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Q & A - 'Revisiting The Ocean: Living The Blue Economy'

Q & A - 'Revisiting The Ocean: Living The Blue Economy'

This book, published in 2023, takes the reader on a journey of progress, showing how the Blue Economy has become a globally recognised concept since its early origins and how it has evolved over the years. The author, James Alix Michel, is refreshingly honest about the worrying pace of progress in the face of mounting challenges to ocean health and resilience, and yet, as he shows us throughout the book, there is a growing surge of unstoppable momentum building to change things for the better. There is good news, and Michel does this by describing various actions from the international community, local governments, corporations, community groups and civil society in advancing sustainability within the ocean economy. All three dimensions of the Blue Economy – economic sustainability, environmental sustainability and social inclusion - are carefully woven into the developments and initiatives featured in this book.

In its expository writing style, this book is structured around three sections: ‘Recognition’, ‘Transition’, and ‘The Reckoning’. The first section, ‘Recognition’, introduces the reader to Michel’s own set of key principles that must be part of the Blue Economy. In the second, ‘Transition’, Michel devotes each chapter to an established or emerging sector within the ocean economy and its role while transitioning to the Blue Economy. The final section, ‘The Reckoning’, wraps up the book with an analysis of ‘the present state of the play’ supporting the Blue Economy through a discussion of global institutions (mainly the United Nations), and what Michel calls ‘ocean champions’ – that is, ‘people who are making a difference’ in the ocean space. 

Published in 2016, “Rethinking the Oceans: Towards a Blue Economy” is primarily centred around introducing the reader to the then-unclear term: ‘Blue Economy’ and its ramifications, where it encourages its readers to look to the oceans as a new frontier for sustainable development - elaborating on developments in international scene in which Michel actively participated and brought the Blue Economy concept to greater international political awareness and acceptance.

Like its predecessor, “Revisiting the Ocean: Living the Blue Economy” is its sequel - a practical and very readable publication holding a very broad appeal to ocean lovers old and new: from the newly fascinated sea lover to the seasoned enthusiast, from the local community organizer to the country’s politician, from blue economy scholars to the global policymaker. The entire world needs to be aware of and accept the importance of the ocean, the role it plays in growing the global economy, saving the planet from impacts of climate change, supporting our lives and livelihoods, and what needs to be done to ensure the ocean continues to deliver its function at optimal capacity. The stories recounted in the book will likely spark joy, hope, exhilaration and even anger and sorrow to its readers. 

This book is based on an extensive body of research by prominent scientists, thought leaders and philanthropists who have worked tirelessly over the years to promote greater understanding of the threats facing the ocean and the need for ocean protection to underpin prosperity for all. Research contributions are listed within the book from various sources and these include Lloyd’s Register Foundation, Pew Charitable Trusts, UNCTAD, Ellen MacArthur Foundation, NLA International Ltd and several individual ocean experts from marine science, ocean policy and maritime security. The author, a skilled and internationally respected thinker who is passionately committed to the cause of the Blue Economy, also delivers a wealth of personal insights. 

James Alix Michel was the third President of the Republic of Seychelles (2004 - 2016). He has promoted Seychelles on the international scene as an ardent advocate of the cause of Small Island Small Island Developing States, the preservation of the environment, and the Blue Economy. He has been responsible for the promulgation of legislation, transforming half of Seychelles’ territory into nature reserves. Michel has been awarded many awards over the years for his work, including the National Geographic Planetary Leadership Award in 2019 for his “commitment to establishing globally protected areas” and having “worked for years to position the Seychelles at the forefront of ocean leadership”. Michel is one of the five ocean ambassadors of the Blue Nature Alliance and a Pew-Bertarelli Ocean Ambassador.  

This write-up was prepared using the reviews of ‘Revisiting the Ocean: Living the Blue Economy’ by Belinda Bramley (Blue Economy Consultant) and Carlo Ceglia (PhD Researcher). 


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