In Focus: June's World Ocean's Day Celebration

World Ocean's Week in Focus

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This newsletter highlights June 8th’s World Oceans Day celebrations. We are all connected to some extent through the global ocean. The ocean covers more than 70% of the Earth’s surface and provides between 50-80% of the oxygen in the atmosphere, supporting most of life as we know it. It has also been protecting us from the worst impacts of climate change, absorbing about 30% of the carbon dioxide we have produced in the past 200 years and more than 90% of the excess heat. This buffering comes at a cost, with unprecedented ocean warming and acidification, sea-level rise, and biodiversity loss jeopardizing the health and well-being of coastal communities and the sustainability of fisheries on which millions of people depend.


This year’s World Oceans Day theme is The Ocean: Life & Livelihoods. Indeed, more than 3 billion people rely on the ocean for their livelihood – as a means to secure the necessities for life and to ensure the survival of cultural practices and values in coastal communities. Coastal fisheries shape and are shaped by the cultures and economies of coastal areas and are crucial for lives and livelihoods. It is therefore important to take stock of lives and livelihoods in coastal fisheries and fishing communities. Communities, industries, governments, and researchers can then understand what they need to get right to support coastal fisheries now and well into the future.


This month, our Pop-up stories highlight a few coordinated efforts in the context of World Oceans Day to work towards equitable and just solutions to ocean governance problems. On and surrounding World Ocean Day, there will be a series of events around the globe centred around a common goal of protection and restoration of the marine environment to support life and livelihoods along the coast.


Many World Oceans Day celebrations are connected to the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. The UN Ocean Decade illustrates the need for transdisciplinary efforts to make equitable, just, and sustainable transitions. The Ocean Decade’s vision is to develop scientific knowledge, build infrastructure and foster relationships for a sustainable and healthy ocean. Many countries, including Canada, are developing their own strategies and priorities for the Ocean Decade, aiming to be global leaders in ocean science.


This newsletter draws attention to examples from around the world and events that foster dialogue around current and future ocean governance, and plan for a sustainable and equitable relationship with the ocean for decades to come. For example, the Too Big To Ignore Partnership will be hosting the SSF Open House, including contributions from researchers and practitioners around the world, including from OFI. Another example, the Ocean Visions Summit 2021–held last month as a lead up to World Oceans Day—highlights the role of transdisciplinary thinking and practice with calls to create equitable and just ocean solutions that benefit coastal communities.


At the heart of World Ocean’s Day on June 8th are the people whose lives and livelihoods will be most affected by ocean change, and the industries, governments, NGOs, community actors, and academics seeking to understand and sustain coastal fisheries. The Ocean Frontier Institute Module I and partners are working to answer these fundamental questions of sustainable livelihoods for Newfoundland and Labrador and beyond, with the potential of drawing out opportunities and challenges for knowledge in support of Getting IT Right now and for the next generations.