The United Nations General Assembly has declared September 21st as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, both within and among all nations and peoples. The International Day of Peace provides a globally shared date for all humanity to commit to Peace above all differences and to contribute to building a Culture of Peace.
People in cities, communities and villages worldwide have joined to observe the International Day of Peace, each in their own diverse and meaningful ways. We invite you to get inspired and create your own activities! Here are suggestions on how you or your organization can get involved.
Make Peace With the Ocean!
To do our part for the International Day of Peace, we in the Blue Ocean community urge humanity to make peace with the ocean and in turn let the ocean bring peace to us.
What can happen when you are on, near or in a body of water? It calms our nervous systems, and brings our brain waves into alpha (meditative) state, and allows us to use our whole mind (Blue Mind is what J Nichols calls it). For me, water brings a sense of peace that I tap into. My experiences around the ocean have revealed to me my life’s purpose, they have given me a strong sense of responsibility to protect and preserve ocean habitats. And they reconnect me to joy, beauty and awe every time.
The Ocean Needs Peace!
Evidence is everywhere that the ocean is in trouble. But we don’t have an environmental problem. We have a people problem. The ocean is a reflection of us, and our state of consciousness. Humanity is not at peace, individually, with each other, or as a collective in concert with nature.
We are nature, and yet we have separated ourselves from it. Nature has become something to be tamed, to be lorded over, to be kept in the background, as a backdrop. Out of sight, out of mind. (photo – Dennis Murphy)
There is no doubt our oceans are now in crisis. Over fishing, ocean acidification, pollution, habitat destruction and coastal mismanagement are evident around the globe. We witness it in the massive coral bleaching of the Great Barrier Reef; in the collapse of fish populations worldwide and in the giant, swirling gyres containing hundreds of square miles of accumulated ocean garbage.
But these 2018events give us reason to be hopeful!
In 2018, we’ve had many major ocean-centric events that increase awareness, discuss solutions and gain commitments: The Economist World Ocean Summit (Mexico), the first ever March for the Ocean (Washington, DC and elsewhere), the Rise for Climate Action March, the Global Climate Action Summit (San Francisco) with a first-time focus on the Ocean, and a UNESCO Ocean Climate Conference (entitled From COP21 towards the United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development”) in Paris. And that’s not all. Sustainable Oceans Alliance will be hosting their upcoming Youth Leadership Summit at the Our Ocean Conference in Bali and the ICRI (International Coral Reef Initiative) will close their International Year of the Reef initiative with their 33rd ICRI General Meeting in Monaco.
Here at Blue Ocean Network, we’ve been partnering with sponsors and collaborating with Green Fins (UNDP) on a Sustainable Diving Think Tank (ADEX Singapore), with more sustainable business workshops at DEMA Show 2018 before we dive into the upcoming Coral Reef Summit. Next stop is the first-ever International Scuba Diving Sustainability Workshop through a collaboration with Green Bubbles (EU) and hosted by Reef Check International. This year has been all about International Year of the Reef. (We were on the origingal planning committee for the first IYOR in 1997!) For us, coral reef action doesn’t end with IYOR: We are already well into planning for 2019 and 2020 to help the marine tourism and recreation community to turn these pressing challenges into real opportunities for a better blue planet and a more resilient industry.
All these events, and so many more, build on the major global commitments to the ocean that were made in 2017:
In June 2017 the UN Ocean Conference concluded with a 14-point ‘Call for Action’ to conserve and sustainably use oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. The conference received 1328 voluntary commitments by governments and stakeholders covering a wide range of topics, from the creation of marine protected areas (MPAs); taking action on plastic and marine debris; to funding scientific research and capacity-building activities. Receiving these voluntary commitments was celebrated as a major achievement. Elizabeth May head of Canada’s Green Party said “without a doubt it sparked the greatest global focus to date on our oceans….The success of the gathering was that the issues were not merely discussed; numerous partnerships and projects were announced and funded.” See our Blue Ocean post UN Ocean Conference dives into “Life Below Water” with Sustainable Development Goal #14.
The IUCN listed whale sharks and five other shark species as endangered under their recent CMS Memorandum of Understanding on the Conservation of Migratory Sharks. In 2003, they were listed under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). See the entire story in our article on International Whale Shark Day.
On 5-6 October 2017, global leaders were invited to Malta for the 4th “Our Ocean Conference“. Now more than ever there is an urgent need to come together. The world’s ocean community will renew commitments in the fight against climate change. They will take new actions to ensure maritime security, sustainable fisheries and blue economy. They will announce new marine protected areas and measures in the fight against marine pollution.
Call to action
There are thousands of us in the Blue Ocean community that are contributing to positive ocean change. Here are some of the things you can do to give you and the ocean peace of mind.
- Soul Of The Sea – Read this book – Blue Ocean review: “Keeping our ocean healthy is the basis for a healthy world, but the vital part our ocean plays has largely been ignored, until now. The authors of Soul of the Sea, Gregory Stone and Nishan Degnarian bring us a very easy to read, but informative description of the massive issues facing our oceans today. They suggest how the solutions to these challenges can be found not only in traditional resource management, but in the new fields of technology, governance and connection.”
- Petition – join with Jane Goodall and Sylvia Earle in creating the Marine Arctic Peace Sanctuary.
- Support the Buckminster Fuller Challenge youth team to save coral reefs.
- Learn more about how joy, awe, beauty and love can change our messaging around ocean conservation, see J Nichols.
- Watch the Blue Ocean summit interview with J Nichols.
- Join the global Peace Movement on Sept. 23 for synchronized meditation. When we bring peace to our minds we bring peace to the world.
By Laurie Wilson, Blue Ocean Network
Update: This article was first published in 2017 and has been updated to present the progress we’ve made to make peace with the ocean.
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We believe ocean lovers can change the world. If you care about the health of the ocean and want to do something about it, then connect with the Blue Ocean tribe: Our growing community of ocean change-makers is turning ocean lovers into ocean leaders. It starts with you. Join us!