You’re probably familiar with the fact that 70% of the earth is covered by the ocean. What you may not know is that the ocean is responsible for 50% of the oxygen we breathe, provides livelihoods for roughly 3 billion people, and is home to the majority of our planet’s biodiversity.
What’s more, our oceans are tremendous carbon sinks, absorbing roughly one-third of the carbon dioxide produced by humans and minimizing some of the effects of global warming!
While the one-day celebration of World Oceans Day is on June 8, there are several reasons to support our oceans everyday. Here’s how you can give back on World Oceans Day (and the other 364 days of the year).
Tips for Celebrating World Oceans Day
- Learn more! The United Nations is holding a virtual event on June 8 that will shed light on the magic and wonder found in the ocean. Similarly, worldoceanday.org has a list of nearly 300 events happening globally that you can be a part of.
- When washing up or doing your spring cleaning, minimize the amount of water you use and try to avoid toxic chemicals, as both actions will prevent excess runoff from entering into our waterways.
Also, consider making your own DIY all purpose cleaner, or look for those that are biodegradable, natural, and plant-based.
- Up your recycling game. Of the more than 6,300 million metric tons of plastic waste that has been produced since the 1950s, just 1% has been recycled more than once!
Get to know the recycling numbers, as well as what’s accepted in your curbside recycling program.
- Better yet, try your best at reducing your plastic consumption. It’s been estimated that we send roughly 8 million tons of plastic waste into our oceans every year—which takes hundreds of years to break down into small, dangerous particles, called microplastics. These can harm marine wildlife and end up in what we eat—in addition to several other problems.
Replace plastic shopping bags with reusable ones, opt for metal or glass storage containers, and consider dressing in natural fabrics (cotton, hemp, linen) instead of synthetics (polyester, nylon, rayon).
- Want to make a big commitment to saving our oceans? Bottled water is one of the worst culprits for ocean plastic waste. According to Harvard University, 17 billion barrels of oil are required to produce the plastic water bottles used by Americans every single year. Additionally, just 14% of those are recycled—with the rest ending up in landfills or littering our environment.
Use a reusable water bottle or home water filtration system instead.
- Reduce your carbon footprint. When we think of our carbon footprint, we often think about the CO2 that enters our atmosphere—but it’s also important to realize that greenhouse gases impact our oceans, too.
Carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have been known to make our oceans more acidic. This is having serious consequences on coral reefs and aquatic ecosystems as a whole.
Turn off lights and unplug electronics when not in use, ride a bike instead of driving, and dress for the weather instead of using your thermostat excessively.
World Ocean Day 2021: Get Outside and Explore!
As Jacques-Yves Cousteau said, “people protect what they love.”
One of the best things you can do for our oceans is to develop a relationship with them! Next time you head to the beach, revel in all of its splendor and consider how your actions impact it. Don’t live close to the ocean? Visit a local lake or river and think about how it’ll eventually connect to the ocean. Water is in us and all around us, and we all need to do our part to support what makes Earth a thriving, blue planet.