#ecotips // Ocean Initatives 2016

Monday, March 21, 2016

This past weekend was the official launch of the 21st edition of the Ocean Initiatives! Every year Surfrider Foundation Europe organises actions in more than 34 countries all over Europe to raise awareness about the problem of marine litter by organizing litter collections at beaches, lakes, rivers, and seabeds.

For the ones who don't know the NGO, Surfrider Foundation Europe, brainchild of the three times World Surfing Champion Tom Curren, is a non-profit organization born in 1990 in Biarritz with the mission of protecting, preserving, enhancing and managing in a sustainable way oceans, coasts, waves and all those who enjoy them. It gathers today over 9,000 members in Europe and is represented in 14 countries through its chapters of volunteers.

But what exactly are the Ocean Initiatives and why should everyone participate?

The Ocean Initiatives were born in 1995 as the French Government's Ministry of the Environment launches "The Great Spring Clean-Up" project with the goal of educating the greatest number of individuals on the problems associated with pollution and the environment. The year after, when the Government decided to no longer organize these annual clean-ups, Surfrider decided to take the torch and to organize in Biarritz the first "Ocean Initiative", an exhibition entirely dedicated to the question of protecting the coast. Along the years a general expansion of programs has been carried out on a European and international level and more and more collections have been organized both in France and all over Europe.

But the Ocean Initiatives are a lot more than simple beach clean ups. The objectives pursued by SFE with this event are multiples:
- educational, to rise awareness on the marine litter issue in order to promote sustainable solutions and to foster citizen engagement;
- scientific, in order to collect data to fuel scientific researches and innovation regarding marine litter;
- political, supporting the lobbying campaigns aiming at improving the legislation but also the production and consumption systems which have an impact on the issue.

These litter collections at beaches, lakes, rivers, and seabeds are organized along the whole year, but each year, Spring week-end is the annual rendez-vous for the Surfrider community and the launch of the Ocean Initiatives.
This year I joined one of the local beach clean ups to record the event and to remember myself why everyone of us should be engaged.

Why should you participate?
- If you are a surfer, a swimmer or an overall ocean lover you should be aware of how marine litter and general water pollution impacts the way we enjoy our time in the ocean. Infections, sickness and general health risk are unfortunately well known amongst surfers all over the world. You should act now before it will become dangerous to surf and just do what you love the most.
- If you're not a surfer or a waterman/waterwoman, but you love enjoying the beach life you surely noticed already how unpleasant is to be sitting next to some trash on the beach or find your kid playing with some litter in the sand. You should engage to help people understand that this planet is not a trash bin, starting from the younger generation.
- If your a common citizen you should understand that everything that is dumped on the streets will end up in the ocean. This should touch you not only on an environmental level, because this can effect also your health, when you drink tap water or eat fish. What goes around comes around.

We are all engaged and we should all spread the word about marine litter and water pollution. If we talk to people and teach them little everyday acts to preserve the environment, we can start changing things and find better solutions.

With the Ocean Initiatives Surfrider Foundation Europe is trying to put on real action on the field and give everyone of us the chance to make the change.

How can you participate?
- You can organize a litter collection in your local area and carry out an awareness-raising action. You can register it on the Ocean Initiatives website HERE and Surfrider will provide you of all necessary educational tools to spread the message and involve people in this behavioral change.
- You can take part in an already-existing collection in your local area and learn more about the issue, as well as share this moment with other concerned people like you. You can find your closest collection HERE.
- You can spread the word about Surfrider Foundation Europe and its actions. Talking to people is the most effective way to raise awareness and you can relay both the educational speech and the campaign’s messages from SFE to your peers. Find them HERE.

I hope this helped convince you to take action and act everyday in order to have healthier oceans and a healthier life in the (hopefully close) future. 
We are all concerned.

You can find more info on www.surfrider.eu and www.oceaninitiatives.org

4 comments on "#ecotips // Ocean Initatives 2016"
  1. This is awesome! I live on the beach in Cornwall and we organised a community beach clean movement. We meet once a month and clean the beach. We just got so sick of seeing all the rubbish and we felt we were they only people picking it up. the amount of plastic we pick up is heartbreaking and I'm so glad there is more awareness being spread!

    1. Wow Louise this is amazing! More people should do what you are doing. Especially if you surf or if you live by the beach you'd be able to understand more the impact of the ocean in our lives.
      Great job! Do not hesitate to join the Surfrider community on their website :) They're amazing and can provide you with all the educational tools to raise awareness on the issue.
      Keep up the vibe and spread the message!!!

      Cheers - Marta

  2. It's always great to raise awareness regarding marine litter. I found I kept missing out on organised beach cleans so I decided to do my own disorganised beach clean whenever I was at the beach. I then discovered the 2minutebeachclean organisation.
    You take a photo of your rubbish before you bin it & tag it #2minutebeachclean . People from all around the world post their rubbish photos on Instagram & there's a real sense of community, which is comforting as it's easy to feel all alone on a windswept beach picking up plastic & ghost rope.
    Here's to all the beach cleaners out there. United we clean!

    1. Suzanne that's amazing! People like you are the real role models young (and not so young) generations should follow! I will definitely have a look at the #2minutebeachclean project :) And take inspiration from you guys. The more we are the better!!! Thanks for sharing this.

      xo - Marta


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