The state of the oceans often reflects the state of the world. Oil-covered animals and tar balls in shrimp nets represent a need to improve our regulations and alter our energy demands, and rising sea levels demonstrate the urgent need to combat man-made climate change.
On June 8th, the international community will celebrate World Oceans Day. This year, the focus will be on “Youth: The Next Wave For Change.” The idea is to inspire young people in communities around the globe to focus on ocean conservation.
As the World Oceans Day website reads, “Young people are the most knowledgeable and motivated segment of the population when it comes to the environment and its protection. Youth generally have the free time, familiarity with current issues, and the motivation to go out of their way to take environmental actions. “
The site goes on to state that market research has shown that parents look increasingly to their children for information on important issues.
In 2010, over 300 events took place in 45 countries around the world to celebrate World Oceans Day. This year, events are planned ranging from a film festival in the state of Washington to a week-long celebration in Scotland to a rally in Nigeria.
“Wear Blue, Tell Two” is an event that encourages everyone to wear blue clothing on World Oceans Day to raise awareness for ocean conservation. The “tell two” part is important, as it encourages participants to educate others about the importance of protecting oceans. The program even provides two messages to share:
-Our ocean has a great wealth of diverse kinds of life but it’s in trouble. Climate change has already been linked to the killing of coral reefs. Coupled with destructive fishing practices, there is a dramatic decline in many types of fish and sea life we depend on.
-There are important, easy actions each of us can take to help. Calculating our carbon footprints and looking for ways to reduce our role in climate change is a great step. Likewise, we can choose seafood that is abundant in supply and fished or farmed without harm to the ocean and coasts.
To find a nearby event or create your own, visit the World Oceans Day website.
While many World Oceans Day events will celebrate positive opportunities, it is important to not lose sight of the current dire situation of our oceans, and in turn, our entire planet. Arctic ice is melting faster than previously thought, and rising sea levels could threaten 180 U.S. cities by 2100. Reports show that an event similar to the BP oil disaster in the Gulf could happen again as two major tar sands pipelines are contemplated in Canada, and radioactive particles are consumed by marine wildlife off the coasts of Japan.
In celebrating World Oceans Day, consider whether you are supporting energy sources that damage the very thing you are celebrating.