In honor of Earth Day last week, I wanted to highlight some players in the space that are making a huge difference in promoting environmental wellness and (more importantly in my opinion) rallying others to do the same.
We will start with 4ocean which has served as a huge asset to protecting marine spaces and continues to be an inspiration to the Swell team. 4ocean is a Florida-based company that sells bracelets made from recycled plastic. Their pledge is that for every bracelet sold, they commit to pulling a pound of trash from the ocean in addition to their ongoing efforts to reduce marine pollution through beach cleanups, education and outreach. They have set the footholds we at Swell aim to follow in developing a brand rooted in ocean conservation and effective on-the-ground conservation efforts.
I bought my first 4ocean bracelet about three years ago and felt proud to be sporting a brand I felt passionate about. More than that, I felt an instant connection to a broader community of bracelet wearers I would see at the store, or at the beach who I knew shared my interest in protecting the ocean. Buying a bracelet was not only a pledge on behalf of the company to remove plastic from the water, but felt like a place for the buyer to continue doing their part as well. I don’t know if you have ever participated in a beach cleanup or not, but I remember thinking initially that a single pound of trash is (sadly) only a scratch on the surface of a global pollution crisis. Now, I see people with the bracelets on all of the time, and every time I do I am reminded that every effort, every voice, and every person matters. 4ocean is doing an amazing job at organizing and building their customer/advocate based and, as a result, are proportionally doing good for the environment. As a company, their growth is so much more significance than pushing commodities, and that is something we are striving to accomplish with Swell Skateboards.
Green Girl Leah
Leah is one of my favorite environmentalist instagrammers and is stationed just down the road from us in Ventura. She is a community leader, and the founder of @intersectionalenvironmentalist Her platform exists not only to raise awareness for environmental issues, but highlight issues surrounding environmental justice and the importance of intersectionality in the conservation space. Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. It is important to note that people of color are disproportionally affected by environmental issues and therefore deserve, which is why advocating for environmental justice is of the utmost importance, to save the planet and to improve the lives of those affected by environmental threats.
Leah has excellent tips on ways to reduce your environmental impact, and shares openly about ways in which she is working to develop a more sustainable future. She is a personal role model for me as I step deeper into advocacy (and social media) which is why I have chosen to highlight her contributions!
THE OCEAN CONSERVANCY
The Ocean Conservancy is tackling one of the oceans largest concerns- marine debris and plastic pollution. To me, this is especially important to highlight because pollution is one of the few ways in which humans can see and experience their direct impact on the ocean, both positive and negative. Some people throw thrash on the ground, and others dedicate their entire lives towards picking up after them and trying to protect natural sea spaces, the ocean is affected by both.
An estimated 244,000 metric tons of plastic bobs on the surface of the ocean, and another 8.5 million metric tons sinks to the sea floor every year. The great garbage patch is a name coined for a mass of trash in the ocean that has cumulated in the middle of the pacific ocean, where several ocean currents intersect. It covers over 1.6 million kilometers (about twice the size of Texas), but plastic pollution is an issue that exists beneath the surface as well. The sun and the water break down the plastic until they are dispersed into microscopic pieces which plankton eat, which fish eat, which mammals (including ourselves) eat. Once in the water, the plastic never fully goes away, and leaches chemicals into the water as it breaks down.
Luckily, companies like the Ocean Conservancy are dedicated to pulling the trash from the ocean before it can break down. They have large nets which they use to physically remove trash from the water, organize trash cleanups around the globe and they have also founded the Trash Free Seas Alliance, a coalition of groups and scientists working on things like biodegradable plastic and more recyclable plastics to prevent plastic use and pollution before it winds up in the sea.
I have chosen to highlight them, because I appreciate their multifaceted approach towards ocean stewardship. Like I have said many times there are so many different ways we can make a positive difference in our environment and every little bit helps.
Tag us and let us know what groups and organizations inspire you to protect the swell!