arctic Impacts. 

Among its highlights – 

  • The Paper recommends strengthening the political status of the Arctic Council[1], anticipating that organization’s May 15, 2013 decision to add China and five other nations as associate members.
  • The Paper describes ecologically sustainable methods for building resilience against storm surges –one week into the start of this year’s Atlantic hurricane season.
  • The Paper encourages comprehensive upgrades to primary and secondary school curricula to increase public understanding of a wide range of environmental phenomena.

Robbin Peach, director of the Collaborative Institute for Oceans, Climate, and Security, coauthored the white paper with Felix Dodds[2], Associate Fellow at the Tellus Institute[3], and Michael Strauss[4], Executive Director of Earth Media[5]. According to Peach, threats to national security can be direct, such as impacting military installations at sea level, and indirect, such as the destabilization of populations and countries through the loss of food sources and energy.

“The recent events from Superstorm Sandy painfully illustrate these effects. Human security, threatened by climate-induced changes in marine and coastal community ecosystems, is a national security issue not well understood ,” Peach said. “We need to engage the public and the next generation.”

 Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino commented, “As a city with residences, commercial buildings and institutions populating our waterfront, we know how important it is to prepare for the impacts of sea level rise. We’re pleased to see researchers focusing their attention on solutions. We aim to be the most climate change resilient city in the country, and work like this helps us continue in that direction.”   

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About the Collaborative Institute for Oceans, Climate, and Security

The Collaborative Institute aims to work with key influencers and decision makers to strengthen the understanding of the human and national security implications of changing oceans and climates, and inform policy decisions through the application of sound scientific research and technology, demonstrated through place-based pilot projects.  It accomplishes these goals by designing and participating in strategic convenings and communications, by researching and developing technologies to inform place-based pilots, and by educating stakeholders on the complex interdependencies of oceans, climate, and human security.

About UMass Boston
With a growing reputation for innovative research addressing complex issues, the University of     Massachusetts Boston, metropolitan Boston’s only public university, offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city.  UMass Boston’s nine colleges and graduate schools serve nearly 16,000 students while engaging local, national, and international constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service activities.

About World Oceans Day

 In December 2008, World Oceans Day was designated by a resolution of the United Nations General Assembly as an annual observance on June 8, in order to increase public awareness of the ways in which oceans and their ecosystems provide nutrition, transportation, recreation and economic opportunities that support large populations in all global regions.

 The White Paper

 “Ocean-Related Impacts of Climate Change on Human and National Security” is available online.


Earth Media is an independent political and media consultancy that promotes the activities and issues of national and international coalitions of environmental, economic development, and social justice organizations. It organizes press conferences, coordinates public communications campaigns and supports advocacy at United Nations and intergovernmental negotiations.  Earth Media works with national governments, intergovernmental organizations, local authorities, NGOs, labor unions, academics and responsible business associations. 

The advice, analyses and activities of Earth Media are intended solely for the education and use of its clients, legitimate news media and not-for-profit organizations.  They may not be used by for-profit corporations or by primarily public relations-oriented agencies without clear acknowledgement and the expressed written consent of Earth Media.


[1] Arctic Council:  

[2] Felix Dodds:

[3] Tellus Institute:

[4] Michael Strauss:


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