Officially, it’s today. However, the first UN-sanctioned “World Oceans Day” was celebrated in Hawai’i this past Saturday.
According to The Ocean Project website, the idea for a day recognizing and honoring our connection with the ocean was first proposed in 1992 by the Government of Canada at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
They picked June 8 as the day. That’s today. A Monday. In Hawai’i, as elsewhere, many people are hard at work on Mondays. So, Donna Kahakui chose this past Saturday to gather a group of more than 100 volunteers to help clean up Mokauea Island and plant native plants. That was her way of celebrating World Oceans Day.
Mokauea Island is home to one of the last fishing villages in the state. Four families live there, relying on generators for electricity. I wrote about Donna Kahakui and her educational group Kai Makana Foundation last year.
The Ocean Project gives these reasons why we should celebrate World Oceans Day—and respect our oceans a bit more. They say, the world’s ocean:
· Generates most of the oxygen we breathe
· Helps feed us
· Regulates our climate
· Cleans the water we drink
· Offers us a pharmacopoeia of potential medicines
· Provides limitless inspiration.
As for me, I spent most of Saturday at the beach. If you’ve followed my blog for the past few months, you won’t be surprised that I was pup-sitting an endangered Hawaiian monk seal. But I wasn’t checking on “Sunrise Seal,” about whom I have written and photographed extensively. At 6:00 a.m., I checked on a pregnant mom, known at K01. When I left at 10:00, she had rolled back down into the water. I figured she was heading out to feed one more time, because once she pups, she won’t get another good meal for five to seven weeks. At 2:00 p.m., I received a text message: K01 had pupped. I spent the rest of the afternoon roping off a protected area for her and her pup. This picture captures a rare moment of rest for the two.
How about you? How did you celebrate? If you haven’t yet, you can still do so. Any (and every) day of the year will work. The Oceans Project provides these “Seven C's for Ocean Conservation.”
Commit to making a real difference
Aim to be carbon neutral by reducing and offsetting your energy consumption.
Conserve in your home
Upgrade to Energy Star appliances and compact fluorescent light bulbs.
Rethink what you need, purchase “green” products, and buy locally grown foods and sustainable seafood.
Communicate your interests and concerns
Let your friends, family, colleagues, and the local media know about the impact of climate change on the ocean.
Challenge yourself daily
Walk, bike, carpool, and take public transportation to cut down your coral-reef harming carbon emissions.
Connect in your community
Get active as a volunteer with a local watershed or ocean group.
Celebrate our ocean!
Take part in a World Ocean Day activity near you or plan your own.