Today is World Oceans Day!
World Oceans Day was officially declared by the United Nations as June 8th each year beginning in 2009. The concept was proposed on June 8th 1992 by Canada at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and it had been unofficially celebrated every year since then as World Ocean Day.
Why World Ocean Day? Well, because the oceans are essential to food security and the health and survival of all life. They power our climate and are a critical part of the biosphere.
According to the United Nations, “The official designation of World Oceans Day is an opportunity to raise global awareness of the challenges faced by the international community in connection with the oceans. The lungs of our planet, providing most of the oxygen we breathe, the oceans are also a major source of food and medicines and a critical part of the biosphere.” …a major Silver Lining!
Super Cool ocean rower and inspiring environmental activist, Roz Savage, believes that we will reap what we sow and that we cannot have a healthy planet – or healthy bodies – if we don’t have healthy oceans. She offers a wonderful list of accessible action-oriented things that we can do to celebrate World Ocean’s Day…everyday (Silver Lining).
What can we do?
- If something is described as both “plastic” and “disposable”, have nothing to do with it. Plastic bags, plastic silverware, plastic or styrofoam cups, plastic water bottles – you can find biodegradable or reusable substitutes for all of these things at minimum cost and inconvenience. Everywhere I go I carry my metal water bottle and coffee mug, and my tiny chico bag. You can, too.
- Refuse, repurpose, reduce, re-use, recycle, but of these the greatest is refuse. Just say NO to plastic.
- Consume less. Most consumer goods come wrapped in plastic packaging. The sad irony of ocean plastic pollution is that much of it is not even anything that we use, but merely the packaging that comes with it. If you really want to make the point, return the packaging to the store and ask them to dispose of it. The word will soon make its way up to management.
- Pick it up. If you’re out for a walk and see plastic trash lying on the ground, do something about it. Don’t just turn a blind eye. If left there, it can blow into storm drains, then into rivers, then into the ocean to kill wildlife and contaminate the environment.
- Share the news. Ask friends and family to switch one of their disposable plastic habits for a sustainable, ocean-friendly one: such as bringing reusable food containers from home when eating out for your ‘doggie bag.’ Go to the official World Oceans Day website and register your pledge. We have a lot of work to do, but the longest journey starts with a single step – or oarstroke.
- Organise a screening of a film, like Bag It, or Plastic Shores, for your friends, family and neighbours. Films are a great way to spread the word. And if you serve up popcorn, make sure that it doesn’t come in a plastic bag!
You can see what events are happening in the US, state by state by clicking here: http://worldoceansday.org/?page_id=486
Happy Oceans Day!