By ANN DONAHUE
Everyone is familiar with Earth Day, but did you know that June 8 is World Oceans Day?
In 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, the government of Canada brought forward the concept of a World Oceans Day. Following a few years of petitioning from various organizations, the UN passed a resolution in 2008 declaring June 8 the official World Oceans Day. Since then, the Ocean Project promotes the recognition of the day and encourages communities around the world to celebrate the importance of protecting this important resource. The project also selects an annual theme to focus on. This year it is prevention of plastic pollution and encouraging solutions for a healthy ocean.
Plastic pollution is one of the major threats to the health of our oceans. The accumulation of plastic in our oceans is endangering a multitude of marine species that ingest the plastic or become entangled in it. The plastic that is leaked in our waters in the form of microbeads can also carry pollutants that are highly toxic to any form of life. We are still learning a lot about plastic pollution in the oceans but we know that we need to do something about it now.
We are all connected to the ocean, especially here in the Gulf Islands. Take the time to celebrate our ocean on June 8 and invite the younger generation to join in!
Here are suggestions for how to create awareness and curiosity about the ocean with young children:
1) Go for a beach cleaning walk.
Go to a local beach and take a walk, observing any sea life. Pick up any garbage you come across and talk about how garbag, especially plastics, pollute our oceans and what that means for sea life.
2) Reduce use of plastic.
Discuss with your children which plastic items could be eliminated in their lives and how to replace them.
3) Listen to sounds of the sea.
Go to: cetus.ucsd.edu/voicesinthesea_org and listen to the various animal sounds and play one of the proposed games.
4) Watch Nemo with a different viewpoint.
Watch Nemo and identify the “real” name of the characters, i.e. species, and find out more info on your child’s favourite character.
5) Visit the Salt Spring Public Library special ocean-themed book display and participate in the draw to win a copy of my book called Dive into Colours.
For more information about ocean issues, visit www.worldoceansday.org.
The writer is a retired Salt Spring teacher, a diver and author of Dive into Colours.