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We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came.

John F. Kennedy

66% of the world is covered in a blanket of rich, vibrant blue, from its depths once came all life on the Earth, and it continues to house an immense amount of life. This blanket is the world’s oceans, and they serve as one of the most popular vacation spots in the world and play a vital role in the economy of countries worldwide. Across the briny deep massive amounts of cargo cross each year, and it still serves as the primary thoroughfare for trade. World Oceans Day celebrates the ocean and the important role it plays in our lives.

It’s a time for supporters of the oceans to focus on conversation and sustainability so that they can remain clean and usable. The animals deserve a happy and safe place to roam and live without having to worry about any destruction or man-made obstacles. It’s important to safeguard the oceans to help ensure a healthy home for all. One this day, people can come together to create a space for all to enjoy and appreciate, no matter where each person lives.

History of World Oceans Day

In 2008, the UN gathered and uniformly created World Oceans Day. It was first proposed in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro during the Earth Summit. The ocean has been an incredibly important part of human history, and this special was established with the intent of celebrating our connection to the sea and raising awareness about the various dangers it faces. There are nearly 200,000 identified species that live in the ocean, but the number of actual species that reside there is likely in the millions. It’s essential to ensure that they don’t have to worry about freely getting around and enjoying a healthy and safe home to reside.

Even with that being the case, there are still problems with overfishing, and the subsidies that are given for fishing in countries all around the world are causing depletion of the game species. These activities have led to efforts to restore the fishing industry being undermined, and the industry bringing in $50 billion a year less. It’s just one of the many factors that should have us all celebrating World Oceans Day and raising awareness about all the issues our big blue’s face.

There’s a global environmental catastrophe due to decades of overuse and a surge in single-use plastics. Plastic straws and bags are getting into the oceans and causing havoc. World Oceans Day is an opportunity to acknowledge and recognize the efforts that have been and are being made against plastic pollution. It’s enlightening and disheartening to know that today, 13,000,000 tons of plastic leaks into the ocean every year, which among other damage, kill 100,000 marine animals annually.

World Oceans Day Timeline


Brundtland Report

This report, connected to The World Commission on Environment and Development (Brundtland Commission) notes that the ocean sector is lacking representation compared to other sectors.[1]


Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro 

Created as a way to celebrate the world’s shared ocean and raise awareness for the personal connection between humans and the ocean. This is where the concept for World Oceans Day was first proposed by the Canadian representatives.[2]


UN declares to recognize World Oceans Day 

This year, after a four-year onsite and online petition drive, the UN General Assembly passes a Declaration that will officially recognize the day, beginning the following year.[3]


First World Oceans Day is celebrated 

The inaugural World Oceans Day is observed with the theme “Our Oceans, Our Responsibilities.”[4]


World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council is launched 

Made up of 25 youth from all over the world, the Youth Advisory Council is created to develop and promote World Oceans Day.[5]

Why celebrate World Oceans Day?

It’s a good reminder to bring attention to the fact that oceans play a major role in everyday life all around the globe. The oceans provide a majority of the oxygen we breathe, so many consider them to be the lungs of our planet. The goal is to develop a worldwide movement of citizens to care better for the oceans. It’s an opportunity to inform and educate humans and the public of what our actions are doing to the ocean and what impact they have in the long run. It’s not only a day to celebrate the beauty, wealth, and promise of the ocean, but a chance to realize that they’re a critical part of the biosphere. They’re a significant source of food and medicines and simply can’t be ignored or mistreated any longer.

How to celebrate World Oceans Day

Start it off by a visit to the nearest ocean to restore a personal connection to the sea. Breathe deep and appreciate the beauty and serenity the ocean offers each day of the week. Invite family along, and while there, bring information about the ocean and what people really need to know about it to make visiting it a joy for years to come.

Pick a day to go to the ocean to clean up and help restore it instead of simply sitting by it. Gather friends and family and pitch in and pick up trash that surrounds the local beaches and oceans in the area. It’ll not only look nicer, but the wildlife in the area will benefit from these actions as well. Avoid single-use plastics, and instead pack a picnic lunch with reusable containers to enjoy after the hard work is complete. One may also consider organizing a fundraiser to aid preservation and restoration efforts at the local beach. With all the plastic waste coming off our beaches thanks to careless beach-goers, our ocean is awash with litter.

Use this as a time to increase one’s knowledge and explore the topic further. There are a variety of books and resources out there to help a person achieve this goal. Another idea is to gather a group of people and watch an ocean film on the topic to bring awareness to the concept of helping out the oceans.

There are plenty of activities and events that occur on World Oceans Day. Celebrate by choosing one or two to participate in and enjoy. Engage in the day’s events by piggybacking off of other ideas that people in the area have come up with instead of having to think of activities alone.

World Oceans Day FAQs

When is World Oceans Day?

World Oceans Day has taken place on June 8 every year since 2009, with the inaugural theme of Our Oceans, Our Responsibilities.[1]

What is the importance of World Oceans Day?

The purpose of this day is to develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the ocean while mobilizing people and raising awareness.[2]

What is the World Oceans Day theme?

Each year, the theme for World Oceans Day changes, with past themes including Oceans & People, Healthy Oceans–Healthy Planet, Our Oceans–Our Future, and Innovation for a Sustainable Ocean.[3]

Who started World Oceans Day?

World Oceans Day was first suggested by Canada in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio. After years of petitions, the UN officially recognizes the day.[4]

How to help with World Oceans Day?

This day can be observed by getting involved in education, reducing carbon footprints, minimizing the use of plastic and making sustainable seafood choices.[5]

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