Posts Tagged 'world oceans day'



A Blue View: Our Ocean Junk

A Blue View is a weekly perspective on the life aquatic, hosted by National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli.

From the smallest plants and animals invisible to the human eye to entire ecosystems, every living thing depends on and is intricately linked by water.

Tune in to 88.1 WYPR every Tuesday at 5:45 p.m. as John brings to the surface important issues and fascinating discoveries making waves in the world today.

June 5, 2013: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

A Blue View podcastListen to John discuss how marine debris
is seriously affecting the health of our oceans. 

In 1900, plastic debris did not exist in the ocean. Today, hundreds of millions of metric tons affect our seas. The oceans need our help now.

Imagine a stroll along the beach. You might picture a beautiful, uncluttered expanse of blue. The reality is that the ocean is a complex system filled with plants, animals, minerals, elements, and, yes, trash.

This trash often ends up in a gyre.  Gyres are large areas of calm water that are encircled by ocean currents formed by the earth’s wind patterns and rotation of the planet. Debris that drifts into these gyres stays there for years – pushed gently in a slow spiral toward the center. Every ocean in the world has a gyre, with additional gyres near Antarctica and Alaska.

five gyres

Map courtesy of 5 gyres.

Within these enormous ocean junkyards, you aren’t likely to see giant pieces of plastic and other trash floating on the surface. Animal ingestion and entanglement in larger types of marine debris is a major issue. But primarily, these garbage patches are made up of plastic that has broken down over time into smaller, sometimes microscopic, pieces. This plastic is suspended in a layer of the water column that reaches below the surface. Because most of the debris isn’t readily visible on the surface, the size of the garbage patch cannot be seen or tracked by satellite or aircraft.

These plastic particles that circulate through oceans act as sponges for contaminants that have washed through our watersheds. These persistent organic pollutants absorb into plastic in high concentrations. Once in the oceans, fish and other marine animals cannot avoid eating this minute particles, so plastic enters the ocean food chain at its most basic level. These fish are then eater by other fish and organisms, delivering this pollution to onto our dinner plate.

So who is responsible for cleaning up these oceanic garbage dumps? Because these gyres are so far from any country’s coastline, no nation has been willing to take responsibility. It’s up to concerned citizens to make this issue a priority. One group that has stepped up to inform and inspire the public about this issue is 5 Gyres. Through events and other outreach opportunities around the country, including at both National Aquarium venues in 2012, the group aims to conduct research and employ strategies to eliminate the accumulation of plastic pollution.

Since plastics are not going away, we as a culture need to figure out how to balance our use of these items with awareness and concern for their impact on the environment. This issue may seem insurmountable, but even one person cutting back on their plastic consumption can make a difference starting today.

Did you know? Approximately 29 billion bottles are purchased every year in the United States. Make a pledge to reduce your consumption of plastic bottles today and help us take better care of our oceans! 

Let’s Create a Sea of Social Support for the Ocean!

On June 8, organizations and communities from around the world will celebrate the Earth’s largest life-support system, the ocean. World Oceans Day, first celebrated in 2002, was established to help educate others on how much of an impact the ocean has on our lives and what we need to do to protect it!

National Aquarium is celebrating World Oceans Day with special blog posts throughout the week, featuring important issues relating to ocean conservation, and by hosting celebrations at both our Washington, DC and Baltimore venues this weekend!

As part of the festivities, we’re asking our communities online and on-site to share a photo of their best fish face and a conservation pledge to help take care of our blue planet! Get ready to pucker up!

puckerup

Throughout the week, be sure to share your photos with us on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #puckerup! And be sure to check back with us because we’ll be sharing some of your favorite photos/pledges! Check out some of the staff here at the Aquarium showing off their best fish faces:

Here are some simply conservation pledges you can include:

  • I pledge to conserve water. It’s as easy as shortening your shower time and turning off the faucet when brushing your teeth!
  • I pledge to use less plastic. Invest in a re-usable water bottle! Keep plastic water bottles out of the ocean and a couple of dollars in your pocket!
  • I pledge to conserve energy. Reduce the amount of carbon dioxide you put into the atmosphere by riding a bike, walking or using public transportation and by turning off the lights when you leave a room!
  • I pledge to eat only sustainable seafood. Overfishing can lead to an irreparable loss in certain seafood populations. You can prevent this by avoiding catching or eating certain species that have been exploited.
  • I pledge to learn more about the ocean and its inhabitants. It is only through continued education and exploration that we can truly have a better understanding of the ocean and how we’re impacting it.

In addition to our #puckerup campaign, we’ve also started a “Why do YOU love the ocean?” community discussion on Twitter! Do you have a favorite memory/story related to the ocean or its inhabitants? Tell the world right here!

This World Oceans Day, we want to show our blue planet a SEA of social support! The pledges we collect this week will join thousands of others collected by conservation organizations around the world!

Follow the conversations around World Oceans Day on Twitter using #oceanlove and don’t forget to PUCKER UP! 

This World Oceans Day, Let’s Celebrate How Water Connects Us All

world oceans day

On June 8, organizations and communities from around the world will join to celebrate the Earth’s largest life-support system, the ocean. World Oceans Day, first celebrated in 2002, was established to help educate others on how much of an impact the ocean has on our lives and what we need to do to protect it!

Why we should celebrate the ocean, by the numbers: 

For 2.6 billion people, the ocean is their primary source of protein.

For 3 billion people, the ocean is their livelihood.

For all of us, the ocean absorbs more than 30 percent of carbon dioxide produced by humans, slowing climate change and allowing us a quality of life that, without the ocean, would not be possible (if we could survive at all).

A recent estimate suggests that there may be as many as 1 million species of non-bacterial life in the world’s waterways YET to be identified.

Though Earth is 70 percent water, an incredible 90 percent of this aquatic real estate has yet to be discovered.

While it’s great for the global community to unify this day in celebration of the ocean, here are five easy ways you can protect this vital resource every day:

  1. Reduce your energy use
    Carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels can lead to ocean acidification, which is harmful to ocean life. You can help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide you put into the atmosphere by riding a bike, walking or using public transportation and by turning off the lights when you leave a room.
  2. Use less plastic
    When plastic debris ends up in the ocean, animals can mistake it for food and eat it by accident, causing animals to choke or clogging their digestive systems. You can prevent this by limiting plastic use and always disposing of trash properly. Choose reusable items such as cloth grocery bags or refillable water bottles.
  3. Cut apart six-pack rings
    The plastic rings used for soda containers can pose a threat to marine life. Creatures can get caught in the rings and sometimes are unable to free themselves. You can help save these animals by cutting apart the rings before throwing them in the trash.
  4. Conserve water
    Reducing your water use can minimize wastewater runoff into the ocean, preventing chemicals and other contaminants from damaging marine habitats. You can conserve water by taking quicker showers and turning off the water when brushing your teeth.
  5. Eat sustainable seafood
    Overfishing can lead to an irreparable loss in certain seafood populations. To prevent this, avoid catching or eating certain species that have been exploited, such as bluefin tuna and Chilean seabass. Visit seafoodwatch.org for more sustainable seafood recommendations!

Thoughtful Thursday: 10 Ways to Celebrate World Oceans Day

June 8 is World Oceans Day, and we invite you to celebrate with us on Friday, through the weekend and all year round!

On Friday, reef conservationist John Halas, who was the first winner of Oceana’s Ocean Heroes contest, will join National Aquarium CEO John Racanelli to dive in two of the Aquarium’s exhibits. Come to the Aquarium this weekend for oceans of fun activities!

There’s no better place to celebrate World Oceans Day than at the National Aquarium, but if you can’t make it for a visit, don’t worry. There are plenty of other things you can do to celebrate!

10 Ways to Celebrate World Oceans Day (All Year Round!)

Give a bag, get a bag!

  • Recycle or donate your plastic bags.
    Many grocery stores, dog parks and animal shelters have collection points. You can also use them as small trash can liners. And this weekend you can also bring your plastic bags to the National Aquarium to trade in for a fun World Oceans Day reusable one!
  • Turn off the water while you’re brushing your teeth.
  • Make a pledge to help protect our world’s oceans, then share it with your friends & family! An easy way to share your pledge is with our downloadable Facebook cover photo. Click on the image below to download it!

Share your pledge to help our oceans on your personal social media platforms!

  • Wash your car over a grassy area or take it to a car wash that treats or recycles their water.
  • Nominate someone who has made or is making lasting contributions to ocean conservation for Oceana’s Ocean Heroes program.
    Ocean heroes can be scientists, educators, conservationists or more! Last year’s Junior Hero was an 8-year-old girl named Sophi Bromenshenkel, who raised money for shark conservation through bake sales and lemonade stands! Oceana is accepting nominations through June 20. 

You can find fun & stylist reusable water bottles at some of your favorite places, including the National Aquarium!

  • Use a reusable water bottle instead of buying plastic single-use bottles.
  • Walk, bike, carpool or utilize mass transit.
  • Create a Pinterest board sharing inspiring ocean photos, messages and links. Click here to see ours!
  • Make a meal with sustainable seafood. (And please invite us over to join…just kidding!)
  • Join a waterfront cleanup.
    Even if you’re don’t live near a beach, there are still waterfront cleanups to join. Protecting our local streams, rivers and bays is very important, because they all eventually connect to the ocean. Click here to find out about our conservation volunteer opportunities.

Together, we can make a difference. Please help us celebrate World Oceans Day and let us know how you are going to celebrate!

Wear Blue, Tell Two

World Oceans Day is Monday, June 8th. The  National Aquarium will be celebrating this weekend with a fun, family Sticker.jpgfestival  designed to teach people that ocean health begins at home.  Can’t make it to the Aquarium this weekend? You can still help by wearing blue on Monday to show your ocean pride, and telling people two things they may not know about the oceans and two ways they can take action to improve and safeguard the health of our oceans.

Need some ideas for what to tell people? Click here for a list of simple things you can do to keep our planet healthy.

Wear Blue and Tell Two was inspired by results from America, the Ocean, and Climate Change: New Research Insights for Conservation, Awareness, and Action, the largest-ever environmental study. A collaborative effort between The Ocean Project, the National Aquarium, and Monterey Bay Aquarium, the study points to the pressing need to accelerate knowledge and commitment to ocean health.

Continue reading ‘Wear Blue, Tell Two’


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