World Oceans Day
World Oceans Day was celebrated worldwide last week, on the 8th of June. This annual celebration focuses on protecting and conserving the world’s oceans.
WHY IS WORLD OCEANS DAY IMPORTANT?
When you think of the ocean, one of the first things that may come to mind is the many times you would have headed to the beach, the whales and the sharks. You may recall all the fun times you had. But this is not the sole purpose of the ocean. It is much more than a habitat for its inhabitants.
In the large scheme of things, the ocean provides us with many resources and services including oxygen, climate regulation, food sources, medicine, and more. This is why World Oceans Day is an important day. Not only does it raise awareness about many of the issues related to the ocean, but it also provides an opportunity to take personal and community action to conserve the ocean and its resources.
In 1987, the Brundtland Report noted that the ocean sector lacked a strong voice compared to other sectors. Inspired by this report, the concept was originally proposed in 1992 by Canada’s International Centre for Ocean Development (ICOD) and the Ocean Institute of Canada (OIC) at the Earth Summit – UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
WHAT IS THIS YEAR’S THEME?
The theme for World Oceans Day 2019 is “Gender and the Ocean.” This year, the focus is on how important it is for there to be ‘gender equality’ in conservation efforts. While this field has many males involved, women are also able to contribute because they possess as many talents. It is hoped that this year’s theme will help women and girls feel empowered to join these efforts in conserving the world’s oceans. More recently, the importance of gender equality, ‘in particular for the effective conservation and sustainable use of oceans, seas and marine resources’ is increasingly being recognized. In summary, 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’.
DID YOU KNOW?
Sri Lanka’s Asha De Vos is a marine biologist, ocean educator and pioneer of blue whale research within the northern Indian Ocean. She received the President’s Award for Scientific Publications in 2013, received the WINGS Worldquest Women of Discovery Sea Award and was also chosen for a BBC 100 Women award in 2018.