The ocean is our future and for that reason we celebrate World Oceans Day today, June 8. Since 1992, countries from around the world have set this day aside to celebrate the earth’s most prolific natural resource, and to mobilise efforts to sustain and conserve our seas. This year will mark its 11th year as an official United Nations event.
So how can your business back this day? Good question. But before we answer it, let’s start with a more basic one: why should you even care? Here are 1.35 billion trillion litres of benefits in a nutshell.
Our oceans are the earth’s greatest buffer - a powerful carbon sink that covers over 70% of the planet’s surface. Our oceans absorb almost one-third of global carbon dioxide emissions, and have soaked up more than 90% of the heat from greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. What’s more, they offer up half of the world’s oxygen to sustain our survival.
The ocean economy is an important player within the global economy, and is vital to the welfare and prosperity of humanity. An estimated 260 million jobs have depended on a marine-based lifestyle over the past decade. And though many of these jobs are being lost to the rapid depletion of its resources, pollution, and other climatic changes, new opportunities are arising in areas like renewable energy.
We rely on our oceans to connect our borders and to move everything from food to technologies to memories across its waters. In the US alone, 76% of all trade involves some form of transportation by sea. As the United Nations puts it, maritime trade is literally ‘the backbone of global trade and the global economy’.
We like our seafood, so much in fact that global seafood consumption has doubled in the past 50 years. But tuna steak is not the only meal on the menu; most of the food on our shelves, and many of our toiletries contain ingredients from the ocean.
The list goes on. From recreation to health to pharmaceuticals to the obvious wonder-world of biological diversity that our oceans provide, they are a critical lifeline for health and mere planetary survival.
But they are rapidly deteriorating, buckling under the weight of climate change and global warming. Ocean temperatures are at a record high and sea levels are rising. Plastic pollution now accounts for eight million metric tons of waste per year. Oceans are now acidifying faster than they have in some 300 million years, to the effect that, should our current emissions practices continue, the surface waters of the ocean could be nearly 150 percent more acidic than they are now. This will have a devastating effect to ripple through every facet of marine biodiversity, human health and the economy worldwide.
Needless to say, World Ocean Day is an important day, and we can be a part of it in some way - big or small. We are always looking for innovative ways in which we can contribute to the environment. Subscribe to our blog notifications to stay up to date on how you can play your part.
So what can your business do for World Oceans Day?
Commit to cut down on those pesky plastics
The Ocean Conservancy estimates that 80% of the plastics in the oceans come from land-based sources. Those straws and take away cups that we so carelessly consume, many end up in our rivers and drains and eventually flow into our seas to either be ingested or float around for centuries. By eliminating single-use plastics like coffee cups and straws from the company canteen, you can keep our oceans cleaner.
Keep recycling, and recycle even more
It’s obvious: the more waste you can divert from landfill and repurpose for future use, the less garbage will land up in our oceans. Even if you have the recycling basics in place, there are probably still some areas of your business that could be refined or reimagined to reduce your outputs. Remember, waste is not waste; it has monetary value when you choose the right waste management provider.
Plan a fun event
In line with the current theme for this year’s World Ocean Day, planning an event for 2020 requires a bit of innovation. Covid-19 restrictions may demand different forms of engagement. But still, there are still so many ways that people are getting involved. From art competitions to craft making, clean ups to online talks, there are heaps of events taking place over this time to celebrate, educate and advocate for our oceans’ conservation. Your business can use this day as a platform to build team spirit, galvanise awareness and convey the message that you are involved and active when it comes to responsible citizenry. Have a look here to see what others are doing on the day.
Join a campaign
There are some fantastic campaigns that you can join to help plan your event, raise awareness and grow your network in this time. The UN recommends partnering with the Sea Change Campaign and the UNEP’s Clean Seas Campaign. Both initiatives offer a range of tools and content to assist your efforts and get the word out effectively.
The focus this year is 30x30. 2020 World Oceans Day is calling on world leaders to safeguard 30% of the world's ocean by 2030. It’s an ambitious target, but one that is doable if we each commit to do our part. It begins with small steps of decisive change. What will yours be this year?
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