Education goes beyond classroom learning. Each day we continue to add to our repertoire of knowledge and experiences. Part of that journey includes leading by example and giving back to our communities whether you are a first-year student, educator or executive.
The idea of a World Ocean Day came about in 1992 to raise awareness of the critical role the ocean plays in all life on earth. In 2008, the United Nations (UN) declared June 8th as World Ocean Day recognizing the intricate connection humans have with the ocean and the value it provides to all life on earth. On this day, people across the globe join together to raise awareness about the need to protect the ocean and the responsibility each of us has to maintain the integrity of the ocean ecosystem. This year’s theme “The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods” illuminates how crucial the ocean is in sustaining human physical, cultural and economic life as well as the life of all species. It is especially important as it is the lead up to the UN’s Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development where, from 2021-2030, the UN will work to strengthen international involvement in oceanic scientific research and technology. The world is facing increasingly devastating health and climatic issues, making now a critical time for the global community to unite and work to protect our ocean.
Part of this responsibility is educating ourselves and others on these issues. One way to increase the awareness of how our daily actions affect the ocean environment is through a beach, river or harbor cleanup. NAMEPA teamed up with our partner and member, Fairfield Chemical Carriers (FCC), in a waterway cleanup to celebrate World Ocean Day. Supported by the City of Norwalk, the event took place at strategic locations along the Norwalk River and Long Island Sound. After 2 hours the group of 28 volunteers collected 94 pounds of trash items ranging from cigarette butts to soda cans and even a cherub and flipflops.
You do not have to wait for the next World Ocean Day, Earth Day or the International Coastal Cleanup to do your part and participate in a cleanup! Check with local environmental organizations, schools or the Ocean Conservancy for scheduled events. Or start your own! It is simple and rewarding. Follow these tips for a successful cleanup and most importantly, have fun!
•Plan ahead! Make sure all participants know the location and check in with event coordinator(s) on procedures for picking up, logging and dis-posing of trash.
•Many town/cities require permits for events and coordination with facilities for timely removal of trash picked up. Make sure this is all planned in advance.
•Dress for the weather! Make sure you are wearing sturdy shoes that can get wet, muddy and protect your feet from any potential hazards (i.e. broke glass, rocks) bring a hat, sunscreen, bug spray and water to stay hydrated.
Marine debris is a serious threat to the health of our ocean and all inhabitants. NAMEPA strives to dive deeper into education and outreach by teaching about the persistence of marine debris and ways to change our habits to reduce the amount of trash reaching our waterways. We off offer for students, educators and life-long learners including our Educator Guide Books and Planet and Ocean Discovery Series. We also provide the pathways for youth to choose a career in the marine or maritime industry through our participation in the Maritime Primary and Secondary Education Coalition (MPSEC).