Wädenswil/Switzerland, 8th June 2017. The theme of today’s World Oceans Day is ‘Our Oceans, Our Future’. The ocean plays a vital role in all our lives, providing us with oxygen, food, livelihoods and recreation and helps to control earth’s temperature and weather. Oceans are home to millions of species and cover over two thirds of the planet but in the 21st century they face more threats than ever before.

‘Our Oceans, Our Future’ is a rallying cry for everyone worldwide to commit to meaningful actions to save our oceans. Whether you are an individual, a group of friends, a business, an organisation or a politician, this is an opportunity to make a pledge to do your bit to make oceans healthy again for people, wildlife and future generations. Get inspired by OceanCare’s ideas or come up with your own.  What will your commitment be?

This year on World Oceans Day, OceanCare has made pledges to drive forward specific actions on a number of key issues over the next three years including ocean noise pollution, marine plastic debris, aquatic wild meat and whaling as part of the United Nation’s 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

Central to the UN’s 2030 Agenda are 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which are designed to shape national development plans over the next 13 years. Right now, the OceanCare team are at the UN headquarters in New York, attending The Ocean Conference: Our Oceans, Our Future which will focus on the implementation of SDG 14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development.

OceanCare is proud to be working to support the implementation of the SDGs. We have listed our own commitments alongside over 1000 others which have been uploaded to the UN’s The Ocean Conference website by governments, inter-governmental organisatons, non-government organisations, academic institutions, private sector and other stakeholders.

OceanCare Commitments:

  1. OceanCare commits itself, through all existing workplans, to the achievement of SDG14: Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. How? We will work to partner with and deliver information and recommendations to governmental and intergovernmental processes that supports the delivery of international commitments to the SDG 14. #OceanAction16022
  1. As a recognised authority on the issue of ocean noise pollution, OceanCare commits to ensuring that ocean noise is recognised and addressed as a harmful form of marine pollution which must be reduced. How? Over the coming years we will be putting extra effort into addressing the negative impacts that ocean noise has on fish and the sustainability of fisheries. #OceanAction16030
  1. OceanCare will be accelerating its efforts towards the reduction of plastic debris in our oceans and the impact it has on species and habitats. How? We will launch consumer targeted campaigns and educational initiatives to encourage reduction of plastic use and recycling orientated solutions; and we will proactively engage with the private sector to persuade target companies to reduce or eliminate the use of plastic in their businesses. Moreover, we will continue to support and enable the collection of data that will fill the knowledge gaps necessary to address the issue. #OceanAction16050
  1. OceanCare will work collaboratively with other relevant organisations, agencies and governments to improve understanding and drive forward locally applicable solutions on the issue of aquatic wild meat. How? Focussing initially on West Africa, OceanCare will gather information on the underlying causes leading people to kill and consume aquatic wildlife such as dolphins, manatees, reptiles, amphibians and birds. Issues such as distant water industrialised fishing activities and other industries which reduce the access coastal communities have to natural resources will be a major focus of this work over the coming years. #OceanAction16046
  1. As a long-standing observer to the International Whaling Commission (IWC) and Partner of CMS, OceanCare will continue its commitment towards securing protection for whales and dolphins. How? We will bring our extensive background of work on the threats these animals face and the valuable eco-system services they provide, into the relevant SDG discussions. In so doing, we are providing decision makers with the necessary information to have informed discussions and are ensuring that the opportunity provided by the SDGs for world leaders to address the whaling issue from a more holistic perspective is seized. #OceanAction16054

What can you do?

Everyone has a role to play to #SaveOurOceans. Why not celebrate World Oceans Day by making your own commitments and taking these ten easy actions:

  1. Say no to single-use plastic – items such as plastic bags, plastic straws and other unnecessary single-use plastic items frequently end up in the oceans once people have finished using them – instead support re-useable alternatives
  2. Avoid cosmetic products with micro-beads – often found in products such as shower gels, facial creams and exfoliating products, these tiny beads of plastic are a major problem once they enter the waterways and oceans
  3. Always take your rubbish home with you when visiting a beach and if you find litter left by other people pick it up or if there is a lot of it report it to authorities.
  4. When on holiday avoid buying whale meat or souvenirs made of whale products or going to restaurants which sell whale meat
  5. Be fish aware – as the world’s fisheries continue to decline, consumers of seafood must be more selective and consciously aware of what fish they buy. Look for certification labels, don’t buy krill or fish oils, ask supermarkets for information on their supply chains.
  6. Do not visit dolphinaria. Dolphins belong in the wild.
  7. Engage in responsible and respectful whale watching activities if you choose to see marine life in the wild.
  8. Elect only politicians who are in favour of environmental protection and animal welfare.
  9. Support organisations in the field of species and environmental protection.
  10. Consider which water sport activities you choose. Jet skis, for instance, are creating lots of noise and are a big stressor for marine life.

Gather friends, family or co-workers together and make your commitments even more powerful! Think of actions you could take together like organising a local beach clean-up, starting a recycling initiative in your workplace, writing to local businesses to ask them to use less plastic, organise presentations or other educational and awareness raising events, talk to friends and family about ocean related issues.

OceanCare would love to hear about the commitments you make – why not tell us about it on social media (Twitter: @OceanCare, Facebook: @OceanCare.org) using the hashtag #SaveOurOceans and/or directly register your commitments under www.cleanseas.org/take-action.