Hey Sentinels! I hope you are having an amazing week, the first of many more to come of fun and sun!
Summer’s just started and I hope everyone is enjoying a well-deserved rest, surfing your dream beach break, point, reef (or ranch!). It’s only fair that we unwind after living through the harshest months of winter.
And believe me, I know how bad that can get. I lived a few weeks in Toronto during the month of February and that was not fun.
So, as you paddle out on your board, waiting for the next set to roll in, surrounded by glassy, emerald green or turquoise waters, and letting your body have its fill of friendly, warm summer days (no wetsuits please!), take a look around you and breathe in the wonders that Mother Nature has blessed us with.
Now more than ever, it is so important that we take the time to do this.
And as our planet gets more populated by the day, facing awesome environmental challenges that threaten our very existence, know that out there, beyond the horizon, there are efforts being made by environmental and ocean conservancy heroes that have taken the mission of being a Sentinel to a completely different level.
There are many environmental efforts being made around our planet, but the following ocean conservation organizations have set the standard for ocean conservancy and protection of our planet’s fragile biodiversity.
Here’s a quick look at each organization (if you wish to know more about any of them, click on the organization’s name below and you will be directed to their website). They all have volunteer programs if you wish to participate in their ongoing efforts.
Officially known as Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, this organization, established in 1977, is a great example of innovative, direct-action tactics held in high seas. Sea Shepherd operates all over the world, and some of the best known environmental operatives have come from this no-nonsense, scientific OCO, among them the tainting of 2,000 baby seals in the Arctic to prevent poachers and pelters from killing them for profit.
Sea Shepherd is committed to the preservation, protection, and balance of the biodiversity found in our planet’s oceans and their mission is “…to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans in order to conserve and protect ecosystems and species”.
Known for their well researched and organized campaigns, as well as championing policy and fighting legal battles for coasts around the world, Surfrider Foundation is committed to awareness of issues that threaten our planet’s oceans. Their 50 member staff work tirelessly to raise money to support their powerful activist network. Surfrider Foundation’s approach is based on the following strong tenet:
“We ensure beaches are accessible, keep our water clean, protect our ocean, preserve our coasts and keep plastic from polluting our waterways. The Surfrider Foundation has a proven model for success—a playbook and a team—that transforms passion into protection”.
Through focused efforts using social media, film, photography and joint collaborations, OPS are able to bring awareness of “complex, global environmental issues”. Some of their exemplary projects are:
• Racing Extinction – The Biggest Story in the World
• Projecting Change – Shining a Light on Endangered Species
• The Cove – Taiji, Japan: A Little Town With a Really Big Secret
• A Covert Mission
IMMP is committed to the making the oceans safe for whales, dolphins and marine mammals around the world.
One of their most famous rescues involved the release of Keiko, the orca whale that inspired the movie, Free Willy.
Additionally, IMMP is responsible for bringing the slaughter of dolphins in Taiji island in Japan to the of world stage throughout their Academy Award-winning movie The Cove.
It is reassuring to know that they are also involved in banning aquarium and circus owners from utilizing marine mammals for entertainment purposes.
Founded in 1967, the American Cetacean Society (ACS) is the first whale, dolphin and porpoise conservation organization in the world. Their mission is to bring education, relevant, current research and critical conservation topics about cetaceans and their environments.
They have chapters in San Diego, Seattle, Monterrey, Orange County, San Francisco and Los Angeles. ACS also provides volunteer programs and organize science projects involving cetacean education.
They are the definitive source of information for cetacean research and conservation.
Imagine a world where dolphins and whales are safe and free. This is WDC’s vision. They are leaders in charity projects involving protection of whales and dolphins around the world.
WDC’s mission is:
“…to amaze people with the wonder of whales and dolphins and inspire global action to protect them”.
There are approximately 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. 269,000 tons of this waste floats on the surface. What’s even worse: there are about four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer that contaminate the oceans at depths.
Ocean Conservancy works with international organizations that are committed to the reduction of plastics in our oceans. OC is a volunteer force currently has over 600,000 members.
This organization bases their efforts in strong science, clear policies and involved associates. Ocean Conservancy is well aware that their efforts will yield results in the long term.
And that’s just fine by them.
Their focus is on solutions that are long-lasting and transformational, advocating for “healthy oceans, abundant wildlife and thriving coastal communities”.
One of their major global events is the International Coastal Cleanup, an ongoing project that they have been actively organizing and doing for more than three decades.
The IOCS is headed by Executive Director Ellen K. Pikitch, Ph.D., an acclaimed marine fisheries scientist. Dr. Pikitch sets the scientific tone and moderation for IOCS’s efforts in advancing ocean conservation through science.
Her organization is also part of the Stony Brook University School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences.
These accolades are certainly worth noting, but it is Dr. Pikitch’s approach to world-class scientific research that has increased awareness of grave threats to the world’s oceans and the marine wildlife that inhabits them.
Her heam provides the foundation for smarter ocean policies, always aiming for new parameters for responsible conservation of marine and ocean biodiversity, always based on strong scientific fact.
Oceana is an organization whose sole focus is on oceans.
Until recently (1999), less than 0.5 percent of all resources spent by US environmental non-profit organizations went to ocean conservation. Up to that time, there had never existed an organization that focused their efforts exclusively on the protection and restoration of oceans on a global scale.
Fortunately, that all changed in 2001 when Oceana was created. This organization was made up of four foundations deeply committed to this cause:
- The Pew Charitable Trusts.
- Oak Foundation.
- Marisla Foundation
- The Rockefeller Brothers Fund.
Oceana’s international manifest is dedicated to “achieving measurable change by conducting specific, science-based campaigns with fixed deadlines and articulated goals”.
To date, Oceana has nearly 200 victories under their belt and have been successful at protecting 3.5 million square miles of ocean. Oceana also made The Ocean Law Project part of its legal structure in 2001, followed by a joint venture with the American Oceans Campaign, lead by actor/environmentalist Ted Danson.
The objective of the merger was to increase the range and effectiveness of Oceana’s mission to protect and restore our planet’s oceans.
Founded by whale watch naturalists Jen Kennedy and Dianna Schulte, Blue Ocean Society was started in 2001 and became a non-profit organization in 2002.
Constrained by the lack of information not available to the general public, Jen and Dianna decided to start their own database, working hard to translate their on-water research into comprehensive programs for schools and people who were interested in whale conservation, but who weren’t scientists and who could do without all the scientific jargon.
ORCA’s environmental efforts are unique in that they are responding to improving the quality of water which marine mammals and other wildlife need for their existence.
ORCA’S mission is based on the combination of three foundational pillars:
- Innovative technology
- Applied science
- Community involvement
Their efforts have led the way in protection and conservation of coasts, estuaries, and oceans, safeguarding these habitats for future generations.
Inspiration through positive action…
So there you have it! Nine ocean conservation organizations that truly walk the walk. Their combined efforts have made a difference in preserving and bringing global awareness to our embattled marine mammals all over the world.
Ever thought of volunteering for a good cause?
Consider any of these organizations. They are always ready to receive Sentinels into their ranks. We are the best line of defense for the indiscriminate onslaught our planet is currently going through (remember… 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean, and counting).
Thank you so much for reading my article. I really hope you found it useful and informative. Please leave your comments below if you have any ideas or thoughts you would like to share with me below.
And if you know of someone who may benefit from this information, please share it with them.
Keep having an incredible summer and enjoy our beautiful blue planet! Talk soon!