World Oceans Day was celebrated last June 8, 2013. A United Nations resolution declared every 8th of June from 2009 onward as World Oceans Day following a proposal forwarded by Canada in 1992. Since then, countries around the world have been one with the UN in celebrating this day.
World Oceans Day is an opportunity for individuals, organizations, and governments to raise awareness on the many challenges that we face today as a global community including the many threats on aquatic ecosystem the world over. This year, the United Nations calls for renewed efforts to protect the planet’s marine environments. The 2013 theme is Oceans and People.
In this year’s World Ocean’s Day celebration, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki Moon urged nations around the world to work for the reversal of the degradation of the oceans. He invited the international community cooperate and create new waves of action for ocean sustainability. He stressed that the oceans are integral to all of humanity. Toward the end of his message, the Secretary-General called out for the implementation of the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea, also known as the Constitution of the Oceans.
The oceans of the world are essential to the survival of life on the planet. The oceans provide food to millions of species, including human beings. But more than that, the oceans play a huge role in food security and the health of the entire biosphere. A website dedicated to World Oceans Day lists some of the important roles that the world’s oceans play that benefit humans. The oceans feed us, generate the oxygen we breathe, cleans our drinking water, provides resources that are used in making medicines used to cure various diseases, and provides limitless inspiration.
The blue part of our world also powers the climate and any radical change in the delicate balance of the oceans has a huge impact on weather patterns.
In time for this year’s celebration, US Secretary of State John Kerry is convening a group of experts this week on the oceans to talk about conservation efforts. The Secretary is renewing the commitment of the State Department on pertinent issues such as acidification of ocean waters, pollution, and overfishing. This gathering comes at the wake of the April release of the final version of the National Oceans Policy in accordance with President Barack Obama’s 2010 executive order.
It is rather unfortunate that reports confirm that the programs being undertaken to deal with the urgent issues do not receive adequate attention. According to the Marine Conservation Institute, the United States has been lax in its efforts to protect coastal ecosystems. There is also widespread overfishing that continues to deplete the populations of many wild fish species. Moreover, the acidification of the ocean is still a major threat to the integrity and livelihood of some regions.
Photo Credit: Sunset in the White Sea