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Healthy Bodies, Healthy Oceans

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Originally appears in the Spring 2011 issue

While global climate change and last year’s Deepwater Horizon oil disaster have made the world’s oceans a focus of scientific research and popular media, they remain hundreds of miles away from the lives of most students.  Yet their own bodies are ever-present.  Students demonstrate the importance of their own health through the choices they make each day.  But how many associate the sea with personal choices such as what they eat or the medicine and supplements they take for wellness?  In this article, we demonstrate the connection between personal health and the status of the oceans, with the hopes of motivating students to place a higher priority on both.

Marine science education is largely absent from school classrooms. In light of growing international concern over ocean health, teachers, administrators and legislators everywhere should push for integrating marine education into traditional science curricula.  The powerful link between the health of the human body and that of our oceans offers a good way to start that conversation.

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Rachel Luther writes guiding philosophy for environmental and science educators in public schools who are interested in marine education. A former high school science teacher, she has taught marine science laboratory courses and is currently a doctoral student at the University of Georgia. Michael Mueller is an environmental philosopher and science teacher educator at the University of Georgia. His philosophy focuses on how privileged cultural thinking frames our relations with others including nonhuman species and physical environments.