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Our Oceans, Our Future

By: Regina Sámano

The concept of a "World Oceans Day" was first proposed in 1992 at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro as a way to celebrate the oceans shared by the countries of the world and our personal relationship with the sea, as well as raising awareness about the crucial role the oceans play in our lives and the different ways people can help protect them.

This year's motto is "OUR OCEANS, OUR FUTURE".

Why do we celebrate World Oceans Day?

  • To remind everyone of the great role the oceans play in our lives. They are the lungs of our planet, which generate most of the oxygen we breathe.

  • To inform public opinion of the consequences that human activity has for the oceans.

  • To launch a global citizen movement in favor of the oceans.

  • To celebrate together the beauty, richness and potential of the oceans.

The oceans cover about two-thirds of the Earth's surface and are the true pillar of life. They generate most of the oxygen we breathe, absorb a large amount of carbon emissions, provide food and nutrients, regulate the climate, and are economically important to countries that rely on tourism, fisheries and other marine resources for their incomes .

Facts about the oceans:

  • The Conference of the Oceans is the first of the United Nations on this issue, represents a unique and invaluable opportunity for the world to reverse the deterioration of the health of the oceans and seas with concrete solutions.

  • The oceans cover more than 70% of the surface of the globe. Only 1% of the ocean surface is protected.

  • The ocean absorbs about 25% of the CO2 that is added to the atmosphere annually due to human activity, thus reducing the impact of global warming.

  • Between 50 and 80% of life on Earth lies beneath the surface of the ocean. A cluster of tiny marine organisms called phytoplankton produce half the oxygen in the atmosphere through photosynthesis.

  • The oceans contain about 200,000 species identified, but actual numbers may be in the order of millions.

  • Marine fishing directly or indirectly employs more than 200 million people. More than 3 billion people depend on biological and coastal diversity for their livelihoods. The oceans are the world's largest protein source, as it is a primary source for many people.

  • The health of the water body that forms the oceans is in critical condition. Our oceans are increasingly threatened, depleted and destroyed by human activities, reducing their ability to provide their crucial support to our ecosystems.

  • It is estimated that up to 40% of the world's oceans are heavily affected by pollution, depletion of fishery resources and loss of coastal habitats.


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