Canada made the original proposal for World Oceans Day in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The day has been unofficially celebrated every June 8 since then, and, in 2008, the United Nations officially recognized it. Since then, World Oceans Day has been coordinated internationally by The Ocean Project and the World Ocean Network. These organizations say it has greater success and global participation each year.
So … why a World Oceans Day? Perhaps the best reason we’ve seen comes from a 2013 video featuring, Sylvia Earle, who is a National Geographic Society Explorer-in-Residence and perhaps the world’s most recognized living oceanographer. In the video below, among other things, Earle says:
I think of the ocean as the blue heart of the planet.
And she says:
We, too, are sea creatures.
We also really like this list of ways to celebrate World Oceans Day, from SeaChoice.org:
1) Organize one shoreline cleanup in your community each year. Even if you don’t live near an ocean, lakes, streams and rivers work too as these water bodies all lead to the ocean.
2) Plan a movie night in your community featuring two of your favourite ocean documentaries like End of the Line, Sushi: The Global Catch, or Sharkwater.
3) Ask three of your favourite seafood retailers and/or restaurants to source their seafood more sustainably with a letter explaining the importance of ocean-friendly seafood.
4) Challenge yourself to try four new sustainable seafood recipes with this helpful alternatives list.
5) Create a shopping list with five of your favourite ocean-friendly seafood choices. Don’t forget to carry a sustainable seafood guide or use the iPhone app for when you are dining and shopping for seafood!
6) Host an ocean-friendly seafood dinner for six friends and hand out seafood guides with the menu to explain how you chose sustainable ingredients for the night.
7) Reduce, reuse, and refuse plastics. Commit to finding seven ways to refuse plastic in your life. Bring your reusable shopping bags, carry a water bottle or simply take a few minutes to sit down with your coffee or lunch to avoid all that unecessary take-out plastic and packaging.
8) Help inform youth about the importance of oceans by teaching a fun lesson for eight kids with this Educator’s Guide.
Bottom line: June 8, 2017 is World Oceans Day.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.