On the 8th June we celebrate our oceans (and seas) for “World Oceans Day”. The day became an official UN global Awareness day in 2008 and has been growing since; last year there were officially 2000+ events in 140 countries. The Living Seas Wales team was close to our border between North Wales Wildlife Trust and The Wildlife Trust of South and West Wales celebrating the day with Chester Zoo volunteers in Aberystwyth. It was a huge day of awareness-raising in many forms and incorporated a march organised by “Extinction Rebellion” to protest against the Seismic testing for oil in Cardigan bay, a threat which galvanised many groups to act for several environmental reasons, including Living Seas.
We all know a day is not enough, but how can we raise awareness of the need for people to help our marine world in their EVERYDAY lives, without them becoming immediately overwhelmed?
The answer could come from the Wildlife Trusts 30DaysWild campaign. The Wildlife Trusts are in a unique position in that they are a group of localised Conservation charities all working under a larger umbrella organisation. 46 in total they know their local patch and know just how important local/individual actions for wildlife can be. This unique position is translated into their popular yearly campaign encouraging people to connect with Nature every day in June – #30DaysWild. The hope is that people will begin to understand their own need for nature on a daily basis and to see how their own individual actions can be part of a bigger picture of conservation across the UK. Time in Nature has been shown to benefit us –
“In the current nature and climate emergency, we’re seeing more people affected by eco-anxiety – feeling overwhelmed by the damage to our environment and not knowing what to do to help. This, along with other stresses, aren’t good for us. But with 30 Days Wild from the Wildlife Trusts you can incorporate some simple nature-based activities into your daily life and feel the benefit. These activities can lower blood pressure, take our minds away from our day-to-day concerns and help us relax, as well as providing simple ways to help wildlife.” – Dr Amir Khan, GP and Ambassador for The Wildlife Trusts
But does doing small things actually help to make a difference? Small acts done by enough people, visibly, can be become the new norm and makes those small acts huge movements. Both World Oceans Day and 30daysWild highlight the Think Global:Act Local philosophy. This year the World Ocean day theme is 30 by 30. They’re calling us all to ask our leaders to help protect 30% of the marine environment by 2030. We can do that can’t we? The one small thing you could do today is to sign the petition to help protect our oceans. The one big thing you could do today is to share your act for nature with others. One of our team was once asked by a colleague how do you stay positive when working to combat the huge difficulties facing our natural world. Their answer was they were able to stay positive from the knowledge they were at least doing SOMETHING and knowing you’re not alone means that’s a lot of people doing something.
Last year’s World Ocean day and the events surrounding it shows what can happen when people who have developed a love of wildlife, Nature and the environment take action. Let’s not forget the huge Climate marches last year which brought together a variety of organisations who are still working to help. We’re going to keep on working to protect our oceans and we hope you’ll be ready to join us.