“We cannot protect something we do not love, we cannot love what we do not know, and we cannot know what we do not see. And touch. And hear.” – Richard Louv.
For many people, the ocean is a nice place to relax, unwind, and gather thoughts. We sit at the beach and watch wave after wave come in. But the ocean is so much more than that. It’s difficult to imagine the wide array of life that thrives beneath the surface of the water if you’ve never been diving or snorkelling. It’s not like going for a walk in the woods, where you can immediately see some of what nature has to offer. That’s why it’s so important to share images and videos of the beautiful creatures that call our rivers, lakes, and oceans home, making visible the beauty of these aquatic environments.
It’s not only the beauty that we need to share though. Our health depends on the health of our oceans and freshwater. Every year, more than 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into our oceans. Marine creatures often mistake much of this plastic for food, or become entangled in marine litter. However, plastic waste is not the only source of plastic pollution. With every load of wash we do, synthetic materials shed microfibres that end up in our waterways and eventually our oceans. Also, many cosmetic products contain micro-beads that are washed down the drain,while tons upon tons of plastic nurdles (the building blocks of all plastic products) are regularly lost during manufacturing and transportation. The ways in which plastics pollute our waterways seem endless. Research has already shown that tiny creatures in our oceans have microplastics inside of them, which travel up the food chain, eventually ending up on our plate.
Yes, our health most definitely depends on the health of our waters. Did you know, for example, that more than 3 billion people depend on the oceans as their primary source of protein, making them the world´s largest source of protein? Did you also know that oceans absorb about 30% of carbon dioxide produced by humans, produce about 70% of our breathable oxygen, and regulates our climate? Without healthy oceans and freshwater, we cannot survive. This is why we celebrate World Oceans Day; to remind ourselves of the important role our oceans play in our everyday lives, whether we live close to them or not.
The theme for World Oceans Day 2020 is “Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean.” This theme is about exploring innovations across categories such as technology, systems infrastructure, resource management, consumer products, finance, and scientific exploration. This is a very relevant theme as we lead up to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development, which will take place from 2021 to 2030. To learn more about this year’s theme, please visit the UN´s website: https://unworldoceansday.org/page/innovation-sustainable-ocean.
Also, please take a moment to sign the petition on the World Oceans Day website, calling on world leaders to protect 30% of our blue planet by 2030. This critical need is called 30×30. By safeguarding at least 30% of our oceans through a network of highly protected areas, we can help ensure a healthy home for all! You can find the petition here: https://worldoceansday.org/take-action/petition/.
Plastic Oceans Europe has organised a number of live chats on our Instagram page. Be sure to tune in for more of those, as well as plenty of other great content from the Plastic Oceans team in the USA, Canada, Chile and Mexico. Happy World Oceans Day 2020 everyone!!