To that end, Mercury supports organizations dedicated to conserving and promoting the health and natural beauty of our waterways. In honor of Earth Day, we’ve decided to highlight one such organization, the Ocean Conservancy. Keep reading to learn about its efforts to protect and improve the amazing resource that is our planet’s oceans, and find out how you can do your part.
What is Ocean Conservancy?
Ocean Conservancy is a nonprofit organization working to protect our ocean from today’s greatest global challenges. It advocates for science-based solutions for a healthy ocean, as well as the wildlife and communities that depend on it.
A Simple Question Inspires a Movement
In the summer of 1971, Bill Kardash, a marketing expert with a passion for whales, attended the annual International Whaling Commission meeting in Washington, D.C. Walking through the halls between sessions, he saw a man sitting cross-legged on the floor playing a guitar. Kardash stopped and struck up a conversation about what was happening to whales.
The shaggy-haired singer asked Kardash: “Well, what are you going to do about it?”
That conversation and what Bill learned at the International Whaling Commission meeting inspired him to get involved. Within a year, he had started The Delta Corporation, which later became Ocean Conservancy. That shaggy-haired artist who inspired Bill turned out to be the legendary singer and environmental activist John Denver. (Years later, Denver would deliver to the IWC a petition signed by half a million Americans urging a ban on whaling.)
In the early years after its founding, the Ocean Conservancy’s work focused on species like whales, seals and sea turtles, but the organization soon realized it couldn’t protect species without protecting their habitat. So the OC thought bigger, and shifted to a more ecosystem-based approach that it continues to this day.
The Ocean’s Problem is Everyone’s Problem
Since some people – especially those who aren’t near a coast – take the health of our oceans for granted, one of Ocean Conservancy’s primary missions is to educate the public so that everyone knows the wellbeing of our oceans is critically important to every single person on the planet. The ocean affects all of us, no matter who you are or where you are in the world. The ocean provides a portion of the air we breathe, the water we drink and much of the food we eat. It’s what makes planet Earth so special.
Defending our Oceans Against Any and All Perils
The threats facing our oceans in the 21st century are many and varied, but Ocean Conservancy is committed to fighting even the most daunting issues to ensure the health of the planet and a thriving marine environment for the generations to come. Ocean Conservancy is focused on tackling the greatest challenges facing our ocean today, including climate change and acidification, plastic pollution, overfishing, and dangerous oil and gas drilling efforts. The OC starts with the science to develop solutions that work, and then brings policymakers, the private sector, community leaders and advocates together in support of these initiatives.
Get Involved and Join the Fight
There are lots of ways to “go blue.” Climate change has a huge impact on ocean health, so do what you can to reduce your own carbon footprint — by biking to work or taking public transportation, for example. With some 8 million metric tons of plastic entering the ocean every year, refuse single-use plastic items: carry a reusable water bottle and shopping bag with you instead. Take the OC’s Skip the Straw pledge, and sign up to participate in Ocean Conservancy’s annual International Coastal Cleanup. There are myriad ways to change your behavior in ways that will benefit our oceans, and every little bit helps.
Mercury Marine and Brunswick partner with Ocean Conservancy to clean our waterways – and keep them clean
The Brunswick Public Foundation is one of Ocean Conservancy’s longstanding partners, supporting the International Coastal Cleanup and Good Mate Program. For over three decades, Ocean Conservancy has worked to remove trash from marine ecosystems and to prevent pollution from entering waterways and ending up in the ocean and on beaches. To date, more than 14 million people have removed some 250 million pounds of trash from 400,000 miles of coastlines and waterways, in more than 150 countries around the world, all due to the efforts of the International Coastal Cleanup. Through the Good Mate Program, thousands of boaters have cleaned tens of thousands of pounds of trash from hundreds of miles of coastal waters and inland waterways in the past year alone. With the Brunswick Public Foundation’s support, Ocean Conservancy also provides educational resources and outreach to boaters and marinas around the U.S. to empower them to be true ocean stewards.
Earth Day has Special Meaning for the Ocean Conservancy
Every day is Earth Day for the Ocean Conservancy, but this year’s Earth Day theme is “Protect Our Species,” because unfortunately many marine species are endangered. Over the next week the OC will be showcasing some of the amazing creatures that live in the ocean and need help the most, including sea turtles across the globe. The Ocean Conservancy’s board has also agreed to match all donations, up to $100K, in honor of this important day. Check out the Ocean Conservancy here and follow it on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.