8 June is World Oceans Day, a day to celebrate the natural beauty and value of the world’s oceans. The theme this year is “Revitalisation and collective action for the ocean”, it is a reminder to take action and raise awareness about protecting our oceans.
The ocean connects us, it sustains and supports all of humanity, yet its health is at a tipping point and so is the well-being of all that depends on it for life.
Our oceans cover 70% of the planet and support all of life
Every second breath we take comes from the ocean
Our oceans feed billions of people
Our oceans host 80% of the world's biodiversity
So many people are working together, to create a balance with the ocean that restores and revitalises it rather than depleting it.
To work in alignment with our passion and purpose is one of the greatest gifts we can give ourselves and humanity. To work in service to the natural world and bring humanity back into balance with nature is, at its core, one of the deepest and most valuable levels of service.
This year Aspirall wishes to honour and celebrate the incredible human beings who have dedicated their lives to serving the planet and all of its inhabitants by leading the way and taking daily action to protect our oceans and everything they sustain. They are ocean leaders who work together across many diverse fields and industries to find strategies and solutions and inform and guide governments and communities.
In leadership, we play our part, we work with our strengths and passions to align with purpose and inspire collaborative change. How can we play our part in protecting our oceans when our strengths lie elsewhere? We open our hearts and listen and learn from the diverse ocean community leaders about their relationship with the ocean, the solutions they have and financially support the work they do in the world. Through this approach, we can learn collectively and take the steps they believe are critical to protecting and sustaining our oceans.
Here are some of the ocean community leaders and organisations Aspirall wishes to honour and recognise:
Asha de Vos, founder of OCEANSWELL is a Sri Lankan marine biologist, ocean educator and pioneer of blue whale research
“If we truly want to save our oceans, every coastline needs a hero.”
Sylvia Earle, founder of Mission Blue is an American marine biologist, oceanographer, explorer, author, and lecturer.
“Knowing is the key to caring, and with caring, there is hope that people will be motivated to take positive actions. They might not care even if they know, but they can’t care if they are unaware."
Forbi Perise Eyong Nyosai, National African Coordinator at Greening Forward and ThinkOcean, is a youth leader, ocean enthusiast and climate champion.
“The next generation of leaders should collaborate and take action for the planet in order to safeguard the future.”
Paul Nicklen, Co-Founder of Sea Legacy is an acclaimed Canadian photographer, filmmaker, author and marine biologist.
“When people think of sea ice melting, they think of this lifeless substance, like ice in a glass but it’s a very complex substrate. You have up to 300 species of microorganisms living in the salt brine channels of a piece of sea ice. Sea ice is like soil in a garden: the sun’s energy penetrates, and you get algae growing under the ice, and seaweed, which provides the food base for zooplankton. Then you have the polar cod that feed on the krill, and from there you have beluga whales, narwhals, bearded seals, and Greenland sharks. If we lose the ice, we stand to lose the entire ecosystem.”
Cristina Mittermeier Co-Founder of Sea Legacy is a Mexican photographer, conservationist, biologist, and author. Cristina Mittermeier is the marine biologist and activist who pioneered the concept and field of conservation photography.
“For me, it has always been a concern about the overall health of the planet, and what that means for humans. That is what has always driven me since I was in university. I studied marine sciences because I thought — like a lot of people did — that the oceans were going to be the source of food for billions of people. This was in the 1980s, and since then we have learned that it is not an infinite resource, it is not inexhaustible, and that we have done a lot of damage to it. So photography is a tool that I use to engage people in that conversation, because otherwise the ocean can be a very foreign and distant idea for most people.”
Shawn Heinrichs, Founding Creative Counsel Member of Sea Legacy is an internationally acclaimed photographer and award-winning cinematographer.
“Even though every second breath we take comes from the oceans, even though they provide us so much food, most of us don’t see or feel the immediate effects of the collapse of ocean ecosystems. Imagery and cinematography create that visceral connection for people.”
The Sea Shepherd is an international non-profit direct action ocean conservation movement, that campaigns to educate, defend, conserve and protect the world's oceans. They have several projects the community can be involved in from joining a campaign, attending their beach clean-ups and donating to keep their ships running.
Sustainable Ocean Alliance empowers young people to help develop and implement sustainable solutions. SOA mobilises an ocean workforce to restore the health of our oceans and they have several youth leadership initiatives that young people can take part in to empower them in making a difference. They have developed the world’s largest network of young ocean leaders and support innovative start-ups, non-profits, and grassroots campaigns dedicated to solving the greatest threats facing our planet.