Introducing World Oceans Day, The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods

Lauren Moriarty
7 June 2021

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World Oceans Day is an international initiative that offers us the opportunity to raise awareness about the importance of protecting and conserving the ocean. Officially recognised by the United Nations since 2009, as a critical day of awareness and action, World Oceans Day is now celebrated annually on June 8th. Although, June is a month to celebrate our oceans, World Oceans Day brings together organizations and individuals across the world to partake in current achievements in ocean science, events, campaigns, and more. Learn more about the day and what you can do to help raise awareness here.

This year’s theme is “The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods”. This theme supports life and livelihoods dependent on the ocean for survival, as well as the Sustainable Development Goal 14 that aims to ‘conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources’ by 2030. This year's theme is particularly significant leading up to the United Nations’ ‘Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development’, that will run from 2021 to 2030. This action aims to strengthen international cooperation needed to further vital scientific research and develop sustainable and innovative technologies that will link ocean sciences with the needs of humanity.

It was an amazing sight when the world entered lockdown during the height of the Coronavirus pandemic, where the air became cleaner, the sky looked bluer, water sources were less polluted, and a greater connection to nature was experienced. As amazing as this was; giving the Earth a breather from our negative impacts, this is not enough. We need to fight a continuous battle for our planet to heal, by education on the importance of our resources and specifically our oceans as we celebrate World Oceans Day.

World Oceans Day is a reminder of the major roles the oceans play in our everyday life. The earths water resources are vital in supporting livelihoods and the lives of every other organism on Earth, with over 70% of the planet being covered by our oceans. So too, our coastline plays a vital role for many in local communities, sadly this is threatened through unsustainable fishing practices, littering, pollution, etc. The ocean is a major food source across the globe and acts as the lungs of our Earth. The purpose of today is to create awareness and take action by informing the public of the impact of our actions on the ocean environment and create a movement for the sustainable management of the world's oceans.

"The ocean produces at least 50% of the planet’s oxygen, it is home to most of earth’s biodiversity, and is the main source of protein for more than a billion people around the world. Not to mention, the ocean is key to our economy with an estimated 40 million people being employed by ocean-based industries by 2030.” - worldoceanday.org

The ocean provides all these vital benefits that allow our survival on Earth, however, it is still in need of our help to protect, conserve, and sustainably manage for future generations.

Some of the greatest environmental concerns of our time include climate change, biodiversity loss, plastic pollution, and marine litter, which not only threatens wildlife and ecosystems, but also human health and livelihoods. This can be especially seen in our oceans with approximately 90% of big fish populations being depleted and over 50% of coral reefs destroyed.

This World Oceans Day we are helping to raise awareness and support for the 30 by 30 global movement to protect at least 30% of the world's lands, waters, and ocean by 2030! We are helping to create awareness and understanding of our oceans and how we are all connected to it. We can all help to protect and conserve this vital resource, with at least 30% being safeguarded through protected areas to ensure and maintain a healthy ocean.

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There are thousands of events happening worldwide both in person and virtually in celebration of Oceans Month. World Oceans Day is one of the most impactful environmental calendar days in the year with activities, celebrations and other events being planned throughout the month of June worldwide. Visit here to find some of these in-person or virtual activities and events.

Ocean event to look forward to in the Plettenberg Bay area

In celebration of Oceans Month and World Oceans Day we bring you an unveiling of an environmentally and educationally important statue being erected on Central Beach, Plettenberg Bay. The Unveiling will happen at 12 pm on 12 June on Central beach. This statue is a means of encouraging litter pick-ups and keeping our beaches and oceans clean from plastic pollution. We hope to see you there and look out for an exciting upcoming competition for learners to name the statue and win a prize!

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Below are some fun, educational, interesting, and informative videos, book readings, and even a virtual aquarium tour that you can get involved in for World Oceans Day or to just learn more about the world’s oceans.

  • CleanSea video of a scientific voyage into the problem of marine litter and what we can do about it.
  • Cartoonist Jim Toomey ocean video series. The series was produced in partnership between the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and national syndicated cartoonist, Jim Toomey. Additional videos from the series can be viewed here.

"A lot of our trash ends up in the ocean - even trash discarded far upstream. Marine litter can travel hundreds of miles via rivers and waterways to even the most remote parts of the planet. It causes billions of dollars in damage, is a threat to sea life and even to human health.” Two Minutes on Oceans w/ Jim Toomey: Marine Litter

  • Time for Tide-pooling, By Emma Carey. An interactive presentation informing beach safety and general facts on what you might come across while exploring tide pools along your coast.
  • An amazing virtual tour into the Two Oceans Aquarium! This is best viewed on a phone.
  • "Little Turtle Turns The Tide" reading with Lauren Davies. A story of a Little Turtle that hatches a plan to save the world from plastic pollution while learning how you too can make a difference and be an environmental hero.
  • Visit the official United Nations World Oceans Day website to learn more about the International Day, find out about news, events, and read the latest news/reports on our oceans.

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