Every year on the third Saturday in February, we celebrate World Whale Day. It’s a day to focus on reducing the human-made threats that whales and other marine animals face every day.
Recent changes in legislation and lifestyle have resulted in an increase of commercial whaling, overfishing, and other activities that put whales at risk. Whaling, while illegal in some places, happens legally as well, in countries like Japan. Commercial fishing disrupts the food chain, forcing whales to travel farther for food, lengthening their migration patterns and shortening their lives. The practices of commercial fishing, like crawling, also lead to mass habitat destruction.
Outside of whaling and commercial fishing, whales are also threatened by environmental factors like climate change and pollution. Every year, 8 million tons of plastic ends up in the oceans. The plastic pollution is often mistaken for food by whales and other marine life. As the plastic cannot be digested, it gathers in their digestive system, resulting in life-threatening illnesses.
World Whale Day is a day to discuss the impacts of human actions on whales and understand the importance of protecting marine life.
Why We Should Protect Marine Life
Most people underestimate their impact on marine life. It can be hard to imagine that the actions of one individual can have such a big impact on massive animals like whales. However, it’s important to realize that our everyday routines can affect the health of our planet, including its creatures and their habitats. Understanding the importance of whales in our ecosystem is the first step in saving the whales. Whales play an essential role in our marine ecosystem. The health and wellbeing of whales impacts the lives of all marine life and human life.
First, they are indicators of marine environmental health. Any significant change in the whale population indicates to scientists underlying issues in the ocean environment. The close observation and study of whales has led scientists to discoveries that resulted in the survival of other marine life species. Second, whales recirculate nutrients. As whales consume fish and zooplankton at the surface, they excrete nitrogen-rich fecal matter that serves as food for other organisms. When whales die, their carcasses sink to the bottom of the ocean and become nourishing food for bottom dwellers. Third, humans have a lot to learn from whales. Did you know that whales inspired countless technological developments? Their form of communication led to the invention of sonar, a technology that uses soundwaves to sense the location of objects in the ocean.
These are just a few of the many ways whales play a vital role in the ocean and our lifestyles. It’s our responsibility to do our part and save the whales.
3 Ways You Can Celebrate World Whale Day
World Whale Day isn’t just a holiday to be observed by those living in coastal areas. Anyone can (and should) celebrate World Whale Day, no matter where you live. The health of whales and our marine environments doesn’t just impact people near bodies of water; it impacts everyone.
Here are three easy ways to protect marine life on World Whale Day (and every day.)
Organize a Clean-Up
Coordinating or participating in a waterway clean up is a great way to celebrate the holiday! Beach, river, and lake clean-ups are not just about keeping the community looking fresh and clean. It also helps reduce the amount of pollution that enters our waterways that can harm ocean animals.
Don’t worry if you don’t live close to the ocean. Even highway or road adoption clean-ups can make a positive impact. Land pollution can travel thousands of miles, starting right from roadside ditches to sewer drains. Eventually, much of this pollution flows out to the oceans, whether or not you live near one.
If you would rather not organize an event, you can also find local clean up activities that are already planned. Check your local municipalities website and local environmental organizations for nearby activities. That way, you just need to show up and clean up!
Have an Upcycled Craft Party
Having an upcycled craft party is a great way to celebrate World Whale Day! Whether you’re in the classroom or at home, you can celebrate World Whale Day with your little ones with whale-themed upcycled DIY crafts. This not only gives you an opportunity to teach children about the important role whales play in our ecosystem, it’s also a great way to repurpose old items that would otherwise end up in landfills or oceans.
Want to try our favorite upcycled DIY craft? Use old socks to create fun sock puppets! All you need is a pair of old socks and some decorating supplies like paint, markers, or scraps of fabric. Then use your puppets to tell a story of ocean conservancy. (Bonus points if you make a Bubbles the Whale sock puppet!)
Adopt a Whale
Celebrate World Whale Day symbolically by donating to a wildlife foundation that’s committed to helping save the whales. Many foundations give you the opportunity to “adopt” a whale, where the organization will send you a whale stuffed animal or certificate to commemorate your donation.
It’s important to research and find reputable and trustworthy nonprofit organizations. Before donating, be sure you understand how the organization will use your donation. Reputable programs will use your donation to protect or rehabilitate whales. Some examples are the Oceanic Society and World Wildlife Organization.
To make a difference year-round, you can also choose to donate on a recurring basis. This is a great way to play an active role in saving the whales and protecting marine life.
Celebrate World Whale Day by Helping Save The Whales
World Whale Day is a special, once-a-year event where people around the world recognize, celebrate, and honor our responsibility to save the whales. This year, it takes place on Saturday, February 19.
It’s important for everyone to take part in this holiday and be part of the solution to save the whales. Our entire ecosystem depends on the health and survival of the whales. Even those who don’t live near oceans depend on the wellbeing of whales.
There are a few easy ways to celebrate World Whale Day, regardless of where you live:
- Organize a local beach clean-up or roadside litter clean-up.
- Create upcycled DIY crafts with kids.
- Adopt a whale by donating to an ocean conservation organization.
World Whale Day isn’t the only day when we should be working to help save the whales. One of the easiest ways to help save the whales all year long is by helping to reduce your carbon footprint and eliminate plastic waste. An easy way to help eliminate plastic is to buy sustainably made clothing.
While your actions may seem small, if everyone does something small for World Whale Day, we can make a huge difference to protect marine life.
Celebrate World Whale Day in stylish, sustainable socks!