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Get Wet!: It’s World Oceans Day (VIDEO)

Get Wet!: It’s World Oceans Day (VIDEO)

Today is World Oceans Day, the planet’s biggest celebration of one of our most precious — and endangered — resources. As the American Reef Coalition points out, there’s now more plastic than plankton in the ocean: The ocean has been “turned into a global sewer” for centuries, with one million seabirds and 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles dying every year from eating plastic and some 300,000 Cetaceans (whales and dolphins) dying in entanglements annually.

The United Nations first designated June 8 as World Oceans Day in 2009, noting that:

The oceans are essential to food security and the health and survival of all life, power our climate and are a critical part of the biosphere. The official designation of World Oceans Day is an opportunity to raise global awareness of the current challenges faced by the international community in connection with the oceans.

In Canada, the Department of Fisheries and Oceans (DFO) is seeking to establish the Oceans Act Marine Protected Areas (MPA). Three new candidate sites or Areas of Interest (AOI) have been designated St Anns Bank (NS), Shediac Valley (NB) and American Bank (QC). As noted on Gamut News, a May 2009 study released by the WWF, the Ecology Action Centre and the Canadian Parks and Wilderness Society found that

…networks of MPAs are much more effective in protecting marine biodiversity and supporting ecosystem services than isolated MPAs. The benefits include more plants and animals per cubic metre of ocean, a wider range of species, and larger fish that produce more young — which could lead to a rebound of overfished stocks and mean long-term profits for fishing communities and sustainable seafood markets.

Canada has made a comment to conserve 10% of its marine areas through the establishment of such protected areas by 2020.

Preserving the oceans also means we must protect the creatures who live in it. Today, the United States Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation passed the Commercial Seafood Consumer Protection Act (S.50) which, should it become law, will protect consumers against seafood fraud. As Oceana says:

Despite growing concern about where our food comes from, consumers are frequently served the wrong fish — a completely different species than the one they paid for. With about 1,700 different species of seafood from all over the world now available in the U.S., it is unrealistic to expect consumers to be able to independently and accurately determine what fish is really being served.

A law like the Commercial Seafood Consumer Protection Act will, it’s hoped, not only clamp down on seafood fraud and mislabeling. Right now, you could unknowingly be eating an endangered species such as sharks; DNA barcoding can help to ensure against diners being deceived and, even worse, contributing to declining fish stocks.

We can all do our part for the ocean in smaller ways too. The World Oceans Day lists numerous events around the world being held to celebrate the ocean, from cleaning up beaches on Apo Island in the Philippines to monitoring the coral reefs.

As the temperature here is around 100 degrees, I’m thinking that nothing could be better than a dip in the waves of the Jersey shore. Contrary to that reality show, the Jersey shore isn’t just about the boardwalk and the booze. My son Charlie is in his natural element at the ocean. He loves to walk in the sand and to see, and to swim in, the waves to which no swimming pool can ever compare. Indeed, it’s when he’s at the ocean that Charlie, who’s on the moderate to severe end of the autism spectrum, doesn’t seem “different,” but just another boy running full speed ahead into the waves, boogie board strapped to his wrist.

70% of the earth’s surface is covered by oceans. Let’s preserve their health, for today and for tomorrow.

Below is a World Oceans Day statement on plastic pollution:

Here’s a “splash mob” on June 7 at the Smithsonian‘s Sant Ocean Hall at the National Museum of Natural History:

 

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Photo of the Jersey shore by the author.

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28 comments

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3:11AM PDT on Jun 11, 2011

One thing that we all seem to forget is that the food chain of the whole planet starts in the ocean with the organic matter and microscopic life. We place so much emphasis on our carbon footprint when really, the planet has always taken car of excess CO2 very well. It does this by having an ice age every 20,000-25,000 years. The way ice ages happen, in broad terms is when the earth warms to the extent that the ice caps melt, thus cooling the oceans, this in turn causes the gas of the atmosphere to dissolve in the oceans and the phyto-plankton then, through photosynthesis, produce sugars and oxygen from the CO2 and the oxygen released in this process causes the planet to cool to the extent that we get an ice age.
We have been pouring toxic waste into the ocean for decades to the extent that microorganisms in the seas and oceans are now seriously in danger. Not only does the Phyto-plankton produce two thirds of the air we breath, all the time, it is also the vital link in reducing CO2 and global temperatures.
We need to realize and to wake up to the fact that we are very, very close to fatally shooting ourselves in the foot.
The cause and fault of this situation lies with all of us. We all demand a comfortable and egotistic lifestyle. Our demand to be independent of one another has led us to demand technologies to compensate for our insecurities. Frankly, our industrialists cannot change until we do. The question is, how do we revert to living more integrally once again?

9:34PM PDT on Jun 10, 2011

thanks for sharing.

1:01PM PDT on Jun 10, 2011

I went sea kayaking this morning.

10:28PM PDT on Jun 9, 2011

I had mistake voting "pick up trash at the beach" ... i mean , the opposite ... i "see" and pick up trash at the beach .... UNFORTUNATELY .....

4:19PM PDT on Jun 9, 2011

Thanks

12:20PM PDT on Jun 9, 2011

Thank goodness people are getting aware that rubbish dumped into the sea is a hazard to marine life. having lived on a boat for many years have never thrown rubbish into the sea.

11:00AM PDT on Jun 9, 2011

Wonderful! Oh to be close to an ocean instead of Lake Erie....

10:15AM PDT on Jun 9, 2011

i pick up trash whenever i can. stupid people who litter!

10:15AM PDT on Jun 9, 2011

I haven't picked up trash as the one near me is very clean... but I will ensure to look in the future

9:13AM PDT on Jun 9, 2011

Noted! Thanks

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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Kristina Chew Kristina Chew teaches and writes about ancient Greek and Latin and is Online Advocacy and Marketing... more
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