Connect Through Advocacy
Advocacy may be an area that covers a lot of ground, but for our generation, it is all about making our voices heard. With contemporaries like Greta Thunberg and Malala Yousafzai showing us that we don’t need to wait our turn in line to make some noise, more and more of us are finding ways to insert ourselves into the critical debates of the day. Of course, there is no more pressing issue than the declining state of the ocean. With temperatures and acidity rising to alarming levels and plastic pollution threatening to overtake sea life, Earth’s greatest resource is in grave danger of reaching the point of no return. And since the ocean sustains us – every single one of us – we can all benefit from more ocean advocacy.
Levels of Involvement
When it comes to being an advocate, there are many different paths to follow. You can act on the local level (starting a letter-writing campaign to ban the use of plastic bags in your town), the state level (volunteering for candidates that promote a pro-environment agenda), the national level (lobbying your representatives to support climate change legislation) or the international level (demonstrating in favor of joining the Paris Climate Agreement). We even know of someone who acted on the “micro-level” by getting all the families on her street to stop buying those birthday balloons that you first see tied to mailboxes and then, about two weeks later, as plastic trash on the side of the road.
What You Can Do
You should join your school’s environmental club, and if your school doesn’t have one, you can start your own. And if what your school offers doesn’t match your worldview, you can volunteer to work at a non-profit organization that does (see our Resources page for ocean-related organizations that could use your help). And if you have your own ideas about how to tackle an issue you find concerning, there is little stopping you from starting your own non-profit organization (like the founder of Ocean Connect). No one will think twice just because you are a 15-year-old high school sophomore because today, there are so many 15-year-old high school sophomores doing extraordinary things.
Making Your Voice Heard
The unique thing about the time we live in is that there are so many new and exciting ways to make your voice heard. In years past, if you wanted to be a force for change, you probably would have been advised to go to law school, become a lawyer for the Environmental Protection Agency and try and create change from within (still a viable option). Then, as grassroots movements started to pop up, there came the realization that even a small group of motivated people could effectuate positive change. Today, any single individual with a social media account, a decent amount of followers, and a legitimate message has a ready-made platform for getting that message out.
If you are interested in ocean advocacy and need help deciding what path to take, or if you just want to get an idea of the different paths that are out there, click on one of our advocacy snapshots. They have all the information and resources you need to make an informed decision.