World Oceans Day occurs every June 8. The aim is to provide mformation and raise awareness and to help protect, and conserve the world’s oceans. The ocean provides us with many resources and services including oxygen, climate regulation, food sources, medicine, and more. World Oceans Day also provides an opportunity to take personal and community action to conserve the ocean and its resources. The day is marked in a variety of ways, including launching new campaigns and initiatives, special events at aquariums and zoos, outdoor explorations, aquatic and beach cleanups, educational and conservation action programs, art contests, film festivals, and sustainable seafood events
It has been celebrated unofficially since its original proposal in 1992 by Canada’s International Centre for Ocean Development (ICOD) and the Ocean Institute of Canada (OIC) at the Earth Summit – UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil . in 1987 The Brundtland Commission, (the World Commission on Environment and Development), Reported that the ocean sector lacked a strong voice compared to other sectors. At the first world Oceans Day in 1992, the objectives were to move the oceans from the sidelines to the centre of the intergovernmental and NGO discussions and policy and to recognise ocean and coastal constituencies world wide.
World Oceans Day was officially recognized by the United Nations in 2008. The Ocean Project, working in partnership with the World Ocean Network, Association of Zoos and Aquariums, and many other partners in its network of 2,000 organizations, has been promoting World Oceans Day since 2002 and led a three-year global petition movement to secure official UN recognition. The first UN-recognized World Oceans Day took place 8 June 2009 events number over 200 worldwide the Secretary-General of the United Nations broadcasted a special message concerning the importance of maintaining healthy oceans. The World Oceans Day 2011 theme was also “Youth:the next wave for change”. World Oceans Day 2010’s theme was “Oceans of Life: Pick your favorite * Protect your favorite.” It partnered with Dr. Seuss and the Census of Marine Life. The Ocean Project and World Ocean Network recorded over 300 events for WOD 2010. 45 countries participated in World Oceans Day 2010, including Bangladesh, Belgium, French Polynesia, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Malta, Malaysia, Venezuela, and Portugal. The World Oceans Day 2012 theme was “Youth: the Next Wave for Change”. The Ocean Project launched a completely revamped site for World Oceans Day 2012. There were over 500 events in 55 countries. The World Oceans Day 2013 & 2014 theme was “Together we have the power to protect the ocean.” This focused on 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.
In 2015 The theme was “Healthy oceans, healthy planet” in the first year of a two-year theme for World Oceans Day. Nearly 1,000 events were held at aquariums, zoos, museums, recreational centers, youth clubs, schools, businesses, and countless individuals marked the day by doing something to keep our ocean healthy. Thousands took The Better Bag Challenge for World Oceans Day – promising to use reusable bags rather than disposable plastic bags for a year to help address the problem of marine debris.
The Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea also held a reception honoring the Day and the winners of the 2nd Annual World Oceans Day Photo Contest.At the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. At UNESCO headquarters in Paris: The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO organized a full day dedicated to the critical role of the ocean for a healthy climate. The program brought together scientists, political decision-makers, civil society, and youth to develop strategies to reduce climate pollution.
UNEP published a report on microplastics in cosmetics. The study, entitled Plastic in Cosmetics: Are We Polluting the Environment Through our Personal Care, and are Plastic ingredients causing marine microplastic litter contains currently available knowledge on the linkages between cosmetics and plastic pollution in the oceans. The Economist in Lisbon, Portugal: The Economist’s third World Ocean Summit was held just prior to World Oceans Day with the aim to set a new global agenda for the ocean economy. The Summit convened more than 250 leaders from various sectors and ignited a constructive dialogue on developing a blue economy in which economic opportunity is balanced by responsible investment in sustainability.
The US Department of State, in 16 cities worldwide: The US Department of State’s annual Fishackathon event was organized to make fishing more sustainable through a weekend of connection and coding. Coders volunteered their talents at institutions including aquariums and universities to develop new tools that help fishers work smarter, more safely, and more sustainably. Goodwill Ambassadors: Jack Johnson celebrated with 5 Gyres and youth in the Bahamas, SpongeBob SquarePants went on a tour to zoos and aquariums across the US, Jeff Corwin and Jack Hanna made a splash on TV through a World Oceans Day campaign with Litton Entertainment, and the Octonauts were in many locations and highlighted in numerous publications around the planet to celebrate World Oceans Day.
The theme for World Oceans Day 2016 was “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet.” and was celebrated in over 100 countries with over 700 registered events. Millions of people were involved onsite and online for World Oceans Day 2016. World Oceans Day trended second on Twitter. Instagram posts about World Oceans Day reached over 290 million people, and over 65 million people were reached on Twitter. Celebrities like Richard Branson, Ellie Goulding, Pharrell Williams, Adrian Grenier, Nelson Mandela and more shared photos and tweeted their support for our oceans. Notable organizations such as the United Nations, CNN, National Geographic, LIFE, the White House and more joined in spreading messages of ocean conservation.
In the coordination of World Oceans Day, The Ocean Project continued to place a strong focus on youth engagement in 2016. The Ocean Project recognizes the impact youth can have in ocean conservation, and provides youth with the resources and networks needed to have their voices heard. For World Oceans Day 2016, the World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council was established. There are 11 members on the council all coming from different countries around the world. The new advisory council will help expand the reach and impact of World Oceans Day, on June 8, and year-round. The Ocean Project plans to focus increasing attention on youth engagement and youth leadership development for World Oceans Day into the future.
The Ocean Project also teamed up with Youth Ocean Conservation Summit and The Big Blue and You to create Sea Youth Rise Up, which brought seven youth ocean conservation leaders to NYC and Washington DC. A talk on pressing ocean issues and solutions was given in a live google hangout at the New York Aquarium. Representatives travelled to Washington DC to meet with ocean leaders at the White House.
The 2017 World Oceans Day coincides with the The United Nations Ocean Conference and The theme for World Oceans Day 2017 is Our Oceans, Our Future, and the conservation action focus is on encouraging solutions to plastic pollution and preventing marine litter for a healthier ocean and a better future. For World Oceans Day 2017, hundreds of events are planned around the world, including the first United Nations Ocean Conference being held in New York City during the week of World Oceans Day.