June 9 could be a historic day for the Earth’s seas. Environmental advocates who are passionate about protecting the seas are urging the rest of us to dive in. Or at least dip a toe. Will you join the March for the Ocean in Washington, D.C., or a local event to turn the tide of plastics back?
The onslaught of pollution in our waterways is drawing a wave of attention from a wide range of ocean enthusiasts, including divers, scientists, parents, and kids — regardless of their proximity to the surf. Participants are marching to protect the waters of the planet for this and future generations.
“Every person on this planet is going to be affected by what happens to the ocean,” says Dakota Peebler, 12, a founding member of the nonprofit youth organization, Heirs To Our Oceans. “It doesn’t matter where you live.”
March for the Ocean
International enthusiasm for protecting waterways is on full display this month, with participants joining from around the world. On Saturday, June 9 — the day after World Oceans Day — March for the Ocean (M4O) and more than 175 partners are celebrating our oceans in Washington, D.C. Event speeches and activities will focus on topics that affect our waterways, such as offshore drilling and oil spills, plastic pollution, and the responsibilities of politicians, industry officials, and individuals.
“March for the Ocean is about the survival of our blue planet,” the M4O site proclaims. “But it’s also about the fact that it’s not too late to turn the tide — restore and protect what we love.”
In addition to the Washington march, M4O events are scheduled in New York, San Francisco, Indianapolis, other U.S. cities, and other countries. If you would like to organize a local event, visit the M4O registration page to add your location to the list. Get your friends involved and build local awareness. Here are a few publicity ideas from NonProfitHub.org.
Plastic-Free in Washington, D.C.
The June 9 activities in Washington will include a flotilla on the Anacostia River, a 1.7-mile route that runs by the White House, and an exciting roster of speakers and entertainers.
Among throngs of participants are kids and teens from Heirs To Our Oceans. They’re flying in from California to meet with U.S. senators and representatives, speak at the march, and perform their original rap number.
Other features of the event:
- Skip single-use plastic: Participants are encouraged to bring canteens or non-plastic water bottles; chilled water refill stations will be available.
- Life-sized inflatable whales — including a90-foot blue whale — will be on display.
- Can’t make it to Washington? Watch the march streamed live on Facebook.
“We get so much from the ocean; it’s time to give something back, to stop oil drilling and spilling, end plastic pollution, and protect our coasts at risk,” says David Helvarg, chair of the M4O Steering Committee, author and executive director of Blue Frontier Campaign. “We know what the solutions are. It’s time to create the political will to enact them. The ocean is rising and so are we.”
Elsewhere in the World
Dozens of simultaneous marches, flotillas, and other festivities on land and in the water are slated around the United States and the world. Locations include Sausalito, California; London, England; Amravati, India; and Lombok, Indonesia.
Ocean supporters will also distribute flyers at farmers markets, screen ocean-themed films, and volunteer for waterfront cleanups, says Vicki Nichols Goldstein, founder and executive director of Inland Ocean Coalition.
Jenifer Atkinson, also of Inland Ocean Coalition, is flying to the Florida Keys with about 30 students from Colorado, Michigan, Illinois, and Utah for projects that include an ocean cleanup while scuba diving. The students are also participating in a kayak flotilla, waving the flags of their inland states. “This is for students who are highly motivated, want to take a leadership role, and [are] empowered with the tools to go back to their inland communities and show people how easy it is to shift to a sustainable footprint,” she said.
Show Your Support
Can’t make it to an event? Here are some ways you can help champion the cause.
- Use the M40 map for marches, flotillas, and other activities you want to attend.
- Email M4O for information or volunteer opportunities.
- Wear blue. Or purchase an official T-shirt. Snap selfies and share through social media.
- Browse the M40 digital ToolKit for useful materials.
- Write, phone, or send petitions to public officials, demanding they support policies that protect waterways.
- Watch and share inspiring videos.
Share photos and let us know about your participation in March for the Ocean!