By Bill Mott
World Oceans Day provides a unique opportunity once a year to honor our world’s ocean that connects us all, and this weekend you can join with people in communities around the world to mark the day in a special way. After all, no matter where we live—from California to Kansas to the Carolinas, and from Australia to Austria to Argentina—we all depend on a healthy ocean for our survival and each one of us can contribute to resolving the issues facing our ocean, including ocean acidification, plastics pollution, and overfishing.
On and around June 8, people around the globe will come together to celebrate this year’s World Oceans Day theme: “Together we have the power to protect the ocean.” This growing global event serves as a rallying point for raising awareness and promoting personal and community action in fun and positive ways, leading to a more aware, engaged, and sustainable society, and a healthier ocean. Hundreds of events are planned this year to help individuals be part of the solution for our ocean by supporting clean energy choices, trash-free coasts and beaches, sustainable seafood, and more.
The concept for a “World Ocean Day” was first proposed in 1992 by the government of Canada at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. When The Ocean Project adopted this event in 2002, there were no events in the U.S. and very few worldwide. We envision this event growing as a global platform to capture people’s imaginations with engaging experiences and to tap into the innovativeness of people around the world to help collaboratively solve the problems facing our ocean and society.
Beyond creating direct reach and impact from World Oceans Day events themselves, one of The Ocean Project’s goals in promoting and coordinating this event has been to create interest in ocean conservation around the world. And by generating interest every June, participating organizations can help cultivate those connections for deeper conservation engagement 365 days a year.
Officially recognized by the United Nations in late 2008, each year an increasing number of countries and organizations mark World Oceans Day on June 8th. Last year, approximately 600 events were held in 70 countries, and we aim to double the number of events in 2014 by encouraging aquariums, zoos, museums, youth groups, conservation organizations, universities, schools, state and federal agencies, sailors, surf clubs, civic organizations, bloggers, and businesses to participate in different ways. World Oceans Day also provides opportunities to build synergies with media and decision-makers, which helps bring more positive attention to the ocean every year.
Bill Mott is the director of The Ocean Project, which inspires action to protect our ocean. Through the world’s most extensive network of aquariums, zoos, science museums, youth groups, and other organizations, we advance ocean and climate conservation in collaborative and innovative ways. The Ocean Project supports our 2,000+ partner organizations in 75 countries with cutting-edge communications research, tools, and resources to effectively engage with their millions of visitors and the public for conservation impact. Since 2002, The Ocean Project has coordinated World Oceans Day. Learn more at TheOceanProject.org and WorldOceansDay.org.