Posted June 7, 2013 by Jon Bowermaster in takepart.com
From seashore to desert, underwater to animation, protecting and preserving our one ocean gets global celebration.The idea for setting aside a day each year to celebrate the ocean goes back to 1992, when it was first proposed by Canada at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
Like so many special days—whether they honor mothers or fathers, veterans or workers, victims or survivors—if you really care about the ocean, every day should be Oceans Day. Given the very real threats the ocean faces daily—overfishing, plastic pollution, climate change and acidification—we should be taking extra special care right now to make sure it stays alive and healthy.
World Oceans Day, which takes place June 8, is now a global event, orchestrated by the Ocean Project and the World Ocean Network. Officially recognized by the U.N. in 2008, the theme this year is “Together we have the power to protect the ocean.”
The challenge by the organizers is for communities and individuals on hundreds of beaches worldwide to launch celebrations and events, ranging from beach cleanups to raves, art contests to film festivals, in their own backyards.
With a goal of staging 1,000 global events, there are plenty to choose from. Some of the festivities include:
- Tune into YouTube to visit “Reef Live” with a panel of experts for an underwater tour of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
A 12-hour Google Hangout allowed a worldwide audience to ask questions
via Twitter to divers underwater. The project was spawned by the launch
of Google’s Underwater Earth study, which gives the public a high-res,
360-degree panoramic view of underwater life, allowing for a kind of
“virtual diving” from the comfort of your desk chair.
- Aquariums across the U.S., like the venerable one in Mystic, CT, are hosting weekend-long events. The Mystic Aquarium
hosts a program on the humpback whale’s migration from its feeding
grounds in the North Atlantic to its Caribbean breeding grounds in a new
exhibit, Animals Without Passports. It also encourages
fishermen to bring their “derelict gear” to be recycled as part of a
collaborative initiative dubbed “Fishing for Energy,” which converts the
gear into renewable energy. The following day the seaside museum hosts a
beach cleanup featuring ROV’s to find submerged marine junk.
- On the other side of the planet, the Marine and Fishery Ministry of
Indonesia hopes to raise awareness by simultaneously hosting a number
of events in what it is calling Coral Triangle Day
(June 9). The Coral Triangle—Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guineau,
the Philippines, the Solomon Islands and Timor Leste—is home to 76
percent of the world’s coral and 37 percent of the world’s fish. It is
also home to 120 million people, putting incredible pressure on the
ocean as both a resource (fishing) and garbage dumping ground.
Wide-ranging events include the premiere of a coral rehabilitation
project in North Sulawesi, a puppet show in Bali and photography
- You don’t have to live near a coast to celebrate, as Las Vegas proves. Mandalay Bay celebrates the day at its Shark Reef Aquarium, as does Siegfried & Roy with their Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at
the Mirage. At the former, visitors can watch diving demos; at the
latter, they can listen to a talk about how plastic is killing marine
life. Spin the globe and in Dubai you can adopt your own endangered sea turtle, followed by a feast of (hopefully) sustainable tuna, sole, salmon and sashimi.
- Even without leaving your computer you can join in the celebration by watching a new, two-minute animated video, narrated by the Queen of the Deep herself, Sylvia Earle. A product of the World Economic Forum and film company Lonelyleap, the coolly illustrated graphic reminds just how important it is to preserve and protect the ocean. Sylvia compares the ocean to the planet’s “blue heart” and encourages us—strongly—to Make...Better...Choices!