The ocean is one of Earth’s most precious resources. It covers 71% of the Earth’s surface and holds 97% of our planets water. The ocean plays an integral role in regulating Earth’s climate and weather. Many diverse and beautiful creatures inhabit the ocean. The ocean provides us with food, medicine and various other economic and recreational opportunities. Much of the ocean remains unexplored. For all of these reasons, Saturday – June 8, 2013 – is World Oceans Day, an event aimed at celebrating the ocean and raising awareness about the need to protect ocean health.
Organizers are also urging people to wear blue on Saturday to help raise awareness about the ocean, and to commit to practicing simple steps that can protect the ocean such as picking up trash at your local beach and drinking from reusable water bottles.
Presently, the health of the ocean is being threatened by pollution, overfishing, invasive species and rising ocean acidity due to climate change. Another troubling issue is that when people were asked by World Oceans Day organizers about how much of an impact they thought they could have on solving ocean-related environmental problems, 40% of respondents replied “none” or “not very much.”
To help demonstrate that individual people can have a significant impact on solving environmental problems, event organizers are encouraging people to participate in any one of the hundreds of activities posted on the World Oceans Day website.
Canada first proposed the concept for World Oceans Day in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. In December 2008, a United Nations resolution designated June 8 of each year as World Oceans Day.
The Ocean Poject and the World Ocean Network have helped to promote and coordinate World Oceans Day since 2002. These organizations work with aquariums, zoos, museums, conservation organizations, schools and businesses to plan World Oceans Day activities around the world.
During World Oceans Day, people are encouraged to learn about the ocean and think about what the ocean means to them with the hopes of conserving it for present and future generations.
In honor of World Oceans Day, New York City’s Empire State Building will be lit on the evening of June 8 in white, blue and purple. The colors are meant to symbolize the different layers of the ocean. White represents the shallow sunlight waters and the polar ice cap. Blue represents the expansive ocean waters that cover the planet, and purple represents the deepest reaches of the ocean.
Bottom line: Saturday, June 8 is World Oceans Day, an event aimed at celebrating the ocean and raising awareness about the need to protect ocean health. During World Oceans Day, people are encouraged to learn about the ocean and think about what the ocean means to them with the hopes of conserving it for present and future generations.
Deanna Conners is an Environmental Scientist who holds a Ph.D. in Toxicology and an M.S. in Environmental Studies. Her interest in toxicology stems from having grown up near the Love Canal Superfund Site in New York. Her current work is to provide high-quality scientific information to the public and decision-makers and to help build cross-disciplinary partnerships that help solve environmental problems. She writes about Earth science and nature conservation for EarthSky.