It’s World Oceans Day, our annual opportunity to honor the great oceans linking us all, to celebrate what the ocean provides humanity, and also to appreciate its intrinsic value.
The theme for World Oceans Day 2012 is Youth: the Next Wave for Change, which firstly acknowledges the role the youth plays in the future of the ocean, and secondly reiterates the importance of everyone playing their part in securing the future of the world’s oceans for our youth.
One of the initiatives undertaken as part of this day is “Wear Blue, Tell Two“, an information sharing initiative where everyone is urged to dress in blue and to share with those around us two facts about the protection of the world’s oceans.
So, to do my bit (yes, I’m wearing blue jeans and a blue sweater, I promise!) herewith my two messages about our oceans:
1) The havoc caused by climate change
The ocean absorbs the majority of the heat added to the earth through climate change, resulting in a warmer ocean, which negatively impacts on the coral ecosystem and affects the life cycles of many fish species. This warmer water also decreases upwelling, which means that less nutrients reach the surface water, harming many marine ecosystems. Furthermore, the Poles are melting at an alarming rate, affecting polar marine environments and causing the ocean levels to rise, resulting in the loss of critical coastal habitats. It is also estimated that 10% of the global human population lives below 10m above sea level, which means about 700 million people are directly threatened by a significantly rising sea level. Not a pretty picture… And we haven’t even touched on the impact of the chemical changes in the oceans as a result of increased atmospheric greenhouse gases, or the changes in the ocean currents and the effects this is having on the earth’s climate.
(Source: Five Effects of Climate Change on the Ocean, http://www.conservation.org)
2) What we can do to help
Despite the doom and gloom of my first message, all is not irretrievably lost. Each of us can contribute our little bit to help the environment. By merely living more socially responsibly (recycling, reusing, limiting our carbon footprint) we can help slow global warming, which directly impacts on the wellbeing of our oceans. And there are numerous local and international initiatives we can get involved in. For example:
- Conservation International runs an initiative called “Save a Mile” where you can make a donation to support initiatives focused on ocean conservation
- The World Oceans Day website hosts the “Blue Planeteer” awareness drive, where you can volunteer to perform simple online tasks, such as tweeting about World Oceans Day or emailing a blog.
These are just two small online examples – if you live near the sea your local aquarium or nature centre may well have their own initiatives going, so ask around and get involved.
So spread the word on World Ocean Day – wear blue and tell two!