The ocean is awe-inspiring and mysterious and has fascinated artists and scientists for centuries. However, we actually know relatively little about it.
Many studies show that visiting the ocean has a surprising number of health benefits. Exposure to blue spaces has been linked to good overall health, and beach days are linked to decreased stress and improved mood and mental health. Spending 20 minutes walking along the beach is enough to boost your mood and elevate your self-esteem.
Oceans are the source of 96% of the world’s water and cover 70% of the Earth’s surface. Their contribution to Earth’s environment is immense, contributing upwards of 50% of the world’s oxygen supply and holding 50 times more carbon dioxide than the Earth’s atmosphere. In addition, the oceans produce an estimated $282 billion annually and employ approximately 3 million people. With that said, June is World Ocean Month, and we want to celebrate the ocean in all the crucial ways it contributes to our lives.
The world’s oceans have become a hotbed of trash and plastic pollutants. More than 17.6 million pounds of plastic waste find their way into the sea every year, which is the equivalent of dumping a garbage truck full of plastic every minute. Fortunately, several organizations are actively improving the health of our oceans. Companies like Patagonia, Adidas, and 4Ocean are all producing products created from recycled ocean plastics and discarded fishing nets to reduce the amount of plastic waste and litter that find its way into the ocean. Supporting these companies and companies like them is one way to help rejuvenate the oceans and keep the ocean’s ecosystems.
Overfishing is another issue that affects the ocean’s ecosystems, with nearly 55% of coral reefs suffering. We can help by supporting restaurants, fish markets, and grocery stores that sell sustainably caught fish.
Most importantly, celebrate the ocean by visiting it. Participating in cleanups, surfing, taking a walk, or relaxing on the beach are great ways to celebrate World Ocean Month this June. And when you visit an ocean, make sure you don’t leave any trash or discarded items behind. We are all stewards of the planet – and ocean – and our small collective actions can make a difference.