In the early 1970s, the topic of commercial whaling was beginning to take center stage for many conservationists and environmental organizations around the world. The decimation of these majestic ocean giants had reached a tipping point and for some species, the prospect of extinction was almost certain.
At a meeting of the International Whaling Commission in 1971, a man with a marketing background and passion for whales struck up a conversation with a shaggy-haired singer playing the guitar. Both these men were passionate about protecting whales, so a fast connection was made and as the conversation progressed, the guitar player asked the marketer, "Well, what are you going to do about it?"
It turns out that chance encounter and simple question would channel a passion for whales into a global force for ocean protection that has helped guide many great conservation struggles and triumphs over the last 47 years. That marketing expert was Bill Kardash and after that conversation, he went on to found Ocean Conservancy® in 1972. And that shaggy-haired man, well, it turned out to be a famous singer/songwriter and environmentalist — the late John Denver.
In the 1980s, the organization began to fight for key habitat protections under the Marine Sanctuary Program and in 1986, the staff first put together what has become one of the signature conservation events around the world, the annual International Coastal Cleanup. Over the last 32 years, this event has grown tremendously and in 2017, almost 800,000 people from more than 100 countries participated to collect over 20 million pieces of trash that no longer have the chance to affect precious ocean wildlife!
Graphic: Ocean Conservancy
Today, as a global organization working with individuals, organizations, and governments, Ocean Conservancy staff are focused on a number of key issues that help protect the ocean from the greatest global challenges we currently face. Here is just a short list of some of the initiatives that they're working on. Make sure to check out each of these and see how you can get involved in your local area. We need action and now is the time to jump in.
- - Trash Free Seas®
- - Protecting the Arctic
- - Restoring the Gulf of Mexico
- - Protecting Florida
- - Sustainable Fisheries
- - Ocean Acidification
- - The Ocean and Climate Change
- - Smart Ocean Planning
- - Government Relations
In all of these different program areas above, there is a common thread that can be woven throughout and it is the one which we are most focused on here at 4ocean. That is the problem of ocean plastic pollution. Whether you are in the Arctic, the Gulf of Mexico, the remote Pacific Ocean, or Southeast Asia, the pervasiveness of this man-made crisis is evident. And it is tackling this massive problem that helps drive the missions of both our organizations.
Photo: 4ocean Bahia Honda State Park Community Cleanup
For the month of May 2019, 4ocean is offering the Octopus Bracelet as a symbol of the struggles some species face while in the shadow of such a global plastic problem. While we don't know exactly how all 300 species of octopus are affected by ocean plastic pollution, we do know that by purchasing a 4ocean Octopus Bracelet, you'll pull a pound of trash from their environment and also help the Ocean Conservancy achieve their mission of a cleaner ocean. We couldn't be happier to be aligned with such a global force for change and we hope that you get involved with them as well on some level. The ocean thanks you in advance.
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