World Oceans Day

Oceans are the lifeblood of Earth – the lungs of our planet, providing us with most of the oxygen we breathe. Oceans have stirred the hearts of explorers and inspired artists. It’s a scientific fact that being near water makes up happier.

Did you know?

Oceans hold more than 97% of the planet’s water and the big blue blanket covers more than half of the earth’s surface. Canada has the world’s longest coastline, bordering the Pacific, Atlantic and Arctic oceans. Vancouver Island North is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. To put the size of those sparkling waters into perspective – it’s 15 times larger than the United States.

Circumnavigating the world in 1521, Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan encountered favourable winds when reaching the ocean he called “mar pacifico” which in Portuguese and Spanish means “peaceful sea.” The Pacific Ocean is an integral part of who we are, our history and our way of life. On World Oceans Day we honour the waters that provide employment, transportation and recreation. Honoured by First Nations peoples, water is the most sustaining gift on Mother Earth and is the interconnection of all living beings.

In 1992 the Government of Canada proposed the concept of World Oceans Day at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Then in 2009, June 8th was officially declared by the United Nations as World Oceans Day. Around the world hundreds of organizations and millions of people recognize this day for ocean awareness and action. A day to learn about the fascinating and beautiful world beneath the waves. We certainly have a lot to celebrate and to protect.

Steven Fines photo

What do oceans mean to you?

What a thrill it is to watch whales, dolphins and sea lions popping up out of the water to take a breath. That’s just what we see on the surface. Down below live creatures beyond our imagination. Oceans are home to a staggering amount of life. More than 200,000 species and experts believe there could be up to 2 million more not yet discovered. The waters off Vancouver Island North offer opportunities for kayaking, whale and nature watching, fishing, diving, sailing, wind surfing and beachcombing. Healthy oceans and coastal ecosystems generate clean water, pristine beaches, superlative seafood and spectacular vistas.

How will you celebrate?

The Port Hardy Chamber of Commerce invites all ages to take part in World Oceans Day festivities on June 8th from 10am to 2pm. Activities will take place near the Port Hardy Visitor Information Centre and Carrot Park downtown Port Hardy. Over the past 8 years this event has had overwhelming success engaging participants in shore walks, touch tanks and interactive displays. This year a shoreline clean up and cultural dancers have been added to the lineup.

Doing things a little bit differently in Sointula, World Oceans Day will be celebrated on Sunday June 10th. Starting at 9:30am with free coffee and treats at Coho Joe’s Café, participants will head to the beach at 10am to spend a few hours picking up plastics and other debris.

Both events are wonderful opportunities to learn more about the life giving role and importance of the world’s oceans. Not just celebrating and honouring oceans but learning more about the water that sustains and surrounds us.

For landlubbers not near the ocean that day, wear something blue, dive into an ocean themed book like Moby Dick or 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. Visit one of the many amazing websites with facts and ideas on how you can participate such as: www.worldoceansday.org

Boomer Jerritt photo

Take a moment to ponder this World Oceans Day. Whether you’re here already hiking along the shore, paddling the ocean waters in a kayak, enjoying a seafood meal or planning to visit Vancouver Island North sometime soon, on June 8th we are all connected to oceans no matter where we live.

Karen Stewart – Freelance Writer
Karen is the author of the blogs This is Port McNeill and At Water’s Edge Ventures

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