WORLD OCEANS DAY 2016

Google Hangout On Air Broadcast

LIVE from the NY Aquarium 



 

YOUTH VIDEO SUBMISSIONS

CONGRATS to BEN MAY from NY selected as our SYRUp 2016 online winner!

BIG THANK YOU TO ALL OF THE STELLAR YOUTH LEADERS WHO SUBMITTED VIDEOS FOR THE SEA YOUTH RISE UP VIDEO CONTEST. WE'RE INCREDIBLY GRATEFUL FOR THE TALENTED AND RISING OCEAN LEADERS ALL OVER THE WORLD WHO PARTICIPATED. WE RECEIVED NEARLY 30 SUBMISSIONS FROM YOUNG PEOPLE LIVING IN THE US, KENYA, AUSTRALIA, CURACAO, NEW ZEALAND, PORTUGAL, GERMANY AND THE NETHERLANDS.


WATCH ALL OF THE SUBMISSIONS: 


MILA VLOTTES

The Netherlands / Age 19

I grew up close to the oceans and loved every second I got to spend near it. Whether it was just playing in the whitewash, swimming, surfing or sailing, I always enjoyed being close to it. The endless going back and forth of the waves had and have such a calming effect on me that every time I need time to think, I take my bike and go there. I sit on the pier and watch the ocean. The moment I realized that I want to help preserve ocean, was in Brittany, France. We were in a bay near Goullien and there was no one but us. We paddled on our surfboard to the point where the waves would break. And there, the ocean was so gentle, there was quite a high swell, I think maybe two metres. But the ocean was calm, the waves would gently glide not violently break. And as I was sitting there, being lifted by the swell, I can't describe the feeling it gave me: it was calmness, beauty, admiration and connection. I felt all those at the same time. I realized that I could no stand by the sideline and watch this beautiful phoneme go to waste. I have never seen anything so gentle, yet so wild. So untamable at times and the other day so calm. This is beauty. So there is a huge part of me that wants to preserve the ocean because I appreciate the beauty of it so much. Moreover, the ocean gave us life, everything that is in it, allows us to lie. The fish, the coral, the plankton, everything. The ocean's health is linked to our health. If this trend of overfishing continues, our struggle to live will become so much harder. because in the very long term, the ocean may recover but humanity will be long gone. if we want to survive, to ocean needs to survive!


CYBILL WINKEL

Florida / Age 19

For as long as I can remember, the ocean has been my greatest passion. I grew up on a salt marsh along a tidal creek, and over the years, I’ve been involved in various conservation/education activities: the 4-H Marine Ecology Club, Marine Science Summer Camps, Sean Russell’s “Stow It Don’t Throw It”, the SeaWorld Youth Advisory Council, and most recently, the Florida Microplastics Awareness Program. The day I began scuba diving was one of the most amazing moments of my life, and ever since, I’ve felt a deeper, more personal connection with the ocean and its flora & fauna. The people who have dedicated themselves to studying and protecting the oceans— Jacques Cousteau, Sylvia Earle, Eugenie Clark, to name a few—have also inspired me.  If we continue to contaminate and over harvest resources from our oceans at the rate we’re going, our own well-being is at stake. Humans are just another resident on Earth; and it’s our responsibility to moderate our harmful impacts—or else we’re just damaging ourselves and generations to come. The resources and services provided by the oceans (oxygen production, carbon storage, global climate regulation, and species biodiversity) are irreplaceable. To reference one of my favorite, yet poignantly-true quotes: “we don’t inherit the Earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” We need to rethink what we’re leaving behind for future generations. Dwindling fish, bird, turtle, and mammal populations, floating islands of toxic debris, eutrophication in our limited freshwater sources. Even if the oceans cannot be restored to a completely pristine state, we can still shift our habits towards a more sustainable, pollution-preventing lifestyle.


BRANDON KOOTS

Curacao / Age 19 

As a scout and a nature lover, I've seen many many things wrong with how we treat our environment. I have found this quote that says: "The planet is not ours. We are borrowing it from our children." This is what I want people to realize. We as humans are not the only species on this planet and we are not the last generations to live here. There will be more coming after us. But the way we are treating our environment doesn't seem like we're aware of this. Our oceans are filled with beautiful, awe-inspiring and in some case unknown species. There's so much we don't even know about our oceans. But we are still heavily polluting them. With plastic, oil or greenhouse gasses. It's thanks to our ocean that we can now breathe oxygen. It's thanks to our oceans we have life. In the oceans is where it all began. Where life began. I'm grateful for the life I have now. Which is why I'm really motivated to help raise awareness about ocean conservation.  As I also said in my video, I want to create a platform where young people all over the world can share their ideas of how they can make a positive impact and make our world a better place. Others will be able to give their suggestions and comments and opinions so that, together, they can make the idea a better one. And we can try to fund these ideas and this way give the youth who came up with it an opportunity to make a global impact. An opportunity to raise awareness about ocean conservation. The only way to empower young people to step us as leaders is to give them an opportunity to do so. And this is the way I want to approach that. Because besides making a global impact, they will definitely grow as persons from this experience. So that next time an opportunity presents itself, they are more prepared and feel more confident to take this opportunity.


NORAH O'NEILL

New Jersey, USA

AGE: 17

 My passion and love for all things aquatic is what makes me care so much about the health of our oceans. Growing up by the Jersey Shore, the ocean has always been a place close to my heart. This closeness to the ocean and its creatures is what makes me feel obligated to protect it. The ocean can't stand up for itself when it comes to anthropogenic impacts, which is why it needs passionate, dedicated people to help be its voice. Without a healthy ocean, there can be no healthy planet. Recently, I brought a Surfrider Foundation Club to my school. This club helps get the youth interested in helping the ocean. Our club goes to beach clean ups along the Jersey Shore and participates in Surfrider Foundation's many campaigns. When we go to the beach clean ups seeing what washes up has a great impact on the perspective of young people. It helps them see that there actually is a need to take charge and make a change. Usually those who go to beach clean ups are already interested in the protection of our coastline, which is why its important to educate those who may not be as aware or conscious of their plastic footprint. We can do this by hosting film viewings that document the harmful affects of plastic and other pollutants on our oceans. And sometimes it can be a hard change for people who liberally use disposable plastic and having a group mentality can make this change easier. When you are reminded by other people and are trying to make a change with others it can be a much easier transition. An example of this would be replacing the single use plastic straw with a reusable stainless steel straw. I sold stainless steel straws with Surfrider Foundation at my school. This gave people an exciting new 'gadget' to use instead of a single use plastic straw, further fueling their interest in reducing other disposable items.


SHAHIN NAJAK

New Zealand

AGE: 16

The oceans take up 60% of our planet and provide a food source for millions. It is also home to one of the most complex ecosystems in our planet that hasn't even been fully discovered yet. Our oceans hold untold secrets but we may not get a chance to unearth these if we keep polluting our oceans and damaging those fragile ecosystems. I care about our oceans because they are one of the most beautiful aspects of our planet and we need to retain its healthy condition to ensure thousands of people after us are still able to enjoy it and learn from it. Our oceans provide home to billions of sea creatures as well and they deserve to live in a healthy home that isn't swarming with plastic wrappers. We can't sit around and do nothing. People need to be inspired to take action, to take care of our oceans. The decisions we make today can potentially save our oceans and ensure they return to the quality that it was centuries ago. We have the power to save our oceans, to save the marine life living within. All we have to do is speak up and use our voices for the better.

Of my ideas is to encourage schools and youth groups to hold annual beach clean ups. This stops dirty rubbish flowing out to sea as well as ensuring the ocean has a clean environment. This is also a fun activity for friends and encourages people to give back to their communities to enable everyone to use a clean beach.


SANTIAGO ABREGO

Mexico 

AGE: 14

The ocean is a very important thing that we need to take care and protect because its a important source. When i was 2 years old I became interested about the oceans and the animals that live in them. I propose that kids they are the future of our oceans so I want to go to elementary schools and show to them the importance of the oceans, so when they grow up they can make positive change.


AILEEN LAVELLE

Pennsylvania, USA

AGE: 17

I have always been deeply passionate about deepening the biological diversity of our oceans. I have always been concerned about the immense amounts of plastic waste that pollute our waters. As result of ocean currents, masses of plastic are being cycled and washed up on beaches around the world. These plastics leach chemicals into our water that are easily absorbed by aquatic organisms as well as could be choking hazards for oceanic creatures that mistake this tiny particle of plastic for food. I believe that we as a new generation are responsible for reversing the effects of our wasteful nature. I have always been an active supporter of recycling and reduction of plastic use in general.

I think that a simple solution that everyone can do is recycle in his or her own home. Only roughly 25% of American homes recycle and yet the U.S. is one of the largest producers of pollution in the world. Recycling saves energy and materials as well as creates more jobs. I think that people should be better informed about the importance of recycling. Many people do not understand the different types of plastics and the possible negative side effects that go along with extensive use of that plastic. Many individuals also do not fully comprehend how to properly recycle. Recycling is critical because the effort that someone put into recycling is wasted if incorrect recycling compromises the entire container. An increased emphasis on recycling will improve the quality of our oceans. The decreased amount of free-floating plastic in our oceans will result in less chemical leaching as well as death of animals from overconsumption of plastics. Once people are educated on the importance of recycling, they will take a personal interest and then make an active effort to recycle.

 

ZIHENG KEVIN

BAI

California, USA 

AGE: 20

We have just one ocean.   We might have different names for different parts of it, we might like to draw national borders here and there, but there is just one body of water that sustains all the life on this planet.  But the truth of the matter is, everybody takes the ocean for granted. Whenever you think about the environment, or pollution or sustainability, you likely think about local issues. People know a lot about air pollution because the cars and factories that produce it can be seen outside their windows.  We have been dumping sewage, oil, tar, plastic, garbage and everything else into our ocean for hundreds of years.   And the reason that so many people have ignored or been unaware of what was happening was because they could not see it.   You don't usually see where your sewage, trash goes or your plastic ends up.   But just because you don’t know where something ends up doesn’t mean it’s not a problem. In fact it's a massive one, we have spent centuries taking our ocean for granted and we are now facing the consequences.  There are thousands of species on the verge of extinction, billions of tons of plastic floating around, and near lethal levels of toxic chemicals in the fish that we eat.  I care about the health of our ocean because it is our most valuable resource. I care about the health of our ocean because we have ignored them for too long.  I care about the health of our ocean because they affect us not only as species, but as a planet.


CAITLIN PHILLIPS 

AUSTRALIA 

AGE: 16

My family are avid sailors and so I have grown up on the water. It is my second home. It has given my a purpose in life, something to enjoy and discover. The ocean gives me the feeling of being free like I can do anything. Nothing else has given me that. Whenever, I am not at school my life revolves around the ocean. It is my safe haven and because of the time I have spent growing up near the ocean I have seen the effects humans have had on the ocean. It breaks my heart to see plastic floating by while sailing and although I am doing my best to help, it's not enough. My care for the oceans stretches far beyond personal gain. I don't believe that it is right for us humans to come along after the billions of years of the planet's existence and suddenly wipe everything out. We have no right to do this. I hate that the world is crazy only about making money, with no regard to destroying the planet. Therefore, I care for the existence of the plankton, the existence of the fish, the sharks, the crabs, the rays, the whales. It physically pains me to stand back and watch while my species is destroying a multitude of others. I will not sit here and watch oil and gas mining, acidification, global warming, plastic pollution, overfishing and habitat destruction occurs. The ocean supports all life in the world, I cannot sit back and not care about it.


REBECCA PRATT 

New Zealand 

AGE: 18 

There are just so many reasons why I care about the health of our Oceans, in fact when I first read this question, due to the Oceans current state, my immediate reaction was “how could one not”? Covering roughly 71% of our world, it’s a global artwork of habitats, constantly changing systems, evolution, the list goes on and on… But why do I care ? Well, I’ve grown up on the West Coast of New Zealand, right by the Ocean shoreline all my life. I suppose you could say my love for a healthy Ocean started before I consciously knew it myself! Where I live I am lucky. Our beaches are rugged but clean with black sand beaches. However, throughout my 18 years of life, I’ve come to realise that basing my entire judgment of the Oceans health by looking solely on the edge of my personal shoreline, is somewhat similar to turning a blind eye to when a bully beats up a weak kid on a playground. I’m fooling myself. When I search ‘ocean issues’ in the google search bar, I constantly find myself in a bubble of disbelief and raw emotions. Plastic gyres, oil spills, animal culls, finning, whaling, increasing carbon emissions, rising sea levels, rising ocean temperatures … the list just continues on and on and on. In fact, right now I’m regretting what I said at the beginning of this question, I am not ‘lucky’ to live by the Ocean that I do. Sadly, the fact is I’m actually one of the few ‘remaining normality’. It is my belief that every person all over the world should be able to visit the beach and not see bright plastic, scattered like confetti all over the sand, or entangled in the biological systems of our Oceans organisms. They should not see waters filled with nothing but a few stones or polluted to the point where the water taken from them is deadly to drink. What I talk of may seem like a dream now, but once it was reality. And not forgetting that this past reality wasn’t just built for us, but for billions of Ocean life that call the Ocean their home. Whilst the problem was/is our continued greed, our need for consumption etc - I do believe the biggest problem with us ‘land dwellers’, is that we can only see only as far as the eye can see. I think that this is the biggest problem when it comes to issues critical to our Oceans health. How do we see kilometres underwater, or kilometres out to sea so that we can understand the environmental impacts of the decisions we are making every day, and hence be responsible for them? As of three years ago, I’ve become aware that an exact example of this was happening off the edges of my own shoreline. Big overseas companies want to use my homeland shores and dredge up the Ocean floor for the Iron within our black sand. All they need is the environmental ‘tick’ and then they can begin. In brief, this will then cause a domino effect for other exploration sites to be opened up throughout all of New Zealand’s waters. Believe me when I say that the environmental cost and loss of life will be huge…


Sarah Whelan 

NEW YORK

AGE: 16

I have lived my entire life around the ocean, and I plan to pursue my career in marine sciences. There isn't a single aspect of my life the sea isn't a apart of. If the health of our oceans deteriorates to the point of no return, then thousands of people like myself will have a hole in their hearts where the ocean once was, and the seven billion people on Earth will have to find a way to live without a water/food supply. I believe that young people are the key to creating a more healthy ocean. The youth of today are the world leaders of tomorrow, and with proper, involved, hands-on education about the seas children will see how everyday activities have a huge impact on the state of our waters. Children from as young as kindergartners to young adults graduating college can get involved and create a relationship with the water world around them. By creating an array of real world field organizations and clubs, children will not only learn about their marine environment, but they will LOVE and WANT to build a relationship with the sea and keep her healthy forever.


MALLORY MUNDEN 

North Carolina 

AGE: 19

I have grown up near the ocean, and I feel that it has shaped me as a person in numerous ways. Because I was raised to respect the environment I called home, I was heartbroken to notice that most people don't feel the same way. To visitors, it was a place to use and abuse. I couldn't help but wonder if maybe they weren't disrespecting the ocean out of hatred or negligence; perhaps, they just didn't understand. I decided that I wanted to become involved in marine science education because I wanted to help others understand the importance of our oceans and how they can protect them. The ocean deserves respect from every person because it is likely to play some small role in their lives. The ocean is a popular tourist attraction, photo subject, and relaxation spot. It serves as a place for family bonding and exploration. It sees more exercise than most gyms and as many weddings as churches. It puts food on your plate and money in the pockets of many, many people. It showcases a broad array of animals only imagined by those who have never encountered the ocean. It makes us feel empowered and small, free and brought down to earth. It is a vital part of our existence.

In my opinion, education is the most powerful conservation tool that we have at our disposal. However, I feel that it is severely underutilized. I would like to aid in implementing more educational programs in communities where ocean education is absent, especially in inland communities. In my personal experience, many people living inland don't even realize that any of their actions impact the oceans, and educational programs that make the ocean accessible to all communities could change that. I would also like to encourage all coastal communities to host regular beach sweeps to remove debris from the environment. Community officials could partner with local outdoor recreation providers or surf shops to rent out stand-up paddle boards or kayaks to volunteers free of charge or at a discounted rate. This would allow members of the community to form positive memories associated with cleaning our oceans, and would encourage them to feel connected to that environment while also benefitting the waters directly. My favorite idea would be to create a program in schools across the country called "Sea Us Change", which would use a point system to reward students for green behaviors, such as bringing a reusable water bottle to gym class instead of a disposable one. At the end of the school year, the class with the most "green points" would be rewarded with a pizza party, an outdoor fair of games, or whatever prize the community could agree upon. It would be a fun, direct way to get kids involved with making a change within their local communities.


EMILY LANSDOWN

Australia

AGE: 16

Our oceans health is so important to me because all of the great things it provides for us, including jobs. If we continue down this path of destruction then we won't have an ocean and we will not realise how wonderful our seas are and the import role they play in our lives until they are gone. Currently the livelihoods of many animals, some of which are integral to our survival, are at risk due issues like pollution, dead zones, and may other terrible disasters and it is our fault. A healthy ocean means a healthy us, and its important to care for our oceans be cause essentially we are caring for ourselves,

A major problems faced by oceans today is marine pollution. Many different things fall under this category, ghost fishing, plastic pollution mircoplastics ect.. However many of these issues have simple solutions to prevent for having a bigger impact on our oceans, such as not using one use plastics, disposing of waste in the correct way. Although we are not doing these simple tasks and we have to ask ourselves why?, why aren't we doing these so called simple tasks? One reason for this could be that people don't know how to. We can promote via media possible ways for people getting involved and not just for people who live near the coast but everybody in every reach of our planet. Another reason for people not helping to keep our oceans clean is that people that don't experience the ocean regularly don't have a love and respect for them like someone near the coast would. If you don't get to experience the ocean first hand regularly then your only interaction with it may be through media. A quick internet search for the word "Ocean" will produce many news articles that include "ocean acidification" "drownings" and many more horrible stories. It goes to show that if media is your only interaction with the seas then the image that begins to form in your head would be one filled with terrible stories. If we can show people the wonderful and beautiful side of the ocean so many experience daily then people will be more compassion and thus a willingness to protect our oceans be become present. It is amazing the power of media and if we can use to media to help show how our oceans need help and they are not as scary as one may seem, then we will find that the state of our oceans could change


BRIAN MUTHURI

Kenya

AGE: 20

I am really concerned how helpless people are in controlling the state of the flora and fauna in our oceans not because of their own choice but rather due to the lack of suitable alternatives. Many people are fishermen and most engage in the practice to earn a living. that includes my family. And in doing so, they most of the times engage in harmful fishing methods which destroy the environment. This in the long run leads to a subsequent decrease of their income in the long run and not forgetting that we also lose alot of sealife. Coral rocks are also under a huge threat of destruction and extinction and we should stand up to protect all rare species before it becomes too late to do so. Through aquaculture, the threat caused by harmful commercial fishing methods is hugely done away with. Also plenty of protection and special care can be handed to rare species within the ocean. Increased research opportunities in the field of marine life will lead to the creation of more awareness and therefore further help in the protection of our oceans.


MADISON NICOLE ROBINSON

Texas

AGE: 18

Hi I'm Madison Nicole Robinson and I am 18 years old. I was born on Galveston Island in Texas. Some of my very first steps as a child were on the beaches of Galveston. I even created a brand called FishFlops inspired by my love of the ocean, ocean creatures, swimming, fishing, and drawing. A healthy ocean is vital to all life on Earth and allows everything to prosper. I want all generations to come to have healthy oceans and perhaps, the ocean can inspire them to create the next big idea. In my case, for my FishFlops products, I switched to recycled materials to make my hang tags and shoe boxes. Secondly, I began the utilization of recycled plastics for the filler material in my FishFlops slippers. When I built my brand I utilized creativity and action. In order to address our current ocean woes, we must utilize the same thought process. 

1. I propose the production of a selection of school supply products produced purely from recycled materials. I see items such as book covers, lunch boxes, pencil cases, backpacks- You name it. All of these items are used in abundance at school. 2. Next we will enhance the products with graphics promoting our message of self-responsibility in dealing with recyclables. If everyone was responsible every day and did their own part to get trash to the proper bins we can begin to address the issue. Kids should learn at an early age the importance of recycling which helps to keep our oceans clean.  3. My mom teaches second grade and we talked healthy oceans last night. We need to find a way to incorporate basic lessons to teach children in schools how they can start creating good habits to ensure our oceans stay healthy. Classroom competitions, school projects, and community outreach programs would be a good start.
 

 

PAULO PEREIRA

Portugal

AGE: 18

I care because I don't want to live in a world that the ocean doesn't make part and give the new generations better concepts. I also want to know more about the unknown and there is what ocean has more. When I am near the ocean I feel like an explorer.  My ideas passes to organize conferences and campaigns about the threats that affect ocean and how common people can make our ocean a better place.


LEA RODBURY 

Illinois

AGE: 19

Growing up in the Midwest, my love for our oceans was born far away from the sea. I first was connected to the oceans through shows and films like BBC’s Blue Planet and documentaries by Jacques Cousteau. They granted me access to places below the water’s surface that not many people get to see. It is incredibly moving to see, even through a screen, a male seahorse release his young or a cuttlefish propel herself through the water. From a young age, the oceans have always fascinated me and I’ve always felt myself drawn to the sea. Some of my best life experiences have been in fleeting encounters with wild sea creatures. From seeing a pod of porpoises skitter and play to seeing a sea turtle return to the ocean after giving birth, it was in these moments that I felt a strong appreciation for all life. Quickly the porpoises and sea turtle dipped out of sight, but they will always be moments I value for how moving they were in their simplicity and grace as opposed to a complicated, tense world that we sometimes find ourselves narrowed into. I care about the health of our oceans for the connection I feel to them. Still, I realize that not everyone on our planet is as captivated with the oceans as I am. There is another reason, applicable to all people, that I care for the health of our oceans—we, human beings, depend on it. Half of the oxygen in our atmosphere comes from the sea. In addition to providing us with oxygen, the ocean acts as a crucial carbon sink. Additionally, many people depend on marine life for food, medicine, and income. It is becoming increasingly apparent that the ocean ecosystem is in danger. Much attention has been given to the collapse of coral reefs due to ocean acidification and the rise of water temperatures. If this level of the ecosystem is knocked out, many other ocean organisms will be impacted—it is an interdependent system. The demise of the world’s coral reefs has proven how much people can affect and harm our oceans. They are not untouchable as was once thought. Greenhouse gases, overfishing, and pollution of plastics and oil all hurt the health of our oceans and are a result of human action. If changes are not made, we will feel the consequences within our lifetime. Even now, we are seeing the effects of human action on the environment: ocean water levels are rising, storms are becoming fiercer as we lose natural barriers like coral reefs, fisheries are being exhausted, and plastic “islands” are forming in the middle of gyres. We need to give the ocean the respect it deserves. We have extracted and gained so much from our oceans. If we want it to stay an invaluable resource and captivating environment, we need to act now and not continue “business as usual.”


STEPHEN JOHNSON

Georgia 

AGE: 21

I care about the health of our oceans because I care for the health of our children, the reason I say this is because the ocean is a resource essential for survival. It produces the currents that brings forth wind, it's home to billions of species that in fact provides food for us, it's a means of transportation, and it provides rain that helps eliminate drought in some parts of our planet. I care about the health of our ocean, because deep down I know if the ocean is not healthy we can no longer survive and if we do, we will be living a very unhealthy life. Things that young individuals like myself can do is by interning/volunteering with organizations who’s goals are to bring back sustainability in the oceans, by either planting corals, or help do sea clean ups. Purchasing MSC Labeled seafood products which then rewards fishermen, who are doing excellent jobs by practicing great fishing, and Limit the use of plastic bottles, and recycle them so that they do not end up in our oceans harming species.


SVEN HOELZEL

Oceans are vital to the wellbeing of our planet and it's our obligation to care about their health. Even though I care about the ocean as an individual because I experienced their beauty I think that everyone as a member of our society should care about them. Last fall I joined a research trip to the Costa Brava to study marine life in the area. One of the main problems there was that many local species were facing extinction due to the pollution of the water. 2 months later I took part in an entrepreneurship challenge where the different teams had to come up with a business idea. Remembering the trip to Costa Brava, my team and me decided to propose a possible solution to the problem we found there.  Not many people have the opportunity to live near the ocean and experience its beauty and want to maintain it. That's why I think that we should raise awareness about the ocean pollution in areas that aren't located near oceans. My friends and I already started a blog to post about environmental conservation and I think raising awareness and encouraging especially young people to make a change in their community is the key to ultimately make a difference on a global scale. 
 

Germany

AGE: 17


KYLE LOW

Maryland 

AGE: 18 

As a child, many of my most enjoyable memories involve the oceans, whether it’s visiting the national aquarium, playing at the beach, or encountering seals in the oceans. I love the oceans and owe many of my memories to it. As I grew older I learned that our oceans are in great danger, and that the problems that face them are mostly human caused. As such, I believe it’s our duty to solve the problems we’ve caused. I’ve been in my school’s environment club for the past four years, and that has been the biggest avenue for me to meet people who can help me develop my environmental passions and for me to learn about what I can do to help the cause of solving major environmental issues. This pursuit has led me to have more recent memories of the ocean, whether it’s going to the 2016 Youth Ocean Conservation Summit, going on a boat to study ocean waters, or advocating to my school of wonderful peers on its behalf. My future will hold many more ocean memories as I continue to learn and act to protect the oceans.

Youth can help solve issues currently facing the oceans by being aware of their impact on the oceans. People today sometimes don’t understand two things about ocean environmental issues: First, their actions can have a big negative effect on the oceans as they can add to the tragedy of the commons, as they can exploit the oceans. Second, is that their actions do influence others and that together people can change societal norms and realize their individual impact is large if they wish to use it. Some very environmentally passionate people will engage in important environmental projects; however it’s up to the majority that lives out other paths whether to support or oppose the development of a sustainable society. My video covers the topic of only plastic pollution, which I believe is the issue simple youth action can have the greatest impact on. I believe several other important problems that must be addressed include climate change and over fishing which can also be addressed through youth action, whether by using responsible transportation to lower carbon emissions, or choosing wisely on fish as to only eat sustainably grown fish.


BEN MAY

New York 

AGE: 17

Why would someone not care for the health of our planet? This is the only home have; if it dies, we die with it. The relationship we have with Earth is a dangerous one, but it is the only one we can have ever known. Our environment is a beautiful place, and, ever since I was a child, I have been inspired by it. I still remember the first time I saw a recycling bin in my school: in my 3rd grade class. Whereas it was another trashcan to my peers, I viewed it as a way to better our world. I quickly became the kid that called out other students for not recycling. This role has stuck with me until today, where I can proudly say that most of my school recycles. As I grew up, I read up on an assortment of environmental issues and solutions. I have gone from reminding my friends to recycle to running environmental programs in my community. In the future, I hope to continue to be "that kid" and impassion others into protecting this amazing place we call home. We must emphasize the five R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Repurpose and Refuse. However, the most important ideal is "refuse." The notion that the ocean has a limitless supply of fish has led to worldwide overfishing. Whether it is the wild farming of shrimp or the long lining of tuna, nearly every major fishing industry has detrimental environmental impacts. Approximately one billion individuals worldwide are dependent on the ocean for food. If current predictions hold true with the ocean’s ecosystems crashing by 2048, these people will go hungry. It will be more than a spike in unemployment. People will starve. To prevent this possibility from coming to fruition, we must stop supporting unsustainable fisheries. Together, we can make it no longer profitable to exploit our oceans; thus, saving its fragile ecosystems from destruction. 


NICOLE KUNIN

Colorado 

AGE: 19

The health of our oceans is vital to the health of our earth and our human race. Our ocean is vital and we are the generation that has the opportunity to make change. Giving youth a chance to get involved in the discussion is critical for the survival or our ocean. We need to allow kids at a young age to be exposed to the very real realities that face there generations in the near future. I believe with the right education, and enough passion and a person of any age can make immense changes in the world. Allowing kids to use their creativity and innovative thought to push them to come up with ground breaking ideas is the best way to help our future generations. Allow kids the education and experience they deserve and watch the world change before your eyes. 


SHOSHANA ARMSTRONG 

California 

AGE: 20

Ocean plants are found in the air we breathe. Ocean ingredients are found in the food we eat, the medicines that help prevent disease. Oceans keep us healthy, Therefore it is our responsibility to keep Oceans healthy. One way to prevent ocean pollution, is by using natural textile dyes instead of synthetic dyes. I feel that by bringing communities into socially engaged natural dye workshops, using colorants that may be poured back into earth, an awareness of permaculture is created while preventing pollution towards our beloved ocean and waterways.