Stories from World Ocean Day 2022

Like all participants in World Ocean Day, I’ve always had a love for the ocean. It wasn’t until this year, however, that I found the inspiring global community of ocean lovers and activists that make World Ocean Day possible.  

As a first-time participant in World Ocean Day, I was struck by the sense of community I experienced just from witnessing the wide range of events and conservation efforts occurring around the world. With everything from advocacy actions to beach cleanups, World Ocean Day 2022 created a connection between participants from a range of countries.  

The people who participate in World Ocean Day show that in any language and from any background, we can celebrate and take action together for our one shared ocean. With such impactful events happening worldwide, I’m excited to share just SOME of the amazing examples of the work done in a variety of sectors across the globe.

Growing global support for “30×30” 

For the third consecutive year, the Conservation Action Focus for World Ocean Day 2022 showed support for protecting at least 30% of the planet’s land, water, and ocean by 2030 (“30×30”).  

By incorporating actionable resources, and working in collaboration with the Campaign for Nature, the collective efforts of World Ocean Day event organizers generated over 70,000 individual signatures from 120+ countries and an endorsement of support from 1,100+ organizations in support of 30×30. 

As of June 2022, the number of governments committed to 30×30 doubled since the founding of the High Ambition Coalition, for a total of over 100 countries committed to protecting 30% of their lands, waters, and ocean!  

In the coming years, the World Ocean Day network is encouraged to call on global leaders to implement actionable strategies to reach these goals so we can collectively protect our ocean and stabilize our climate. 

Powered by the Youth Advisory Council

For some of the most inspiring stories and dedicated ocean activists, look no further than the World Ocean Day Youth Advisory Council. Here are just a few of the many highlights:

Council member Paul Ayomide Eweola of Nigeria hosted two drainage system cleanups, with one open to the general community and the other focused on high school youth involvement. These cleanups were paired with an information session on the 30×30 Conservation Action Focus, as well as games and exercise warmups. Paul also served as a speaker for a webinar entitled “Revitalization: Collective Action for the Ocean,” during which panelists discussed conservation work and community action.  

Exemplifying the importance of using online platforms, Hong Kong member Belinda Ng co-hosted a podcast episode on coastal ecosystems and communities. The special World Ocean Day episode included a guest speaker from Willis Towers Watson’s Climate and Resilience Hub to discuss the ways that we can implement resources to create better futures for ocean-dependent communities. Listen to her podcast here! 

Taking a hands-on approach to ocean conservation, Youth Advisory Council member Marina Castello Rigo worked on an algae restoration project in Spain with the group MedGardens. The project replanted four species of cystoseira algae and involved data collection from both snorkeling and land retrieval to analyze and protect underwater wildlife.

In São Paulo, Brazil, Nathany Roberta Herrera Aguiar brought World Ocean Day into the classroom for a two-day event to increase youth awareness about the importance of protecting the ocean. Through interactive lessons including storytelling, games, coloring, and songs, one hundred 3-5 year-olds were able to learn about taking care of the ocean.  

The series of events led by Council member Prashant Mohesh highlights the importance of a wide range of approaches to conservation. His initiatives included a documentary film covering the state of ocean and climate issues in his home country of Mauritius. In addition to the short film, his organization, The Oceanic Project, organized events to help youth learn about ocean pollution through art and beach cleanups with an emphasis on storytelling to inspire people to help reduce plastic pollution.  

Learn more about the World Ocean Day Youth Advisory Council here. 

Creative events and activities from across sectors

Educational Workshops and Exhibits 

  • The educational impact of World Ocean Day expanded throughout the globe, with a conference in Bangladesh focusing on the importance of combining the analytical with the creative. The seminar included several faculty speakers from Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman Maritime University, while also featuring a contest for creative writing and documentary films centered on World Ocean Day. 
  • In Croatia, graduate students from the University of Zadar are bringing ocean advocacy to the classroom through the creation of a series of workshops for primary school students. The workshops covered topics ranging from overfishing to marine food webs with a goal of teaching ocean literacy to the next generation. 

  • Many organizations around the globe celebrated World Ocean Day virtually through webinars and online panel events, including: “World Ocean Day: What can we do?” hosted by the Environmental Justice Foundation in Thailand along with other organizations. Speakers discussed ocean issues including The Blue Carbon Initiative, shore debris management, and seagrass protection. 
  • Museums around the world celebrated World Ocean Day this year in new and interactive ways. In the United States, Frost Science center hosted programming that included a conservation speaker event followed by activities to learn how to test water quality and identify microplastics. The museum is also one of many highlighting the importance of the 30×30 movement during this World Ocean Day. 

Arts and Entertainment

  • The non-profit Young People’s Theatre in Australia found unique ways to bring ocean conservation to the center stage. For World Ocean Day, the cast of “The SpongeBob Musical” participated in a beach cleanup, while learning about the importance of protecting our ocean. As part of a mission to use recycled materials for a majority of all sets and costumes, the trash found during the cleanup was then repurposed to serve as props in the show!  
  • This year again brought together talented young filmmakers through the annual Ocean Youth Eco International Film Festival (OYEIFF) in Hong Kong. The festival focuses on raising awareness about ocean conservation through short films created by youth ranging from 7 to 18 years old from around the world. On 8 June, two films were selected as winners from the festival, which included screenings of over 10 short films. 
  • In the Netherlands, artist Margot Berkman is applying artistic vision to ocean advocacy in her exhibition “Wave of Breath.” The multimedia exhibit includes everything from drawings to sculptures to textiles, as well as an accompanying soundtrack. Inspired by her love for the ocean, this exhibit aims to bring the viewer into an underwater world full of new reflections on the importance of protecting our oceans. 

Cleanups and Festivals 

  • Students from the Universidad Estatal Peninsula de Santa Elena in Ecuador organized a variety of activities for the “Bioemprendimientos desde los Océanos” fair including collecting signatures in support of protecting 30% of our lands, waters, and ocean from festival attendees, infusing action into the celebration for our ocean.  
  • Exemplifying the collaborative nature of World Ocean Day, a festival in Fuengirola, Spain involved the coordination of over 10 NGOs and companies. The festival included a range of activities, including: informational presentations, live music, youth-focused games, and a photo opportunity with ‘Poseidon’!  
  • In collaboration with several ocean advocacy organizations, Sirocco Café in South Africa hosted a beach cleanup at Kalk Bay harbor in Cape Town. The cleanup also included complimentary coffee, hot chocolate, and pastries for all participants, making World Ocean Day even sweeter! 
  • Putting a twist on the usual beach cleanup, divers in Turkey participated in an underwater cleanup in celebration of World Ocean Day. Members of the Respect to Depth Dive Group and Turkish Diving Club cleaned underwater in Ortaköy, and took time to snap a photograph with a banner that the divers opened underwater and will use in their ongoing advocacy efforts to protect our ocean.

Power in collective action

Ocean Week Canada  

  • From the country where “World Ocean Day” was initially conceived back in 1991, Canada celebrated with a week full of activities during the first week of June, followed by a summer-long ocean festival of activities. The efforts were coordinated by 14 national partners and dozens of international supporters and financially supported by the Government of Canada. The creative, inclusive, and collaborative efforts to prioritize ocean literacy and engage citizens in conservation action are an example for other countries to replicate. 

World Ocean Day for Schools 

  • In a collaborative effort, World Ocean Day for Schools curated an ocean-themed curriculum for kids and coordinated with educators across 26 countries to educate over 30,000 students through in-person and virtually streamed lessons.  

“An Ocean of Possibilities” Summer Reading Program 

  • Over 11,000 Public Libraries across the United States of America ran an ocean-themed summer reading program for all ages. Weekly activities included ocean-themed arts and crafts, engaging reading material, educational programming, book club talks, and plenty of virtual options for families to join from the safety of their own home.  

Zoos Aquariums and Museums (ZAMs) 

  • Hundreds of millions of people visit their local zoos, aquariums, and museums annually, and the staff at these popular community institutions are engaging community members in conservation action while they learn about our ecosystems. As part of their programming, ZAMs across the world celebrated World Ocean Day by asking their visitors to sign a petition or postcard to support 30×30.”

No matter whether you are an artist or a scientist, just starting school or well into a career, living on the beach or just dreaming of the shore, I am thrilled that people all around the globe came together to celebrate our ocean on and around World Ocean Day 2022. I hope you feel as inspired as I do to carry on these efforts throughout the year.

Check out the 2022 Annual Report, for the full impact report of World Ocean Day activities.  

You can also subscribe to the World Ocean Day email list to get updates and resources for World Ocean Day 2023.