Happy World Oceans Day!

How cool is this? To celebrate today’s World Oceans Day, news organization 360 is honouring the many complex and inspiring roles that women play in ocean spaces.

The article, written by Drue Slatter a Pacific Island woman raised in the middle of the world’s largest ocean, she was surrounded by a multitude of roles in ocean spaces.

“We were raised believing the sea would always sustain us, only to now be confronted by the fact that it could one day swallow us.”

To ignore climate change and its effect on our oceans will spell a quick doom for humanity. Sea levels are rising and storms threaten coastal communities, increased ocean acidity and turbidity disrupt ecosystems and increasing ocean temperatures cause mass coral bleaching events worldwide, Slatter writes.

But, hey, what on earth does this have to do with gender of all things?

Slatter dives into some stats. It’s not too surprising, given it’s a reflection of many other careers. “Women earn only 64% of men’s wages in the aquaculture industry and make up only 2% of the 1.2 million seafarers worldwide… Women account for only 30% of the world’s researchers, and female representation in the field of marine science and ocean research is particularly rare.”

But let’s talk about the women of the sea.

There’s Dr. Hilda Heine, President of the Republic of the Marshall Islands who has continued to champion climate justice on a global scale with the Marshall Islands committing to go carbon neutral by 2050. They also plan to adopt new shipping technologies, Slatter added.

How about Tonga’s only female yacht and kalia captain? Aunofo Havea, who pilots a traditional voyaging vessel, has been proponent of sustainable tourism, was invited to speak at the United Nations about her role as a traditional sea captain.

Slatter also highlights the work of Dr. Elizabeth Holland who is the director of the University of the South Pacific’s Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development along with Kathy Jetnil-Kijner, a poet, performer and educator who has woven stories of the Pacific into her quest for climate justice.

Then there’s Ana Vakamisinari who lives in a coastal settlement on Fiji’s largest island, Viti Levu. “She and her family have fought off developers and live-rock harvesting in order to thrive along the shoreline. Coastal Fijian villages rely heavily on the health of coral reefs and inshore fisheries – both of which are succumbing to increased ocean temperatures and low pH levels. But women like Ana Vakamisinari adapt and evolve their methods in order to not only feed their families, but to share resources with neighbouring households…”

Read the article here.

Happy World Oceans Day!

 Also…

Today is a global celebration of our oceans. Girlguiding Scotland (@girlguidingScot) tweeted “HappyOceansDay everyone! Why not set off on an aquatic adventure with your girls next term & discover Scotland’s amazing marine life together?” From Forbes India (@forbes_india) “How much plastic do our rivers and oceans have? Take a look.”

There are masses of people celebrating World Oceans Day. The really cool thing is that this day, June 8th, was declared by the United Nations at the urging of Canada. Oceans Week, June 1-8, was declared by the Board of World Oceans Day Canada in 2010.