World Oceans Day has been celebrated and used as a day of action and awareness since 8 June 1992. It was first inspired by the Oceans Institute of Canada’s event “Oceans Day at Global Forum – The Blue Planet”. The programme featured international experts and leaders who spoke of the oceans’ many contributions to sustaining life on our planet.
The United Nations finally designated June 8th as “World Oceans Day” in 2008 after observation of the day and awareness of the many concerns regarding our oceans had spread. They realised this was an opportunity to address the need for urgent action.
The health of our oceans is of the utmost importance when considering the state of the planet as a whole. As one of the most important ecosystems on Earth, it must be protected and utilised carefully.
Why are the oceans so important to the health of the planet?
- Oceans play a large role in the global climate, they store massive amounts of greenhouse gases while providing the necessary water and oxygen for most living things.
- They are host to massive sources of biodiversity.
- Oceans are essential for global food security and human health.
- Oceans help support over three billion people who depend on its resources for decent work and sustainable ways to make a living to eradicate poverty.
A healthy ocean is an essential part of the solution to the climate crisis.
- More and more attention is being brought to the issues that are plaguing our oceans. Knowledge, resources, and technology are more widely shared than ever before.
- Due to a reduction of human activity during the pandemic, marine systems have been given a fighting chance to recover.
- The global protection of marine key biodiversity areas has nearly doubled in the last 20 years.
- Our oceans are filled with tons of plastics which are poisoning marine life as well as the humans who depend on the ocean for food.
- Rising CO2 levels are leading to further acidification of the oceans which can have devastating effects on marine life.
- Unsustainable fishing practices are destroying ecosystems and must be regulated.
What you can do
- Reduce your use of single-use plastics and swap for truly biodegradable options.
- You can sign the 30×30 petition by Campaign For Nature to show your support.
- Vote for climate positive leaders.
- Find an event near you or join the UN World Oceans Day virtual event.
- Become a volunteer on a SwimTayka program to teach kids around the world how to swim and about good water stewardship.
- Educate yourself.
UN Sustainable Development Goals
Crafted by UN members, the 17 Sustainable Development Goals are a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all”.
One of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals is dedicated to our oceans and seas – Goal #14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.
Targets of SDG #14 include:
- 14.1: Reduce marine pollution
- 14.2: Sustainably manage and protect marine and coastal ecosystems
- 14.3: Minimize ocean acidification
- 14.4: Regulate fishing practices
- 14.5: Conserve at least 10% of coastal and marine areas
- 14.6: Prohibit certain forms of unsustainable fisheries
- 14.7: Increase economic benefits to Small Island developing States and least developed countries from the sustainable use of marine resources
- 14.a: Increase scientific knowledge, research, and marine technology
- 14.b: Provide access for small-scale artisanal fishers to marine resources and markets
- 14.c: Enhance the conservation and sustainable use of oceans and their resources by implementing international law
By having a day dedicated to the issues affecting the health of our oceans, people and communities around the world can take action in support of these issues, but also celebrate the great wonders the oceans hold and provide for us all.
SwimTayka partners with amazing organisations around the world who care about the environment and educating their students about the issues our oceans and waterways face.
SwimDo – teaching children to prevent their trash from ending up on the beach and in the ocean
Otra Cosa Network – working with students to educate the community about the dangers of microplastics
Love the Oceans – training the next generation of ocean conservationists
Hue Help – showing the children the joys of clean waterways
ETIV do Brasil – empowering children to stand up for their right to clean water
If you are interested in volunteering with SwimTayka, you can find more information on the events page.