• etcetera team

Our Borderless Home: World Oceans Day 2020 - Noyna Roy

One Planet, One Ocean Video via https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=YyiuLwhUpH4&feature=emb_logo

“With every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you’re connected to the sea. No matter where on Earth you live.” – Sylvia Earle

Snorkelling from the age of 6, scuba diving from the age of 10 and surfing from the age of 12, I was dubbed as the “water baby” of the family. The ocean played a big part in my childhood, and my favourite memories were of spending summer and winter holidays by the beaches of Goa, collecting a plethora of seashells, only to sell them to my grandmother for 1 INR for 10 shells, and being pushed around by the waves for hours as I floated on body-boards with friends.

June 8th was marked in my Google calendar with a blue tag and a fish emoji, in 2020, I had hoped to participate in local beach clean ups on Sentosa and attend conferences with local conservationists, but this year, I was up at 6am, with my eyes glued to my computer screen, ready for the virtual World Oceans Day celebrations.

About World Oceans Day

World Oceans Day was proposed by the Canadian Government at the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to recognise and celebrate the role oceans play in our lives, raise awareness about the environmental issues, and encourage people to get involved in the protection of marine life. Launched in 2008 by the UN Division for Ocean Affairs and Law of the Sea in collaboration with an international NGO, The Ocean Project, the annual event is growing larger every year.

World Oceans Day 2020 via https://unworldoceansday.org/

The theme for World Oceans Day 2020 is “innovation for a sustainable ocean” encouraging innovative methods, ideas or products to make human interactions with marine resources more sustainable. This year’s theme leads up to the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development which will run from 2021-2030. Over the next few years we hope to see an increased international effort in scientific research and innovative technology to create and enable a more sustainable impact on our oceans.

The 6 hour long live stream featured keynote speakers, panellists and presentations. There were even musicians such as Jess Glynne and Bombino, to “Perform for the Ocean”. All these events were to raise awareness about the long term goal; to project 30% of the oceans by 2050 in an effort to restore the oceans to its original glory. The oceans are the lungs of our planet, absorbing more than 30% of the carbon emissions and “more than 3 billion people depending on marine resources as their primate source of protein” – The UN.

Happy World Oceans Day Sign via https://www.ethicalsuperstore.com/blog/awareness/world-oceans-day-2019/

International Efforts

Every year, 8 million tons of plastic waste end up in the oceans, with already 150 million currently circulating in the water. The fashion industry has one of the largest carbon footprints, high carbon emissions, large amounts of water waste and is a large plastic polluter. As a consumer in the 21st century, we should be aware of the carbon footprint of the brands we are purchasing from.

Imagine removing plastic through every purchase of leggings or wearing a swimsuit that is made out of recycled plastic. Several fashion companies are working towards making their products more sustainable in order to attract their environmentally concerned target audience.

To name a few: L*Space has a line of eco-friendly swimwear that uses materials made from fishnets and recycled ocean waste. The AdidasXParley collection are making shoes for the eco-conscious athlete, and Wolven makes athleisure out of recycled plastic bottles. Lastly, for the tech savvy environmentalists, the application Good on You is a must-have, their platform is dedicated to rating ethical brands and can make your shopping choices more sustainable.

On a much larger scale and commercial scale, Blancpain, the luxury dive watch designer, collaborated with a luxury private island Fregate Island to increase conservation efforts in the Seychelles. They transplanted 800 storm-derived coral fragments onto artificial structures and used “Mineral Acceleration Technology”. This marine protected area is fast to establish and cost effective, inspiring hope that we can save the oceans through the new coral transplanting technology.

Next Steps

Since World Oceans Day 2019, I have worked towards minimizing my impact on the oceans. Here is a list of small changes you can make to your lifestyle to reduce your plastic usage:

1. Switch to bamboo toothbrushes

2. Purchase from seafood from local producers or farmed fish sellers

3. Buy “Dolphin Safe” canned sea food

4. Eat organic! (this reduces the use of chemical fertilizer that creates deadzones)

5. Attend more beach clean ups

6. Buy ocean friendly products and avoid purchasing items that are made out of shells

This pandemic has made us more aware of how interconnected we are as a civilisation on this planet. We should all work together towards a cleaner and sustainable ocean, to protect them for all future “water babies” to enjoy.

Photo of the shoreline via https://unsplash.com/photos/sLAk1guBG90

Learn More:

Check out the UN’s World Oceans Day website and sign up for the newsletter:


If you celebrated World Ocean Day in your own unique and socially distanced manner and are passionate about a local ocean-related issue, the Guardian would love to hear your views. https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jun/03/world-oceans-day-tell-us-about-issues-affecting-your-local-ocean

The New York Times has compiled several articles that are related to the our oceans and the environmental concerns.


Works Cited:

Blancpain Ocean Commitment. "Conservation Around Fregate Island." Blancpain Ocean Commitment : Helping Protect the Ocean, www.blancpain-ocean-commitment.com/preservation/conservation-around-fregate-island. Accessed 13 June 2020.

Carrington, Damian. "Oceans Can Be Restored to Former Glory Within 30 Years, Say Scientists." The Guardian, 1 Apr. 2020, www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/apr/01/oceans-can-be-restored-to-former-glory-within-30-years-say-scientists. Accessed 13 June 2020.

Good On You. Good On You, 2020, goodonyou.eco/. Accessed 14 June 2020.

IISD's SDG Knowledge Hub. "Event: World Oceans Day 2020." SDG Knowledge Hub | Daily SDG News, IISD, 8 June 2020, sdg.iisd.org/events/world-oceans-day-2020/. Accessed 13 June 2020.

Meckelmann, Sebastian. "10 Things You Can Do to Save the Ocean." National Geographic, 27 Apr. 2010, www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/oceans/take-action/10-things-you-can-do-to-save-the-ocean/. Accessed 13 June 2020.

Moore, Kaleigh. "On World Ocean’s Day 2020, How Is The Fashion Industry Taking Action?" Forbes, 9 June 2020, www.forbes.com/sites/kaleighmoore/2020/06/08/on-world-oceans-day-2020-how-is-the-fashion-industry-taking-action/#d69f42c3cf85. Accessed 13 June 2020.

Orayeva, Jennet. "World Oceans Day 2020: New IAEA Research Records Dramatic Increase in Microplastic Pollution in Eastern Tropical Pacific Ocean." International Atomic Energy Agency | Atoms for Peace and Development, 8 June 2020, www.iaea.org/newscenter/news/world-oceans-day-2020-new-iaea-research-records-dramatic-increase-in-microplastic-pollution-in-eastern-tropical-pacific-ocean. Accessed 13 June 2020.

United Nations World Oceans Day. Home | World Oceans Day Online Portal, 8 June 2020, unworldoceansday.org/. Accessed 13 June 2020.

UNESCO. "World Oceans Day." UNESCO, 10 June 2020, en.unesco.org/commemorations/oceansday. Accessed 13 June 2020.

---. "One Planet, One Ocean: Mobilizing Science to #SaveOurOcean." YouTube, 6 June 2017, www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=2&v=YyiuLwhUpH4&feature=emb_logo. Accessed 13 June 2020.

United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. The Science We Need For the Ocean We Want - Homepage, 6 Mar. 2019, oceandecade.org/. Accessed 13 June 2020.

United Nations. "World Oceans Day." United Nations, 8 June 2020, www.un.org/en/observances/oceans-day. Accessed 13 June 2020.

---. "Sylvia Earle Quotes." BrainyQuote.com. BrainyMedia Inc, 2020. 13 June 2020. https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/sylvia_earle_412314

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