Celebrating Ocean Victories on World Oceans Day

We tend to think of ourselves as separate from nature. We’re not. We’re part of this Earth. We came from the ocean and we’re made of the ocean. The ocean is in our blood. And we won’t be able to live without a healthy ocean.

Despite all the negative ocean headlines, there’s still hope. One of the reasons I love nonprofit groups like Oceana and the Ocean Conservancy is that they work with politicians, lawyers, and businesses from all over the world to create real environmental change.

To celebrate World Oceans Day, here are a few major victories that have happened so far this year:

Belize Bans Offshore Oil Drilling, Protecting the Largest Barrier Reef in the Americas

January 2018: Belize made history when it signed into law a moratorium on offshore oil exploration and drilling in the entirety of Belizean waters, which contain the second largest barrier reef system in the world. The Belize Barrier Reef is home to nearly 1,400 species and is critical to the livelihood of more than half of Belize’s population due to its central role in tourism and fishing.

Chile Protects Juan Fernandez Islands and Wildlife Found Nowhere Else on Earth

February 2018: Chilean President Michelle Bachelet protected 262,000 square kilometers of ocean surrounding the Juan Fernandez Islands. These islands are home to wildlife found nowhere else on the planet. As a result of this announcement and other closures, 25 percent of Chile’s ocean is now protected as no-take marine parks.

Seafloor Habitats Protected from Destructive Bottom Trawling off U.S. Pacific Coast

April 2018: The Pacific Fishery Management Council acted to protect more than 140,000 square miles of seafloor from bottom trawling, a destructive fishing practice in which heavy fishing gear is dragged across the seabed. This action will protect a unique variety of coral gardens, sponge beds, rocky reefs, and deep-sea ecosystems that provide nurseries, food and shelter for many species. This victory for ocean diversity will more than double the area of protected seafloor in U.S. waters off California, Oregon, and Washington. Once the new measures are implemented, more than 90 percent of the U.S. West Coast’s Exclusive Economic Zone will be protected from bottom trawling.

Keep hoping, keep dreaming, and keep acting for the ocean

We are all truly connected, which means that everything we do makes a difference. Whether we leave a piece of plastic on the beach or decide to pick it up, whether we use fertilizers and insecticides or organic gardening methods, it all makes a difference. If you’re interested in ocean conservation, find out what you can do through Oceana and the Ocean Conservancy. When individual voices join together, we can turn negative news into positive change.

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Happy World Oceans Day

The ocean does so much for us. It gave us life and continues to give us life. To celebrate the ocean, here are a few ocean facts:

The ocean covers nearly 71 percent of the Earth’s surface.

About 95 percent of the ocean remains unexplored.

Roughly half of the oxygen we breathe is produced by the ocean.

The Great Barrier Reef is the largest living structure on Earth. It can be seen from the Moon.

Fish supply the greatest percentage of the world’s protein consumed by humans.

Populations of large fish such as tuna, cod, swordfish, and marlin have declined by as much as 90 percent in the past century.

Plastic waste kills up to one million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals each year.

The ocean could contain more plastics than fish by 2050.

It’s estimated that more than 90 percent of marine species are directly or indirectly dependent on coral reefs.

Nearly 60 percent of the world’s remaining reefs are at significant risk of being lost in the next three decades. The major causes of coral reef decline are coastal development, sedimentation, destructive fishing practices, pollution, tourism, and climate change.

oceanGlobal bycatch — unintended destruction caused by the use of non-selective fishing gear such as trawl nets, longlines and gillnets — amounts to 20 million tons a year. The annual global bycatch mortality of small whales, dolphins, and porpoises alone is estimated to be more than 300,000 individuals.

The world’s oceans absorb about 25 percent of the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere each year. That uptake is growing as carbon dioxide levels rise. Because of this, the ocean is growing acidic at a pace that’s 100 times faster than at any time in the last 20 million years.

(Compiled from NOAA, The Thomson Reuters Foundation, savethesea.org, Oceana, and The Christian Science Monitor.)

The ocean does so much for us. Here are a few things you can do for the ocean:

Ten Things You Can Do to Save Our Ocean (from UN Development) – We see these lists all the time and they’re usually the same – this one isn’t.

Protect Dolphins and Marine Life from Seismic Blasting

Tell Congress to Stop New Offshore Drilling Agenda

Thank you to Coleen Patrick and Letizia at Reading Interrupted for the latest reviews of Ocean Echoes. It means so much to me that you’d take the time to do that. Reading Interrupted celebrates books and reading in amazing, unique ways and Coleen is a talented writer and illustrator. If you’re not already familiar with their blogs, please take a look and make sure to follow.

Happy World Oceans Day!

World Oceans Day

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World Oceans Day is coming up this Saturday, June 8. We’ve all heard of Earth Day, but this is the first year I’ve heard of World Oceans Day. On some calendars, today is also World Environment Day.

What does it all mean? Will naming certain days after the environment make it all better? Well, let’s hope so.

I remember feeling skeptical when Earth Day first came around, but it’s definitely a good thing whenever gangs of people descend on the beach to pick up trash for the day. Really though, we need to make every day Earth/Ocean Day.

The ocean is facing overwhelming problems these days. Here are just a few off the top of my head: ocean acidification, oil spills, coral bleaching, bottom trawling, miles of fishing nets that catch ocean life like whales, dolphins, and sea turtles, all leading to a major depletion of ocean life.

I like the idea of one Earth, one ocean. We all know by now that everything is connected. But do we really understand what that means? It means that everything we do makes a difference. Whether we leave a tiny piece of plastic on the beach or decide to pick it up, whether we use fertilizers and insecticides or organic gardening methods, it all makes a difference.

Let’s celebrate nature, the ocean, and this one world today and every day. For more information on what we can do to help the ocean and ocean life, click here.

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