World Oceans Day, observed every June 8, celebrates and honors the Earth’s oceans and recognizes their intrinsic value to the overall health of the planet.
Recognized by the United Nations since 2008, the day is celebrated on an international level and encourages people across the world to partake in positive actions to keep our oceans clean and healthy.
This year’s theme is “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet,” with a specific focus on plastic pollution.
A recently-published infographic, produced by CustomMade, estimates that about 6.4 million tons of plastic are dumped into the ocean every year, killing approximately 100,000 marine creatures.
Throughout the weekend and on World Oceans Day, people all over the world will take part in events such as beach cleanups, art contests, film festivals, sustainable seafood events and educational programs to spread the word about keeping our oceans clean.
Here are five ways you can participate in World Oceans Day right here in New Jersey:
1. Wear Blue, Tell Two
One of World Oceans Day’s slogans, Wear Blue, Tell Two, encourages people across the world to wear blue on Monday in support of ocean conservation. But it’s not enough to just wear the aqua color; those taking part are encouraged to share two facts about why it’s important to protect our oceans. Here’s an example:
Fact 1: In 2014, Clean Ocean Action recovered nearly 12,000 plastic bottles from beaches in New Jersey during their two “Beach Sweep” events held once in the spring and fall.
Fact 2: The number one item recovered during the beach cleanings in New Jersey was plastic—nearly 40,000 pieces collected in total.
2. Attend a World Oceans Day Event
Aquariums, conservation groups and nonprofits across the state are holding events throughout the weekend to support of World Oceans Day. Check your local listings to see what the groups nearest you have in store.
Adventure Aquarium in Camden, for example, will celebrate World Oceans Day on June 7 and 8, and offers an array of hands-on interactive activities, demonstrations and free live shows. Anyone who purchases a ticket for the “Behind-the-Scenes Tour” will be directly supporting the Marine Mammal Stranding Center in Brigantine, as 100-percent of the proceeds are funneled towards supporting the nonprofit.
3. Sign up for a beach cleanup
Whether it’s set for next week or three months from now, commit yourself to cleaning up a local beach, river, lake, bay or estuary by marking your calendar or signing yourself up for a beach cleanup on World Oceans Day.
A popular cleanup in New Jersey is the bi-annual Beach Sweeps. Held every fall and spring, Clean Ocean Action has been organizing beach cleanups at the Jersey Shore for 30 years. Each cleanup event draws approximately 7,000 volunteers who head out to the Shore from Sandy Hook to Cape May to clean up the beach.
It is estimated that only one in five plastic water bottles used are recycled on an average basis. This weekend, make an extra effort to recycle all things plastic—water bottles, shopping bags, candy wrappers, sandwich bags, etc.
Recycling doesn’t only mean placing the plastics in the proper recycling container—it also means reusing. Reuse plastic shopping bags as lunch totes, repurpose plastic coffee cups as make-shift flower pots and reuse take-out containers as tupperware. Heck, if you’re looking for a challenge, reuse your recycled plastic bottles to make a greenhouse (above).
Small actions can have a large effect if everyone takes part.
Adopt-A-Beach is a state-wide volunteer program run by the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection. The idea is to encourage volunteers to take action year-round to keep New Jersey’s waterways clean. Volunteers can sign up to work with their local government to adopt a section of a nearby beach to organize cleanups at any time throughout the year.Click here to leave a comment