World Oceans Day 2017

“Our oceans, our future” is the theme for World Oceans Day 2017.

View larger. | Morning mist over the ocean, as seen in Tofino, British Columbia, Canada by EarthSky Facebook friend Ryong Lee.  Thank you, Ryong!

View larger. | Morning mist over the beach and ocean, in Tofino, British Columbia, Canada. Photo by EarthSky Facebook friend Ryong Lee. Thank you, Ryong!

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.

Find a World Oceans Day event

World Oceans Day social media action center. #worldoceansday

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.

Watch Sylvia Earle describe an encounter with a whale

We also really like this list of ways to celebrate World Oceans Day, from

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.

Image via Lana Gunnlaugson/

Bottom line: June 8, 2017 is World Oceans Day.

Deborah Byrd