As Thanksgiving 2018 draws near, we can’t help but reflect on the incredible year we’ve had at Ocean Conservancy. Despite the ever-changing political climate, we continue to work successfully towards solutions that help our ocean and the communities that depend on it, and we want to share these highlights of progress with you as the year winds to a close.
You already know that our ocean is overwhelmed with marine debris and plastic pollution. That’s why we’re excited to report the President has signed into law the Save Our Seas (SOS) Act. The SOS Act begins to address the marine debris problem by reauthorizing the NOAA Marine Debris Program and calls on the State Department to become fully engaged in international efforts to address this global problem.
In February, the U.S. Coast Guard proposed two important measures relating to two-way vessel traffic routes and the designation of ‘areas to be avoided’ in the northern Bering Sea. While the measures don’t go into effect until December 1st, ships are already adhering to them, and in doing so increasing safety and reducing the risk of environmental harm from ship traffic in Alaskan Arctic waters.
In June, Californians took an important step toward protecting the Pacific coast with the passage of Proposition 68. The projects funded by this legislation are designed to help address some of the most pressing issues related to our ocean, including sea level rise, ocean acidification and protects associated with critical coastal habitat.
Force Blue, an initiative uniting the community of Special Operations veterans around the world with coral reef conservation, embarked on a partnership with us this year that we truly couldn’t be more grateful for. Working alongside NOAA scientists, these veterans performed daily tasks on ‘deployments’ in Puerto Rico to help repair and restore coral reefs, in which they would find, rescue, transport, and attach an average of 100 pieces of coral a day!
In September, NOAA’s Ocean Acidification Program and the NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science teamed up to provide $3.5 million to four regional projects designed to look further into whether there is a true “tipping point” at which ecosystems change quickly due to specific factors, such as ocean acidification, warming and other progressive regional changes.
The 2018 International Coastal Cleanup was a massive success! From Indonesia to Alaska and Florida to California, hundreds of thousands of volunteers came together all over the globe on September 15th to clean up coastlines near them. At the end of the day, the sheer number of people that came together on a single day to keep our ocean and coastal communities clean…we could not be more thankful for your dedication and hard work to fight marine debris!
And last, but never the least…
We are thankful for YOU.
Above all, we are so grateful for your unwavering support of our work here at Ocean Conservancy. From fighting drilling in the Arctic to advocating for sustainable fisheries and researching ways to combat ocean acidification, none of the work we do for our ocean would be possible without the support of people like you. Your commitment to our ocean is what keeps us going; it’s what keeps us pushing for healthy marine ecosystems with thriving wildlife and strong coastal communities.