“The greatest threat to our planet is the belief someone else will save it.” — Robert Swan
Did you know June 8th is World Ocean Day? It’s a day to consider and acknowledge the delicate balance between us and our planet—a planet that is composed almost entirely of oceans. And our connection to the big, watery blue is closer than you may think: 60% of our bodies are made up of water, as is 70% of our planet. We have exactly the same level of salt in our blood as you find in seawater.
Our dependency on the waters of our world is enormous, which is also why conservation efforts are so important. Plastic pollution, rising water temperatures, overfishing, sewage dumps, and more are all contributing to the erosion of marine life. Our ecosystems are out of balance, and it’s up to us to restore and protect the undersea’s extraordinary life source.
In fact, in 2020, only 15 percent of the world’s lands and 8 percent of its waters were protected under some type of designation, such as national parks or ocean sanctuaries. Scientists say that’s not enough—extinction looms for more than 1 million species of plants and animals (which is bad news for humans, too). To curb the mass extinction crisis and address climate change, scientists and conservationists urge that we protect 30 percent of the world’s land and oceans by 2030. Learn more about Campaign for Nature and its 30x30 pledge here.
So, what can you do?
Beach cleans! Throw a garbage bag in your beach bag, and scour the sand and surf for litter, especially plastic. Leave the ocean and its beaches better than you found it. (This goes for lake days, too—let’s protect all our planet’s bodies of water!)
Love and appreciate our ocean in all her beauty and bounty. The surest way to want to save something is to love it first. The more you dive deep and learn about the ocean, visit its sandy shores (if possible), read about her history and the many conservationists on a mission to protect her waters, and talk about what the ocean means to us, the better.
Learn about climate change. Here’s an explainer on climate change, the science behind it, the human effect, and what it really means for our planet and her oceans moving forward.
Cut down on single-use plastics. Make it a habit to use reusable water bottles, forgo using plastic straws, carry reusable shopping bags with you on your next trip to the store, bring your usual cutlery to picnics instead of plastic. Essentially, be intentional about plastic use because it greatly impacts the health of our oceans.
Wear reef-friendly sunscreen. Did you know that conventional sunscreen and its chemical ingredients have been linked to coral reef deterioration? Yes, it’s summer, so lather up but check ingredients first! Here’s a handy list of the best reef-safe sunscreens to make it easy.
And here are a few kid-friendly, ocean-centered resources to celebrate on World Ocean Day and beyond...
Honest History Issue Seven | Into the Deep (dive into the incredible world of undersea exploration with Jacques Cousteau and others who changed our view of the ocean and its life)
World Ocean Day for Schools: Celebrating Our Connection to the Ocean (resources, activities, and inspiration listed by age range)
Water Water Everywhere: Crash Course Kids (a great kid-centered explainer on the amount of water on our planet and its impact)
The Pout Pout Fish Cleans Up The Ocean by Deborah Diesen (here’s a read-aloud!)
Here is an Octonauts coloring page and pledge to protect our oceans (The Octonauts is a sweet ocean-centric show for preschoolers)
How to Save Our Planet (Sir David Attenborough explains how humans can take charge of our future and achieve a sustainable existence)