09 Jun 2015 Press release Oceans & seas

Two Minutes on Oceans with Jim Toomey Video Series to be Showcased on Ocean Today Kiosks for World Oceans Day

The United Nations Environment Programme and nationally-syndicated cartoonist Jim Toomey announced their collaboration with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to showcase the Two Minutes on Oceans with Jim Toomey video series on NOAA's Ocean Today Kiosks across North America. The first set of videos on nutrient runoff, wastewater, marine litter and climate change went live with an event at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History on 7 June in celebration of World Oceans Day.

Using clear and simple language, the Two Minutes on Oceans with Jim Toomey series of seven videos provide educators and the general public with scientific information about urgent issues facing our oceans today, as well as suggesting actions to address them. They use animation and humor to help illustrate the importance of oceans to human well-being and the environment. They are accessible online for no cost, in addition to now being featured on the kiosks.

The series was created through a partnership between UNEP's Regional Office for North America and cartoonist Jim Toomey, creator of the Sherman's Lagoon cartoon strip, in 2011. The videos on marine litter, nutrient runoff and wastewater were produced with support from the United Nations Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities which manages three global, multi-stakeholder partnerships focused on those topics.

"Having the videos placed on the NOAA Ocean Today Kiosks offers an excellent opportunity to raise public awareness across North America and around the world about the impacts of our actions on human health, bodies of water and coastal ecosystems," said Patricia Beneke, Regional Director of the UNEP Office for North America.

"It is important to communicate in a variety of ways when you want to create societal change across a wide range of audiences. These videos combine just the right amount of fun with the right amount of important information that viewers need in order to be more responsible stewards of the oceans and the planet," remarked Jim Toomey.

Today, there are 37 Ocean Today kiosks located in 35 aquariums, museums, and learning centers across the United States, Mexico, Canada and the United Kingdom. Ocean Today enhances ocean literacy among museum goers through an enticing multimedia experience and helps visitors to understand the ocean's influence on them and their influence on the ocean. The kiosks have had over 8 million content views to date throughout all locations with the accompanying Ocean Today web site reaching over 2 million visitors a year.

"We are delighted to be partnering with UNEP, the Smithsonian, and Jim Toomey to help distribute these important educational messages through the NOAA Ocean Today Kiosk Network," said Holly Bamford, Ph.D., an assistant administrator for NOAA's National Ocean Service. "These video shorts illustrate the visible connection between humans and the oceans and how they influence one another."

The Ocean Today Kiosk at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History's Sant Ocean Hall is a highly dynamic and visitor-friendly experience designed by NOAA. Opened in September 2008, the hall spans more than 23,000 square feet and is one of the most prominent permanent exhibition halls in the museum.

"Cartoonist Jim Toomey makes ocean awareness fun, and brings messages of ocean stewardship to the widest possible audience. I am thrilled by this collaboration which brings his entertaining and informative videos to Ocean Today Kiosks at the Sant Ocean Hall and in museums and aquaria around the country," noted Dr. Nancy Knowlton, Sant Chair of Marine Science at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.

About UNEP and the GPA:

The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) is the leading authority on the environment within the United Nations system. The Regional Office for North America builds support through the United States and Canada for UNEP's work, to promote effective responses to international environmental challenges and to foster cooperation on environmental issues between North America and the broader international community.

The Global Programme of Action for the Protection of the Marine Environment from Land-Based Activities (GPA) is the only global intergovernmental mechanism directly addressing the links between terrestrial, freshwater, coastal and marine ecosystems. It was designed to address the accelerating degradation of the world's oceans and coastal areas by encouraging governments and regional organizations to prepare and implement comprehensive, continuing and adaptive action plans to protect the marine environment.

About Jim Toomey:

Jim Toomey is a renowned cartoonist who has been writing and drawing the daily comic strip, Sherman's Lagoon, for over 20 years. The strip is syndicated to over 250 newspapers throughout North America and appears in more than 30 countries around the world. Sherman's Lagoon combines Toomey's two life-long passions - art and the sea. In addition to producing his comic strip, he is active in marine conservation.

About National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA):

NOAA's mission is to understand and predict changes in the Earth's environment, from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun, and to conserve and manage our coastal and marine resources. Please visit NOAA on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and our other social media channels.

About Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History

The Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History welcomed more than 7 million visitors in 2014, making it one of the most-visited museums in the world. Opened in 1910, the museum on the National Mall is dedicated to maintaining and preserving the world's most extensive collection of natural history specimens and human artifacts. It also fosters significant scientific research and educational programs and exhibitions that present the work of its scientists to the public. For more information, visit the museum on its website and on Facebook and Twitter.