EarthHuman World

Celebrate World Oceans Day today, June 7, 2024

World Oceans Day: Vivid rainbow over the ocean with waves and a blue sky.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Cecille Kennedy captured this image from Oregon on March 4, 2024. She wrote: “A vivid partial rainbow seems to be rising from the ocean. The ROYGBIV (Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, Violet) hues were radiant. What a delight!” Thank you, Cecille!

World Oceans Day 2024

World Oceans Day has fallen around June 8, every year since 1992. It’s a day to honor our connection to Earth’s oceans – even if we don’t live near a beach – and to learn what we can do to protect ocean habitats. In 2024, it’s celebrated on June 7. Go here to participate in today’s fully virtual World Oceans Day celebration. The virtual event runs from 14:30 to 17:30 UTC (9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. CDT).

World Oceans Day 2024 has the theme of Awaken new depths.

The day is meant to shed light on the wonder of the ocean and how it’s our life source, supporting humanity and every other organism on Earth.

Here’s a calendar of additional events around the world.

Why Earth’s oceans are so important

Pacific Ocean seen from orbit, with some clouds. Earth's terminator is visible in half the image. The sun is above, glinting off the sea.
The Pacific Ocean, viewed from the International Space Station. Image via NASA.

Earth’s oceans are critical to human survival. Indeed, more than half the oxygen in our atmosphere is generated via photosynthesis by phytoplankton and seaweed in oceans. In addition, millions of people depend on fish and other marine animals for food. Research in some marine organisms has led to the development of new medications. Moreover, ocean currents, known as global conveyor belts, help regulate Earth’s climate.

Perhaps the best reason we’ve seen to honor and protect Earth’s oceans comes from the 2013 video below, 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.

In addition, she says:

We, too, are sea creatures.

History of World Oceans Day

Canada made the original proposal for World Oceans Day in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Subsequently, the day was unofficially celebrated on June 8 until 2008, when the United Nations officially recognized it. Since then, The Ocean Project and the World Ocean Network have coordinated World Oceans Day internationally. These organizations say they have had greater success and global participation each year.

We know that human activities have adversely affected the health of oceans: pollution, over-fishing, seawater acidification due to increased carbon dioxide, ocean warming and habitat destruction. There is so much to do to repair the damage.

So, what can you do to help?

Waves under a sky full of pink and orange clouds.
View at EarthSky Community Photos. | Ocean waves crashing onto a beach at Indian Shores, Florida, on June 4, 2023, from Christy Mandeville. Thank you, Christy!

There are things you can do on your own, on this day or any other. For example, if you live near an ocean, perhaps join a shoreline cleanup.

Even if you’re not near the sea, you can encourage your seafood retailers and favorite seafood restaurants to source their seafood more sustainably (Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program is a terrific resource).

And we can all reduce our use of plastics with reusable shopping bags and refillable water bottles, and by using biodegradable products over plastic.

Longing for the sea? Check out these photos from the EarthSky community.

Bottom line: World Oceans Day is a day to honor our connection to Earth’s oceans and to learn what we can do to protect ocean habitats. Celebrate World Oceans Day in 2024 on June 7.

Watch NASA’s perpetual ocean video

June 7, 2024

Like what you read?
Subscribe and receive daily news delivered to your inbox.

Your email address will only be used for EarthSky content. Privacy Policy
Thank you! Your submission has been received!
Oops! Something went wrong while submitting the form.

More from 

Editors of EarthSky

View All