How To Take Action on World Oceans Day
Get involved in protecting marine life and underwater ecosystems.
In 2008, the United Nations (UN) officially recognized June 8 as World Oceans Day in an effort to ““unite the world’s population on a project for the sustainable management of the world’s oceans.” Today, it’s imperative that societies across the globe reflect on their carbon footprints and hold themselves accountable for the impact their actions have on the world’s ecosystems.
The UN announced that the theme for this year’s World Oceans Day is “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean,” alluding to their commitment to sustainability and a direct call to action for change. The UN continues to explain that this year’s theme “relates to the introduction of new methods, ideas, or products” and provides an aura of hope.
Oceans are vital to human existence—they supply the air we breath, the food we eat, and the fuel that powers society—but they are under threat. Covering over 70% of Earth’s surface, oceans dominate the globe and play an important role in regulating weather patterns and purifying the atmosphere. Oceans absorb around a quarter of the carbon dioxide that humans release into the atmosphere, which protects humans from the impending threats of global warming, but also causes oceans to become increasingly more acidic. Today, oceans are more acidic than ever before, a detrimental fact to the ecosystems and habitats of marine species including plankton, shellfish, and corals.
On top of carbon dioxide’s intrusions, human pollution is another major contributor to the ocean’s deterioration. Each year, 8 million tons of plastic end up in the oceans, and pieces of this plastic can physically trap sea creatures or be ingested by marine life, leading to severe injuries and death.
These devastating statistics need to change. Below, take a look at a few ways in which you can help protect and save the ocean.
Choose sustainable seafood.
The global population of fish is decreasing at an exponential rate due to high demand and unsustainable fishing practices. When going to the grocery store or ordering a meal, try to avoid purchasing seafood, especially those containing overexploited species.
Use reusable plastic products.
Plastic is a main contributor to the ocean’s damage and the killing of marine animals every year. Reduce your usage of one-time plastic products and invest in reusable bags or water bottles to eliminate unnecessary waste.
Take part in local beach cleanups.
Volunteer to clean up beaches in an effort to remove waste from entering the ocean. The Surfrider Foundation, an organization dedicated to bettering our oceans with the largest network of coastal defenders in the world, can connect you to the nearest Chapter or Club in your community, each of which provide ample opportunities to get hands-on involved.
Donate to marine conservation organizations.
If you are able, we recommend donating to one of the following organizations dedicated to conserving marine life: Oceana, a non-profit dedicated to changing policy and regulations in order to make oceans more biodiverse and abundant, The Ocean Conservancy, a non-profit working to ensure that oceans exist for future generations by using sound, science-based decisions that lead to innovative and sustainable solutions, and The Coral Reef Alliance, an organization focused on protecting the most valuable and threatened underwater ecosystem with holistic conservation programs that improve coral reef health.
Avoid purchasing products that directly destroy marine life.
It’s important to avoid products that come directly from oceanic ecosystems like coral jewelry and tortoise shell hair accessories because they are directly detrimental to marine life’s existence.
Practice responsible boating.
Make sure to act responsibly when boating, kayaking, or participating in any other on-the-water activity so that you don’t harm the ocean or its animals. Never throw anything into the water when participating in these activities and always stow trash in safely confined locations.
It’s important to elect the right public officials to ensure correct ocean policy. Do your research and make an educated decision when voting. You can learn more and take further action on Oceana’s website, a platform dedicated to protecting the world’s oceans.