The Town of Amherst has proclaimed June 8, 2022, to be World Oceans Day in the community.
“The oceans play an important role in counteracting climate change and protecting them will help us win the battle against global warming,” Mayor David Kogon said on Thursday, June 7, 2022, as he signed the proclamation on behalf of the Amherst town council.
“In issuing this proclamation, the town is recognizing the 30th anniversary of World Oceans Day, which was established by the United Nations, and is showing the community’s support for national and international efforts to protect 30 per cent of the world’s oceans by the year 2030.”
In his request for the proclamation, Paul Gregory, senior oceans campaigner with Nature Canada, noted Canada has the longest coastline in the world and with that “comes the duty to be leaders in protection and restoring the oceans.”
Gregory also noted the federal government has committed itself, via the Paris Accords, to helping protect 30 per cent of the world’s oceans by 2030 through the establishment of marine protected areas, and as of 2020 about 14 per cent of the world’s oceans are protected.
“Municipalities can be powerful change agents in the goal to protect 30 per cent of the world’s oceans by 2030,” he said. “We have seen this leadership in action in combating climate change, when cities and towns across the world stepped up to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and pressured federal governments to do the same.
“Whether on the coast or far inland, municipalities rely on ocean ecosystems for seafood production, climate regulation and the preservation of unique and beautiful animals and ecosystems.”
The preservation of oceans is important because they play a “pivotal role counteracting climate change as they are a large carbon sink, provide more than half our oxygen while storing 50 times more carbon that the atmosphere,” Gregory said. “Oceans also regulate weather, helping to balance the uneven distribution of solar radiation.”
The proclamation notes the oceans are home to hundreds of at-risk species and their ecosystems are vulnerable. It also praises the role Indigenous Peoples have played in preserving the oceans by noting they have been “stewards of oceans since time memorial and are leaders in the conservation of oceans.”
It further notes there needs to be a strong commitment from everyone in order to reverse the damage to ecosystems in the oceans and safeguard marine life.
Gregory said municipal support of efforts to protect the oceans “will help us win the fight against global warning.”