World Oceans Day
World Oceans Day provides an opportunity to honor, help protect, and conserve the ocean. The Government of Canada proposed setting a World Ocean Day during the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The UN officially recognized 8th June as World Oceans Day in December 2008. The Day is coordinated by The Ocean Project, a not-for-profit international community foundation. The Day is an opportunity to raise global awareness of the challenges faced by the international community in connection with the oceans.
World oceans day 2019 conference will be at the UNESCO HQ in Paris with the theme, ‘Gender and the Ocean’. The purpose is to have an opportunity to explore the gender dimension of humankind’s relationship with the ocean.
The 2019 edition of World Oceans Day will strive to build greater ocean and gender literacy and discover possible ways to promote gender equality in ocean-related activities such as marine scientific research, fisheries, labour at sea, migration by sea and human trafficking, policy-making and management. However, there is very little data and research on these issues, and a concerted action towards gender equality and the empowerment of women and girls is still needed in all ocean-related sectors to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 5.
The ocean plays the role of being the lungs of our planet; providing most of the oxygen we breathe, the oceans are also a major source of food and medicines and a critical part of the biosphere.
Oceans dictate our future weather and also our long-term climate. They contain half of the oxygen we breathe and much of the protein we consume.
Sadly, the ocean is under threat from pollution and overexploitation and we sometimes forget how beneficial it is for us humans and the planet.
The ocean is important in the following ways;
- The air we breathe: The ocean produces over half of the world’s oxygen. It’s not just the ocean life that depends on phytoplankton. These tiny marine plants are estimated to produce over half the oxygen that we, and all other land animals, breathe.
- Climate regulation: Covering 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, the ocean transports heat from the equator to the poles, regulating our climate and weather patterns.
With temperature and weather control, the surface of the ocean absorbs over half of the heat around the world, ocean currents- which flow for thousands of kilometres, both at the surface and far below- are extremely important in determining the climate of the world’s continents.
- Shipping routes: the oceans provide convenient transport routes- which we take full advantage of. Around 90% of all trade between countries is carried by ships. These transport everything from food and fuel to construction materials, chemicals, and other items.
- Recreation: From fishing to boating to kayaking and whale watching, the ocean provides us with many unique activities.
- Food: The ocean provides more than just seafood; ingredients from the sea are found in surprising foods such as peanut butter and soymilk.
- Medicine: Many medicinal products come from the ocean, including ingredients that help fight cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s disease, and heart disease.
- CO2 sink: Ocean waters have the capacity to absorb vast amounts of the greenhouse-warming gas carbon dioxide (CO2), and thus have helped to buffer human-caused global warming and climate change. Indeed, nearly half the CO2 produced by human activities in the last 200 years has dissolved into the ocean. Phytoplankton also lock CO2 away. Like land plants, these microscopic algae use CO2 to grow. When they die, this CO2 sinks as organic matter to the bottom of the ocean, keeping it out of the atmosphere.
- Water cycle: The oceans are also an integral part of the water cycle. Vast amounts of water evaporate from the ocean surface, rising into the atmosphere as water vapour. When this vapor collides with colder air, it condenses to form clouds and rain.
Let’s learn the ocean, let us protect it too!