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In April, keep our seas clean

 

OceanWeek.KEEvent: National Week of the Ocean

When: April 3 – April 9, 2011

What: More than 71 percent of Earth’s surface is ocean, and all our lives are tied somehow to the sea. Seaports help support trade and commerce, and a significant portion of the world’s diet comes from the ocean. Marine algae even give us the oxygen we need to breathe. A healthy ocean is also tied to a healthy planet, as marine ecosystems are some of the world’s most diverse and ocean currents play an important role in regulating Earth’s weather and temperature. Recognize how important a clean ocean is to all our lives and help protect it during National Week of the Ocean, celebrated April 3 to 9.

History: National Week of the Ocean was first observed in 1979 as Ocean Week, a pilot program designed for Fort Lauderdale, Fla. schools. The week helped bring a stronger marine education curriculum to children in all grades, and the successful program expanded to other schools. In 1984, Congress passed a resolution designating an official National Week of the Ocean in April. The law was sponsored by several well-known ocean pioneers from marine fields as diverse as diving, underwater photography, and marine biology. The week celebrates not only oceanic conservation but music, art and literature inspired by the sea.

Story Pitch: Protected beaches and ocean areas should use the event as an opportunity to educate local people on oceanic environmental issues. Clean-ups, tide pool visits, and animal releases are great events to get citizens involved with caring for beaches, while also showing them firsthand what kind of pollutants are getting into the ocean. Aquariums can also hold events with a focus on local plants and animals that call a nearby coastal area home. Dive instructors and diving schools have a good opportunity during the week to promote their dive courses and help share the beauty of the sea.

Story Hook: More than half of Americans live within 50 miles of a coast. Shores and beaches provide recreation and calming beauty, and also support important economic functions. However, human development close to the ocean is threatening marine habitats. How can cities and residents alike help lessen their marine environmental impact? How far-reaching are the consequences of poorly managed urban growth and unregulated use of pollutants? Consider the following when you make your pitch:

  • How does land and air pollution reach the ocean? How do different pollutants affect local marine life?
  • What endangered sea animals or plants live in a nearby area? What steps are being taken to protect them?
  • How should consumers choose seafood with a low environmental impact? What are good local options?
  • Are certain recreational activities especially popular at a nearby beach?

Tips: A marine biologist or zoologist working at a local aquarium or marine research institute is a great contact who can talk about oceanic environmental issues in the area. Another good contact is someone who can talk about how living close to the coast positively affects his life, such as an avid boater, surfer or artist.

Resources:

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
National
Ocean Service
(301) 713-3010
nos.info(at)noaa.gov
www.oceanservice.noaa.gov

National Week of the Ocean
(954) 462-5573
nwoto(at)att.net
www.national-week-of-the-ocean.org

Ocean Conservancy
202-429-5609
media(at)oceanconservancy.org
www.oceanconservancy.org

Seafood Watch
Monterey Bay Aquarium
www.montereybayaquarium.org/cr/seafoodwatch.aspx

–Researched, compiled & written by Kristina Elliott
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