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Celebrating World Oceans Day

kayaking

Originally appears in the Spring 2015 issue

Oceans are the Earth’s great connectors. Like our hearts that circulate blood all around our bodies, oceans regulate our climate by circulating heat and humidity. It touches every corner of the Earth, and every human who lives on our blue planet. Unfortunately, just as many of us are unaware of the massive role oceans play in our lives − providing oxygen, food, medicine, an amazing wealth of biodiversity, a means of communication, and so much more − people are also unaware of the impact we can have on the ocean. Eighty per cent of ocean pollution comes from terrestrial sources.  While we may not see it, everyone everywhere is connected to the ocean.

World Oceans Day – celebrated each year on June 8th − is an opportunity to draw attention to our relationship with the ocean and do something to keep it healthy. This United Nations-recognized day of celebration, held every year on June 8th, is a great way to connect young people to the many ways that they are linked to the ocean, regardless of where they live.   Whether they live on the beach or hundreds of miles from the shore, our actions affect the ocean via our local watersheds, impacts on the climate, the products we buy, and more.

The best way to help young people make this connection is by taking them outside into a natural area and having fun.  A connection with nature is incredibly important for young people, no matter how old they are or where they live.  Here are some ideas that educators can use to establish a crucial link with nature, and celebrate World Oceans Day.

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Alyssa Isakower has never lived more than an hour and a half from a shore, and once lived at sea for 3 months. She’s been coordinating World Oceans Day for The Ocean Project in Washington DC since 2011.  For more teaching ideas or to list your plans for going outside on World Ocean’s Day, visit www.WorldOceansDay.org.

 

Notes

[1] America, the Ocean, and Climate Change: Youth – http://theoceanproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/11/final_youth.pdf