Monday, 8 June 2015

Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet; World Oceans Day Celebration

In the year 1992, the Earth Summit in Rio heralded a motion from the Government of Canada for the introduction of a day designed to celebrate and raise awareness for our oceans, 16 years later it was finally official and World Oceans Day was acknowledged by the UN and is celebrated annually on 8th June each year.

The theme for the year 2015-2016 has been chosen as ‘Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet’, a theme dedicated to highlighting the importance our oceans have in our everyday lives, they are life-force that maintains balance to our planet.

We, amongst with millions of others focused on what actions we, as individuals and societies, can take to protect and safeguard the oceans for future generations of both humans and nature. We took a specific look at Plastic and its impacts on our beloved oceans.

Celebrating our Oceans in Pulau Perhentian
Some of you will already know that we are surrounded by stunning, tropical waters full of coral, fish and exotic species. So it should come as no surprise that we were keen to celebrate our oceans, and the importance they have with anyone and everyone we could get involved.

Due to the Department of Marine Parks event on the 7th and 8th June, we chose to set up our own event outside of the village, and head out to interact with tourists and resorts on the 6th June, instigating a three day Pulau Perhentian celebration!

Working together, Blue Temple Conservation and Ecoteer set out to provide both formal and Informal awareness, education, fun and games to tourists on Long Beach and Coral Bay, both on the small Island.

We arrived on Long Beach at 11:15(ish) and the team immediately split, with half heading over to Coral Bay for the first of the day’s presentations at Maya Chalet, whilst the remainder stayed at Long Beach to get the awareness Booth up and running.

Xuen, Shauna and Janneke all beautifully completed their presentations to a group of Malaysian students before heading back to Long Beach to set up for round 2 at D’Rock Gardens, where Xuen, Brian and Janneke were due to do their presentations for a modest group of interested tourists and staff.
Meanwhile, back at Long Beach, the team had instigated a 15 man tug of war in the shallows. I wasn’t there to witness it, but I hear they will write songs about Brian’s strength and ability to defeat the Long Beach Fifteen…or something. Much fun was had by all.

After the second round of presentations, the team united at Matahari Divers to commence an epic clean up. We were joined by a whole load of tourists and staff from the beach and quickly amassed a mighty quantity of trash. In only TWO HOURS, the team collected 3,925 individual pieces of rubbish, of which, a staggering 54% was plastic waste. Further evidence that our work and focus on plastic was important in our day! 


What happened in the Clean up?


Whilst most of the team counted the trash, the rest visited Matahari Divers for round three of the presentations, this time Xuen and Neil led the talks to the collected divers, staff and clean-up crew.  

After a quick round up at Matahari, the whole team, united again packed up the awareness booth and presentations and walked the short walk to Ombak for the grand finale.

More presentations from Xuen, Neil, Brian and Shauna was followed by the closing Prize Draw, where all who had attended the presentations throughout the day were entered and drawn out, prizes were (seemingly) well received.

Hopefully, our efforts helped to raise awareness and maybe teach some people a little bit about our planet and it’s amazing ability to still survive after so many threats and impacts continue to strike out.

We really are blessed, our planet is so unique and fantastic that we often forget to celebrate its beauty, instead focusing on our desire for money, success or the negative impacts we are having. The oceans are huge, magnificent and so amazingly beautiful that it is hard not to love them.

If you want to do your part and protect the oceans, check out our Presentations at the links below, or visit World Oceans Day online and participate in their ‘Take the Better Bag’ challenge, and join the movement for Healthy Oceans.