Another important day for us. Another day that focuses onanother key R: Revitalization.
Today, June 8, is the United Nations World Oceans Day. This year's theme, Revitalization: Collective Action for the Ocean, aims to highlight the communities, ideas and solutions of those who are working together to protect and revitalize the ocean and all that it supports.
The ocean connects, sustains and supports us all, but its health is at a tipping point. As recent years have shown us, we must work together to create a new balance with the ocean that no longer depletes its bounty, but instead restores its vibrancy and breathes new life into it.
The United Nations points out that more than three billion people depend on marine and coastal biodiversity for their livelihoods, and globally, the market value of marine and coastal resources and industries is estimated at $3 trillion a year, or about 5 percent of global GDP.
But that's not all: about 80 percent of the volume of international merchandise trade is transported by sea, and marine fisheries directly or indirectly employ more than 200 million people. Eighty percent of marine and coastal pollution originates on land, including agricultural runoff, pesticides, plastics, and untreated sewage. Immediate action to defend the oceans, the U.N. warns, is therefore necessary to address some of the most important issues of our time, such as climate change, food insecurity, disease and pandemics, biodiversity decline, economic inequality, conflict and strife.
Looking at Italy, WWF reminds us that: "Italy's coasts (about 7,500 km) are the portion of the territory that, in the last 50 years, has undergone the greatest transformations. 51 percent of Italian coastal landscapes (about 3,300 km) have been transformed and degraded by houses, hotels, palaces, ports and industries. Barely 1,860 km (23%) of linear stretches of coastline longer than 5 km in our country, including islands, can be considered with a good degree of naturalness." To this must be added the unstoppable phenomenon of beach erosion, which affects 841 kilometers of coastline. That's not all: "Climate change, plastic pollution, alien species, indiscriminate anchoring and overfishing are deteriorating marine ecosystems instead."
This day is critical: it helps us reflect on what we can do, by acting NOW, to reverse the trend. To help marine ecosystems regenerate. The actions of each of us are critical.
It is the small everyday gestures that make the big revolutions.
Oceans Day Declaration
Oceans Day was first declared on June 8, 1992, in Rio de Janeiro at the Global Forum, a parallel event to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) that offered nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and civil society an opportunity to express their views on environmental issues. It is crucial to remember it every year and turn good intentions into concrete, actionable actions.