Tomorrow is World Ocean Day, and all across the internet are listed events, competitions, celebrations and ideas on how we can all help take care of this vital part of the globe. As sailors, we recognize the role the ocean plays in our lives, but we can go deeper than just sailing across its surface. How often do we stop to think about what goes on beneath the visible waterline, and how everything down there affects everything up above? And when we do think about it, who takes action to ensure the ocean and its inhabitants are healthy? It has to be us.
As we already know the “who,” let’s consider the “why,” before we get into the “how.”
The ocean makes up more than 70% of the earth’s surface. It supports myriad marine organisms, both plant and animal, all of which ultimately help support our own “human” lives. The following chart shared by NOAA shows how the ocean supports us through everything from food to medicine to transport, to climate.
The World Ocean Day website describes its mission in this way: ‘World Ocean Day rallies the world for ocean and climate action on 8 June and throughout the year. We work in partnership with youth leaders, zoos, aquariums, museums, and other youth-focused organizations, as well as a huge range of diverse organizations and businesses from all sectors in a growing global network. Together, we effectively engage the public, inform policymakers, and unite the world to protect and restore our shared ocean and create a stable climate.”
According to The Ocean Project, 2020 saw the beginning of the 30×30 campaign, the idea of which is to “protect at least 30% of our blue planet’s land, waters and ocean by 2030.” And, they write, “Thanks to recent victories, there is great momentum to protect and restore our ocean, and help stabilize the climate.”
With organizations around the world working together to make positive changes for ocean health, what is it that we, as individuals, can do?
The World Ocean Day website offers a range of activities that people can join, and suggestions for events and other ways in which people can get involved. There are cleanups, online events, and an art contest for students ages 11 to 18. Surfrider Foundation has a whole page about its mission; there are also music and film screenings. Here’s a link to water movies that might interest you: https://www.storyofstuff.org/movies/water/.
But all that aside, apart from celebrating on this one day, we can take action every day through our consumer choices, and through simply picking up trash, both on land and on the water. After all, as we wrote last year, the ocean is a source of enjoyment for racing, cruising, daysailing, swimming, and even just being.