For many people, the primary service that the ocean provides is a nice beach vacation for families and friends to “get away from it all” and spend some time relaxing on the sand or swimming in the waves. In reality, oceans serve many other purposes as well. Oceans cover 75 percent of the earth’s surface and houses between 50 and 80 percent of all life on earth. More than a third of the world’s population relies on marine biodiversity for their income and marine industries make up 5 percent of the world’s total GDP. Most importantly, the ocean serves as a huge carbon sink and absorb around 25 percent of carbon dioxide generated by human activities. Clearly, any decline in ocean size or health would have a huge adverse effect on the world in several areas but only one percent of our world’s ocean is currently protected.
That is why today is so important. Today is World Oceans Day. June 8th was formally recognized as World Oceans Day in 2008 by the United Nations. This day focuses on the unity of our 5 major oceans in the world- the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic, and Southern. The idea of “unifying” our oceans into one is important because a change in one ocean region impacts us as a whole. In reality, all of our oceans are linked and flow together. If one ocean is polluted, that can be carried over into other areas and decline general water quality.
In 2015, World Oceans Day’s theme is “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet.” The theme further focuses on the idea that if our oceans aren’t healthy, then we aren’t healthy. If our oceans aren’t healthy then there will be more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and marine life will suffer. Consequently, humans could suffer in two ways. We could suffer physically from the toxins in the water but also financially due to the decline in marine industries. World Oceans Day spreads awareness of the importance of keeping our ocean healthy.
Maurita Obermiller, Intern