Anyone who has witnessed the majesty of the Great Barrier Reef knows it needs no introduction. Its sublime, other-worldly beauty is as bizarre as it is stunning.  It is the world’s largest living thing, a pulsing structure made up of billions of tiny breathing and living organisms. But it is so much more than its beauty. This submerged world is completely unique, extraordinarily sophisticated, and essential to the existence of thousands of marine species, including some of our most precious and endangered sea life.

The Great Barrier Reef is extremely fragile, however, and it’s under threat. Human impact on the Great Barrier Reef is estimated to have destroyed half of its coral in the last 30 years, and recent moves to establish one of the world’s largest coal mines in the vicinity of the reef will only increase the rate of destruction.

This is just one example of the abuse of oceans which is occurring across the world. From illegal overfishing by Chinese companies in the waters off west Africa,  to the illegal trade threatening the world's 97 remaining vaquita, the health of our oceans and its inhabitants are under continuous attack on various fronts.

Today is World Ocean's Day, first established by the United Nations in 2008 in order to call attention to the importance of the ocean and to mobilize businesses, governments and people from across the world to act to protect it. The ocean is vital to the life of every human: besides the billions of people who depend on the ocean for their daily food and livelihoods, oceans produce half of the oxygen we breathe and absorb a third of carbon dioxide emissions.

“The ocean is the heart of our planet. Like your heart pumping blood to every part of your body, the ocean connects people across the Earth”

Today is not just a day to remember the importance of the 72% of our planet which is covered in blue waters; it is a day to act. This year, World Oceans Day is encouraging people to pledge to reduce their use of disposable plastic bags, which, when thrown away, clog the world's oceans, dirtying the water and damaging marine life. Just as acting to save the vaquita could ensure the continued existence this endangered animal, making a pledge today will contribute to cleaning and preserving our precious oceans.

Daniel Stoupin’s breath taking video, "Slow Life", not only celebrates the weird and wonderful mystery of our oceans; it also reminds us of how much we stand to lose.

 Every one of us can have an impact. Let’s make today count. 

Slow Life from Daniel Stoupin on Vimeo.