World Oceans Day, started in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, promotes awareness of the role that oceans play in a healthy planet and sustainable lifestyles. The Ocean Project and the World Ocean Network partner together each year to help promote World Oceans Day on June 8. The United Nations state that, “The official designation of World Oceans Day is an opportunity to raise global awareness of the current challenges faced by the international community in connection with the oceans.”
So, how can you help keep our oceans healthy and happy? Consider taking a break from seafood. I know, I know, you are getting hungry thinking about all of the delicious things living in the ocean, but before you head to the seafood counter at your local supermarket, savor your seafood and limit your fish consumption to a few special meals a month. Remember to eat species that are abundant and fished or farmed with minimal harm to the surrounding environment, and choose locally caught species whenever possible. The Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch Guide is a great resource, and you can download the Seafood Watch app to find some sustainable seafood recommendations. You can also check out the international WWF’s seafood guides for global recommendations, or check out Fish2Fork to help find ethical restaurants in your area.
What if you already don’t eat seafood? There are numerous other ways to help our oceans by reducing your plastic use. People use nearly 1 trillion plastic bags each year, and unfortunately, many of those end up ingested by sea turtles that mistake plastic for jellyfish. Remember to bring a reusable bag for food (including vegetables) and other shopping and save a life!
Many local and national events are held each year on June 8th, including beach cleanups, film festivals, and sustainable seafood events. In 2011, over 400 events held in 70 countries celebrated WOD to raise awareness about how climate change affects our oceans. This year’s theme is “Youth: the Next Wave for Change.” Check out World Oceans Day’s Facebook page to find out more about the various festivities happening on June 8, and to make a commitment to promote sustainable oceans.