The Ocean Matters

| by April Anthony

I just returned from a family trip to the ocean.  We took a chance with hurricane Irma moving North, but we were fortunate and only experienced rain and wind for a couple of days.  While we were glued to the TV watching Irma advance, I was constantly checking in with family and friends in Florida to make sure they were alright.  Our hearts go out to all who are affected by Harvey and Irma.  It’s great to see people jumping in to help, from the $10 donations to millions raised and contributed by celebrities, local heroes, and anonymous donors.  It will take years for houses to be rebuilt and to bring people’s lives back to normal.

After the hurricane, we walked the beach every day and started noticing many items washing up on the beach like sunglasses, tons of sunglasses, and goggles.  We finally realized these were washing up from Florida and other southern beaches because of Irma’s wrath. As more and more trash, parts of boats, fishing gear – you name it – continued to wash up on the beach, other beach walkers started cleaning up.  Without any organized effort, we all pitched in to pick up the beach.  We felt good about doing our part to help the environment. 

In addition to people being affected by the Hurricane, the environment has been devastated in many ways.  The weather also affected animals, like loggerhead turtles, egrets, and raccoons.  The flooding has destroyed the animals’ nests and moved them from salt water areas to fresh water with no way of return.  The entire ecosystem has been impacted.

Today I am giving a shout out to all nonprofits whose missions help save the environment.  One I’d like to highlight today is the Ocean Conservancy www.oceanconservancy.org.  This year, Ocean Conservancy marks 45 years of working to protect our oceans from some of the greatest challenges.  The Ocean Conservancy has made incredible progress to safeguard America’s fisheries, combat ocean acidification, and restore the Gulf of Mexico with the best available science.  They have spearheaded efforts to designate and strengthen marine sanctuaries and protected sea turtle habitats. They have founded and grown the largest marine volunteer core in the world through their International Coastal Cleanup program. 

Their vision for the ocean is a clean, healthy, and thriving ecosystem for wildlife and communities that depend on it.  The ocean supplies the food we eat, the air we breathe and the water we drink.  It’s our planet’s life support system. 

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