Afternoon tea heading to go here and make 0 px
The ocean covers 70% of the planet, produces 50% of our oxygen and is key to our economy. And yet, we are trashing it through pollution – fish populations are depleted, coral reefs devastated. Our seas need our support, which is why every year on 8 June, the United Nations celebrates World Oceans Day. But what is World Oceans Day? Essentially, it’s an opportunity for us to come together to raise global awareness of the benefits of our ocean and how we can use its resources sustainably. Here’s how you can play your part on World Oceans Day.
What is World Oceans Day?
The pollution of our oceans makes for depressing reading. We dump eight million metric tons of plastic into our oceans each year. In fact, our seas are now home to giant floating garbage patches (one is twice the size of Texas – shocking). And that’s before we get to the untold damage caused by chemicals running into the sea and oil spillages.
With our oceans at tipping point, on 8 June 1992 the United Nations declared the first World Oceans Day. It was an opportunity for NGOs and civil society to express their views on environmental issues and to highlight the plight of our seas. The event has since grown into a global movement that not only aims to highlight the impact of human actions on the ocean but also brings together a worldwide movement of citizens to “create a new balance with the ocean that no longer depletes its bounty but instead restores its vibrancy and brings it new life.”
This year’s World Oceans Day theme is ‘Revitalization: Collective Action for the Ocean’, which will see thought-leaders, celebrities, institutional partners, community voices, entrepreneurs and cross-industry experts address the biodiversity and economic opportunity that the ocean sustains.
How to get involved in World Oceans Day in London and beyond
There are a host of events – in person and online – on the World Oceans Day events page. Here are just a few ways to play your part in supporting our vulnerable seas…
Stream the UN conference live
This is the first year that the United Nations World Oceans Day will be a hybrid affair – featuring an in-person event at the UN HQ in New York as well as being broadcast live on 8 June. Tune in to hear keynote speeches by everyone from community voices to industry experts and ocean managers, as they address this year’s theme ‘Revitalization: Collective Action for the Ocean’. Marine biologist and explorer Dr Sylvia Earle will be giving a presentation and there will also be a musical performance from Syrian-American singer-songwriter Bedouine. Catch it on the UN World Oceans Day website, UN Web TV, Oceanic Global website, or Oceanic Global Facebook page.
Feast on a Symphony of Seaweed
Feast on a one-of-a-kind menu based around sustainable seafood at Bibendum on 8 June. The seven-course Seaweed Symphony experience has been created by six internationally-renowned Relais & Châteaux chefs. UK-based Michael Caines of Lympstone Manor, Bibendum’s Claude Bosi and Hrishikesh Desai of HRiSHi at Gilpin Hotel will be joined by Aisha Ibrahim of Canlis in the USA, Alexandre Gauthier of La Grenouillère in France and Nelson Müller of Schote in Germany to create the unique series of dishes, all of them designed to highlight seaweed and the role it plays in revitalising the ocean. The evening is part of an ongoing partnership between luxury hospitality group Relais & Châteaux and Ethic Ocean to raise awareness of the sustainable consumption of marine resources.
Sign up for a beach clean
Did you know around 8 million pieces of plastic make their way into our oceans every single day, killing hundreds of thousands of mammals, turtles and seabirds? Cleaning up our coastline has never been more important. If you’re near the coast, sign up for a local beach clean to help pick up the harmful plastics, fishing gear and polluting domestic rubbish that washes up on our beaches. There are myriad organisations that organise regular beach cleans including the National Trust, Surfers Against Sewage, the Great British Beach Clean and the Million Mile Clean. The waterways of London also need a helping hand – join a river clean with Thames21 or volunteer to become a member of the Canal & River Trust’s Towpath Taskforce which works towards plastic- and litter-free canals.
Celebrate the Blue Planet
The National Maritime Museum in Greenwich hosts a family-friendly festival on 11 June celebrating the blue planet. There’ll be a programme of expert-led talks, including sessions with scientists and conservationists, as well as immersive workshops with Ocean Generation, artist interventions, films and music throughout the day. There’ll even be the opportunity to explore the ocean via VR. A highlight, however, has to be the opening of the Museum’s newest gallery, Poles Apart. Here visitors will learn about the Arctic and Antarctica and the role of modern polar science, as well as see the workings of the UK’s newest polar research ship, the state-of-the-art RRS Sir David Attenborough.