Making Waves on World Oceans Day

Making Waves on World Oceans Day2
NEW YORK, New York
, June 14, 2016 ( News) – Musician Jack Johnson started the Wave for Change conservation social media campaign just in time for World Oceans Day this year. The Hawaii-based performer is asking people around the world to do something for the ocean – cut down on plastics, use more renewable energy and spread the word that the oceans need our help.

Doing a Wave for Change is easy and fun, says Johnson, himself a singer-songwriter, musician, actor, record producer – and a former professional surfer.

  1. Make a promise to the ocean such as shopping with reusable bags or giving up plastic straws.
  2. “Sign” your commitment by recording yourself saying your commitment and making a wave with your body – doing the wave!
  3. Share it with the world! Pass it on by sharing your video online with the tags #WaveForChange and #WorldOceansDay. Don’t forget to tag World Oceans Day on Facebook & Instagram, and @CelebrateOceans on Twitter.

Johnson celebrated World Oceans Day in New York on June 8, its annual date, at the United Nations with Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon with whom he made a strong connection two years ago in Samoa.

Back then, Ban came aboard the Polynesian voyaging canoe Hokule’a and offered the gift of a message in a bottle, a handwritten note pledging to take action and protect the world’s oceans.

Along her sailing route since then, the Hokule’a crew has collected 40 pledges from around the world and ceremonially returned the bottle to the secretary-general in honor of World Oceans Day 2016.


UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, center left, holds hands with Hawaiian navigator Nainoa Thompson, who holds the hands of two Hawaiian dancers behind him at a welcoming event for the Hokule’a, a voyaging canoe of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, World Oceans Day New York City, June 8, 2016 (Photo by Eskinder Debebe / UN) Posted for media use.

The winners of the Third Annual World Oceans Day Photo Competition were announced at the ceremony. Among the five judges was native Hawaiian navigator Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.

Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet” is the theme of World Oceans Day this year, and there is no one on Earth who knows the effects of climate change to the oceans better than World Meteorological Organization (WMO) Secretary-General Petteri Taalas of Finland.

 “We don’t need to be reminded of the challenges we currently face with a changing climate – the impacts on the ocean are clear: sea level rise, eroding  coastlines, warmer waters and ocean acidification,” said Taalas on World Oceans Day.

We are currently witnessing unprecedented coral bleaching, which may be endangering some of the world’s best-known coral reefs,” he said, among them the Great Barrier Reef along the east coast of Australia, the world’s longest reef.

The most pristine section of the big reef is experiencing the worst mass bleaching event in history, scientists have found during aerial and in-water surveys.

After surveying more than 500 coral reefs from Cairns, Australia to Papua New Guinea, scientists rank the overwhelming majority of reefs in the most severe bleaching category.

The powerful El Niño event and long-term global warming joined forces with potentially harmful effect on marine ecosystems. This may impact the livelihoods of millions of people,” said Taalas.

We now know that although the oceans are seemingly endless, their capacity to withstand human activities is limited, particularly as they also cope with the threats posed by climate change,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in a message.

 “Urgent action on a global scale is needed to alleviate the world’s oceans from the many pressures they face, and to protect them from future dangers that may tip them beyond the limits of their carrying capacity,” said the secretary-general.

Long overlooked in international negotiations about climate change, the role of oceans was taken into account for the first time at the 2015 UN climate change conference in Paris and is part of the Paris Climate Agreement, now signed by 175 countries.

Oceans are also specifically recognized in the framework of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda adopted by the UN last fall.

 “To implement these agreements, multi-stakeholder partnership and collaboration are key,” advised Taalas.

Given the close inter-linkages between the ocean and climate, WMO works closely with the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO on ocean and climate observations, ocean and atmospheric research, as well as forecasting and early warning systems for hazards like tsunamis and storm surges.

Taalas warned that there is ocean warming both at surface level and deeper down. He said the ocean is absorbing more than 90 percent of the excess heat from human activities and about 30 percent of the carbon dioxide.

And, the rate of sea level rise is increasing. From 1901-1990 it was 1.9 mm/year. It was 3.0 mm/year during the period 1990-2010; and from 1993-2016 the rate of sea level rise 3.3 mm/year.

Arctic sea ice is shrinking at a rate of 13.4 percent per decade relative to the 1981 to 2010 average.

 And finally, Since pre-industrial times, surface ocean waters have become nearly 30 percent more acid, Taalas warned.

WMO will therefore intensify its drive to improve multi-hazard early warning systems, provide science-based climate services for sustainable coastal planning, and the preservation of coastal ecosystems that act as natural barriers such as corals and mangroves.

 “For all of these reasons, WMO and the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of UNESCO need to stand together and continue close collaboration as leaders in the global community on these matters,” he said.

There are 11 young people from throughout the world on this year’s World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council . One of them is Caitlin Philipps, 16, of Melbourne, Australia, a sailor and school leader.

The ocean is my starting point,” says Philipps. “I come from a family of sailors and therefore salt water runs through my veins. It is my first home and the place where I feel free.

The ocean is the beating heart of the planet. It utterly destroys me that we as humans believe that the Earth is ours to corrupt and bleed dry when we share it with 8.7 million other species of plants and animals.” Philipps said. “The ocean is the most exploited system on the planet and that’s why I am here. It’s my starting point to change the world because as Emma Watson has said, ‘If not me, who? If not now, when?’ So, what better time.

Main Image: Musician Jack Johnson Kicks Off the #WaveforChange: World Oceans Day 2016 (Screengrab from video) Posted for media use

Featured Image : Exploring the ocean at sunrise on Cape Cod, Massachusetts, July 12, 2014 (Photo by Andrew Dai) Winner in MassAudubon’s 2014 Photo Contest in the 18 and under “People in Nature” Category. Creative commons license via Flickr    

TerraMar: Uniting to Protect Our Precious Ocean Resources

Guest blog by Ghislaine Maxwell, Founder of the TerraMar Project

The oceans cover over seventy percent of our planet’s surface. To quote former U.S. president John F. Kennedy, “We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea; whether it is to sail or to watch; we are going back from whence we came.”

The ocean creates more than fifty percent of the oxygen we breathe. It regulates our climate and generates ninety-eight percent of the rainfall. Sixteen percent of the global population depends on fish as its primary source of protein.

Fisheries employ approximately 200 million people and generate billions of dollars of revenue worldwide. International trade in coastal and marine fisheries in the U.S. alone is worth $70 billion. By any measure, the ocean is essential to life on Earth as we know it.

Despite the ocean’s essential role to our food security and to trade, its value and importance are undervalued. The ocean is at the bottom of our consciousness, the last on anyone’s philanthropic giving list and the least important in terms of government policy.

At the TerraMar Project, a nonprofit whose mission is to create a global community to speak for the high seas, we aim to change that, raising the profile of the ocean in our daily lives. If we do not value our ocean or fully understand the essential global services it provides, how can we protect it? If we eat the last of the remaining fish, allow pollution to run rampant, continue to dump trash in the ocean, and to mine at will, where does that leave future generations?

Legendary ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau summarized it perfectly when he said, “For most of history, man has had to fight nature to survive; in this century he is beginning to realize that, in order to survive, he must protect it.”

The TerraMar Project was created to build a global community of citizens to ask governments and industries to mandate sustainable use of the ocean resources. One of our top priorities is asking for an ocean-specific Sustainable Development Goal at the United Nations in September 2014 when the UN votes on a global sustainable roadmap.

Consumers, investors; including impact investors; and businesses have a crucial role to play. Food resources, financial benefit, and planetary services all have an immense dollar value attached to them. Loss of fish stocks leads to job losses. Poor ocean management results in $50 billion dollars of lost revenue a year, according to the World Bank.

Ocean acidification, caused by the ocean absorbing carbon pollution, and ocean warming are leading to damaged food chains, stronger storms and subsequent vast economic loss; think hurricane Sandy or typhoon Huiyan with commensurate loss of life and property. The ocean is ripe for impact investment that is based in sustainable management. It behooves us all to protect one of our greatest resources.

When a single fish costs $1.7 million dollars, we can agree that scarcity is driving up the price. That’s what someone paid for a blue fin tuna in 2013.

Why should anyone care if one species is fished to extinction? The ocean requires its apex predators such as tuna to maintain balance. And tuna is not the only apex species under threat. We are extracting 100 million sharks a year; only for their fins; and the number of many other apex species are at historic lows. The fine balance is changing and the outlook is negative.

Wild fish is most renewable and sustainable food source we have. If properly managed, fished, and maintained, we can have a balanced ocean ecosystem and global fish stocks to last generations while feeding a growing population.

Investments in sustainable fisheries and ocean preservation ventures need to move from uncoordinated innovation to a mature marketplace while building easy-to-understand and profitable models that can capitalize on the growing interest from impact investors.

The consumer market needs further development as well. The fish and seafood supply chain is overrun with middlemen; a fish can change hands fourteen to fifteen times before it hits the plate in the U.S. This opaqueness makes it hard for sustainable suppliers to differentiate themselves from their unsustainable competitors. Also, it is often difficult for the end user to know the true origin or variety of fish. If you take the head and skin off of a fish, most professional chefs can’t tell which fish it is.

There are only a few main fish processors dominating the industry and this makes it difficult for others to enter the business. Some of the biggest business opportunities, as a result, lie in traceability, processing technology, and branding.

Other challenges face the seas because we treat the world’s oceans like a giant trashcan. Five massive whirlpools of debris; mostly plastic; churn in five major oceans. Between Hawaii and San Francisco alone, an estimated 3 million tons of rubbish fill the water. Much of the material is suspended in the water column or broken into tiny bits called microplastics, which carry toxic contaminants. Plastic debris of all sizes kills millions of fish, sea birds, and marine mammals every year. Discarded fishing gear, some of the pieces large enough to shroud skyscrapers, drift through the water catching and killing everything in their path.

TerraMar seeks to partner with all relevant industries to promote best; and sustainable; practices on and around the ocean.

In fisheries, TerraMar would like to promote sustainable and managed fisheries that have a proven track record of increasing fish stocks and promoting an industry standard, both of wild and farmed fish. The more fish there are in the ocean, the healthier and more resilient the ocean will be. The more marine parks we establish, the more fish there will be in the ocean. The more we adopt sustainable fishing practices, the more we can count on fish remaining a key food source for future generations.

TerraMar needs your participation to secure a thriving ocean. You can start by signing the I Love the Ocean Pledge. Join the biggest movement for change in the ocean.

Image credit: Pristine Reef by Dr. Enric Sala