An unprecedented survey released this Tuesday (28) indicates that only 34% of Brazilians understand that their own actions have a direct influence on the ocean. For 40% of respondents, individual attitudes do not have any impact on the seas, while 24% consider that there is an indirect repercussion.
Conversely, most Brazilians identify that the ocean has an influence on their lives. For 50% of respondents, this impact is direct, while 21% consider that the repercussions are indirect. In the opinion of 26% of Brazilians, the seas have no impact on their lives.
The survey “Ocean Without Mysteries: The Relationship of Brazilians with the Sea” interviewed 2,000 people, men and women between 18 and 64 years old, of all social classes, in the five regions of the country. The work was carried out by the Boticário Group Foundation for Nature Protection, in partnership with Unesco and Unifesp (Federal University of São Paulo).
The result of the work will be presented at the UN Ocean Conference, which will take place until Friday (1st) in Lisbon.
A member of the team responsible for the work, doctor in ecology Janaína Bumbeer believes that Brazil says little about the importance of the ocean, even with a significant part of the population living in the coastal region.
“Brazil is a country that historically has had its back to the sea. Every Brazilian citizen has always heard about our lush forests, terrestrial biodiversity and, above all, the important role of the Amazon”, says the conservation specialist at the Fundação Apothecary. “Little, or not enough, is said about the ocean and the way we depend on it for our lives.”
The important role of the ocean in regulating the global climate has been highlighted by the IPCC (UN Climate Expert Panel). The seas are responsible for absorbing more than 30% of carbon dioxide (COtwo) and 90% of the temperature increase caused by global warming.
One of the main villains in the pollution of marine systems, plastic waste is still not at the center of Brazilians’ concerns. Only 35% of participants say they always avoid using straws and disposable plastic cups, while 12% avoid most of the time and 20% only sometimes.
Already 20% of respondents never avoid the consumption of these materials, and 13% rarely do so.
The work also asked the opinion of the participants about Brazil’s role in preserving the oceans. About 41% of respondents rated the performance as negative. For 31%, the performance was neutral, while 28% judged the performance to be positive.
Although it raises the alarm about the degree of understanding of Brazilians about their environmental impacts, the survey shows a great willingness on the part of the population to change their behavior.
The intention to change habits for the good of the ocean, on a scale of 0 to 10, averaged 8.3. Grades between 7 and 10 concentrate 82.2% of the participants.
Professor at Unifesp (Federal University of São Paulo) and member of RECN (Network of Specialists in Nature Conservation), Ronaldo Christofoletti says that the ocean begins “at the doorstep, even if we are many kilometers away from the sea”, and that it is necessary to encourage awareness campaigns to reinforce this link.
“We don’t care or worry about what we don’t understand or don’t know about the benefits. The ocean is one of the main sources of resources for societies, whether it’s near or far from the sea. But if society doesn’t know this, maybe be something that decreases in the list of priorities in relation to other issues”, he evaluates.
“That’s why it’s so important to dialogue with society and have policies that are scientifically based.”
Although there is a lot of room for improvement, Christofoletti says that there are reasons to be optimistic about the result of the research, which carried out an unprecedented mapping of the knowledge of Brazilians on various aspects of the environmental cause.
“Knowing Ignorance [da população sobre o tema] allows us to create and develop focused actions”, he adds.