World Oceans Month promotes protecting shared seas

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Jun. 9—To promote ocean conservation, June has been designated United Nations World Oceans Month.

"This World Oceans Month, which Hawaii has helped spearhead, is about the international 30 x 30 initiative to conserve at least 30 % of the world's ocean ecosystems with marine protected areas by 2030, " said Oahu resident Jonatha Giddens, a National Geographic Society Fellow who holds a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and conducts deep-sea biodiversity research as chief scientist of the Society's Exploration Technology Lab.

"It's all related, " Giddens said, noting that, for example, "people don't think about the deep sea as much because we can't dive to those depths, but its life forms are very fragile and the ecosystems are all interconnected, and that's why looking at whole ecosystem protection is what we need to do."

"The ocean is our great connector, " Gov. David Ige said on Tuesday, World Oceans Day, before signing into law nine bills strengthening protections and enforcement against illegal and unsustainable fishing practices and the killing of sharks, as well as more broadly to support ocean stewardship and natural resource management to "malama our oceans in the face of climate change, " which is bleaching coral reefs and battering shorelines with extreme storms.

Thanking the Legislature for passing the package of marine protection bills, Ige said the state was moving forward with its own Holumua : Marine 30 x 30 Initiative, launched at the World Conservation Forum in 2016, to establish 30 % of Hawaii's nearshore waters "as a network of marine management areas to benefit fisheries and ecosystem resilience " by 2030.

Meanwhile, people can sign and share the online petition at demanding the world's governments implement the global 30 x 30 initiative, to which 21 countries including the U.S. have pledged their commitment. A plethora of ocean-sustaining activities will be rolling out in Honolulu throughout June.

Although the Waikiki Aquarium remains closed to the public due to coronavirus precautions, the conservation organization Tuesday held a socially distanced beach cleanup, with small groups of masked participants, and for the rest of the month, it will release new educational resources on its Facebook page, including a coral reef video (World Reefs Day was June 1 ) and, on June 21 and 28, "Hawaiians and the Sea " presentations by Dean Spencer, Waikiki Aquarium school support program coordinator, about how the early Hawaiians sustained their livelihood.

New classes by Patty Miller, NOAA's Hawaiian Islands Humpback Whale National Marine Sanctuary education coordinator, will also be posted. For more information, visit.

Sea Life Park will host a World Oceans Month celebration Friday through Sunday during its current opening hours of 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event will feature the music of "Honu by the Sea, " by Johnson Enos, played live. There also will be giveaways, arts and crafts, and educational activities with conservation partners such as Storm Water Hawaii, Malama na Honu and Hawaiian Monk Seal Preservation Ohana ; and local food vendors such as Hawaiian Honey Cones and Windward Snow shave ice. For ticket prices and more information, go to.

From 6 to 9 p.m. Friday, Parley Hawaii will hold the first of its free, public Sunset Sessions of environmental talks and screenings at its AIR Station on the grounds of Bishop Museum.

"A.I.R. stands for Avoid Intercept Redesign, which is meant to replace R.R.R. (Reduce Reuse Recycle ), an acronym created by the plastics industry that doesn't even start " with refusing plastics and single-use products, said Kahi Pacarro, director for AIR Hawaii, which will host the evening events every second Friday of the month.

Friday's session will pre ­sent the Papahanaumoku ­akea Marine Debris Project with imagery and stories from the world's largest marine sanctuary, as told by the team that helps clean it, accompanied by a keiki-friendly activity of painting buoys removed from the sanctuary.

"We've been open in the daytime for six weeks now, and have already educated over 1, 500 people about plastic pollution, climate change, composting, and community stewardship, " Pacarro said.

Parley's AIR Station is free and open to the public, with no requirement to purchase museum admission, Wednesday-Sunday during museum hours, 9 a.m.-5 p.m., on the lower Great Lawn of Bishop Museum, 1525 Bernice St.

For more information and to sign up, visit.

In further celebration of World Oceans Month from an islander's perspective, a colorful, triptych mural titled "See the Light, " depicting Hawaii's ocean flora and fauna and a diver in an antique suit, was unveiled Monday by the young artist Stephanie Hung at Hickam Federal Credit Union's main branch at 1260 Kuala St. in Pearl City.

"It is my hope that the mural will serve as a constant reminder that we all need to help protect our islands, " Hung, who graduated from Punahou School this spring, said in an announcement.

"The old diver sheds a beam of light onto the way things used to look and that we cannot continue to pollute and trash our home, " she said.

Hung founded Artists Save Waves, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting Sustainable Coastlines Hawai 'i and other environmental organizations, and her mural unveiling also marked the launch of the credit union's "Cards With a Cause " campaign, using credit /debit card designs by Hung.

Art and science are natural partners, said National Geographic's Giddens, who said she takes time to do artwork in her field journals during expeditions.

"That kind of integration of art and science can help us understand these natural places more deeply, and communicate their inherent value through storytelling to society at large, " she said.

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