World Oceans Day is celebrated around the world each year on June 8th. The day is recognized by the United Nations as a day of ocean celebration and action.
Oceans cover nearly three-quarters of our planet and hold 97% of the planet’s water. Whether we realize it or not, the ocean is imperative to life on earth. The ocean regulates the climate, helps feed millions of people every year, produces oxygen, is the home to amazing marine wildlife, and so much more. It is vital that we keep oceans clean in order to ensure the health and safety of our communities and future generations.
For the last two years Columbian Park Zoo has held a World Oceans Day celebration the weekend closest to June 8th. The event is held in the DeFouw Education building on the zoo grounds and hosts a variety of family-friendly activities aimed at educating the community on how the ocean affects us, and how we can make a difference to help keep the planet healthy.
This year the theme was Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet with an emphasis on reducing plastic pollution. One of the main contributors of plastic pollution, which can lead to the death of wildlife, is the mass-use of plastic bags across the world. This year we encouraged people to take the World Oceans Day ‘Better Bag Challenge’. The challenge is to promise not to use any disposable plastic bags for a whole year. Other activities included learning how to pack an ocean-friendly lunch and a ‘selfie for the sea’ station to help promote ocean awareness.
Of course! Even though you may not live in a coastal town, every time you take a breath, eat food off your plate, or take medicine of some sort, you can thank the ocean, and what better way to thank it than to help keep it healthy and clean. Even though World Oceans Day has passed for this year you are still able to take the better bag challenge and pledge to not use plastic bags for a whole year. Buy or make your own reusable grocery totes and bring it to the grocery store every time you go. Plastic bags are a big factor in plastic pollution, but all plastic products contribute in some way, so reducing your use of plastic products will help save habitats and marine life each year. It’s easy to forget about the ocean when it’s not a short car ride away, so a huge help in ocean conservation is creating awareness of the impact the ocean has on the planet. Whether it’s talking about the ocean to your friends, or posting about it on social media, the more people who are educated on oceans mean the more people who are willing to help keep our ocean healthy!