Planet Ocean: People and the Sea (Human Wellbeing)


Planet Ocean: People and the Sea (Human Wellbeing)

The People and the Sea stream of the Global Citizenship Programme will immerse participants in an integrated, multi-disciplinary environment to study and critically understand the crucial importance of oceans for humanity on a global and local scale.

Course outline

Why is this important?

Humankind depends on marine and coastal environments and their resources for our survival. These ecosystems, covering 70% of the Earth’s surface, are among the most productive on the planet, but they are also amongst the most threatened. Climate change, rising sea-surface temperatures and rising sea levels are endangering the long-term security of people living in low-lying coastal areas and significantly altering the occurrence and availability of crucial resources -  such as freshwater - on which all of us rely. 

At the same time, over-exploitation of global fisheries is jeopardising the food security and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people, and pollution from agricultural, industrial and urban sources is creating ocean dead zones the world over. People at all levels in society can help to reverse these trends and improve societal well-being. Knowledge, combined with an understanding of the political issues at stake, is of key importance to action.

What you will be doing?

Through seminars, workshops and group work we will be critically investigating the relationship between people and the sea, whilst also developing an understanding of the threats to the oceans arising from human activities.

By engaging with the issues through the perspective of a specific country, students will prepare for and take part in a model UN summit about the world’s oceans.

Students will also learn about international negotiations, film making, how to design effective poster displays, approaching and communicating with the media, and political lobbying skills. This year we hope to host a discussion on political and environment activism where you will have a chance to ask questions to those out there already changing our world, and all this before joining your fellow global citizens from across the streams for a final exhibition and party.

Get involved - #peopleandthesea

Timetable and outputs

You can expect to spend 4-6 hours per day in sessions during the Programme, made up of lectures, tutorial sessions, skills workshops and project work. There will be optional evening sessions featuring guest speakers

Outputs for this course include:

• Countryposters for exhibition at the end of the Programme

• Model UN Negotiations

• Short campaign film

More information

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Course leader


Dr Caroline Garaway

The UCL Global Citizenship Programme is a great opportunity for students to work on something different from their degree. Our UN-style summit is great for students to improve public speaking and negotiation skills.

Last year's students really enjoyed the course, and I'm looking forward to guiding a new cohort around the varied coastline of People and the Sea in 2015.

Dr Garaway is a lecturer in UCL Anthropology. You can learn more about her here.