World Oceans Day: 8th June 2020

Happy World Oceans Day!

Whether you are still under lockdown, or slowly getting back to “normal life” after the Corona virus pandemic, we have all had some time to read about how the planet has responded to the halt of human activities.

Goats and deer roaming the streets, whales and dolphins being sighted in new locations, a dramatic fall in CO2 emissions.

All great news, right?!

Lots of posts on social media about “not going back to normal, because normal is killing the planet”.

And yet, during this time, the oil and plastic industries in the USA received huge bail-outs by the government.

Everyone is desperate for lockdown to end, so that they can go travel again…

So, this World Ocean Day is truly unique. We have a truly unique opportunity to really lobby for the changes we’d like to see to PROTECT THE ENVIRONMENT. We have time to think about how we play a part in the bigger picture.

I don’t know about you, but for me, I simply cannot imagine life without being near, on or in the water.

We play in it. We live from it. We’re inspired by it. We breathe from it. We learn from it.

Threats

The oceans face many threats right now.

  • plastic pollution, including microplastic impacting the ocean on a cellular level
  • overfishing
  • ghost nets
  • acidification due to rising CO2 levels
  • oil spills & toxic agricultural& industrial run-off
  • warming seas and coral bleaching events
  • mining of the sea bed

That’s all depressing stuff, right? How can we possibly fix all of that??! It’s too much! 

Cue Jane Goodall!

The greatest danger to our future is apathy. We cannot expect those living in poverty and ignorance to worry about saving the world. For those of us able to read this magazine, it is different. We can do something to preserve our planet.

You may be overcome, however, by feelings of helplessness. You are just one person in a world of 6 billion. How can your actions make a difference? Best, you say, to leave it to decision makers. And so you do nothing.

Can we overcome apathy? Yes, but only if we have hope. One reason for hope lies in the extraordinary nature of human intellectual accomplishments… But technology alone is not enough. We must engage our hearts also.

I’ve used this particular Gavin Aung Than Zenpencil’s comic strip many times in class to inspire and encourage my students. It is a great comic to jump start the conversation.

For additional resources, please check out World Oceans Day  and  National Geographic .

We can all wax lyrical about our beautiful blue planet. I always think of the overused phrase”You protect what you love”. By that token, we must love money, mobile phones and cars a lot. It’s just not that simple.

People DO want to do good. But they also want to “look good”, conform to perceived societal pressures to be and act a certain way to attain respect and attention.

But let’s face it. We can’t all visit the Arctic or Antarctica. That is vanity. That’s like bragging “I was there before it melted” even though you contributed to the problem by travelling there in the first place.

Start with one thing. Whatever is easiest for you.

Can you travel less? Of course you can 😉
Can you make wiser clothing choices or wear your clothes longer, without buying into fast fashions’ weekly cycles? Sure.
Can you modify your shopping and eating habits slightly to help the planet recover from the HUGE damage we’ve inflicted on it as a species in the last 200 years? Probably.

So this year, let’s get serious.

Stop talking. Start acting.