June 8 is World Oceans Day! This annual celebration is an opportunity to unite around our love and dedication to this blue planet, providing a day to celebrate the beauty of nature, encourage conservation, and take action to restore and protect our oceans.
Our oceans cover the majority of the planet, but only a tiny portion of these waters have been explored and studied. Humans rely heavily on the bounties of the deep blue, but it still receives little attention or care from us.
No matter if you’re a regular beach dweller, a seafood aficionado, or just a loving steward to Mother Earth, let’s celebrate World Oceans Day by getting to know the blue planet a little bit better.
5 Facts About World Oceans Day History
- Canada first proposed the idea of a World Oceans Day at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.
- The United Nations formally designated World Oceans Day in 2008.
- The ocean produces at least 50% of the planet’s oxygen and absorbs about 30% of the carbon dioxide produced by humans.
- An estimated 40 million people will be employed in ocean-based industries by 2030.
- This year, the UN passed its High Seas Treaty to protect 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030.
While it’s important to learn more about and do our part to restore and protect the ocean every single day, it’s helpful to have somewhere to start. We’ve created a guide on how to celebrate World Oceans Day this year.
By the way, some of the links in this article (like books!) are affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase after clicking a link, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you!
Activities and Ideas: How To Recognize World Oceans Day
Learn more about the ocean (and the threats it faces).
The ocean is what makes Earth, well, Earth! Since our oceans cover 70% of Earth’s surface, and our planet is the only planet in our solar system that is definitely known to contain liquid water, it makes us pretty unique.
The ocean contains about 1.35 billion cubic kilometers of water, which adds up to be about 97% of all the water on the planet. (So I guess we’re saying my dog can’t possibly drink it all.)
This water has a major impact on how we exist here on Earth, too, providing us with oxygen, while absorbing carbon from our atmosphere.
Additionally, the ocean is home to countless species, many of which we have yet to truly study (or discover!), and they live in five different life zones within the ocean. The ocean’s currents are vital to humanity, influencing weather, food chains, and even our gravitational pull in the solar system.
For thousands of years, people have also depended on the ocean for trade and commerce, food, and energy. While there are plenty of opportunities to explore renewable marine energy, humans have caused a lot of harm through fishing, mining, drilling, pollution, and global warming.
The ocean might seem boundless, but it really is a finite resource — one we need to survive.
“Although the ocean is vast, it is more easily polluted and damaged than people once thought,” a National Geographic article reports. “It requires care and protection as well as expert management. Only then can it continue to provide the many resources that living things — including people — need.
Watch documentaries about the ocean.
Documentaries are a great way to dive deeper (ha-ha) into the great body of research about the ocean. World Ocean Day provides the perfect excuse to sit down and enjoy an informative film about the seven seas:
- Wonders of The Ocean (National Geographic)
- The Blue Planet: A Natural History of the Oceans (Apple TV+)
- Giants of the Deep Blue (Disney+)
- A Plastic Ocean (Prime Video)
- Chasing Coral (Netflix)
- Mission Blue (Netflix)
- Secrets of the Whales (Disney+)
Read books about the ocean.
If you’re itching for more marine media, stop into your local library, or shop these book selections:
- “The Sea Around Us” by Rachel Carson (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “Tides: The Science and Spirit of the Ocean” by Jonathan White (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “The Blue Wonder: Why the Sea Glows, Fish Sing, and Other Astonishing Insights from the Ocean” by Frauke Bagusche (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “War of the Whales: A True Story” by Josh Horowitz (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “The Soul of an Octopus: A Surprising Exploration into the Wonder of Consciousness” by Sy Montgomery (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “The Reef: A Passionate History: The Great Barrier Reef from Captain Cook to Climate Change” by Iain McCalman (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “We Are The Ocean” by Paul Watson, illustrated by Sarah Borg (Bookshop) (Amazon)
- “The Big Book of the Blue” by Yuval Zommer (Bookshop) (Amazon)
Read and share quotes about the ocean.
With its mesmerizing waves and infinite horizon, the ocean has served as a muse for many of the world's greatest minds. From scientists, conservationists, and adventurers, to poets, philosophers, and authors — numerous individuals have shared their reflections and observations about the ocean, enriching our perspectives with their wisdom.
We’ve curated a collection of the most profound, inspiring, and thought-provoking quotes about the ocean.
Explore our full curated article of the best quotes about the ocean.
Read good news about the ocean.
Part of the fun of celebrating the ocean also means celebrating good news about the ocean. We’re all about good news at Good Good Good — and we create all kinds of Goodnewspaper editions centered around some of the big topics of our time! These include our annual Environment Edition and Animals Edition, and even our Water Edition!
- An architecture student’s cleanup project proved that cleaning rivers helps save oceans, too
- Virtual reality might help humans build empathy for marine life
- YouTubers raised $30 million to remove 30 million pounds of trash from the ocean
- Combat diving veterans are using their skills to help restore the oceans
- Conservation efforts are saving humpback whales
- An all-women coral conservation group is helping to revive coral reefs
Urge your elected officials to take care of the ocean.
The good news this year is that the UN has finally adopted a treaty aimed at protecting marine biodiversity and expanding restrictions on human activities that cause harm. The goal is to protect 30% of the planet’s oceans by 2030.
However, it’s up to individual countries to ratify the treaty and adopt these policies (that would limit commercial fishing, drilling, and more) in their own domestic laws.
It’s up to us to make sure the United States is one of those countries. Call your elected officials and urge them to ratify the UN High Seas Treaty to protect international waters and improve life on Earth for us all!
Donate to organizations that protect our oceans.
Do your part to help fund efforts to restore and protect our oceans. There are so many large and local organizations to choose from, and any amount you can give is meaningful.
If you can, setting up a recurring donation can make a huge impact, all while saving you time in the long run.
Here are a few wildlife nonprofits to keep in mind this World Oceans Day:
- Surfrider Foundation
- Ocean Conservancy
- Marine Conservation Institute
- Coral Reef Alliance
- Billion Oyster Project
- Gili Eco Trust
- Wild Oceans
Participate in a beach clean-up.
While you can certainly keep oceans and waterways clean by thoughtfully eliminating waste, cutting down on single-use plastics, and recycling with care, there’s still so much trash to clean up in our oceans!
If you live near a beach, coast, or other waterway, consider participating in a beach clean-up! You can find an interactive map of nearby coastal clean-ups from the Ocean Conservancy, find a chapter of the Surfrider Foundation near you, or learn more about team and solo clean-ups from the Ocean Blue Project.
Regardless of whether you can make it out with your trash bucket in gloves on World Ocean Day, we always urge you to find a local clean-up crew (or hit the wilderness yourself!) any day of the year.
Attend a World Oceans Day event.
Want to gather with other like-minded ocean protectors? There are loads of World Oceans Day events taking place around the globe!
Register to watch the UN’s virtual World Oceans Day event, with a packed lineup of brilliant speakers (including Aquaman himself, Jason Momoa), or explore a map of official World Ocean Day events taking place in countries around the world.
Frequently Asked Questions
Why do we celebrate World Oceans Day?
World Oceans Day is celebrated to honor the beauty and mystery of the ocean, all while engaging the public to take action to protect the ocean and its diverse marine life. Through education, action items, and celebrations around the globe, it’s a day dedicated to protecting our blue planet.
What is the World Oceans Day 2023 theme?
This year’s World Oceans Day theme is “Planet Ocean: Tides Are Changing.” The UN is using this theme as an opportunity to join forces with decision-makers, world leaders, scientists, executives, Indigenous communities, activists, and celebrities to put the ocean first.
Why is the ocean so important?
Our oceans are vital to life on Earth. They help us regulate the climate, generate the oxygen we breathe, and offer us foundational resources that maintain our economies, food production systems, and transportation. The ocean also supports countless species of marine life.
What are the 5 oceans?
For most of history, there have been four named oceans: The Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, and Arctic. That being said, many countries — The U.S. included — that now recognize the Southern (or Antarctic) Ocean as the fifth ocean. The Southern Ocean was recognized by the International Hydrographic Organization in 2000.