World Oceans Day 2023: what is it, what is this year’s theme, why do we celebrate it - and fun ocean facts

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The United Nations awareness day has been celebrated annually worldwide since 2009

World Oceans Day is celebrated every year in June, and is an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of the ocean.

The day also highlights how it’s vital to treat the ocean sustainably so it can provide for future generations as well as our own. So, what exactly is World Oceans Day, how is it celebrated, and what do we know about the ocean? This is everything you need to know.

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What is World Oceans Day?

World Oceans Day is an international day led by the United Nations (UN) that takes place annually on 8 June. It highlights the need for the protection of the ocean and the sustainable management of its resources.

Why do we celebrate World Oceans Day?

The purpose of the Day is to inform the public of the impact of human actions on the ocean, develop a worldwide movement of people who want to look after oceans, and unite the world’s population on a project for the sustainable management of the world’s oceans.

World Ocean Day also seeks to promote knowledge about the world’s oceanic system and how they’re at increasing risk from climate change; from rising pollution, acidification of ocean water, rising average temperatures, to a reduction in ocean biodiversity.

The United Nations said: “The ocean connects, sustains, and supports us all. Yet its health is at a tipping point and so is the well-being of all that depends on it. As the past years have shown us, we need to work together to create a new balance with the ocean that no longer depletes its bounty but instead restores its vibrancy and brings it new life.

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“On this day, we have an opportunity to raise global awareness of the benefits humankind derives from the ocean and our individual and collective duty to use its resources sustainably. Future generations will also depend on the oceans for their livelihoods.”

World Oceans Day is celebrated every year in June, and is an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of the ocean.World Oceans Day is celebrated every year in June, and is an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of the ocean.
World Oceans Day is celebrated every year in June, and is an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of the ocean. | shanemyersphoto -

What is the theme of this year’s World Oceans Day?

Every World Oceans Day has a theme. The theme for World Ocean Day 2023 is Planet Ocean: Tides are Changing. The focus of this theme is around the impact each person can have on the planet and the ocean. It's hoped the day will generate excitement towards the concept of protecting and cherishing the ocean.

How is World Oceans Day being celebrated this year?

An event to mark this year’s World Oceans Day will be held at the UN Headquarters in New York from 3pm to 4.30pm UK time on Thursday 8 June 2022. The event will be live-streamed on the World Oceans Day website. It will feature commentary from cross-industry experts and community speakers who will discuss key topics around this year’s theme.

There is also a photo competition every year which aims to celebrate the beauty of the ocean through photographs. 2023 marks the tenth year of the contest, which will include a celebratory exhibition at the UN Headquarters.

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How can I get involved with World Oceans Day?

The UN has put together a calendar listing all World Oceans Day events taking place around the world. There are events taking place both in-person and online, so all you need to do is browse the calendar and choose the event that works best for you.

What is the history of World Oceans Day?

Oceans Day was first declared as 8 June in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro at the Global Forum, a parallel event at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. In 2008, the General Assembly resolved that 8 June would be designated by the United Nations as World Oceans Day. It has been celebrated annually worldwide since 2009.

What are some facts about oceans?

Here are eight interesting facts about oceans:

  • Around 70% of the planet’s surface is covered by oceans.
  • Oceans hold about 96.5% of all water on Earth.
  • About 94 percent of the earth’s wildlife is found in the ocean.
  • The largest ocean on Earth is the Pacific Ocean, covering around 30% of the Earth’s surface.
  • The deepest known area of the Earth’s oceans is known as the Mariana Trench. Its deepest point measures 11km.
  • The sea is home to the world’s largest living structure – the Great Barrier Reef. It measures around 2,600km, and can even be seen from the Moon.
  • We have only explored about 5% of the world’s oceans. There’s a lot more to be discovered.
  • The sea can be described as the planet’s mega museum. There are more artefacts and remnants of history in the ocean than in all of the world’s museums combined.

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