World Oceans Day is a day of celebration of the oceans, which takes place every year on June 8.
It was launched at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and formalized by a UN resolution in December 2008.
This day aims to raise public awareness of the crucial role played by the world’s seas and oceans, which cover 70% of the Earth’s surface and provide more than half of the oxygen we breathe.
On this day of mobilization and awareness, activities and initiatives are proposed worldwide to call for sustainable management of marine resources and to highlight how essential the ocean is to life on Earth.
Today, this celebration brings together thousands of organizations in 70 countries.
What do the oceans provide?
Being the true lungs of our planet, the ocean provides at least 50% of the oxygen we breathe.
Whether we live by the sea or further inland, the oceans impact our lives. They cover 70% of the planet; they are a source of energy that harbors rich biodiversity, of which many species are still to be discovered.
The oceans are also a source of income for 40 million people worldwide. In addition, they provide 6.7 percent of all proteins consumed by humans, and they also harbor mineral resources and molecules that can become medicines.
Food, health, habitat, employment, transportation, and recreation are the services provided to humanity by the ocean, to which we must add the role of climate regulator.
The value of marine resources has been estimated at 16,000 billion euros.
With 90% of large fish populations already depleted and 50% of coral reefs destroyed, we are taking more from the ocean than can be replenished.
Therefore, it is essential to raise public awareness of their real place in our ecosystem and the threats they face due to human activities.
Steps to take to save the oceans:
- Don’t throw your cigarette butts on the ground
Out of 137 billion cigarette butts thrown on the ground every day worldwide, 40% end up in the oceans. A single cigarette butt can pollute up to 500 liters of water. So don’t hesitate to equip yourself with a pocket ashtray!
- Cook non-endangered fish species
Protecting the oceans also means protecting its biodiversity and, therefore, the fish. Choosing the fish you will put on your plate is consequently essential. It is, therefore, necessary to select species that are not on the verge of extinction and to respect the reproduction periods. We must also favor fish caught around us, which allows us to support our fishers by limiting the pollution of boats and transport.
- Participate in coastal and river cleanups
Every minute, the equivalent of a garbage truckload of plastic is dumped into the ocean. We produce an average of 300 million tons of plastic per year, and it is estimated that between 8 and 12 million tons end up in our oceans.
Hence, each holiday maker needs to adopt the right reflexes, (i.e. to leave with your packaging, bottles, or food waste).
In the same way, picking up a piece of waste lying around prevents it from being carried away by sea. Each small gesture has its importance. You can also participate in beach cleaning operations.
- A sun cream that respects the oceans
Because yes, even our sunscreen applied on the beach threatens the fish. Once in the water, the products that protect our skin become a poison for underwater life. More and more cosmetic brands are innovating by creating anti-UV formulas with minimal impact on the environment, based on mineral filters, infused with vegetable oils, and biodegradable.
- Other eco-friendly gestures (the latest little tips)
Protecting the oceans also involves several gestures to adopt during your stay: use a peaceful means of transportation to go to the beach (bicycle, for example), practice a sport that does not pollute (surfing, windsurfing, kite flying) rather than jet-skiing, do not touch corals or fish during a scuba dive.
Humans need the ocean to survive, and the sea needs us today to continue to fulfill its functions, of which the whole planet depends. So let’s all mobilize and change the course of things!
By: Lisa Guerin