World Oceans Day 2011

In April, people across the USA and the world celebrated the beauty of nature, our rivers and mountains, and wildlife. The original Earth Day was inspired by founder Gaylord Nelson (former U.S. Senator from Wisconsin) after witnessing the devastation of the 1969 massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. In that era of protests against war and social Injustice, millions rallied across the US to the first Earth Day to demand change. Rivers burning, mountains clear-cut and vanishing species enraged our citizens and they gathered en masse across the nation and demanded change. This public demonstration of love for nature led to the creation of the Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.
Forty years later the rivers are cleaner, millions of acres have been established as national parks and wilderness areas and over all the air quality has improved. But what about the other 71%? Over half our oxygen comes from the ocean. Fish feed millions and the beauty and complexity of marine life leave us in awe. Yet today (a year after the ravages in the Gulf from the BP Oil spill) 90% of large pelagic shark species are going extinct from overfishing and for their fins. Whales and seals have been hunted to a genetic bottle neck and are hunted still. The wolves of the sea, the bluefin tuna, are being fished to the vanishing point. While a thousand other insults are being inflicted on Mother Ocean, where is our outrage?
New oil wells are being considered along our coast while nuclear power plants hum along our shorelines vulnerable to Tsunami and earthquakes. Recent die-offs of sardines in southern California; emaciated and sickly sea lions along the coast, vanishing salmon and stranded leopard sharks in the San Francisco Bay are bellwethers reminding us that the ocean is sick.
The ocean needs our help.

World Oceans Day 2011
World Oceans Day.

World Oceans Day has been celebrated on June 8th since its proposal at the 1992 Earth Summit in Brazil. Although it has been unofficially celebrated since 1992, it was only in 2008 that the United Nations recognized the day dedicated to the honor, integrity, and also importance of our oceans.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on all governments and people around the world to the play their part in ensuring the protection of oceans for the future generations. He released a statement in which he outlined the severe challenges today’s oceans face, from depleted fishery resources, the impacts of climate change, deterioration of the marine environment, the decreasing labor conditions for seafarers, and what he referred to as an increasingly important issue of migration by sea.
Irina Bokova (Director-General of the UN Educational) urges that we must change our position of acquiring knowledge of oceans for exploitive purposes, to a better understanding of how to manage and protect the important ecosystems our oceans are home to.

One lucky 1st grader and his Willard School class will be treated to a pizza party after his poster for ‘Earth Day…Every Day’ was declared the winner by environmentally-conscious R&S Landscaping.
Gregory Lawson, a student in Chris Kearn’s first-grade class at Willard Elementary will be treated to a pizza party with the other lucky kids in the class as well as have his winning poster up on R&S’s website and at the Ridgewood Public Library.
The contest was designed to encourage how students could develop day-to-day environmental awareness to promote sustainability and better practices while also being creative. The contest was open to Bergen County students in grades 1-8 across three themes – water conservation, plants or planting.
“We were very impressed with so many of the entries that it was hard to pick just one winner, but the enthusiasm Gregory expressed in his bold and colorful poster really stood out” – said Robert Schucker, president of R&S Landscaping.
“We are pleased to be part of an encouraging event that helped students learn about environmental practices in a creative manner and hope they will put some of what they learned to good use at home.”
R&S was on-hand at Earth Day 2011 with a rain water barrel to showcase some simple sustainability methods while also getting dirt under their fingernails by teaching kids how to plant saplings.

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