“Together we have the power to protect the ocean."
this year’s World Oceans Day theme
Why celebrate the oceans? Oceans cover 71% of Earth’s surface, and they hold 97% of our planet’s water. They help feed us and provide most of the oxygen that we breathe. They play a key role in regulating the weather and climate. Water evaporating from the oceans falls inland as rain, which we use to drink and grow crops.A variety of life saving medicinal compounds including anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer drugs have been discovered in the oceans.
The concept for a “World Ocean Day” was first proposed in 1992 by the government of Canada at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Since 2002, The Ocean Project and the World Ocean Network have helped to promote and coordinate World Oceans Day events worldwide with aquariums, zoos, museums, conservation organizations, universities, schools, and businesses. The United Nations General Assembly resolution passed in December 2008 recognizing World Oceans Day as June 8th.
Threats to the oceans include pollution, overfishing, invasive species, and rising ocean acidity due to the extensive use of fossil fuels.
Oregon-based artist and educator Angela Haseltine Pozzi created Henry and the dozen sculptures in an exhibit called “Washed Ashore: Plastics, Sea Life & Art” to educate people, particularly children, about the hazards to marine life from the trash left in the oceans and on the beaches. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, it takes one to 20 years for plastic grocery bags to disintegrate, 450 years for plastic bottles and 600 years for plastic fishing line. Pozzi’s art pieces were sculpted from 7,000 pounds of marine debris found in one year.
Some 500 volunteers scoured 60 miles of Oregon coastline, from Port Orford to North Bend, collecting plastic water bottles, plastic rope and netting, flip-flop sandals, sand toys, buoys and balls. But as Pozzi said, “It could be any beach in the world.” To create the art, the trash is cleaned and left exposed to rain and sun as part of the process. The debris is used as is, or cut and shredded, and then assembled into the piece. Pozzi designs the sculptures and makes the faces herself, but volunteers, from kindergartners to senior citizens, help create the art. Unlike most art, these sculptures were made to touch or to walk through, such as a giant sea jelly made mostly of plastic bags and water bottles hanging in the Shark & Ray Experience and the 12-foot-high, 10-foot-long whale bone cage at the front galleria entrance.
Washed Ashore: Plastics, Sea Life & Art
Where: Chula Vista Nature Center, 1000 Gunpowder Point Drive, Chula Vista
So what can we do as individuals living in the Midwest, living miles far from the nearest ocean?
We can begin by recycling and using reusable water bottles and grocery bags to help reduce plastic pollution. We can reduce our carbon footprint by turning off lights and appliances when they are not in use and purchasing energy efficient products. And we can make sustainable seafood choices to protect marine life.
BEST CHOICES Well managed, caught or farmed in environmentally responsible ways.
Arctic Char (farmed)
Bass: Striped (US hook & line, farmed)
Clams, Mussels, Oysters
Cod: Pacific (US hook & line, longline & trap)
Crab: Dungeness & Stone (US)
Halibut (US Pacific)
Lobster: Spiny (Mexico)
Sablefish/Black Cod (AK & Canada)
Sardines: Pacific (Canada & US)
Shrimp: Pink (OR)
Tilapia (Ecuador & US)
Trout: Rainbow (US farmed)
Tuna: Albacore/White canned (Canada & US troll, pole)
Tuna: Skipjack/Light canned (FAD-free, US troll, pole)
Tuna: Yellowfin (US troll, pole)
GOOD ALTERNATIVES Some concerns with how they are caught or farmed.
Cod: Atlantic (imported)
Cod: Pacific (US trawl)
Crab: Blue & King (US)
Flounders, Soles (US)
Grouper: Red (US Gulf of Mexico)
Lobster (Bahamas & US)
Mahi Mahi (Ecuador & US)
Salmon (CA, OR & WA wild)
Shrimp (Canada & US wild)
Snapper: Red (US)
Tilapia (China & Taiwan)
Tuna: Albacore/White canned (US longline)
Tuna: Skipjack/Light canned (importedtroll, pole and US longline)
Tuna: Yellowfin (imported troll, pole and US longline)
AVOID Overfished, or strong concerns with how they are caught or farmed.
Abalone (China & Japan)
Cod: Pacific (Japan & Russia)
Crab: Red King (Russia)
Lobster: Spiny (Belize, Brazil, Honduras & Nicaragua)
Mahi Mahi (imported)
Salmon: Atlantic (farmed)
Shrimp (imported farmed)
Shrimp (LA & Mexico wild)
Tuna: Albacore/White canned (except Canada & US troll, pole and US longline)
Tuna: Skipjack/Light canned (imported longline and purse seine)
Tuna: Yellowfin (except troll, pole and US longline)
“We never know the worth of water ‘til the well is dry.”