EDITORIAL

Oceans and Earth's habitability

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Science  22 May 2015:
Vol. 348, Issue 6237, pp. 841
DOI: 10.1126/science.aac5755

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Summary

On 8 June, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) celebrates World Oceans Day, a fitting occasion to remind ourselves of the essential role of the oceans in making Earth a habitable planet. We have had an official day of celebration for the oceans only since December 2008. In contrast, Earth Day has been celebrated every year since 1970. Conceived by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson in the aftermath of the 1969 Santa Barbara oil spill, Earth Day became a focus for the growing environmental movement (it became an international event in 1990) and the catalyst that led to the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts in the United States. Imagine what might be accomplished if World Oceans Day could similarly inspire actions for improving the state of the oceans worldwide.