Taking a bold environmental stance in response to the ever-expanding conservation research, the City of Vancouver has announced a ban on plastic straws. This proclamation comes in lockstep with World Oceans Day, a global awareness day with an annually rotating theme. In 2018, that theme is the accumulation of plastic in our big blue. Plastic not only collects in The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, but it also disguises as food and can strangle animals and ruin their habitats.
World Oceans Day was first proposed in 1992 at the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. During this conference, otherwise known as the Earth Summit, Canada’s International Centre for Ocean Development, and the Ocean Institute of Canada, declared that the ocean and coastline sectors did not have as strong a platform as other protected environment sectors. Agreeing that policy was required to ensure intergovernmental and NGO discussions could move forward, ocean regulations were strengthened and awareness campaigns were launched.
Now, every June 8th we celebrate these continued efforts, campaigns, and discussions. World Oceans Day focuses on an overarching collaboration between NGOs, governmental agencies, ecologically inclined businesses, and of course, compassionate individuals.
This year’s theme, “Clean our Ocean! Innovation and Youth”, was set to raise awareness about our collective plastic consumption and the importance of preventing plastic pollution. Underscoring ways youth can get involved with conservation efforts and innovation models, The Ocean Project has expanded its Youth Advisory Council with 10 additional young members.
At the UN Headquarters in New York City’s Upper East Side, winners of the Annual World Oceans Day Oceanic Photo Competition will be announced. The Empire State Building will also light up in blue and further discussions with the UN Secretary General will take place, all commencing with his Annual World Oceans Day Message.
The UN states that, “The oceans cover about two-thirds of the surface of the Earth and are the very foundations of life. They generate most of the oxygen we breathe, absorb a large share of carbon dioxide emissions, provide food and nutrients, regulate climate, and are important economically for countries that rely on tourism, fishing and other marine resources.” At Prince of Whales Whale Watching, we support World Oceans Day by doing our part to reduce plastic consumption in our offices, on our vessels, and in our own personal lives. By taking measures like using steel straws, canvas totes, and bringing your lunch to work in ceramic, glass, or tiffin containers, you can also help make sure these stunning ocean mammals and sea flora thrive in a clean and serene environment.
Happy World Oceans Day!