When the idea for World Oceans Day
was first presented at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, it was seen as a triumph for environmentalists and marine life alike. Since then, individuals and institutions all over the world have done their best to raise awareness about keeping our oceans clean and livable for animals. Similar to Earth Day, June 8 has become a day to celebrate the beautiful and vast world oceans.
World Oceans Day 2010 was marked by over 200 events worldwide, the highest participation of organizations and institutions in the day's 18-year history. As a coastal state, participation in California was overwhelming. In San Diego alone, more than 15 events were held at places such as SeaWorld, the San Diego Zoo and beaches across the county. These events, such as readings of Dr. Seuss's "One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish," sustainable seafood presentations and beach clean-ups all sought to educate the community on the importance of marine wildlife.
This year's Oceans Day theme was "Oceans of Life: Pick your favorite, protect your favorite." This called on people all over the globe to choose their favorite marine animal (though it's tough to pick just one), and find out what they can do specifically to help that species.
Tackling the issue one species at a time is just one way to bring peace to the world's oceans. My personal favorite marine animal is the dolphin, but these creatures are threatened by global warming, boat traffic and marine pollution. A simple internet search provided me with dozens of small things that I can do to help protect dolphins. Things like reducing waste, recycling and even petitioning government to make sure they are making sound decisions when it comes to marine life.
And while this year brought about hundreds of celebratory events around the world, the reality is that World Oceans Day 2010 was celebrated in the midst of an oceanic crisis in the Gulf, highlighting the importance of raising awareness about our world's oceans. BP's oil spill has shown us how closely our livelihood is connected to the ocean, and just how important it is to consider marine life in our policy decisions.
Marking the day, marine ecologist and co-founder of the Blue Ocean Institute Carl Safina
spoke out about the challenges that lie ahead. Listen in here: