The United Nations Designates World Oceans Day
The concept of a World Oceans Day was first proposed in 1992 by the Government of Canada at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
Each year an increasing number of countries and organizations have been marking June 8th as an opportunity to celebrate our world ocean and our personal connection to the sea. This year, the United Nations made it official.
Why Celebrate World Oceans Day?
- Because our oceans need our help. By absorbing the ever-increasing amounts of carbon dioxide produced by human activities, our ocean is approaching its saturation point. As a result, oceans are warming and acidifying, altering the water's chemistry to the point that some marine animals and corals now find it difficult to form their calcium carbonate shells.
- Due to climate change and its cascading effects, invasive species and diseases are spreading into new areas, marine mammals such as blue whales face decreased food supplies, polar bears struggle to survive due to melting sea ice, and salmon populations are disappearing from their historical ranges.
- Sea level is rising worldwide, threatening coastal communities, particularly low-lying islands such as North Carolina's Outer Banks and Kiribati in the Pacific Ocean. Remaining coastal regions will likely have to adjust to more frequent and violent storms, coastal surges, and other dangerous deviations from typical weather patterns.
World Oceans Day U.N. Resolution
The General Assembly,
- Recognizing the important contribution of sustainable development and management of the resources and uses of the oceans and seas to the achievement of international development goals,
- Recalling that marine science is important for eradicating poverty, contributing to food security, conserving the world's marine environment and resources, helping to understand, predict and respond to natural events and promoting the sustainable development of the oceans and seas,
- Reiterating its concern at the adverse impacts on the marine environment and biodiversity, in particular on vulnerable marine ecosystems, including corals, of human activities,
- Expressing deep concern over the adverse economic, social and environmental impacts of the physical alteration and destruction of marine habitats that may result from land-based and coastal development activities,
- Reiterating its serious concern over the current and projected adverse effects of climate change on the marine environment and marine biodiversity, and emphasizing the urgency of addressing this issue,
- Expressing concern that climate change has increased the severity and incidence of coral bleaching throughout tropical seas over the past two decades and has weakened the ability of reefs to withstand ocean acidification, which could have serious and irreversible negative effects on marine organisms, particularly corals, as well as to withstand other pressures, including overfishing and pollution,
Resolves that, as from 2009, the United Nations will designate 8 June as World Oceans Day.
—64th Plenary Meeting, December 5, 2008