Saturday, June 8, 2012 is World Oceans Day. Keeping in mind the words of naturalist and Sierra Club founder John Muir that “When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the universe,” it makes sense to mark the occasion of World Oceans Day in Phoenix despite being landlocked, and despite our desert environment being far from ocean-like. In fact, given that we are inextricably linked to everything else, and given our desert conditions, our continuing drought throughout most of the state, and our predicted water shortage by 2025, our community should be striving at least as much as any other to appreciate and conserve water.
According to the World Oceans Day website, “on World Oceans Day people around the planet celebrate and honor the body of water which links us all, for what it provides humans and what it represents.”
What the world’s oceans represent are, among other things, sources of food, the source of most of the oxygen we breathe, climate regulation, an enormous array of possible pharmaceuticals, places to experience incredible natural wonders, and a source of inspiration and fuel for the imagination.
Taking the time to think about the importance of our water sources for World Oceans Day provides a great way to live the mantra, “Think Globally, Act Locally,” because it is a good chance to think about our own watershed and the ways we impact it. If you have a lawn, this is a great time to think about getting rid of it in favor of drought tolerant desert landscape, for example. Or do something as simple and small as putting a bucket in your shower to catch excess water and use it to water some plants. It may literally be a drop in the bucket, but every drop counts.
Locally, the Phoenix Zoo is celebrating World Oceans Day with Prowl and Play on June 9, 2012 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. with the chance to add your own ocean creature to their World Oceans Day mural, or a Knowledge Quest in which visitors will be able to find and answer World Ocean Day questions for a chance to win prizes. Other games and Prowl and Play activities will be available, including water play at Leapin’ Lagoon and Yakulla Caverns, squirt gun water wars, a “visit with Moon Mermaid near Stingray Bay,” animal Meet and Greets and a Giraffe Encounter, Safari Train rides until dusk, camel rides, carousel rides, and the opportunity to have a close encounter with the stingrays at Stingray Bay.
Biosphere 2, near Tucson, is partnering with the Fin Foundation to host World Oceans Day events on June 8 and 9, 2012. Available activities include talks and presentations with ocean themes, hands-on activities that allow visitors to handle “a wide variety of marine artifacts and organisms,” an event called “24-hours-in-the-ocean,” a touch tank with a number of species, an introduction of “50 Sergeant Major fish” being released to the ocean biome,” the chance to observe a SCUBA diver, educational booths and vendors displaying their eco-friendly products and activities,” and the opportunity to take a special tour in which visitors will be able “to go onto the beach in the ocean biome – the only day of the year this is possible!”