World Oceans Day 2017
World Oceans Day 2017, a global day of ocean celebration. World Oceans Day helps raise the profile of the ocean and inspire more involvement in helping to conserve and protect this amazing resource that we all depend on. The ocean covers almost two-thirds of the earth’s surface and is critical for the very existence of life on this planet. The ocean generates most of our planet’s oxygen, it regulates the climate and absorbs a large amount of carbon dioxide emissions. While also providing food and nutrients for many. Furthermore, economically the oceans are key for travel, trade and tourism.
The theme for the day this year is “Our oceans, our future”. The future of our oceans and the life in them are under threat, primarily due to human pressures. Overexploitation, illegal and unregulated fishing, marine pollution, destructive fishing and climate change are just some of the issues the oceans are having to deal with.
(The Oceans beauty and life; source Mission Blue, TED talks)
The aim of the day is to raise awareness of the major role the oceans have in everyday life. To inform people of the impact of human activity on the oceans and develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the ocean which would help to create a path to sustainable management of the world’s oceans. Finally, the day is to celebrate the beauty, majesty and wealth of the ocean.
Many events are taking place globally on the day, including workshops, seminars and short beach clean-ups. A full list of these can be found on the website http://www.worldoceansday.org/events_list. The website allows you to create or submit your own event and have it listed on the website. It is very easy to get involved and the website also offers small tips and ideas on how to cut down on unnecessary use of plastic in our daily lives, such as only using reusable shopping bags and not using plastic water bottles.
(A boat in the midst of floating plastic and waste debris around the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.)
In the wake of America’s exit from the Paris agreement, movements such as these are becoming even more important. No matter what your government’s policy is, communities and individuals can make a positive difference by supporting, getting involved and helping events like this one. If everyone made a small change to their lifestyle it could have a massive effect.
Here are some basic facts about the ocean which show just how important the oceans are to the world, courtesy of UNESCO.
- The ocean covers over 71% of the globe. To date, only a little over 1% of the ocean is protected.
- An estimated 50-80% of all life on earth is found under the ocean surface and the oceans contain 99% of the living space on the planet. Less than 10% of that space has been explored by humans.
- Tiny marine plants called phytoplankton release half of all oxygen in the atmosphere through photosynthesis.
- The ocean absorbs approximately 25% of the CO2 added to the atmosphere from human activities each year, greatly reducing the impact of this greenhouse gas on the climate.