Many of us take the world’s oceans for granted, assuming that they’ve always been there and always will be. But environmental problems are affecting even these massive bodies of water. Fish populations are being decimated. Areas of the ocean floor are being scraped away by unethical and totally unsustainable “fishing.” Beaches are littered with trash. Mercury is building up in the fish we eat. Water pollution from agricultural waste causes hypoxia in huge areas at the mouths of rivers. And giant mass of plastic trash has become a floating, lifeless island called the Pacific Gyre. The list of threats goes on, putting the health of the world’s oceans — and those who rely on them — in jeopardy.
But there are people around the world who are doing their utmost to stop the destruction of our oceans. People who are putting themselves at risk to make the world’s seas a more habitable place for fish and marine animals. People, including youth, who are making a difference by raising funds to support the work of others. People who not only care about the oceans, but also take action. Each one is a hero, though their efforts may be untrumpeted and little known.
Nominate Someone Deserving
But people who are selflessly working to make the oceans a healthier ecosystem deserve recognition for their efforts.
Do you know anyone who is making a difference to the world’s oceans? If you do, here’s an opportunity to nominate him or her for recognition as an “Ocean Hero,” through a competition sponsored by the conservation group Oceana. Nominations will be accepted at the official contest website, Oceana.org/heroes, until April 18, 2010.
Oceana is offering two categories of Ocean Hero Awards this year, one for adults and one for kids under 18 years of age. Both winners will earn a trip to Los Angeles for the “Oceana World Oceans Day with Nautica and GQ,” an event scheduled for June 8.
Oceana CEO Andrew Sharpless said, “This is our chance to honor those — young and old — who do great things for the ocean, but otherwise might not get the recognition they deserve. Not only will we honor the winning ocean heroes, but we will also highlight the wonderful stories of all of our finalists.”
Celebrate Everyday Heroes
Last year, Oceana presented its first-annual Ocean Heroes Award to marine biologist John Halas. Halas is the designer of an eco-friendly anchor and mooring buoy system that prevents damage to coral reefs. His system is used in 38 countries.
Among last year’s finalists was 12-year-old Casey Sokolovic. Her passion for saving sea turtles led her to raise $2,500 for a sea turtle hospital at the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center in Topsail Island, North Carolina. Casey’s efforts are ongoing, and she is working to share her passion with other youth.
On behalf of Nautica, the global lifestyle brand that is partnering with Oceana in this contest, president Karen Murray said, “Nautica is proud to help Oceana recognize the everyday Ocean Heroes who contribute to the cause of protecting our oceans. We want to do our part to recognize and share these thoughtful and inspiring stories with the rest of the world.”
Nominations are welcomed for Ocean Heroes of all ages, but those making the nomination must be at least 13 years of age. A panel of experts from Oceana will decide on the finalists for the awards.
Next, the public will be invited to vote for their favorite Ocean Hero in each of the two age categories. Winners will be announced on June 8, when Oceana celebrates World Oceans Day.
Finalists will receive a gift certificate from Nautica. And Oceana will share each finalist’s story on the organization’s website.
Winners of the two categories will each receive a Nautica gift certificate valued at $500.00, as well as a trip to the World Oceans Day event in Los Angeles.
So, what are you waiting for? If you know someone worthy of being called an Ocean Hero, nominate them — or yourself — by visiting the contest page at http://Oceana.org/heroes. It’s time to give recognition where recognition is due.
Vote for Oceana, Too
If you like the work that Oceana is doing to preserve the world’s oceans and their inhabitants, take a few minutes to cast your vote for the organization to win $200,000 from TakePart Members Project sponsored by American Express (you do not need an American Express card to vote).
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