Celebrating World Oceans Day at CHOW 2020


The month of June is all about celebrating the global ocean we all share, especially on June 8th — World Oceans Day! The goal of World Oceans Day is to celebrate our blue planet by connecting people around the world to the ocean, sharing success stories, and shedding light on the ocean’s greatest challenges. Our very own Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW) occurs on or near World Oceans Day each year, and this year they occur back to back — World Oceans Day on Monday, June 8, and CHOW 2020 on Tuesday, June 9. Why are these events and celebrations important? They recognize the integral role oceans play in day to day life including climate regulation, carbon sequestration, medicinal and food resources, economic support and more. 

Nearly 30 years ago, world leaders recognized the first World Oceans Day, which was first declared in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil at the 1992 Global Forum.  The inspiration for World Oceans Day was “Oceans Day at Global Forum – The Blue Planet”,  an event organized by the Oceans Institute of Canada and supported by the Canadian Government. In 2008, Canada and the United Nations General Assembly resolved that June 8th would be recognized by the U.N. as World Oceans Day. This is when the global celebration of our ocean really gained public attention worldwide. In 2017, the U.N. celebrated the ocean from June 5 -9 at its Ocean Conference which was convened to support the implementation of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14. 

Each year, World Oceans Day focuses on a particular topic or theme in conservation. For 2020, that focus is uniting conservation action to grow the global movement calling on world leaders to protect 30% of our blue planet by 2030. This critical need is informally called “30 by 30”. By safeguarding at least 30% of our land and ocean through a network of highly protected areas, we can help ensure a healthy home for all. 

2020 provides the opportunity for a turning point to begin reversing the trend of biodiversity loss and restoring nature for the good of the planet and all of us who depend on it. It was also supposed to be the “super year for the ocean” with live events and days of action planned all over the world, mainly focused on global leadership to address biodiversity and the climate change crisis. In support of the super year for the ocean, the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation chose to emphasize biodiversity protection at CHOW 2020. 

In its new virtual format,  CHOW 2020 makes it possible for viewers from all over the world to attend and interact with panelists and other attendees. and engage stewards from all over the world to support our ocean and great lakes and participate in discussions with  luminaries in the marine world, including Acting NOAA Administrator Neil Jacobs, Rear Admiral Tim Gallaudet, former NOAA Administrator Jane Lubchenco, and National Geographic Explorer Enric Sala, top executives who are conducting cutting edge ocean research, leaders of international bodies working on climate, biodiversity and ocean governance, and top scientists and policymakers across the breadth of ocean and Great Lakes issues. Learn more and register at capitolhilloceanweek.org


Photo Courtesy of Douglas Croft