A closer look at key historic events that took place on June 8:

In 2009, the UN hosts its first World Oceans Day

World Oceans Day is dedicated to raising awareness about the critical role of oceans in our environment and encouraging sustainable practices to protect marine life. This annual event highlights the importance of oceans in regulating the climate, providing food, and supporting biodiversity. Since its inception, it has inspired global participation through various activities like beach clean-ups, educational programs, and policy discussions aimed at ocean conservation.

The UN observes World Oceans Day (8 June) to raise awareness on the threats facing the world’s oceans: climate change, pollution and shrinking biodiversity among them. View of the area around Ny-Ålesund, located on Svalbard, an archipelago in the Arctic Ocean north of mainland Europe. 2/Sep/2009. Ny-Ålesund, Norway. UN Photo/Mark Garten. Flickr

In 1987, New Zealand becomes a nuclear-free zone

The country officially became a nuclear-free zone with the passage of the New Zealand Nuclear Free Zone, Disarmament, and Arms Control Act. This legislation prohibited the entry of nuclear-armed or nuclear-powered ships into New Zealand waters and banned nuclear weapons from being manufactured, acquired, or stationed in the country.

Material from Archives New Zealand

In 1972, the “napalm girl” photo is taken

The photo was taken during the Vietnam War by photographer Nick Ut and shows a young girl, Phan Thi Kim Phuc, running naked down a road after being severely burned by napalm. This harrowing image brought global attention to the horrors of the Vietnam War and played a significant role in shifting public opinion against the conflict. Nick Ut won the Pulitzer Prize for this powerful and historic photograph.

Kim Phuc – The Napalm Girl In Vietnam. Flickr

In 1949, George Orwell publishes Nineteen Eighty-Four

The book depicts a totalitarian society under constant surveillance, where independent thought is suppressed, and history is manipulated. It introduced terms like “Big Brother” and “Orwellian” into the lexicon, profoundly influencing discussions about privacy, freedom, and government overreach.


In 1504, Michelangelo’s David is installed in Florence

Michelangelo began sculpting his famous statue in 1501 and it was installed in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence on June 8, 1504. This masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture symbolizes the biblical hero David and represents the defense of civil liberties embodied in the Republic of Florence, with the eyes of David turned towards Rome.

David is a masterpiece of Renaissance sculpture created in marble between 1501 and 1504 by the Italian artist Michelangelo. David is a 5.17-metre (17.0 ft)[a] marble statue of the Biblical hero David, a favoured subject in the art of Florence. Wikimedia Commons

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