The National Environment Service (NES) is pleased to launch two new videos to celebrate World Ocean Day and the National Environment Week. These are the first two videos released by NES in 2023 as part of its implementation of the NES Environmental Communication Strategy (ECS 2022-27) to drive a coherent environment movement in the Cook Islands. NES has a role to play in building awareness which will promote stronger compliance and advocacy for environmental sustainability and conservation in the Cook Islands.
World Ocean Day
In prior years, the Cook Islands Government celebrated World Ocean Day through an expo style event for the school children. This year, NES is celebrating World Ocean Day on behalf of the Cook Islands Government through a soft launch of its video. It is a day to raise awareness and reflect on the importance of the ocean to our daily lives and how it connects people around the world as one shared ocean. It is a day to understand our impacts on the ocean’s health and the need for sustainable management of our oceans.
The World Ocean Day (WOD) concept was first proposed by Canada at the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio. Global partners started promoting WOD following the launch of its website in 2003. The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) officially recognised World Ocean Day in 2008 and launched the World Ocean Day Youth Advisory Council in 2016. In 2021, 1,100 organisations in 84 countries signed a global petition to world leaders to protect 30% of our lands and oceans by 2030. By 2022, more than 10,000 organisations have coordinated 15,000 events in over 140 countries to celebrate WOD.
The United Nations World Oceans Day (UN WOD) is celebrating WOD in 2023 with the theme ‘Planet Ocean: Tides Are Changing’. UN WOD is joined by scientists, private sector executives, civil society, indigenous communities, celebrities and youth activities to host a webinar on the theme and to put the ocean first. You can register to join the webinar on here.
In the WOD video released by NES, a young Cook Islander displays her love for the ocean through sport. From the outset of her journey lies our strong history with the ocean as seafarers and navigators. Our strong connection with the ocean has sustained us over centuries by shaping our cultural systems and food security. The story depicts our modern societies’ struggles with climate change and that our ocean is in crisis. However, we cannot do this alone, ‘we need more people in our vaka, paddling together to save our ocean’.
Let’s celebrate World Ocean Day by 8th June 2023. The ocean’s existence is our existence.
National Environment Week
To celebrate National Environment Week from 5th to 8th June 2023, NES released a second video to create awareness on the environment. From climate change to biodiversity conservation, the global ecological crisis has profound impact on the Cook Islands as a Small Islands Developing State, and is a matter concerning everyone, everyday.
The video depicts the relationship between a young girl and her papa; highlighting the different ways that they view the world. The girl is concerned about plastic pollution and how it has taken over our everyday lives. From the single-use plastic bottles leaking to our environment, to the microplastics we consume through our food, the young girl embarks on her journey to learn about plastic pollution and how to start by changing our own behaviours.
The National Environment Day is recognised on 5th June and the theme for 2023 is #BeatPlasticPollution. Of the approximately 8.3 billion tonnes of plastic produced since the 1950s, studies show that 6.3 billion tonnes are now waste, with between 8-12 million tonnes of plastic leaking into the marine environment each year. This number is expected to more than triple by 2050.
During the National Environment Week, NES will engage with schools to bring awareness to four key environmental issues: plastic pollution, saving our wetlands, ocean conservation and sustainable management, and sustainable or organic farming. NES will share some of these experiences through mainstream and social media. The intension is to raise awareness on the environment and support NES in our efforts to protect, conserve and manage the environment.
Halatoa Fua, Director of NES, acknowledged Kia Orana Collective and Tayla Jayne Ltd for their artistic talent in creating the videos. Halatoa thanks all the actors involved for their outstanding contribution for environmental stewardship. He further acknowledged the NES staff for their support in developing programmes with the schools