June 8th marked the third annual World Oceans Day (WOD). WOD works in partnership with The Ocean Project and the World Ocean Network bringing awareness to oceans’ vast importance in our lives and how we can help protect the waters and marine life. Collaborate efforts of the three organizations provide an opportunity for people to be directly involved in solidifying a positive future for the world’s oceans.
Officially recognized by the United Nations in 2008, World Oceans Day originated during the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Proposed by Canada, WOD is celebrated yearly on June 8th and sees more growth and participation annually. The Ocean Project and the World Ocean Network began promoting World Oceans Day in 2003 using a network of over 1,200 organizations throughout the world. The day puts an emphasis on changing people’s views and actions toward the oceans. Celebrations across the world encourage people to participate in clean up projects along with becoming more educated on sustainable seafood options.
Increased over-fishing, environmental disasters such as oil spills and dumping of waste are taking a toll on our oceans. Such a beautiful and delicate eco-system is being damaged. Oceans provide essential needs for humans such as oxygen, climate regulation, food and even medicines. To help remind communities of the vital necessities oceans provide events are held across the world. In 2010, over 300 events in 45 countries were held from the United States to Australia and many countries in between.
This year’s event focused on the youth of society using the theme Youth: the Next Wave for Change. Market research provided by The Ocean Project “clearly show[ed] that youth are the most promising members of the public to reach out to if you want to effect lasting change.” Youth provides the energy and motivation to change negative actions on the environment. According to research, when it comes to environmental issues young adults are the most knowledgeable group in society with adults seeking advice from them on environmental topics. Society’s youth dictates change with their awareness of current events and free time to take action.
Youth took the helm for this year’s WOD event, but several other groups helped spread awareness on the day. Leading global lifestyle brand, Nautica and ocean conservation organization, Oceana, helped host events in both New York and Washington D.C. Nautica introduced a new line of World Oceans Day t-shirts themed “A Deeper Understanding.” Coral reef designed shirts can be found at Nautica.com. For Oceana’s part, the organization created The Ocean Hero Award. Established in 2009 the award honors “an exceptional personal commitment to ocean conservation.” Both Nautica and Oceana employees helped clean up the Hudson and Potomac Rivers. According to centredaily.com, over 60 employees participated in last year’s event collecting over 300 pounds of trash.
No matter how people decided to celebrate World Oceans Day, organizers hope the outcome is universal: Change perspectives – encourage each other to think about the oceans’ importance and how to preserve it for other generations. Learn – oceans beautiful ecosystem keeps humans in balance and our actions can positively or negatively affect the waters. Change our way – the ocean links all living things. Through small modifications of daily habits we can help our oceans. And finally to celebrate – it is necessary to celebrate victories for the ocean’s sustainability. As Oceana CEO Andrew Sharpless said, “The public doesn’t often see it, but the key to saving our oceans is amassing policy victories one by one, country by country.”
Photo Credit: ga.water.usgs.gov/edu/watercyclesummary.html