World Ocean Day, celebrated every year on June 8th, is a worldwide international event created by the United Nations in 2008 that provides a unique opportunity to honor, help protect, and conserve the world’s oceans. It’s a great opportunity to grow awareness and understanding about the largest part of our planet.
Even if your favorite beach isn’t near the ocean, the oceans affect the lives of everyone on Earth. Oceans cover 70% of the Earth’s surface, and over 94% of the Earth’s living creatures are found in the ocean. Oceans produce over half of the world’s oxygen and also absorb 50 times more carbon dioxide than our atmosphere. The oceans contribute to the air we breathe, the food we eat, the livelihoods of millions of people, and more.
Celebrate on June 8th — or every day!
Here are 11 ways to celebrate World Ocean Day and show your love for our oceans.
- Head to the beach! There’s no better way to celebrate World Ocean Day than by beachcombing, discovering the local wildlife, and exploring the environment along an ocean, sea, river, or lake.
- Leave critters where they are. Animals, birds, wildlife, live shells, and coral belong in their natural environment and should be left on the beach or in the water where they were found.
- Join World Ocean Day events with fellow ocean lovers, such as talks, happy hours, art contests, film screenings, beach cleanups, and more Find an event at worldoceanday.org or organize your own event. If you want to do an individual event, bring a bag along to a local beach, river, or park and pick up trash that might end up in our oceans.
- Visit an aquarium, zoo, or wildlife preserve to learn about the animals found in our waterways. It’s much easier to protect something when you’ve got a connection to it. If you can’t get there in person, check out Google Ocean, where you can explore the waters like you use Google street view to explore the land. View images, visit faraway locations, and browse other media with this collection.
- Watch an ocean film with friends and family. Pick a documentary that showcases ocean wildlife and conservation issues, such as Mission Blue, Our Planet: Coastal Seas or High Seas, My Octopus Teacher, Disneynature: Oceans, The Blue Planet, Sharkwater, A Plastic Ocean, and many more. Or watch Finding Nemo, with its beautiful underwater scenes and message that fish are friends, not food. Speaking of which....
- Skip the seafood (and meat) on World Ocean Day. While some fisheries are well-managed, almost 90% of fish stocks are fully fished or overfished. Eating meat contributes to climate change and sea rise, so go vegetarian for the day to give the ocean a break. If you do eat fish, support sustainable fisheries. The Marine Conservation Society regularly updates its Good Fish Guide for purchasing or eating fish.
- Ditch single-use plastics to help reduce ocean plastic pollution. Each year, trillions of pieces of plastic enter the world’s river systems and water ways and end up in the oceans. Avoid disposable water bottles, straws, cups and lids, utensils, and bags that often end up entering the oceans directly from land and river runoff. Visit PlasticAdrift.org to see how far plastics can travel in the ocean.
- Reduce your energy consumption to reduce carbon dioxide that destroys corals beneath the ocean’s surface. Ride a bicycle, using public transportation, walk, and carpool on World Ocean Day. Turn off your lights and appliances when you are not using them.
- Travel responsibly and encourage coastal tourism by choosing a destination that promotes ecotourism and sustainable travel.
- Use eco-friendly products and appliances. Check labels to make sure they are eco-friendly and made with organic and all-natural ingredients.
- Support marine protection foundations and organizations, such as the Ocean Conservancy and the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.
Ocean Fun Facts
- There are five global oceans.
- The oceans are nicknamed the “Seven Seas” as the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans can be divided by north and south.
- The largest ocean on Earth is the Pacific Ocean, which covers more than 30% of the Earth’s surface. The smallest is the Arctic Ocean, which covers only 3%.
- According to NOAA, the longest mountain range on earth is underwater. It is over 40,390 miles long (65,000 kilometers) and extends into the deepest parts of the ocean.
- National Geographic says there are more artifacts underwater than in all the world’s museums combined.
Let us know in the comments below some more ways we can commit to making the waterways and beaches a safe and happy environment for everyone to enjoy.