Today Is A Starting Point - Thoughts on World Oceans Day
Photos via The Plastiki
It's very exciting to have a world ocean day, and when you think about our planet being covered in 72% of water, one would think that rather than calling it Planet Earth we would call it Planet Ocean. Today, the 8th of June is a very special day, we get to recognise and appreciate the scale of the ocean and how integral it is to our ability to live on this planet. Often we don't connect with the ocean; it is often out of sight out of mind, an endless horizon that in reality is struggling to keep up with our voracious appetite for fish and resources.I've been lucky enough to live on the oceans now for the last couple of months, 80 odd days at sea, and it really has been an amazing opportunity and eye opener for me.
I feel that living on the ocean has changed my view of this planet and has really opened up my eyes to the fact that our oceans are so fragile, so unique, so beautiful, and so important.
It is very easy to push nature into a box and to try and view it as a commodity, we've externalised our impact on nature, we've raided the larder, we've consumed more than we are putting back or than we are allowing to return, this has very clearly had a huge impact on our natural world, and largely on our oceans.
It still amazes me that our oceans are so unexplored, unchartered and unmapped. We know more about outer space than our oceans.
We need to recognise the value of the creatures that live in our oceans, to recognise the majestic nature of the underwater rainforests that are our coral reefs, to start to understand the fact that our oceans drive our hydrological cycle, channelling water around our planet to create the very systems that we rely on to survive.
For me World Oceans Day is a starting point, it goes beyond just a date and a time, it is a starting point in everyone's mind to say 'I can do something for the oceans; I can do something for the planet.' We can all have an impact if we just assess what it is that we do in our everyday lives and how we can trim back those actions that have negative effects.
We need to make these connections and look at everything we are doing in our daily lives, whether it's the plastic item that we just purchased to throw away after one use and consider what went into making that and where it will end up. Be it where the shampoos and detergents we are using to wash our clothes and bodies will go, where the food on our plate comes from and what it was packaged in, the manufacture and running fumes of the cars that we're driving or the transport that we're taking, basically all of these products that we're consuming, and the services that we're signing up to- what are the consequences of these actions?
We all are creating human finger prints upon our natural world, and so we need to take days like this, use them as a starting point to really say lets act now, let's lessen those finger prints and let's try and create a planet that we can all live on sustainably and in harmony with the systems that are so magically and so uniquely placed here, and let's stop abusing them.
I hope that World Oceans Day continues everyday and that we can all start to think more closely about what we do in our daily lives, like taking a shower and then making the connection that the water running off down the drain feeds into our rivers and the oceans. The same goes for the fish that we are consuming; it is all connected, it all goes back to the ocean and so on this World Oceans Day I hope that we can all connect to that, and take a moment to reflect on the fact that this should be called Planet Ocean.
Especially with this huge tragedy in the gulf I think the time has come, to turn today's World Ocean Day into an opportunity for people to recognise that we really need these natural systems to be as strong as possible to support us and all of the species that live on this planet, now and in the future.