These future maritime leaders, studying at the Arab Academy for Science, Technology and Maritime Transport, based in the Egyptian coastal city of Alexandria, also used two powerful symbols in their video: an anchor, instantly recognizable in n’ any language, and Semaphore, another universal symbol. means of communicating on the high seas, using flags.
Arms moving in pointed patterns, students spell out, with flags, the same urgent text they form with their bodies seen from above.
The message is not theoretical for these future sailors; it is central to their personal journeys from an institution committed to helping the world achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in particular on climate action (Goal 13) and life below water (Goal 14).
Hailing from Egypt, Djibouti, Sudan, Saudi Arabia, Libya and Mauritania, the students created their video message to the UN Ocean Conference, which will put the issue at the top of the international agenda when it meets in Lisbon from June 27 to July 1. .
“We live in a blue world,” says Dr. Kareem Mahmoud Tonbol, associate professor of physical oceanography and climatology and vice-dean for graduate studies and scientific research, pointing out that oceans and seas cover more than 70% from the surface of the Earth. .
“The oceans are the heart and lungs of our planet, providing most of the oxygen we breathe,” says Dr Tonbol, who is also head of the meteorology and hydrographic surveying program and organized the initiative. to create a video in response to a request. of the United Nations Department of Global Communications.
Concern for the future
He explains that the hundreds of students who contributed to the video, were motivated to send their nautical SOS, out of concern for the future of humanity.
“The oceans are the heart and lungs of our planet, providing most of the oxygen we breathe,” he says. “They are also a vital part of the ecosystem and an essential source of food and medicine.”
According to Dr Tonbol, more than three billion people around the world depend on marine and coastal biodiversity to survive, while the oceans absorb more than 30% of man-made carbon dioxide, helping to mitigate the effects of climate change. global warming.
“The oceans also support the world’s marine and coastal resources and industries,” he points out. “In every way, we are directly linked to our seas.”
The oceans are the heart and lungs of our planet – Kareem Mahmoud Tonbol
It took a week of preparation, a team of video experts, and the choreography of dozens of students in maritime uniforms, but the Academy felt it was worth the investment to send a strong signal from their campus to ‘Abu-Qir at the Conference.
“Our message is to mobilize and unify global efforts to support the sustainable management of the world’s oceans by fostering a global movement of citizens to protect ocean resources and the marine environment,” said Dr Tonbol.
Their decision to send a video message to the United Nations is in line with the Academy’s longstanding cooperation with the global body.
And the Academy has embedded in its strategic plan a commitment “to take social responsibility and align with the SDGs, dramatically increasing the extent to which its research and teaching support the goal of achieving a healthy and sustainable planet.” sustainable”.
For Dr. Tonbol, it’s more than a matter of plans on paper; it is a legacy to pass on to future generations. “Our role is to nurture future leaders by investing in young minds as we begin the intergenerational transition to help them join the sustainability revolution and build momentum to achieve the SDGs,” he said.
“Sustainability is fundamentally about ensuring that our children and future generations inherit an earth that is no worse than the one we inherited, so we dedicate our research to advancing innovative solutions for the benefit of humanity.”