‘The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation increased, and not impaired, in value.’Theodore Roosevelt; 26th President of the United States. Quoted 1910
The heading of this week’s blog is the powerful motivation behind a very important initiative: World Ocean Day. This falls each year on June 8th, and has been a growing force in conservation since 1992. (Roughly the same time that Waterfront Charters was founded – and that is certainly not the only thing the two organisations have in common.)
There is one change in 2021 after 13 years: the ‘s’ has been dropped from ‘Ocean’s’ to singularise the word, and with good reason. Humans named the various bodies of water around the globe for practical reasons: navigation, ‘ownership’ (who can own an ocean?), and mapping. This fact is not only erroneous in nature, it has also led to numerous wars and sea battles over the centuries, fought over the possession of sections of the ocean. If we own the ocean, the thinking went, we own what’s in it. Leave our islands, fish, whales, seals, etc. alone, or we will send gunboats! But the truth is that there is only one ocean: it’s an integrated system where each component, each zone or environment plays a part in the whole. Damage the integrity of one section, and the planet suffers.
When originally set into motion, the day was officially World Ocean Day, but when the United Nations General Assembly formally recognised the day in 2008, it added the plural ‘s’. This act followed many years of hard work by the organisation; petitions with many thousands of signatures supported the group in its efforts to drive the process of formalisation. The UN added the ‘s’, and what was now the World Ocean’s Day shrugged its shoulders and said, ‘one victory at a time.’ That time has come. The extraneous ‘s’ is gone, and World Ocean Day can continue with its primary focus: the preservation and protection of the ocean that surrounds us all.
The ocean and the Earth’s climate are intimately entwined. The waters that engulf our continents are the biggest drivers of climate change – the El Nino phenomenon is a perfect example – so World Ocean Day has linked its initiatives to include the effects of human-induced climate change to that of preserving our ocean. They have a ‘30×30’ drive in place, the mission of which is very simply stated: preserving 30% of the ocean and 30% of the land by 2030. 30% may not seen like a lot, but when you look at the expansion of the human race, it’s search for materials and food sources, it’s actually an enormous challenge.
Education is key to the process, and World Ocean Day works very closely with those who are going to be most affected: the youth. As the cliché has it, we are only borrowing the planet from future generations, and spreading the message of potential habitat destruction, calamitous climate change and horrendous pollution to those who will deal with the problems is critical. We quote directly from the most recent message sent from World Ocean Day:
“Each year, we work with the World Ocean Day Youth Advisory Council to develop a Conservation Action Focus to help unite the world in taking action on an issue of critical importance. We also develop and curate resources related to the action focus to support event organizers and individuals worldwide in preparation for 8 June and involvement throughout the year.”
We have written about it many times, but it bears constant repeating: at Waterfront Charters we see, feel and understand the ocean beneath our boats, and we know the changes that happen and, more importantly, must be prevented from happening., to this essential medium. We love the Atlantic: it’s our working environment, our playground and our passion. It connects with the waters of the world: water we cruise over today could have been in the Antarctic, the Pacific or the Baring Sea – who knows? The flow is permanent, and with it goes all the rubbish man tosses away without thinking. We support World Ocean Day in every respect; we ask that all our guests, friends and clients join us in this initiative.
For more information do check out https://worldoceanday.org/about/ or @worldoceanday and spread the word. No matter where you live on planet earth – even if you are in the middle of the landmass – the ocean creates our destiny. Support it! If you need to find a reason, join us for any one of our amazing cruises and get an up close and personal look and feel of this environment and its quirky, loveable and diverse inhabitants. (And yes, that includes our crew members.)