Rochelle Strauss – Building Ocean Literacy on World Ocean Day

June 8, 2024

The Global Ocean by Rochelle StraussWelcome to Cantastic Authorpalooza, featuring posts by and about great Canadian children’s book creators! Today’s guest: Rochelle Strauss. Take it away, Rochelle!

Take a deep breath in.

Now hold it.

You probably know that you have the trees to thank for that breath you just took. Trees and other plants provide the oxygen that makes Earth habitable. But they don’t work alone! The ocean also provides oxygen to the planet.

In fact, if forests are considered the lungs of the earth; then the ocean may very well be Earth’s heart.

(Ok, you can let that breath out now, if you haven’t already… 😉)

Not only does the ocean (yes, THE ocean, there is only one) provide oxygen, but it also shapes the planet’s weather and climate too. Its currents circulate water around the planet, moving warm and cold water, as well as nutrients and oxygen. It stores carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, and is a source of food for many species, including us. All life on Earth started in the ocean. And today, the ocean is home to more biodiversity (the diversity of species) than anywhere else on the planet. It’s also home to the greatest number of organisms on the planet, and more different habitats than on land.

Much like your heart keeps you alive and healthy, the ocean is what keeps the planet flourishing and sustains all life on Earth. It may be Earth’s most important feature. 

But the ocean is in trouble. No matter where we live, our activities are having a huge impact on the health of the global ocean. Climate change, pollution and plastics, habitat loss and overfishing are putting stress on the ocean. 

Keeping the ocean healthy is paramount and to do that, we all need to build our Ocean Literacy. Ocean literacy is our understanding of the impact the ocean has on us, and that we are having on the ocean. Building our ocean literacy is the key to becoming stewards of the ocean and protecting Earth’s beating heart.

That’s why every year, on June 8th, we celebrate World Ocean Day. It’s also why the UN has devoted an entire decade to building our Ocean Literacy

The United Nations Decade for Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030) – or simply, The Ocean Decade – is dedicated to helping us build the science we need for the ocean we want. Hundreds of ocean activities, led by UN entities, researchers, governments, NGOs, educators, community groups and many others, are expected to take place around the world, moving the Decade’s mission forward. And I am honoured that my latest book, The Global Ocean (Kids Can Press, 2022), has officially been recognized as a UNESCO endorsed Ocean Decade Activity.

We need the global ocean to be healthy so that it can continue to support every living species on Earth, including us. Thankfully, people around the world are taking charge and leading the way to conserve and restore the global ocean. And these ripples of change are leading to the bigger waves of change needed to protect the ocean.

What ripples of change will you add?

Learn More

The first step to building YOUR ocean literacy, is, of course, to learn more about the ocean. As an author, I always encourage starting with a good book! But here are some other great resources to help you learn more and take action: 

  1. World Ocean Day – lots of learning, resources and a global ocean day events listing
  2. Ocean Week Canada – a database of Canadian Ocean Week events
  3. Canadian Ocean Literacy Coalition 
  4. Ocean Network Canada 
  5. All-Atlantic Blue Schools – if you are a teacher, consider becoming part of the All-Atlantic Blue Schools Network. There are specific chapters for Canada and the US too. If you are based outside North American, check out the Network of European Blue Schools
  6. National Marine Educators Association

Special thanks to Lindsey for sharing space on your blog to celebrate World Ocean Day. Lindsey – you’ve now officially created a ripple of change AND participated in an Ocean Decade Activity!

About Rochelle

Rochelle Strauss wants to change the world – one book at a time. An environmental educator and children’s author based in Toronto, Canada, Rochelle is passionate about using children’s non-fiction books as tools for building environmental literacy. Her best-selling titles include The Global Ocean, One Well: The Story of Water on Earth, and Tree of Life: The Incredible Biodiversity of Life on Earth. You can follow Rochelle’s journey through Instagram @rochellestraussauthor


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