Protecting children's rights to development and culture by re-imagining "ocean literacies"

Strand, Mia and Shields, Sophie and Morgera, Elisa and McGarry, Dylan and Lancaster, Alana Malinde S.N. and Brown, Lindy and Snow, Bernadette (2023) Protecting children's rights to development and culture by re-imagining "ocean literacies". International Journal of Children's Rights, 31 (4). pp. 941-975. ISSN 1571-8182 (

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This paper explores the relevance of existing international legal standards on children’s human rights to a healthy ocean. In particular, we reflect on the still underestimated importance of a healthy ocean for children’s human right to development and cultural rights. Focusing on environmental education, we argue that the concept of ocean literacy should rather be conceptualised as a plurality of “ocean literacies”, better to account for multiple ocean knowledges. Ocean literacies in environmental education should be re-imagined to emphasise a systems approach to the ocean, integrating aspects of environmental justice and avoiding the psychological pressure on children to be responsible for the future of the environment. The paper concludes by providing specific recommendations for contextualising and re-imagining ocean literacies in a time where there is an increased global focus on ocean literacy through the UN Ocean Decade.