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AAAS survey: 80 percent of adults say we're hurting oceans

SEATTLE, WA, Feb. 15 Most adults believe that human activity is endangering the Earth's oceans, yet less than one-third feel empowered to influence positive change. This is a major finding of a national survey released today by AAAS, the world's largest general science society, in conjunction with a public town hall meeting on marine science issues.

Empowering average citizens by giving them a voice in setting the national research agenda is a primary goal of the town hall meeting, "Oceans for Everyone," hosted by the AAAS Center for Public Engagement with Science and Technology.

In preparation for the event, AAAS, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, surveyed 2,400 adults about marine science issues, asking questions ranging from the need for global action on ocean pollution to human impacts on coastal ecosystems.

Although only 31 percent of all survey respondents said they feel their actions could actually affect the health of the oceans, the survey also showed that Americans are nevertheless willing to try to do so. Nearly two-thirds of the respondents said they would eat less of certain kinds of fish if it would help the marine environment, for example. And, more than half support the use of public money for research and technology to reduce pollution.

"Marine life is disappearing faster than scientists can identify it, affecting our ecosystems and our food choices," said Alan I. Leshner, Chief Executive Officer of AAAS and Executive Publisher of Science Magazine. "The AAAS survey demonstrates that the public is deeply concerned about the environmental challenges facing our oceans and coastal regions and, given information and a voice in the discussion, is willing to back up that concern with personal action."

Ocean issues will be discussed during the town hall meeting from 2:00 until 5:00 p.m. Sunday, 15 February in Seattle at the Washington State Convention & Trade Center, as the debut init
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Contact: Ginger Pinholster
gpinhols@aaas.org
206-774-6330
American Association for the Advancement of Science
15-Feb-2004


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