Monday, June 8th is World Oceans Day, a United Nations recognized event that looks to raise awareness of the importance of our oceans. Like "the heart of our planet, like your heart pumping blood to every part of your body" oceans are vital to the earth's ecosystem and yet continue to be abused.
The theme for this year's event is "healthy oceans, healthy planet" which is addressing "human pressures, including overexploitation, illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing, destructive fishing, as well as unsustainable aquaculture practices, marine pollution, habitat destruction, alien species, climate change and ocean acidification"
Its a long list and increasingly of importance to both the developed and developing world. China, for instance, has virtually abandoned its domestic fishing activities because of decades of unsustainable commercial fishing activities that have devastated local fish populations.
Closer to home, California is still recovering from a severe oil spill that hit the pristine beaches of Santa Barbara, highlighting that the problems facing our oceans are in our own backyards.
But the event isn't all doom and gloom. Later today the United Nations will announce the winners of the Oceanic Photo Competition at UN headquarters. The contest is designed to remind people of the immense beauty of the world's oceans and help encourage grassroots protection activities, which are hopefully inspired by the beautiful photos.