(photo: Mark Tipple, The Underwater Project)
Sing a new song, for God has done wonderful things! Sing to God all the earth, sing praise and songs of joy! Let the oceans roar and all the creatures that live within it give praise! (Psalm 98 adapted)
The 2021 theme for World Oceans Day is The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods. The focus is on how the ocean is our life-source and supports humanity and every other organism on Earth. It reminds every one of the major role the oceans have in everyday life. They are the lungs of our planet and a major source of food and medicine and a critical part of the biosphere.
The purpose of the Day is to inform the public of the impact of human actions on the ocean, develop a worldwide movement of citizens for the ocean, and mobilize and unite the world’s population on a project for the sustainable management of the world's oceans.
The ocean covers over 70% of the planet. It is our life source, supporting humanity’s sustenance and that of every other organism on earth. The ocean produces at least 50% of the planet’s oxygen, it is home to most of earth’s biodiversity, and is the main source of protein for more than a billion people around the world. Not to mention, the ocean is key to our economy with an estimated 40 million people being employed by ocean-based industries by 2030.
Even though all its benefits, the ocean is now in need of support. With 90% of big fish populations depleted, and 50% of coral reefs destroyed, we are taking more from the ocean than can be replenished. To protect and preserve the ocean and all it sustains, we must create a new balance, rooted in true understanding of the ocean and how humanity relates to it. We must build a connection to the ocean that is inclusive, innovative, and informed by lessons from the past. 2021 also launches a decade of challenges to get the Sustainable Development Goal 14, “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources”, by 2030.
The call extends to all of us to become highly protective of our seas and waterways in order to help ensure a healthy home for all!
The Pacific region, known also as Oceania, is sometimes referred to as the “Liquid Continent”, acknowledging that the Pacific Ocean, the largest ocean in the world, is not what separates the island communities, often seen on maps as green specks on a large blue background. For Pacific Islanders, the ocean is what connects our islands. It is our highway, where canoes travelled weaving relationship and sharing stories, knowledge, food and gifts and has done for many millennia. It is mother, nurturing, source of life, home to fish and shell and mighty whale. (Rev James Bhagwan, Fiji, reflections for WCC Ecumenical Water Network). We remember our Deaconess sisters and their communities in Fiji as they deal with rising ocean tides.
Swirling God, who at the dawn of creation swept over the face of the waters, hover over our oceans and all waterways with your blessed presence.
May each droplet of mist and sea be clean and fresh for all life who come in contact with these holy streams.
Bless each cell and molecule of life below the surface of the waters who trust in you and us to create a prosperous world.
Continually nudge us to nurture creation, joining together with humans all over this planet to covenant with one another and celebrate the gifts of water, air, fire, and land that you have given us. Amen.
(Source: Michelle L. Torigian, God goes pop)