Our Earth’s oceans contain some of the most valuable resources on the planet, taking up nearly 70 percent of Earth’s surface. Our seas dictate the weather, clean the air, employ millions, and feed even more. As the use of fossil fuels and greenhouse gas emissions began to rise in popularity, the polluting of the Earth’s oceans did as well, leaving devastating, lifelong effects on all of its ecosystems. The ocean has absorbed over 90 percent of the heat from human based global warming in addition to absorbing nearly one third of all greenhouse gas emissions. There are several threats that our oceans must face such as overfishing, commercial whaling, plastic pollution, habitat loss, ocean acidification, rising sea levels, oil spills and runoff, and much more. I want to keep a focus on commercial whaling.
Commercial whaling has left several whale species on the brink of extinction. The blue whales of the Antarctic have less than one percent of their original numbers along with the West Pacific grey whale barely holding on with just over one hundred of them remaining. Over 90 percent of plastic isn’t recycled, and a large portion of that number finds its way into the ocean and surrounding beaches, and the huge amount of plastic make a damage for whales existence. Plastic is being ingested by marine life as well as entangling them, putting them all at major risk. Without change, our Earth’s oceans will not be able to continue on for much longer.
Bill Kardash was born on June 10, 1912. It was not until the summer of 1971 however, that his life changed forever. As he was walking into the annual International Whaling Commission (IWC) in Washington, D.C., he crossed paths with a man sitting cross legged on the floor, playing his guitar. It was later found out that the man sitting there was singer John Denver. Kardash explained his passion for whales and all the horrid acts that were happening to them. Denver simply stated, “Well, what are you going to do about it?”. This brief conversation with the shaggy-haired, cross legged man playing the guitar struck Kardash and filled him with an immense amount of inspiration. The following year, The Delta Corporation, later known as Ocean Conservancy, was born.
In the beginning years of Ocean Conservancy, their main initiative was the Whale Protection Fund. This fund focused on saving the species and protesting against commercial whaling; specifically in Japan and Russia. They gained the support of many, and were able to raise the funds to invest and later conduct scientific research as well as launching petitions and running ads in the paper to bring further awareness to the overlooked and undereducated topic known as the whaling industry. Ten years later, the International Whaling Commission finally banned commercial whaling. They then shifted their focus to not only whales, but to seals and sea turtles as well. Though they made significant progress with these animals, they came to the conclusion that these animals can not thrive without a healthy, sustainable environment. The workers of Ocean Conservancy then adjusted their focus to the marine ecosystems and habitats.
As the years went by, Ocean Conservancy gained the support of hundreds of thousands of people. Currently, they are found on several social media platforms, with a following of over 350,000 on both Instagram and Twitter. In 1986, they became the first organization to engage in an International Coastal Cleanup. As well as being the first organization to clean the beaches, they were also the first to engage industries in conserving the Earth’s waters and in banning whaling. Their main partnerships are built around Cause Marketing, International Coastal Cleanup, and Trash Free Seas Alliance. Several well known industries are partnered with Ocean Conservancy as well such as Coca Cola, CVS, Georgia Aquarium, Breitling, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, and the list goes on.
Ocean Conservancy is one of several organizations working toward a common goal; saving the Earth’s oceans. They have started doing this by creating Whale Protection movement that stil exists. Though they have made significant progress throughout the years, there is still much to be done. Only when the common goal is shared by all groups, governments, and individuals, will real change be made.