What’s going on here?
We know there seems to be a day for everything (today is actually a day to celebrate the Ball Point pen), but we couldn’t let this year’s World Oceans Day on Tuesday wash past us without a look into the deep blue. Listen up policy makers – the evidence base for a thriving ocean is growing quicker than the Great Pacific garbage patch.
What does this mean?
The United Nations has designated 8 June as World Oceans Day, a day for humanity to celebrate the ocean, with this year focusing on Life and Livelihoods.
Oceans cover 70% of the planet and produce at least 50% of the world’s oxygen. They are home to most of the Earth’s biodiversity and are the main source of protein for more than a billion people.
The clever chemistry bit – the oceans also absorb about a quarter of carbon dioxide produced by humans.
We are taking more from the ocean than can be replenished, with 90% of big fish populations currently depleted and 50% of coral reefs destroyed. This list of negative human effects on the Ocean goes on – habitat destruction, carbon emissions, chemical pollution, oil spills, noise pollution, plastic pollution, overfishing, destructive fishing, surface run-off, deoxygenation, deep sea mining…
Why should I care?
Survey results for England and Wales released this week by the Ocean conservation trust showed 94% of the public believe that the fate of the ocean and humans is inextricably linked and 78% would make lifestyle changes to protect the marine environment. Days like this are important to raise awareness and gather evidence to spur action by policy makers – statistics like these surely can’t be ignored.
Encouragingly, the UK government has announced they will begin the process for designating Highly Protected Marine Areas by the end of 2022. This is part of their commitment to protecting 30% of our lands and oceans by 2030.
Documentaries to watch – Blue Planet, Chasing Coral and Seaspiracy.
Explore these stories and resources from the UN – Education – UN World Oceans Day
Check out the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development supporting UN members to end poverty, reduce inequality, spur economic growth, tackle climate change and preserve our oceans and resources.
How does the ocean absorb carbon? – Fungus creates a fast track for carbon (stanford.edu)
Read our piece on the super powers of seaweed and seagrass