We should work to save the ocean for all of us and future generations

08Jun 2020
Editor
The Guardian
We should work to save the ocean for all of us and future generations

World Oceans Day takes place annually on the 8th of June. The theme selected by the United Nations for this United Nations International Day (2020) is ‘Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean’.

The day is marked in a variety of ways, including launching new campaigns and initiatives, special events at aquariums and zoos, outdoor explorations, aquatic and beach cleanups, educational and conservation action programs, art contests, film festivals, and sustainable seafood events.

People need air to breathe, water to drink, food to eat, new medicines, a climate we can live in, beauty, inspiration and recreation. We need to know that we belong to something bigger than ourselves. We want a better future for those we care about. To survive and prosper, we need healthy oceans. 

The ocean is the largest ecosystem on Earth, it is the planet’s life support system. Oceans generate half of the oxygen we breathe and, at any given moment, they contain more than 97 per cent of the world’s water. Oceans provide at least a sixth of the animal protein people eat. Living oceans absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and reduce climate change impacts. The diversity and productivity of the world’s oceans is a vital interest for humankind. Our security, our economy, our very survival all require healthy oceans.

Whether you live on the coast or far from it, whether you eat seafood or not, you and the future of all those you love depends on healthy oceans.

An ocean is a body of water that composes much of a planet's hydrosphere. On Earth, an ocean is one of the major conventional divisions of the World Ocean. These are, in descending order by area, the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian, Southern (Antarctic), and Arctic Oceans. The ocean contains 97 per cent of Earth's water, and oceanographers have stated that less than 20 per cent of the World Ocean has been mapped.

As the world ocean is the principal component of Earth's hydrosphere, it is integral to life, forms part of the carbon cycle, and influences climate and weather patterns. The World Ocean is the habitat of 230,000 known species, but because much of it is unexplored, the number of species that exist in the ocean is much larger, possibly over two million. The origin of Earth's oceans is unknown; oceans are thought to have formed in the Hadean eon and may have been the cause for the emergence of life.

Early in their geologic histories, Mars and Venus are theorized to have had large water oceans. The Mars ocean hypothesis suggests that nearly a third of the surface of Mars was once covered by water, and a runaway greenhouse effect may have boiled away the global ocean of Venus. The Solar System's giant planets are also thought to have liquid atmospheric layers of yet to be confirmed compositions.

At the first World Oceans Day in 1992, the objectives were to move the oceans from the sidelines to the centre of the intergovernmental and NGO discussions and policy and to strengthen the voice of ocean and coastal constituencies worldwide.[citation needed]

2002–2008

In the early years of coordinated efforts by The Ocean Project, with World Ocean Network, events numbered in the dozens. During this time, www.WorldOceansDay.org launched, to help promote the event and generate more involvement through dissemination of resources, ideas, and tools free for everyone to use to celebrate World Oceans Day. In 2004, The Ocean Project and World Ocean Network launched a four-year petition to the United Nations to officially recognize 8 June as World Oceans Day[citation needed]. In December 2008, the UN General Assembly passed a Declaration to officially recognise the Day.[4][5]

2010

The Ocean Project and World Ocean Network recorded over 300 events for WOD 2010, a 26% increase over 2009. Participation in the United States increased by 32% (with participation in 37 states, as compared to 25 states the previous year). 45 countries participated in World Oceans Day 2010, including Bangladesh, Belgium, French Polynesia, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Malta, Malaysia, Venezuela, and Portugal.[c