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The United Nations celebrates World Oceans Day every year on the 8th of June, hence taking the opportunity to honour our oceans and raise awareness about the importance of their protection.
A bit of history about World Oceans Day
Inspired by an event organised by the Oceans Institute of Canada, the concept of a ‘World Oceans Day’ was first proposed in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, which provided an opportunity for non-government organisations (NGOs) and civil society to express their views on environmental issues. In 2008, the United Nations General Assembly decided that the 8th of June would be designated as ‘World Oceans Day.’
The United Nations official designation provides the opportunity to raise global awareness of the benefits derived from the oceans and the threats they are facing, namely pollution, overfishing, and degradation of marine habitats. The day is intended to emphasise the essential role the oceans play in our lives and the important ways people can protect them.
As an occasion to reflect on our individual and collective duty to interact with our oceans in a sustainable manner, the United Nations coordinate different activities for World Oceans Day. In addition, the UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (IOC) sponsors the World Ocean Network which plays a large part in supporting events that mobilise aquariums, science centres, research institutions, NGOs, communities and governments all around the world.
Why our oceans are so precious
Water covers 70% of our planet and is home to 80% of all life forms. The ocean temperature, chemistry, currents and life – drive global systems that make the Earth habitable for humankind.
Our rainwater, drinking water, weather, climate, coastlines, much of our food, and even the oxygen in the air we breathe, are all ultimately provided and regulated by the sea. Throughout history, oceans and seas have been vital conduits for trade and transportation.
Protecting our planet’s water is essential for environmental health and plays a central role in addressing some of the global development challenges of today such as food security, poverty and climate change.
Find out how you can participate in protecting the oceans at a local level by watching the fascinating webinar with Adrian Gahan, Director of Policy, National Geographic Pristine Seas.