Start a Sea Change This Weekend with the Ocean Conservancy

Ocean lovin' Israelis participate in International Coastal Cleanup day. Shouldn't you?

No plans this weekend? Why not Start a Sea Change? Planet Green’s non-profit partner, the Ocean Conservancy, hosts their 23rd annual International Coastal Cleanup this Saturday, September 20. Greenies around the globe will donate a couple hours of their time to pick up trash on beaches, lakes and rivers—recording everything they find. The Ocean Conservancy will then use this data to identify the trash culprits to ultimately find solutions.

Leonardo DiCaprio is also showing his H2O support behind the campaign. Find out what he has to say after the jump and also check out our interview with the Ocean Conservancy’s President and CEO, Vikki Spruill. Planet Earth is a water planet, says one of our favorite celeb eco-activists Leonardo DiCaprio. Our own well being is intrinsically connected to the health of the ocean. Millions of pounds of trash, much of it plastic, can be picked up on any given day. It’s layering the ocean floor and killing sea life who mistakes it for food. We need to actively work to improve the state of our ocean by taking matters into our own hands. Recycle. Use reusable bags.

As if that weren’t enough to get us off our behinds and bound towards the beach, Vikki Spruill, the Ocean Conservancy’s President and CEO shed even further light onto the importance of International Coastal Cleanup day. Here’s what she had to tell us:

TH: Why is so much trash ending up in our oceans?

VS: It is because of our own carelessness. We are the culprits. Trash does not fall from the sky, it falls from our hands. The majority of trash in the ocean is from land and activities taking place near the ocean. If someone drops a cigarette out the car window in Topeka, Kansas or a candy wrapper on a city street in Lincoln, Nebraska, it could wash down a storm drain through a river and ultimately to the ocean where a seabird or wildlife mistake it for food. It’s our behavior that needs to change.
TH: Do you think personal responsibility is enough when it comes to keeping our beaches trash-free?

VS: The majority of what our volunteers find every year are the items we all use everyday, so personal responsibility is the key. Each one of us has a personal responsibility when it comes to the health of the ocean. If all of us own that responsibility, just think where we’d be. There are things you can do every day to benefit the health of the ocean: Recycle. Use reusable bags at the grocery store. Put all trash in proper receptacles. Ask for sustainable fish at your retailers and restaurants. Even if it is your first step – it is one in the right direction and together we can start a sea change.
TH: When people spend time on the beach or on a boat, what top 3-5 packing tips would you recommend ensuring no waste is left behind?

VS: Some of our Top 10 items from collected include caps, lids, stirrers, straws, beverage cans, sandwich bags – all of these things are harmful to wildlife. Some things you can do when boating, minimize the amount of single-use items you take out with you. For example, instead of five packets of cookies, provide one reusable container; have a sturdy trash can on board with a lid fastened to the boat; use a separate container for all of your recyclables, plastic bottles, cans, etc. And for heading to the beach take nothing but pictures and leave nothing but footprints in the sand.
TH: What would be your ultimate desired outcome from Int'l Coastal Cleanup?

VS: …that we wouldn’t have to do it anymore; that there was no trash left for us to pick up. We’re a long way from there, but we’re on our way and every volunteer is helping us get there. Every time each of us recycle, use less, and put trash where it belongs we are becoming part of the solution.
TH: If folks can't participate this weekend, what can they do to help?

VS: The Cleanup is really a celebration of our year-round commitment to our ocean. If you cannot join us, then take a moment and look at changes in your own life that you can make every day. When you save energy and fight climate change, you are helping the ocean, when you recycle you are helping the ocean, when you ask you restaurant or retailer how they are helping ensure sustainable seafood you are helping the ocean. And for the steps you’ve already take – thank you!
More on Beach Cleanups:
California Coastal Cleanup Day - September 20
Great Ideas: Beach Cleanup
The 10 Solutions to Save the Oceans

Tags: Activism | Beaches | Communities | Coral Reefs | Leonardo Dicaprio | Oceans | Rivers | Waste

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