John Kerry on World Oceans Day

World Oceans Day, June 8, reminds of us the importance of our oceans and maintaining their health. As we continue working and developing on and near the water, we cannot forget the impacts on our ocean – and we need to work vigilantly to protect it.

My commitment to the health of our ocean represents both a deeply personal connection to the sea and a professional dedication to ensuring the long-term health of the ocean and the people who depend upon it. The ocean makes up such a significant portion of the surface of our planet that it plays a tangible role in creating the air we breathe, regulating our climate, growing the food we eat and cleaning the water we drink. We’re not talking about a vague threat, far off in the distance; the ocean is under enormous stress right now. And overfishing, pollution, and ocean acidification all threaten global standards of living.

A year ago, I hosted the first-ever Our Ocean conference, leading to worldwide commitments to protect the ocean, understand it, and support its communities. These commitments were not only made by governments and international organizations, but businesses, private citizens and NGOs as well. And I’m very pleased that this October, Chile has generously offered to host the next Our Ocean conference so we can continue to build on the considerable progress we came together to make last summer.

Protecting the ocean is a task too big for any government or institution to handle alone. All of us can – and must do – our part. Choosing sustainable seafood, carpooling or public transportation more often, picking up litter, and reusing products are just a few small ways that we can all help to protect the ocean we share. If we all take the steps we’re able to take, day after day, we can work to keep the ocean clean and do our part to promote a sustainable, responsible relationship with our planet.

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