It was June 8th, 1992.Inside the representatives of the myriad of countries, who were attending the ongoing Earth Summit, had collectively agreed to the Ocean Institute of Canada’s proposition. They learnt of the vitality of their Oceans, pledged to take care of them and engrave that day in history as World Ocean Day.
When I learnt of this day, honestly, I was surprised
People scarcely give a second thought to oceans- they pollute the rivers that flow into them, industrialize the ocean beds and all the places with stunning beauty, they commercialize. But somehow through the efforts of the representatives of Canada the world has received an eye-opener. Now almost all coastal countries have oceanography clubs which strive for improving the conditions of oceans.
I myself have had the privilege to experience the splendors of the Ocean- with its deep blue vastness, fluorescent coral and of course its plethora of marine life. The ocean itself is a whole new world which we are constantly being amazed by. Its ever-reaching depths are even dubbed the hadal zone after Hades – the king of the underworld and have creatures and mysteries that leave us dumbfounded even today.
Now humanity is recognizing how critical it is and ironically it is now turning towards oceans for solutions. Bacteria from the depths of the ocean are now used for speeding up tests for COVID-19 and through its aid we are one step closer to finding a cure. 50-70% of the oxygen we breathe has originated from oceans, resulting in people labeling them the lungs of our planet. They are a major source of food and medicine which feeds billions and cures even cancer. Oceans regulate the climate of the world and provide livelihoods for tens of millions. Economically it is a worth a whopping 31 trillion dollars.
But still people are ignorant of its benefits and damage it. Since, you began reading this page a truckload of plastic has already been obliviously dumped into oceans. The uneducated let rivers wash away their trash and waste. Industrialists see it as a solution to toxic waste disposal. Hundreds of creatures that may haven’t even been discovered yet are dying from these measures. 90% of all large marine life is gone with the rest now being half their former size. 405 dead zones exist which have little to no oxygen left in them, and these double in number every 10 years. Only a minimal 2% are protected. According to the Time Magazine Hero for the planet, Dr Sylvia Earle – “The next 10 years will define the next 10,000 years.”
Now I am trying to raise cognizance in the community to help this cause, because as of next year the UN Decade of Ocean Science and Sustainable Development (2021-2030) commences. This would require a larger share of my time in spheres of both self-awareness and empowering the community around me with the same.
I would proudly argue that this is one of the most critical initiatives the world is yet to face. In these trying times the best we can do is band together and protect the only world we’ve been given. And I hope, no matter how big, this blog is a step towards this marine utopia.