For the World Oceans Day, this Thursday 8th of June, Surfrider Foundation Europe proposes to you to discover the concrete actions organized by the Educational Caravans to fight against marine litter and more particularly against plastic bottles pollution. An ideal timing to do a summary of this educational program and to thank the many volunteers who have committed themselves to the oceans.
World Oceans Day a highlight of the Pedagogical Caravans
While World Ocean Day (WMO) is an opportunity for Surfrider to alert the media on plastic bottles pollution through the launching of the “Reset Your Habits” campaign, it is also a highlight for our Educational caravans in four European regions. On Thursday June 8th, the Caravans Garonne, Seine and Hamburg join their voices and forces for the oceans, offering a wide range of activities (lectures, screenings, litter collection…).
The theme of WOSD 2017, “Our Oceans, Our Future,” will be celebrated at the Oceans Conference, on June 5-9, 2017, at the United Nations Headquarters in New York. At Surfrider, the event will be celebrated in Le Havre (France), Soulac-sur-mer (France) and Hamburg as one of the stages of the Educational Caravans.
The ocean covers two-thirds of the Earth’s surface and are an essential pillar of life on our planet. In addition to being oxygen providers, they absorb a large amount of carbon dioxide emissions, provide food and nutrients and play a role on climate regulation. Fundamental for international trade, ocean play an important role in both global and local economies of countries whose sources of income rely on tourism, fisheries and other marine resources.
Unfortunately, human pressures, including overexploitation, marine and coastal pollution, climate change and water acidification, have a negative impact on the ocean and seas of our planet. In consequence, it is not only the environment that is threatened but the whole planet, its peace and its security.
A European awareness program on plastic bottles
Every year, Surfrider organizes field actions to raise public awareness about the problem of aquatic waste. In addition to the Ocean Initiatives, the association’s flagship program, Surfrider organizes the Educational Caravans, a European outreach program to track the journey of waste from its source to the ocean.
This program is organized on site by volunteers and members of Surfrider’s staff and provides a reflection on the origin of marine litter and its impact on the environment. Among the activities proposed: conferences, concerts, cultural visits, naturalist visits, educational workshops or litter collections.
In 2017, due to the alarming observation of the growing accumulation of waste, in particular in plastic, Surfrider wished to alert European citizens on plastic bottles issues. Indeed, no matter the location of litter collections, plastic bottles are always among the most collected type of litter.
Thanks to the campaign “Reset Your Habits” and the tools developed by the Ocean Campus, the volunteers have benefited from explicit teaching materials on the spot for their animations. The common goal of all these activities is to lead us to rethink our behavior to reduce this pollution.
In 2017, no fewer than 1,500 people attended to the various stages of the program, and gathered together several hundred of plastic bottles. During the 27 days of awareness-raising, nearly 40 events took place in 13 different cities of 3 European countries.
“Reset your habits”: to avoid plastic bottles, let’s change our habits!
To stop the environmental plague of plastic bottles, Surfrider chose to tackle the source of the problem: we, the citizens, who consume many plastic packaging because of lack of information or reliable alternatives in terms of can volumes and sustainable materials. Yet, concrete solutions like reusable bottles and public water fountains exist towards the circular economic and more sustainable alternatives.
The “Reset Your Habits” campaign enables European citizen to learn about these alternatives to initiate behavioral change and reduce plastic bottles consumption. Many tools are available to the citizens including a “social networks kit” that makes it easy to publish the campaign messages.
For the occasion of World Oceans Day and the final stages of the Educational Caravan, Surfrider wished to focus on the essential role played by the ocean as a climate regulator and source of life. We also wanted to address a warm thank you to our volunteers who animated the Caravans and enabled to raise awareness on the field.
The fight goes on: together, let’s change our habits towards reusable bottles!