Connecting Citizens to the Ocean

by Kristin Regan

zoo-editedSummer is here, school is out and it is time to go to the beach!  June is National Oceans Month and is the perfect time to learn about the resources our oceans offer as well as the struggles they face.

I recently had the opportunity to attend an Oceans Day event at a local zoo and share with visitors how we can help to protect the ocean.  The event drew crowds of energetic children and their families.  Luckily for me, I was in front of an exhibit with a bobcat that slept most of the day, so keeping groups of interested spectators was an easy task.

I spoke to the children and their families about ocean acidification and how it impacts marine life.  The children were initially attracted to the display by an interactive game in which they had to help their favorite orange clown fish safely find its way to its sea anemone home.  As they played, I explained the effects ocean acidification has on marine life such as confusion of fish and impacts to their habitat.  I then talked about how the things that we do here on land actually affects the ocean and the organisms that live in it.

The ocean is a so large and vast that it is difficult to grasp that the things we do on land could actually have an impact on it.  The idea that the biospheres that make up our planet are all connected is a concept that is key to really understanding all of the stresses that our oceans face.  I told the visitors how using electricity and driving cars all contribute to our carbon footprint and air pollution, and that eventually these pollutants are absorbed into the ocean and contribute to ocean acidification.

Looking back on that outreach effort, I am hopeful that this full circle connection helped visitors realize that even though the ocean may not be a part of their daily lives, what they do every day has an effect on it.

 

About the Author:  Kristin is a member of the Ocean and Dredge Disposal Program at EPA Region 3.  She enjoys spending her free time by the water, whether it’s sitting on the beach or fishing in Pennsylvania state parks.

 

 

 

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Celebrating Oceans Month

By Kasia Broussalian

A great majority of us usually pass the day without so much as a single thought of our oceans. There are exceptions, of course. There are those that indeed live by its movements—the fishermen, storm chasers and scientists that all breathe in unison with the waves. However, each of us, no matter how far removed, creates a tenuous link to the seas. Water travels from our oceans to our atmosphere, from the atmosphere to the land and rivers, and from the rivers back out to the ocean. Our upkeep and care of these bodies of water remains key to our daily lives now, and most certainly in the future.

Since the Canadian government’s proposal at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992, June 8 has come to pass as World Oceans Day, and President Obama has proclaimed June 2011 as National Oceans Month. To enhance public awareness and participation in legislation concerning our oceans, as well as the protection of coastal communities in the face of climate change, the National Oceans Council will host 12 public listening sessions across the country in hopes of implementing an ocean policy aimed at addressing critical issues facing our oceans. Additionally, the National Oceans Council seeks public feedback and comments during this month for strategic action plans and ways to measure progress in tackling critical issues facing oceans, coastal cities and the Great Lakes. To provide comments and gain further information, please visit this site.

In the photo above, a boy dives from the pier into the waters below at Coney Island in Brooklyn, New York.  Please share any of your experiences with the oceans; whether they be a favorite beach, a particular issue, or even a fond memory that heightened your appreciation.

Editor's Note: The views expressed here are intended to explain EPA policy. They do not change anyone's rights or obligations. You may share this post. However, please do not change the title or the content, or remove EPA’s identity as the author. If you do make substantive changes, please do not attribute the edited title or content to EPA or the author.

EPA's official web site is www.epa.gov. Some links on this page may redirect users from the EPA website to specific content on a non-EPA, third-party site. In doing so, EPA is directing you only to the specific content referenced at the time of publication, not to any other content that may appear on the same webpage or elsewhere on the third-party site, or be added at a later date.

EPA is providing this link for informational purposes only. EPA cannot attest to the accuracy of non-EPA information provided by any third-party sites or any other linked site. EPA does not endorse any non-government websites, companies, internet applications or any policies or information expressed therein.