United by Blue, A New Ocean Conservation Venture


Photos: Brian Linton/United by Blue

United By Blue is a new start up, which will leverage sales of organic cotton T-shirts and tote bags to coordinate ocean beach clean-ups around America. For each shirt or bag purchased one pound of marine debris is said to be collected.

The venture is brainchild of Brian Linton, who believes that, "Because the oceans are so vast and deep, consumers have the mentality of "out of site [sic] out of mind" and this needs to change." *

We're not sure such change needs to come via the purchase of more product, but Brian is convinced it will work, He already has another business, Sand Shack, a brand of environmentally friendly apparel and accessories sold in 300 stores across the US, that donates 5% of sales to ocean conservation efforts.United By Blue will be a new extension of this idea. There'll be two facets. The business venture selling apparel, bags, and later jewellery. It will in turn fund a separate not-for-profit arm, who will co-ordinate teams of volunteers, complete with a website that'll include a real time "trash ticker" showing how many pounds of trash UBB has helped remove.

The United By Blue websites are currently under development, but on one of the early versions we noticed this statement. "We live on a water planet, a blue planet, and although the Green Movement has raised awareness for the state of our environment it fails to recognize the color that makes up 71% of our world. The Blue Movement is not a subset of the Green Movement, it is a movement millions are already participating in."

From my personal perspective I don't see any benefit in fragmenting environmental efforts into so-called Green or Blue Movements. (I was once media liaison for a four month long, 1,500 km (930 mile) walk, promoting coastal environmental awareness. And subsequently worked for seven years leading teams protecting penguin habitat, removing coastal pest plant species, planting native vegetation, cleaning up beaches, etc. Australia is also home of the Clean Up the World initiative, which has been doing this sort of thing for 20 years. I don't recall anyone in these efforts worried about what movement, or other, they were in. It was just work that needed doing.)

Ocean conservation is important, and I'm sure United By Blue's contribution will be welcomed by those already engaged in the area. As UBB point out oceans "produce more oxygen than all land plants combined and provide the main source of protein to over 2 billion people." And the Sand Shack has already been raising awareness on these issues, such as shark finning, overfishing, and coral reef destruction.

It seems like the United By Blue project will hit the ground running, as it aims to have launch week beach clean-ups happening, in concert with universities from California to Florida.

Keep an eye on their two websites as they launch the project this week.

UnitedByBlue.org and UnitedByBlue.com

* No doubt the recent threat of oil contamination in the Gulf of Mexico will have focussed many peoples minds on the need for better protection for our oceans.

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Tags: Activism | Beaches | Clothing | Oceans | United States

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