On June 8, organizations and communities from around the world will join to celebrate the Earth's largest life-support system, the ocean. World Oceans Day, first celebrated in 2002, was established to help educate others on how much of an impact the ocean has on our lives and what we need to do to protect it!
Why we should celebrate the ocean, by the numbers:
For 2.6 billion people, the ocean is their primary source of protein.
For 3 billion people, the ocean is their livelihood.
For all of us, the ocean absorbs more than 30 percent of carbon dioxide produced by humans, slowing climate change and allowing us a quality of life that, without the ocean, would not be possible (if we could survive at all).
A recent estimate suggests that there may be as many as 1 million species of non-bacterial life in the world's waterways YET to be identified.
Though Earth is 70 percent water, an incredible 90 percent of this aquatic real estate has yet to be discovered.
While it's great for the global community to unify this day in celebration of the ocean, here are five easy ways you can protect this vital resource every day:
- Reduce your energy use
Carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels can lead to ocean acidification, which is harmful to ocean life. You can help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide you put into the atmosphere by riding a bike, walking or using public transportation and by turning off the lights when you leave a room.
- Use less plastic
When plastic debris ends up in the ocean, animals can mistake it for food and eat it by accident, causing animals to choke or clogging their digestive systems. You can prevent this by limiting plastic use and always disposing of trash properly. Choose reusable items such as cloth grocery bags or refillable water bottles.
- Cut apart six-pack rings
The plastic rings used for soda containers can pose a threat to marine life. Creatures can get caught in the rings and sometimes are unable to free themselves. You can help save these animals by cutting apart the rings before throwing them in the trash.
- Conserve water
Reducing your water use can minimize wastewater runoff into the ocean, preventing chemicals and other contaminants from damaging marine habitats. You can conserve water by taking quicker showers and turning off the water when brushing your teeth.
- Eat sustainable seafood
Overfishing can lead to an irreparable loss in certain seafood populations. To prevent this, avoid catching or eating certain species that have been exploited, such as bluefin tuna and Chilean seabass. Visit seafoodwatch.org for more sustainable seafood recommendations!