By Samantha Whitcraft; Director of Conservation & Outreach, Sea of Change Foundation
On April 22, 1970, the first Earth Day was celebrated in the United States. Today Earth Day is celebrated in over 192 countries and is described as “the largest secular holiday in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people every year” by the founder of the original event almost 50 years ago. This year’s Earth Day theme is “Protect Our Species”
Here at the Sea of Change Foundation, we recognize the values of Earth Day every day and embrace this year’s theme all year long. One of our three conservation priorities is supporting work, internationally, that addresses the issue of threatened species and their habitats to align with our mission to create positive change. We work towards positive change by funding and coordinating conservation and research initiatives that directly impact the natural world we all love to enjoy and explore. For example, with our partners at the University of Costa Rica, Ocean First Institute, and ConnectOcean, we help support research into the habitat use of sharks and rays of the Guanacaste coast in support of conservation planning. We’ve funded research and local community outreach about humpback whales in the waters of New York City with Gotham Whale, and we continue to fund coral nurseries for reef restoration.
Additionally, as recent events emphasize, plastic pollution is negatively impacting already threatened marine species and habitats. We’ve partnered with Aggressor Adventures™ in launching the Green the Fleet™ sustainability initiative to begin to address this issue. Together, we are working to further reduce single-use plastics aboard Aggressor’s liveaboard yachts around the world and at corporate headquarters. Green the Fleet initiatives to date include:
- Replacing plastic luggage tags with natural material tags
- Phasing out plastic straws, plates, cups and utensils aboard yachts
- Phasing out single-use bottled water aboard yachts
- Not using plastic K-cups for coffee aboard yachts
- Eliminating single-use plastics from corporate events
Aggressor Adventures invites divers and explorers alike to experience the natural world from exciting, new vantage points – diving underwater from aboard luxury yachts, along a river during a 5-star river cruise or on a thrilling safari. These “Adventures of a Lifetime”® not only connect their guests to the splendor and value of the natural world but also showcase how sustainable practices can be incorporated into daily life and operations. Aggressor Adventures seeks to inspire their guests to continue to explore, expand their connections to nature and increase their environmental consciousness long after they return home from their adventures.
Together, Aggressor Adventures and the Sea of Change Foundation embrace and encourage three guidelines: refuse, reduce, and reuse single-use plastics. Why not simply recycle plastic? Because the majority of plastic is made from fossil fuels, cannot be recycled, and ends up leaching chemicals in our landfills or accumulating in our oceans. The good news is that simple changes can lead to positive change. For example, instead of buying bottled water, carry a re-usable water bottle, bring your own re-usable/washable grocery bags for shopping, and order your drinks “without a straw, please”. For more suggestions, check out “100 Steps to a Plastic-Free Life”.
One step at a time, we can all work together to create positive change for our natural world today and every day. Happy Earth Day 2019!