Working In direction of an Accessible Ocean for All

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June is an enormous month for the ocean. First, it’s formally Nationwide Ocean Month, which is a chance to mirror on what the ocean means to us and the way we may help shield it. I’m thrilled to see colleagues, companions and ocean advocates such as you from around the globe share their commitments to our ocean immediately on World Ocean Day. It’s really a big day.

However June has a deeper connection to our ocean than merely “official” designations. It’s a month the place so a lot of our fellow Individuals head to the seashore to benefit from the ocean. It marks the primary full month of summer season, the tip of the college 12 months and the start of summer season holidays for a lot of. It’s additionally a month the place we have a good time freedom, hope and human rights with LGBTQ+ Pleasure Month and Juneteenth.

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We speak about “our ocean,” and we envision an ocean that’s for all of us. However the reality is that the ocean’s advantages haven’t been freely loved by everybody. There’s a lengthy historical past of exclusion, particularly among the many BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities that we have a good time this month.

I encourage you to learn extra about a few of the methods racism and injustice have intersected with our ocean and coasts, together with the theft of coastal lands from the Gullah Geechee Nation and the historical past of segregated beaches. Nevertheless, within the face of discrimination, our ocean and seashores have additionally been a protected haven for marginalized communities, equivalent to Virginia Key Beach, which was accessible to Black communities within the time of segregation, and Fireplace Island’s Cherry Grove, one of many first homosexual seashore cities within the U.S.

In gentle of a painful a part of our collective historical past, I’m particularly glad to see teams combating for BIPOC and LGBTQ+ communities to reclaim seashores and coastal waters for his or her entry and pleasure. From coast to coast, there are teams like Brown Girls Surf, a Latina-led group in Oakland that’s empowering lots of of women and girls of shade to be “water ladies;” Black Sand Surf Collective, which has been described as an “sincere response to what it felt prefer to be Black within the ocean;” and Queer Surf Club, which was based two years in the past to attach queer surfers around the globe.

These teams encourage me and remind all of us that we are able to’t take entry to the ocean as a right, and we should every do our half to make sure that everybody can benefit from the ocean’s boundless magnificence and advantages. That is one purpose that Ocean Conservancy is sponsoring the Liberation Paddle Out 2022, organized by Black Surf Santa Cruz in celebration of Juneteenth.

This Nationwide Ocean Month, I’m humbled to consider all of the methods our ocean has represented each an oppressive image and a beacon of hope for communities around the globe. This tie is a vital factor to think about for anybody working to guard our ocean—together with us right here at Ocean Conservancy. That’s why we have now prioritized measures that diversify our employees and Board of Administrators, improved our hiring practices to make them extra equitable, sponsored fellowships and organizations that promote range in our subject, expanded our teaching programs round ocean justice and extra. I do know these are small steps on a bigger path, and I’m honored to work alongside our unimaginable employees and companions in pursuit of our imaginative and prescient of a more healthy ocean, protected by a extra simply world.

Collectively, we are able to work to preserve our ocean, and make our ocean—and the establishments working to guard it—accessible and welcoming for everybody. On the finish of the day, we—and our ocean—are higher off in a extra simply and equitable world.

The put up Working Towards an Accessible Ocean for All appeared first on Ocean Conservancy.

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