Credit: Olga Katrychenko

Posted on 19 December 2023

How to make better decisions to improve the marine environment

New research from Sustainable Seas National Science Challenge has just been released that could help inform different ways of taking care of our oceans. In the face of climate change and extreme weather events, how we make decisions about marine management needs everyone at the table.

Five quick guides have been developed to give marine decision-makers the tools they need to navigate their own perceptions of risk and uncertainty, before attempting to make decisions about managing the marine environment.

The way we think about hotly contested issues in the environment are based on our individual worldviews, education, jobs and positions in society. Understanding how these different worldviews shape our decision-making is vital in considering divisive issues, such as consent removals for mangroves or sand mining in Okura.

This includes a Te Ao Māori perspective on kaitiakitanga, connections between people and the environment, and why it is crucial for long-term marine decision-making.

“It was becoming increasingly accepted that multiple worldviews play a role in natural resource management in Aotearoa,” explains lead researcher Shaun Awatere.

Previously, risk and uncertainty in environmental management considered only how to reduce the potential impact of an activity.

“Māori have a different worldview perspective,” says Shaun. “They think of how an activity can enhance the mana, or the intrinsic value of the natural resource in the first instance, rather than being limited to reducing adverse risk.

“Collectively, we are in a position to reimagine decision-making and think about investment as a way of meeting both societal needs and the wellbeing of te taiao and the environment.”

Read the full framework here.

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