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World Oceans Day

World Oceans Day reminds us of the critical role oceans play in the lives of everyone on Earth.

 

 

June 8th is World Oceans Day (WOD).  Every year, thousands of individuals and organizations, including aquariums, marine conservation nonprofits, museums, and schools, celebrate the majesty and the importance of our oceans. 

 

The idea to commemorate the bodies of water that cover most of Earth’s surface came from Canada at the 1992 Rio Summit.  The Canadian government felt it necessary to instill and increase public awareness about the crucial role oceans play in our lives, whether we live by their coasts or not. 

 

Regional celebrations took place yearly until 2008, when the event went global.  It was then that the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed June 8th as World Oceans Day, in result of a public campaign to recognize oceans at the international level. 

 

Not only do oceans supply us with seafood, medicines, and other socially and economically significant goods – they also generate most of the oxygen that we breathe (more than all of the rainforests on earth).  They clean the water we drink (through different biological and chemical processes and evaporation), and offer fantastic recreation.  They regulate and stabilize global climate.  Continental climates are results of ocean currents; without those, Europe would be more like Siberia than the temperate continent it is.  These are just some examples of the importance oceans have for every single human being on our planet.

 

The celebration last year almost exactly coincided with Earth’s atmospheric CO2  reaching 400 parts per million (ppm), a terrifying milestone and a reminder that climate change is continuously advancing.  Oceans have for millennia acted as a buffer for the rising carbon dioxide levels.  By taking in a bulk of the CO2 from the atmosphere, they have helped slow down climate change.  However, they paid a high price of increased acidity, which is lethal for coral reefs and marine shell animals.  Scientists are unsure how oceans will affect the global climate and ecosystem as the temperature and chemistry of ocean water changes.  This and other issues our oceans are facing, including pollution, loss of biodiversity, invasive species, temperature rise, and overfishing, have compelled the organizers to announce the 2013-20154 WOD theme as “Together We Have the Power to Protect the Oceans.” 

 

Two major organizations have spearheaded World Oceans Day celebrations since the 1990s.  The World Ocean Network and The Ocean Project have for years worked in concert to raise public awareness and promote the importance of oceans across the globe. 

 

What You Can Do

 

Get Involved in World Oceans Day by joining an event or organizing one. 

  • The Ocean Project hosts the official website of WOD, worldoceansday.org.  The website provides a wealth of resources for those who would like to participate in WOD, including a list of events, instructions on how to plan a celebration, and many promotional materials.    
  • Check your local aquarium and marine conservation organization, or visit the WOD event map to find celebrations in your area.  
  • Take a Selfie for the Sea:  Take a selfie to show the world how you plan or promise to help the ocean & tag it #WorldOceansDay.

 

Follow #WorldOceansDay on Twitter and Facebook.

 

Watch and Share this World Oceans Day Video:

 

(updated from an earlier post)