World Ocean Day: Celebrating the water that brings life

Environment

Every year April 22 is labeled as Earth Day, where every year people try to raise awareness of environmental issues. Just like Earth Day, World Ocean Day is a day where people raise awareness for environmental issues that are connected to the ocean. There are a lot of our daily life activities that revolve around the ocean. The ocean is a very big part of our everyday lives and it would be unfortunate if we overlook it. So this article is dedicated to raise awareness for World Ocean Day and just be conscious about the ocean and our daily lives.

World Ocean Day

World Ocean Day is June 8 of every year. On this day, many organizations hope to raise awareness for the ocean, including the United Nations, Oceanic Global, and Youth Advisory Council, and many more. While each organization might have a different approach on raising awareness and making a difference, the ultimate goal is the same. They want to do something for the ocean, for the animals that live in the ocean, for the people’s lives that depend on the ocean and of course for the overall health of the earth. Similar to Earth Day, each year World Ocean Day tries to focus on one aspect of the ocean and raise awareness for it. For the 2020 World Ocean Day, the theme was “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean”.

World Ocean Day 2020 – Innovation for Sustainable Ocean

This year’s June 8th, the UN and many leaders gather together to explore new ideas that can help protect the ocean. Topics include innovation for sustainable business involving the ocean, new technologies to help protect the oceans, sea exploration, ocean science, corporate contributions and investments, community engagement, youth leadership, and so on(“Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean”). It is a day where people get to get to share their contributions and what are some new ways we can make a difference for the ocean. Where leaders gather together to discuss how to protect the ocean and the earth overall and in addition, reflect and celebrate the importance of the ocean to us and the earth as a whole. Thus, making the World Ocean Day a very important day that more people should know about and participate in.

Why is the Ocean So Important?

You must be wondering why is World Ocean Day necessary? What is so important about the ocean? Well, the ocean is a big part of our everyday life, including the climate, food, and habitat not just for animals but for us humans too. It is important to remember that all parts of life are connected to the ocean and dependent on the ocean. You must be thinking how? “I don’t go to the ocean or the beach?” “I don’t really eat fish that much…” “I am not a fisherman, how does my life connect or depend on the ocean?”
Well on the surface, it may seem like your everyday life is not connected to the ocean, however, in reality the ocean plays a big part. First of all, around 50% of the oxygen there actually comes from the ocean, not only does the ocean produce the air we breathe, they even absorb the carbon dioxide that we produce. Thus, making the ocean part of everyone’s life because we all got to breathe. Next, the ocean and the climate and the weather are all interconnected. Since the ocean absorbs most of the heat from the sun, and with the sea current and heat distribution, the climate and weather are largely influenced by the ocean(Why should we care about the ocean?). With these two factors alone, it is important to know that we need the ocean to stay healthy and protect it as it can easily affect us. For more reasons why the ocean is so important, take a look at the following image and you can easily understand it.
Diagram of the oceans importances

Plastic and the Ocean

While we are at the topic about the ocean, let’s also talk about why it is important that we take action and protect the ocean. Which is also another important topic during the World Ocean Day conferences. Unfortunately, up to now, us humans have done more damage than good for the ocean, and one of the biggest damage is plastic waste. There is so much plastic usage in our everyday life since it is so durable, affordable, and easy to use that we overlook it. The truth is tons of plastic waste are dumped into the ocean causing dangers to aquatic life and the underwater ecosystems. Animals are mistaking these waste as food, which ends up killing many creatures. Thus, it is important to come up with ways to reduce the amount of plastic ending up in the water, through innovation and awareness, which is what the World Ocean Day is all about.


World Ocean Day Topic: plastic waste in the ocean

Microplastic

To understand how we can contribute or take action for the ocean, we need to understand how plastic ends up in the ocean. Everyday tons of plastic, specifically microplastic, end up in the ocean without much attention. These tiny microplastic, usually smaller than 5mm, are around 95% of the plastic in the ocean(Lee). These microplastics often get ingested, thus, causing the animals to become unhealthy, infertile and other health issues and even death. If many sea creatures are getting killed by microplastic, it would create a huge issue for the overall ecosystem underwater, the food chains would be disrupted. Also, the plastic inside the sea creatures may cause diseases and toxins that can destroy the ecosystem, public health and fishing industry(Lee). In addition, these microplastics can create other habitual issues for marine life. So how does microplastic end up in the ocean? There are many ways including wastewater, industrial water waste, improper disposal and so on. Since these are microplastic, oftentimes they just go through the drain without second thoughts. The oversight of these waters can cause huge damages to the ocean environment. So it is important to understand the issue and learn how to prevent and protect the ocean.

How can you help on World Ocean Day?

woman enjoying the ocean
Now that you know a little about the microplastic, the importance of the ocean, you should then understand the importance of World Ocean Day. This is why we need to raise more awareness about World Ocean Day, and participate in World Ocean Day. It is ok if you miss this year’s, there is always next year’s World Ocean Day, and before the day there are many ways where you can join and contribute. A great way to contribute is to learn and understand the issues, and then once you understand it, you make a difference. For example, thoroughly understand how microplastic ends up in the ocean and see if there is anything you can do directly to reduce it. P.S. the answer is yes, and that is something for you to find out by keeping on reading our articles and doing your own research!



Resources:
“Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean.” World Oceans Day Online Portal. Web. 24 Sept. 2020. <https://unworldoceansday.org/page/innovation-sustainable-ocean>.
Lee, Darlene. “Protect the Environment/Right of Nature.” Earth Law Center | The Solution to Toughest Environmental Challenges. Earth Law Center | The Solution to Toughest Environmental Challenges, 09 Mar. 2018. Web. 24 Sept. 2020.
US Department of Commerce, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “Why Should We Care about the Ocean?” NOAA’s National Ocean Service. 24 May 2017. Web. 24 Sept. 2020.
               
Author: Monica Chang
On my own ethical journey since 2010. Always happy to learn more!