What is World Ocean Day? Well… it began in 1992 in Rio de Janeiro at the landmark United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, also known as the Earth Summit.

I was fresh out of college at the time, and worked for The Carter Center on an environmental deforestation project. But being low man on the totem pole, the closest I got to Rio was making travel arrangements for my boss to go to the Earth Summit. And what did he talk about when he returned? Agenda 21? The Rio Declaration on Environment and Development? (which I immediately printed and voraciously read!) No. He talked about being in a hotel room a few doors down from Fidel Castro, and how much he enjoyed the the Brazilian women in their “tongas” on the beach outside the hotel. Ugh.

World Ocean Day was established during the Earth Summit to celebrate the ocean each year so that people are reminded that we all have a personal connection to the sea and we must all work to protect it for future generations.

How can you protect the ocean? Well, checking out our 100 Ways You Can Help page is a good start. You can support our work to share the wonders of the ocean to inspire education, research, and a sea ethic. Not only does donation provide you with an opportunity to become part of the MarineBio community, you also become part of the solution to help protect the ocean and marine life. You can get involved by expressing your views and sharing information in group at Facebook. You can learn as much as possible about marine conservation; our Marine Conservation section is a great resource, and to learn more about specific issues and what’s being done about them, visit other marine conservation organizations.

If you are reading this blog, we can safely assume you care about the ocean and marine life. But to encourage you to take the next step, consider that the Ocean:

Covers 71% of our planet. The ocean gives us life. It gives us oxygen, rain, food, excitement, wonder and mystery. The ocean can be simultaneously peaceful, beautiful, calm or incredibly powerful and violent. Is an endless source of fascination for all of us, and a magnificent place for exploration — and yet at least 80% remains to be explored.

The ocean buffers our weather and helps regulate global temperature. It manages vast amounts of our pollutants. The biodiversity of the ocean supports all life on our planet. Humans and the ocean are inextricably linked. Yet the ocean is just beginning to be understood. As our understanding of this vast and powerful force of nature increases we realize that in spite of its seeming invulnerability — the ocean and marine life are in real trouble. Marine conservation efforts are vastly outnumbered by the problems facing the ocean. Government policies worldwide to protect our marine resources are severely lacking.

Our lack of knowledge about the ocean leads to apathy. So spend some time on World Ocean Day and learn.