Celebrating World Ocean's Day
World Oceans Day: June 8th, 2018
While you may have already picked out the perfect bouquet of flowers and put together a special sweet treat for your mom this past Mother’s Day, there’s another mother that we all owe a gift to this June: Mother Ocean. With World Oceans Day coming up this June 8th, it is time to start considering how we all can show respect to the one mother that gives each and every one of us life.
Now that may sound like an exaggeration claiming that the ocean is what gives us all life, but consider this: our world’s oceans cover 3/4 of our Earth’s surface, containing 97 percent of the Earth’s water, while providing the majority of the oxygen that we breathe. To strip it down to the basics, the world’s oceans are the lungs of the Earth, breathing life into all living things.
World Oceans Day was first established by the United Nations in December of 2008, although The Ocean Project has been promoting and coordinating World Oceans Day events since 2002. The Ocean Project partners with the World Ocean Network and the Association of Zoos and Aquariums and other networks to prevent plastic solution and encourage solutions for a healthy ocean. The Ocean Project experienced its most successful World Oceans Day this previous year in 2017 with holding over 1,000 events, located in over 100 countries.
What are the main issues facing our world’s oceans?
One of the main issues facing our world’s ocean is the fact that so many fish are being taken out of our waters every year for commercial sale and personal consumption. It has been found that the ocean is the largest source of protein in the world for humans and that 2.6 billion people depend on the ocean for their primary source of protein. While the ocean is an invaluable resource of sustenance, it is important that fishing practices are regulated and that sustainable fishing practices are utilized always.
The first step in achieving this is by funding and conducting research to ascertain accurate approximations of just how many fish of each species are in our waters, to determine safe numbers of each species that can be taken out of the water each year. This information will drive the establishment of fishing regulations. The simplest way for consumers to identify sustainable seafood is by looking for third party, certified products. Keep a look out for products sporting the Marine Stewardship Council certification of sustainable seafood, as well as the Aquaculture Stewardship Council’s farmed responsibly certification.
The primary goal of this year’s World Oceans Day is to prevent plastic pollution in our oceans, bearing in mind that current estimates show that at least 8 million pieces of plastic are entering the oceans every day. But how does all of this plastic get into our oceans?
Approximately 2/3 of the plastics are coming from land based sources, meaning that litter being left on land is being washed into our waterways. The other portion comes from industry spills, poorly maintained landfill sites and lost materials from ocean shipping containers and fishermen. Currently, it is estimated that there are 51 trillion microscopic pieces of plastic in our oceans, weighing 269,000 tons. Working to ensure that your plastics are properly disposed of to where they cannot enter a water way, the use of reusable materials instead of single use plastics and beach clean ups are just a few ways that you can help in preventing further plastic pollution.
3) Ocean Acidification
Perhaps the greatest danger facing our world’s ocean’s today is a process that cannot be seen by the naked eye: ocean acidification. Essentially, the ocean currently absorbs approximately 30 percent of the carbon dioxide being admitted into the atmosphere each year. As the ocean absorbs this, the water becomes more acidic, leading to a drop in pH levels. This pH imbalance has several effects on marine life. For example, it is more difficult for marine animals with calcium carbonate shells to develop, meaning that animals like corals, mollusks and other shellfish are at risk and cannot reproduce or develop properly. Additionally, this pH imbalance encourages the growth of other species, including algae and certain sea grasses. These algae blooms ultimately lead to a depletion in nutrients for fish to feed on, leading to a decrease in population development.
What can you do this World Oceans Day?
Here are a few suggestions on how you can get involved this World Oceans Day:
Art - This a fun, simple way to get the creative community involved in World Oceans Day. Having a photo, video, painting or multi-media art competition can encourage creativity within your community, while also spreading the mission of World Oceans Day through the creation of something beautiful. Several participants opt to hold a live painting demonstration, in which spectators can watch artists create work to later be sold at auction as a donation toward conservation efforts.
Beach Clean Ups - It’s easy to organize a simple beach, river, lake, wetland or underwater clean up with volunteers. One way to spread the word of your event is to contact your local outdoor, diving or water sports shop to help organize the event and spread the word. Once your clean up site is selected, coordinate with others on a time for the clean up to take place. Having a central meeting place for volunteers allows for more effective disposal of waste.
Festivals - There is strength in numbers when it comes to battling the human pressures negatively affecting our world’s oceans currently. One way to gather individuals motivated to save our world’s oceans is to hold a festival for World Oceans Day. These festivals should include activity stations for children of all ages, offering fun games or crafting stations. Another suggestion of The Ocean Project is to screen films related to ocean conservation to entertain festival goers and raise awareness of the issues facing our world’s oceans.
A Look Toward the Future
While the issues facing the health of our world’s oceans today may appear daunting to the average person, it comes down to a combination of awareness and willingness to change that will make these conservation efforts successful. Here at Timoti’s, we will do our part by continuing to create simple, flavorful meals with wild-caught seafood while continuing to implement our own sustainable fishing practices. Together, we can make this year’s World Oceans Day another record-breaking celebration!