World Oceans Day 2024

It is World Oceans Day 2024. It’s not exactly a catchy title, but the theme of this year’s World Oceans Day is “catalyzing action for our ocean and climate”. Phew. The founders of the event, which is celebrated every year on the 8th of June, are hoping to build a worldwide movement, bringing together activists, politicians and business leaders, as well as ordinary citizens, to save our oceans from the ongoing climate crisis.

Protect our Oceans

They want to protect and restore natural coastal and ocean ecosystems, stop fossil fuel extraction, phase out production of single use plastics, and build a healthier, more abundant future for all.

Those are lofty ambitions to be sure. But here’s why: the oceans cover two-thirds of our planet. Life wouldn’t exist without them, but they face constant threats from plastics, overfishing, biodiversity loss, polluted runoff from land, ocean acidification, rising sea levels, and coastal overdevelopment.

Let’s take one of those threats. According to the Environmental Investigation Agency, every year 13 million tonnes of plastics enter the world’s oceans, and that staggering figure is set to quadruple by 2050.

Here’s another: illegal fishing in Mexico’s Gulf of California has led to the rapid decline of the vaquita, the world’s most endangered marine mammal.

It’s easy to despair in the face of such grim statistics. But we can all do our bit to start to reverse the damage done to the oceans. If you can’t campaign yourself, you can connect with other concerned citizens and organizations. At the very least, we can all be more mindful of the way we use and dispose of plastics. And next time you’re at the beach, rejoice in the life-giving power of the oceans.

By Lesley McRobb

Photo Naja Bertolt Jensen

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