Thanks to American media priorities, it's easy to ignore the mountain of threats facing our oceans today in favor of the barrage of celebrity selfies posted this week. But having environmental holidays like World Oceans Day and the accompanying hashtags circulating social media now and then can help us refocus our interests, if only temporarily.
Here are 10 shocking #WorldOceansDay facts to light a fire under our butts to continue reducing our footprint the other 364 days a year.
1. There is more microplastic in the ocean than there are stars in our galaxy.
2. Every minute, a garbage truckload amount of plastic is added to our oceans.
3. At our current level of plastic use, it's projected that we'll have more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050.
4. Marine creatures swallow plastic bags because they look like jellyfish. By 2050, almost every species of seabird will be regularly consuming plastic trash.
5. There's an island of garbage twice the size of Texas off the coast of California. The North Pacific Gyre is one of five major ocean "trash vortexes," and contains six times the amount of trash as sea life.
6. There are oceanic dead zones which are so polluted that it's impossible for any marine or plant life to survive there.
7. In many parts of the world, sewage water is disposed by dumping into the ocean, harming plant, animal, and human life alike.
8. For every million tons of oil shipped, one ton is spilled into the ocean.
9. Humans can easily absorb the contamination from seafood, which can lead to health issues like cancer and liver disease.
10. Water-related problems are the cause of 3.4 million deaths each year.
As bad as it looks now, things can get worse. So join the movement. Waste less water, use less plastic, and help support ocean conservation organizations. Here's to our life-supporting oceans; isn't it time we return the favor?