World Oceans Day is observed every year on 8 June to create awareness among human beings of the benefits it has enjoyed from the oceans so far. The day highlights the need and necessity to protect oceans from further deterioration.
The purpose of the World OceansDay is to inform the public of the impact of human actions on the oceans, develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the oceans, and mobilize and unite the world's population on a project for sustainable management of the world's oceans.
The idea of World Oceans Day was first proposed in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The idea was proposed to celebrate the oceans and human’s connection to the sea. After raising awareness about the crucial role the oceans play in our lives, the UN division for oceans affairs introduced important ways people can help protect them. The UN has also hosted different themes each year to celebrate the day.
Amid the coronavirus pandemic, this year's theme will focus on the life and livelihood that the oceans sustain.
“The Oceans: Life and Livelihoods” is the theme for World Oceans Day 2021, as well as a declaration of intentions that launches a decade of challenges to get the Sustainable Development Goal 14, “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources”, by 2030.
Why are oceans special?
The oceans cover over 70% of the planet. It is our life source, supporting humanity’s sustenance and that of every other organism on earth.
The oceans produce at least 50% of the planet’s oxygen, it is home to most of the earth’s biodiversity, and is the main source of protein for more than a billion people around the world. Not to mention, the oceans are key to our economy with an estimated 40 million people being employed by ocean-based industries by 2030.
In simple words, the oceans are the lungs of our planet; they give oxygen to breathing, a significant wellspring of food and medication, and an essential piece of the biosphere. We realize that a ¾ part of our entire Earth is water; it is our duty to spare our oceans and marine life from the threat of an Earth-wide temperature boost. They produce a more significant part of the oxygen in the climate and assimilate the most carbon from it. The oceans are home to the best bounty of life on Earth.
Why should we care about the oceans?
Our oceans provide countless benefits to our planet and all the creatures that live here. Here are few examples:
The air we breathe: The oceans produce over half of the world's oxygen and absorb 50 times more carbon dioxide than our atmosphere.
Climate regulation: Covering 70 percent of the Earth's surface, the oceans transport heat from the equator to the poles, regulating our climate and weather patterns.
Transportation: Seventy-six percent of all U.S. trade involves some form of marine transportation.
Recreation: From fishing to boating to kayaking and whale watching, the oceans provide us with many unique activities.
Economic benefits: The U.S. oceans economy produces $282 billion in goods and services and oceans-dependent businesses employ almost three million people.
Food: The oceans provide more than just seafood; ingredients from the sea are found in surprising foods such as peanut butter and soymilk.
Medicine: Many medicinal products come from oceans, including ingredients that help fight cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer's disease, and heart disease.
Even though all its benefits, oceans are now in need of support.
With 90% of big fish populations depleted, and 50% of coral reefs destroyed, we are taking more from the oceans than can be replenished. To protect and preserve the oceans and all it sustains, we must create a new balance, rooted in a true understanding of the oceans and how humanity relates to it.
How can we help to keep our oceans healthy?
Every individual can make a difference by reducing single plastic use, recycling, and disposing of our trash properly. Some are:
Break up with bottled water: Save hundreds of dollars per year by saying goodbye to single-use plastic bottles.
Shop with reusable bag:100,000 marine animals is killed by plastic bags each year. Switch to reusable to reduce your overall waste and keep sea life from harm.
Conserve Water: Use less water so excess runoff and wastewater will not flow into the oceans.
Let us make World Oceans Day more meaningful by making contributions at our levels in saving them. Remember, even the smallest of the acts can prove to be revolutionary.