If you missed World Environment Day yesterday (June 5), you’re in luck because you have a chance to redeem yourself by participating in World Oceans Day this Friday, June 8th! World Environment Day and World Oceans Day even have the same action theme this year: prevent and reduce plastic pollution. So instead of beating yourself up for forgetting about the environment on its special day, simply double your plastic pollution prevention efforts this Friday!
What is World Oceans Day?
The Ocean Project has recognized World Oceans Day since 2002 and the United Nations made World Oceans Day official in 2008. The purpose of the Day is to educate the public on the importance of the Earth’s oceans for humans and the rest of the ecosystem and to unite citizens of the Earth in an initiative for sustainable ocean management. The Ocean Project’s website worldoceansday.org serves as an educational tool by providing free resources ranging from informational posters about plastic pollution and the ecosystem to full lesson plans on plastic pollution to documentaries on the impact of plastic in our oceans. It also serves an equally important organizational role, as a database where people can locate, organize, and participate in World Ocean Day events such as beach clean-ups or movie screenings.
Why is it so Important to Participate?
What is the first thing astronauts look for when searching for planets that could potentially support human life? Water. Earth’s large quantity of water is what makes it such a unique planet that is hospitable for a diverse array of biology (particularly humans). In addition to their majestic beauty and immense potential for recreation, our oceans provide a multitude of critical ecosystem services that we literally could not live without (according to the UN):
- Oceans contain 97% of Earth’s water and represent 99% of the living space on the planet
- Over 3 million people depend on marine biodiversity
- Oceans absorb around 30% of carbon dioxide produced by humans and generate oxygen that we breathe
- Oceans are the world’s main source of protein; more than 2.6 billion people depend on the oceans as their main protein source
- Many medicines are derived from the oceans
Plastic pollution is threatening the oceans’ ability to provide these services!
- 80% of ocean pollution comes from people on land
- 8 million tons of plastic is deposited in the ocean each year, where it destroys wildlife, fisheries, and tourism
- Plastic pollution kills 1 million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals per year
- The fish that we eat are eating plastic
There is a World Oceans Day Event Near You!
Join Portland Surfrider Chapter at Spirit of 77 in Portland for a free screening of the new film Albatross and a post-screening discussion about ways to take action! The film documents the perspective of the albatross as it suffers the impacts of global plastic pollution. For all details click here.
What Can You do to Help?
- Participate in or organize a trash clean-up
- Attend World Ocean Day events
- Use less single-use plastic and RECYCLE when you do use it
- Join a club at OSU like Corvallis Clean!, Waste Watchers, or Oregon State Environmental Council