The AWARE project invites YOU to join a European initiative for improved coastal zone management!

Become a member of our dynamic team and exchange with politicians, scientists and the civil society for improving the environment of your coastal region. 

What is it all about? The scientist and philosopher John B.S. Haldane envisioned, in a tale written in the year 1923, the future of our seas in the year 2050 as one where the “porphyrococcus” - a highly efficient nitrogen-fixer used in agriculture to doubled the yield of wheat and quadruple the value of grass land for grazing purposes - escaped into the sea and multiplied with an enormous rapidity, changing the nature and colour of the sea. Looking back from the point of view of those living in the year 2050,

“it was as a result of its invasion by Porphyrococcus that the sea assumed the intense purple colour which seems so natural to us, but which so distressed the more aesthetically minded of our great grand- parents who witnessed the change. It is certainly curious to us to read of the sea as having been green or blue.”

Is this today only science fiction?

The porphyrococcus is indeed a product of the Haldane’s imagination, but the risk of deterioration of the coastal waters - up to the point that Harmful Algal Blooms (HABs), also called “red tides” discolour the seawater due to the high densities of millions of microscopic algal cells – is today a reality in several European and worldwide seas. This is a consequence of the discharge of fertilisers, pesticides and other substances into the water from agricultural, industrial and urban activities. While these activities are all tied to our life here on planet Earth, pursuing them in unlimited fashion can cause the disruption of the ecosystems upon which we, and future generations, ultimately depend to live – our air, our climate, and our water.

Don’t let your coastal zone become an oasis of Harmful Algal Blooms! Because  if properly managed the coastal waters of Europe can continue to be a source of wealth and pleasure for populations.. We also need  sustainable water management for the increasing coastal population, but also to prepare for the manifold consequences of climate change in the 21st century (higher frequency of storms and floods, and increasing sea levels, to name just a few)

The European Union, well aware of the need to combat the deterioration of the water environment, is supporting sustainable water management across Europe. Since 2000 the European Water Framework Directive has set the goal of achieving the “good ecological status” of all water bodies – rivers, lakes, lagoons and coastal waters – across Europe, and more recently the European Marine Strategy has extended this goal to the preservation of the seas. A lot of EU funded research is also being carried out on this matter .

However, science and policy makers alone cannot solve the problem for us; we need to contribute in our role as “citizens” of Europe and beyond, as inhabitants of our common planet.  Solutions may be devised by scientists, but they shall be evaluated and – if they really seem to work well – applied by society. This is why where need your contribution. Help us rising awareness of the citizens regarding sustainable water management. For example, does anyone of us know the impact of agriculture on our coastal zones, on the mussels we eat and on the water we swim in?

By joining our project, you can contribute to make a difference: help us defining “water sustainability goals” together with the scientific community, provide your advice on the most suitable and acceptable solutions and, together with our team, evaluate water sustainability approaches and technologies coming from the European Union research findings.

This is what we will do starting with the forthcoming European Citizens Conference “Save the Sea of Tomorrow”. It is the first experiment of its kind at the European level and takes place in three critical coastal areas – the pilot cases (Southern North Sea coast, Gulf of Riga and Sacca di Goro Lagoon in the Po Delta area) – and you have now the opportunity to apply for it.

If you are selected, you will have the chance to participate in three workshops – two workshops in Europe (Paris and Brussels) and one at local level - and a final European Conference, for a total of 8-10 days during April 2010 to May 2011. Participation at all meetings is required and rewarded, travel and subsistence costs are covered. A good knowledge of English is a basic requirement. Further eligibility details, participation conditions and the application forms for the submission of your candidature are available on Internet.