World Oceans Day 2014: Time to do something to protect the marine ecosystem


World Oceans Day on June 8 gave thousands of organizations from around 70 of the globe's countries a chance to hold events to honor and celebrate the massive bodies of water covering most of the Earth's surface.

Beginning as an unofficial annual celebration in 2002 and given official United Nations recognition in 2008, World Oceans Day offers a chance to promote protecting those waters, said officials from The Ocean Project and World Ocean Network, who help put together the occasion.

A theme for World Oceans Day 2014 was "Together, we have the power to protect the ocean," they announced.

That protection is vital, they said, because in addition to generating most of the oxygen all life on Earth depends upon, the oceans -- 332.5 million cubic miles of water -- feed the world's people, control our climate and are a source of potential drugs and medicines that may cure many diseases with new discoveries.

Around the world some 600 different events were scheduled in Asian, Africa, North America, Europe, South America and the Middle East.

One event promoted by the organizers was a "Selfies for the Sea" competition, which encouraged participants to share snaps on social media under a #WorldOceansDay tag of the ways in which they're helping protect and sustain the globe's water supply.

On the World Oceans Day website, a number of other activities were promoted.

One was a "Wear Blue, Tell Two" event encouraging people to don blue-colored clothing to increase awareness of ocean conservation, while sharing at least two facts with family or friends about the importance of protecting the world's seas.

The website also featured some sample designs for those wanting to create their own T-shirts, including the logos of the National Aquarium, The Ocean Project and the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

"Our ocean has a great wealth of diverse kinds of life, but it's in trouble," organizers say on the website. "Climate change has already been linked to the killing of coral reefs. Coupled with destructive fishing practices, there is a dramatic decline in many types of fish and sea life we depend on.

"There are important, easy actions each of us can take to help," they wrote. "Calculating our carbon footprints and looking for ways to reduce our role in climate change is a great step.

"Likewise, we can choose seafood that is abundant in supply and fished or farmed without harm to the ocean and coasts."

And the National Science Foundation has joined in with a Q&A where two oceanographers explain the warm ocean current called El Niño and how it affects oceans and climate.

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