Today, June 8th, we herald the annual World Oceans’ Day around the world.
Like most ocean conservation groups, we have been asked what we are planning to do on this day. We wondered…should we do a global beach cleanup? A massive fundraiser? A call-to-action to stop illegal fishing? Ask that nobody eat fish?
But to be honest, none of those actions seemed quite right.
No Sea Shepherd Group will be holding any special events at all on World Oceans’ Day apart from simply reflecting on the far-reaching scope of the peril our oceans are in. What we WILL do, however, is continue to help the oceans today and on the other 364 days of the year…because for Sea Shepherds everywhere, EVERY DAY is World Oceans’ Day. Every day we fight to protect the Earth’s source of all life. Humanity doesn’t need one day to remember that, it needs a reminder EVERY DAY just as our founder, Captain Paul Watson, so eloquently reminds us, “If the oceans die, we die.” So starting today and for the next 364 days of the year, we are asking our supporters to act every day for a better ocean.
Recently, Sea Shepherd directors, staff, volunteers and supporters from around the world had a chance to speak about what World Oceans’ Day means to them. Here are excerpts from their contributions:
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“On June 8th we celebrate World Oceans’ Day. On this day many organizations join forces to protect the Oceans or organize a global beach cleanup. Sea Shepherd certainly supports any activity that improves the dire state our Oceans are in, but we feel that having one day designated to work on the problems not only gives the wrong signal, it is far from adequate.
If everybody focuses on June 8th, what happens all the other days of the year? Did the problems go away, did we fix them? There cannot be just one World Oceans’ Day, for Sea Shepherd EVERY day is World Oceans’ Day. Every day we fight for the survival of life in our Oceans and despite our efforts the need only becomes greater. We need Ocean Ambassadors all over the world to join our fight against the forces out there to destroy our Oceans. People need to live every day in defense of the Oceans, to consider every day as World Oceans’ Day. Having one day a year is simply not enough. It’s like Mother’s Day. We have Mother’s Day so we can make people go and buy stuff. But do we stop loving our mothers the other days of the year? Treat the Oceans like we would our mothers, with respect and love for every day of our lives. After all, the Oceans are the birthplace of all life on the planet. Just like our mothers, the Oceans gave birth to our existence. We have to halt the destruction of life in our Oceans, for if life in the Oceans dies, we all die.
On this World Oceans’ Day, Sea Shepherd asks you to reflect and from now on make every day World Oceans’ Day.”
Captain Alex Cornelissen
Sea Shepherd Global
Director of Operations
Sea Shepherd Galapagos
“More than 70% of the world’s fish species are either fully exploited or depleted, 100 million sharks are killed a year for their fins, many species of cetaceans are still under threat of extinction, coral reefs are being lost at unprecedented rates, toxic waste poisons and plastic waste chokes the marine ecosystem, barbaric whaling and dolphin drive hunts continue under false and outdated banners of 'Research' and 'Culture,’ and seals are still clubbed to death, shot and even skinned alive.
The FAO of the United Nations has warned ‘the planet's oceans are on the verge of catastrophic collapse.’ The oceans are the most crucial life support system of our planet — our only home in this vast and empty universe.
A single 'World Oceans’ Day'? Only 0.27% of the entire year is not even remotely enough to prevent our species from sleepwalking into our destined, self-made environmental suicide.
Support, donate and volunteer with Sea Shepherd and help us make every day 'World Oceans Day.’”
Rob Read. MA. BSc (Hons)
Sea Shepherd UK
“If the oceans would fall asleep for only one single day, we would feel the impact for the rest of the entire year worldwide. Our life today on the solid ground of this planet first began in the oceans and it will also end with the dying of 70% of its surface.
If we don’t appreciate the roots of our own life on Earth during the year, how can we ask for a future on this planet when we only pause for a moment one day to thank Mother Nature for her courtesy?
If ‘World Oceans’ Day’ means to reflect on the extinction of species, pollution of the ecosystems, plundering the reefs and high seas with overfishing, then this day should make a change in every human being’s mind for the rest of the year and hopefully the rest of their life.
Respect for our oceans and the life in it is nothing to celebrate for only one specific day a year. It has to be shown in our daily actions."
Sea Shepherd Germany
“Monday is more marine sanctuaries day. Tuesday is trawlers are tragic day. Wednesday is whale appreciation day. Thursday is throw nothing in water (not even dynamite or plastics) day. Friday is forgo fossil fuels day. Saturday is sinks-are-no-place-for-chemicals day. Sunday is let's all go down to the sea and see where we come from day. And next Monday is mining-free oceans day. Tuesday is trash-free oceans day, Wednesday is whale-safe oceans day, Thursday is tuna-safe oceans day, and next Friday is for filling in all the other days of our lives with a new respect for the oceans day.”
Dr. Bob Brown
Former Greens Senator
Board Member, Sea Shepherd Australia
Co-Director, Antarctic Whale Defense Campaign, Sea Shepherd Australia
“If a loved one was on life support, you would do nothing to tamper with it. Yet, every single day humanity pollutes, poisons, dredges, trawls and long lines the very life support that humanity and all life on our wondrous planet rely on.
‘World Oceans’ Day’ to me is about respecting our fragile life support system. This is Planet Ocean, not Planet Earth and its long overdue that we as a species on this planet realise it.
It should be common knowledge that everything we do to the ocean, we do to ourselves and to our children. Plastic bags, cigarette butts, etc. all break down to some degree and become part of the food chain, so next time you throw a cigarette butt or a plastic bag down on the ground, ask yourself: Are you or your children prepared to eat that? It’s time we made the connection. I believe that the single most important thing humanity should be focusing on is the battle to save our oceans.”
Sea Shepherd Australia
“’If the oceans die, we die.’ This quote from Captain Paul Watson changed my life.
I was fighting for animals and the environment for more than 15 years when I heard Paul's statement. And I'm still fighting the endless fight for animals and for the environment today.
Nine years ago, I joined the battle to save our oceans.
Many Belgians support Sea Shepherd. We're constantly working to inform people and to raise awareness.
On June 8 — ‘World Oceans’ Day’ — we will be tabling in Brussels, reaching out to people about why they need to care about our oceans.
But I can state that for my dedicated volunteer crew, every day is ‘World Oceans’ Day!’”
Anne Van Ingelgem
Sea Shepherd Belgium
“There's a sale virtually every day, reminding us to buy and consume.
Could it be possible for us to think just one ‘World Oceans’ Day’ would be enough to remind us of the importance of our oceans?”
Drs. Geert Vons
General Director - Sea Shepherd Netherlands
Advisory Board Member, Media and Arts SSCS
Artistic Director, SSCS
Director, Artists for Sea Shepherd
“’World Oceans’ Day’ is today, EVERY day. It is not tomorrow, it is not next month, next year, some other time. It is TODAY no matter when you read this. If the oceans die, we die. Do something TODAY."
Sea Shepherd UK
"I want to live in a world where a new species is discovered before it has become extinct due to the destructive impact of humans on the environment. If the oceans, die we die!"
Sea Shepherd UK
“’World Oceans’ Day’ is an opportunity to reflect on how Planet Earth is really Planet Ocean. We often forget that the Oceans produce more of the oxygen that we need to breathe, than do all of the world's forests combined. We rarely consider that most of the world's human population is coastal, directly dependent on the seas for survival. The atrocities committed against marine wildlife occur because the Oceans are out of mind for most people. When we recognize that the health of our Oceans is inexorably linked to our own survival, then we inevitably reach the conclusion that every day of the year should be, and needs to be, 'World Oceans’ Day.’”
Captain Peter Hammarstedt
Director, Ship Operations
Sea Shepherd Netherlands
"Four billion years for nature to perfect one of the most important life support systems on Earth. Less than 100 years for the (self proclaimed) most intelligent species on this planet to bring it to the brink of total collapse. One day to reflect on this. It's still not too late. Apathy is no longer an option...."
Sea Shepherd UK
“Our oceans are our life source and slowly this is being recognised by a broader community. Let's celebrate that awareness on this day and take it to the next level as we move forward together as one mob on this Earth.”
Sea Shepherd Supporter
"How many days does it take to protect the ocean? a) 1 or b) 365.
Losers will be notified via global catastrophe.”
Sea Shepherd UK
"Imagine only spending a couple of hours cleaning your home one day a year...."
Sea Shepherd UK
“Out of 365 days of the year, there isn’t a single day where the oceans don’t work for humankind and make it possible for life to exist on Earth….But every single day of the year, we work hard to diminish what is the very foundation of life on Earth, without even giving it the slightest thought. But now we’ve decided to think about it, for one day: ‘World Oceans’ Day’.
On June 8th, we make a symbolic exception. We remind ourselves that without healthy oceans, life on Earth wouldn’t be possible and on this one day, as officially admitted and acknowledged, we should celebrate and protect the Seas worldwide.
A true understanding of what is at stake would be for us to reverse the ratio. One day each year, let’s allow ourselves to forget that humanity is in vital and permanent duty to protect the oceans. Let’s make “World Forgetting The Oceans Day” the exception and not the norm. Let’s give ourselves a real chance to save the oceans and our future on this planet. Let’s give ourselves a real reason to celebrate.
Sea Shepherd France