The oceans are big—to the tune of covering some 70% of the Earth’s surface. Unfortunately, the challenges the world’s oceans are facing are big as well, to the point where in 2008 the United Nations officially recognized World Ocean Day (held perpetually each year on June 8th) in an attempt to create awareness and bring attention to this critical ecosystem and the threats that endanger it.
As the calendar approaches World Oceans Day this year, why not consider 5 ways you and your family can take positive actions to support this noble initiative to revitalize this vital piece of global ecology.
1. Be Personally Aware of the Issues
Though World Ocean Day has been officially recognized for nearly a decade and a half, not all are aware of the level of threat the oceans face, nor with the efforts being made to counteract them. Being personally familiar with the issues at hand will make it more likely that you will take action yourself, and spread that awareness among your circle of friends and family, thereby drawing attention to the cause. If you’d like to become more informed about the issues, we recommend the documentaries: Chasing Coral, Mission Blue, A Plastic Ocean and The End of the Line.
2. Spread Awareness Through Social Media
While modern technology has increased pressures on the global environment, it can safely be said that it’s not all bad. Social media can reach millions of people throughout the planet, creating awareness and sharing initiatives with speed unparalleled in human history. You can follow World Ocean Day on all the major platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) and even contribute your own posts by using hashtags such as #WorldOceanDay, #30x30 and #OceanClimateAction. Each potential viewer is one more potential advocate for the world’s oceans in a time where awareness is needed most.
3. Think Globally, Act Locally
Taking on the environmental challenges the world’s oceans face is far too much for any one individual or nation to tackle alone. Fortunately, you don’t have to be a world leader or environmental activist to have a positive impact. Simple changes in your own lifestyle—whether you’re close to an ocean or not—can contribute to the overall objectives of World Ocean Day. For instance, avoiding or reducing the consumption of single-use plastics can ultimately lower demand, which in practical terms translates to less plastic waste ending up in the world’s seas. It may not seem as if such a small step could make a difference, but when you multiply that by thousands, tens of thousands and millions of people all doing their share, the math speaks for itself!
4. Speak Up
One of the initiatives sponsored by the World Ocean Day organizers is a petition to world leaders that voices support for a plan for all nations to preserve at least 30% of their land, oceans and waters by the year 2030, also known as the 30x30 goal. To date some 90 countries have committed to the goal, and if you’d like to know your country’s status, or simply wish to add your name to the 30x30 petition, you can click here for more information.
5. To Know the Ocean is To Love the Ocean
Frankly, it’s hard to become passionate about something that you know very little about. Here’s where a combination of education and firsthand experience can translate into the love and passion that our oceans need. One of the best ways to come to know (and love!) the oceans is to experience its majesty and beauty in person. Whether its standing on the shore as the sun dips below the horizon in a blaze of color, or scuba diving among literally thousands of brightly-arrayed fish on a coral reef, immersing yourself (yes, pun intended) in the incomparable beauty of the world’s oceans is a surefire way to stir the strong feelings needed to protect them. We naturally want to protect what we love, and there’s no better way to fall in love with the oceans than experiencing them firsthand. But if you’re not able to get to the ocean yourself, here are some documentaries that can still stoke your passion from afar: The Blue Planet, The Blue Planet 2, Planet Ocean, and Deep Blue.
While not exhaustive, this list constitutes a few practical suggestions on how to make this year’s World Ocean Day more than just a simple public outpouring of platitudes and wishful thinking. Ultimately, by fostering a greater measure of awareness, cultivating a willingness to take positive action, and developing a strong sense of passion, there’s reason to believe that even small steps like these can bring benefits to the world’s oceans, both now and for the next generation.