5 Ways to Love the Ocean on World Oceans Day

Every year on June 8, people across the globe come together to honor our oceans and all that they do to keep us alive. If you’re looking for ways to celebrate the seas, here are 5 ways to love the ocean on World Oceans Day, even if you don’t happen to be near a coastline.

1. Watch: Webinars About the Ocean

Find knowledge and inspiration about our oceans from a few amazing panels of experts in a few of our favorite Plastic Pollution Coalition (PPC) webinars. PPC’s Global Webinar Series brings together our community of experts to share the latest information, tips, and resources to stop the growing plastic pollution crisis.

In our June 2023 webinar, Plastic-Free Seas: Diving Into How Plastic Impacts Health, Climate, and Our Oceans, we discussed the challenges that plastic pollution poses to our oceans and our bodies, how polluted waters disrupt the mental health benefits we gain from access to healthy oceans and waterways, and how we may restore our planet as well as our own physical and mental well-being.

During Deep Ocean to Outer Space: Plastic Pollution Solutions, in December 2020, we discussed the impacts of and potential solutions to plastic pollution in the ocean, as well as in outer space.

2. Read: Blogs About the Ocean

Surfers are some of the biggest advocates for our oceans, and were among the first people to call attention to the global plastic pollution crisis. Learn more about a dedicated subculture of wave riders who have turned to activism to protect the beaches and waters they love from plastic pollution in our blog Celebrating the Surfers Turning the Tide on Plastic Pollution.

For people in the Northern Hemisphere, June means summertime: the perfect time of year to enjoy the beach or recreate in the oceans. It’s also the perfect time to rethink your beauty routine and make better choices to benefit our oceans, environment, and your health. Check out 10 Tips for a Summer Beauty Routine that is Healthier for Our Oceans.

3. Read or Listen: Books About the Ocean

Plastic Ocean: How a Sea Captain’s Chance Discovery Launched a Determined Quest to Save the Oceans by Captain Charles Moore with Cassandra Phillips 

Read the story of Captain Charles Moore’s encounter with the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch” (The North Pacific Gyre) in 1997, and his return in 1999 to collect samples of microplastics for analysis on his custom built research vessel, ORV Alguita. The results of his first study in 1999 were shocking: plastic pollution caught in his research nets outweighed zooplankton, tiny animals that make up the base of the ocean’s food web, by a factor of six to one. As one of the main drivers of plastic pollution awareness, Captain Moore and Plastic Ocean remind us that an ocean free of plastic pollution is of utmost importance to the survival of all species. Learn more.

Junk Raft: An Ocean Voyage and a Rising Tide of Activism to Fight Plastic Pollution by Marcus Eriksen

In 2008, two sailors drifted across the North Pacific Ocean from California to Hawaii on a raft made from 15,000 plastic bottles tied in old fishing nets stuffed under a Cessna 310 Aircraft.  They called the vessel “JUNK.” The purpose of their 88-day, 2600-mile voyage was to build awareness and help build a movement to save our seas from plastic pollution. Marcus Eriksen, co-founder of 5 Gyres, who was one of those two sailors, tells the story. He shows us that there’s a great divide between how industry sees the future and what the movement demands.  This book is not only a story of adventure, but a vision of how we bridge that divide. Learn more.

Thicker Than Water: The Quest for Solutions to the Plastic Crisis By Erica Cirino

Much of what you’ve heard about plastic pollution may be wrong. Instead of a great island of trash, the infamous Great Pacific Garbage Patch is made up of manmade debris spread over hundreds of miles of sea—more like a soup than a floating garbage dump. Recycling is more complicated than we were taught: less than nine percent of the plastic we create is recycled, and the majority ends up in the ocean. Erica Cirino, now Communications Manager at PPC, brings readers on a globe-hopping journey to meet the scientists and activists telling the real story of the plastic crisis. Learn more.

4. View: Ocean Art

Meredith Andrews, contemporary portrait, travel and lifestyle photographer based on the sub-tropical island of Bermuda finds much of her inspiration combing the region’s beaches for plastic pollution, which she artfully arranges and photographs. Learn more.

Jo Atherton is an artist who works with objects, including plastic pollution, gathered on the UK coastline. Her practice highlights the diversity of plastic washed ashore and how the ubiquity of this material characterizes our current geological age of human influence—the Anthropocene. Learn more.

Pamela Longobardi, an American artist and activist fascinated by the metamorphoses of the ocean in the age of plastic. Through her works, she launches warning messages to the viewer, thrown like (plastic) bottles into the sea. Learn more.

Susan Middleton is an artist, photographer, author, and educator specializing in the portraiture of rare and endangered animals, plants, sites, and cultures. Much of her inspiration comes from the oceans. Learn more.

Alexis Rockman is an artist known for his paintings that depict future seascapes and landscapes as they might exist with impacts of climate change, pollution, and other human-made problems. In particular, his Oceanus and Shipwrecks series illustrate the beauty of the oceans—and what could happen if we do not protect them. Learn more.

Judith Selby and Richard Lang are artists who have spent more than 25 years visiting 1000 yards of Kehoe Beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore to gather plastic debris washing out of the Pacific Ocean. By carefully collecting and “curating” the bits of plastic, Selby and Lang fashion it into works of art— art that matter-of-factly shows, with minimal artifice, the material as it is. Learn more.

5. Experience: The Blue Mind Challenge

The 11th Annual 100 Days of Blue Mind Challenge takes place May 26–Sept 2, 2024. Nominated for The Earthshot Prize in 2023, Blue Mind refers to a water-induced state of calm, unity, and inspired will to protect and restore nature. Researched and described by PPC Scientific Advisor Dr. Wallace J Nichols, this positive, holistic, values-based solution simultaneously addresses human well-being in a time of despair, and environmental protection in a time of destruction. The 100 Days of Blue Mind Challenge is simple: get near, in, on or under water daily. If you miss a day, don’t worry! Invite someone who needs it to join you from time to time. Share your stories in any way you like. If you’re on social media, use the #bluemind hashtag so fellow water-lovers can easily follow along. Here’s a list of 100+ ways to practice Blue Mind.

Take Action

We are all connected to the ocean, whether we live nearby or far away. It’s no secret that one of the biggest threats to our oceans is plastic pollution—which of course is not just an ocean issue, but a whole Earth issue. 

Please consider supporting our work to educate, connect, and advocate for a more just, regenerative world free of plastic pollution.

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June 7 , 7:00 am 1:30 pm EDT

UN World Oceans Day 2024 is hosted by the Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea of the Office of Legal Affairs (DOALOS) in partnership with Oceanic Global. Join the United Nations (UN) on 7 June 2024 for a hybrid celebration of UN World Oceans Day, hosted both virtually and in-person at the UN Headquarters in New York.

Global beverage company markets itself as sustainable and environmentally friendly while being the largest plastic polluter in the world

Contact: Sharon Donovan
Communications Director
Earth Island Institute
sharondonovan@earthisland.org, (510) 859-9161

Washington, D.C. (June 8, 2021) — On the grounds of false and deceptive advertising, Earth Island Institute today filed a lawsuit against the Coca-Cola Company, the American multinational beverage corporation that portrays itself as sustainable and environmentally friendly while generating more plastic pollution than any other company in the world. The filing coincides with World Oceans Day, in recognition of the devastating impacts plastic pollution has on marine life, oceans, and coastal communities, and the dire need for companies like Coca-Cola to take responsibility for those impacts.

On its website and in advertising campaigns on television, in print, and across social media platforms, Coca-Cola claims that “our planet matters.” “Scaling sustainable solutions . . . and investing in sustainable packaging platforms to reduce our carbon footprint,” the company asserts. A “World Without Waste” declares the headline in one marketing campaign. Yet almost anywhere you look there’s a plastic Coca-Cola bottle trashing the public park, washed up on the beach, or piled in a mountain of plastic at a waste processing facility. What these advertising campaigns ultimately amount to is a mountain of greenwashing.

In fact, Coca-Cola was named the number one corporate plastic polluter for the past three years according to the Break Free From Plastic Global Cleanup and Brand Audit report. According to the report, 13,834 branded Coca-Cola plastics were recorded in 51 countries in 2020, reflecting more plastic than the next two top global plastic polluters combined.

“Coca-Cola has long been in the business of portraying itself as stewards of the environment while pointing to consumers as the source of plastic pollution. But it is Coca-Cola, not consumers, that chooses to use chart-topping amounts of plastic for its products. It is time this company is held accountable for deceiving the public,” said Earth Island Institute General Counsel Sumona Majumdar. “The more consumers become aware of plastic pollution, the more the company doubles down on its purported commitment to the environment to appease those concerns, but the actual results of their efforts tell a very different story. The company needs to come clean and be honest with consumers.”

Earth Island Institute has filed the case in the District of Columbia Superior Court, alleging that Coca-Cola is in violation of the District of Columbia’s Consumer Protection Procedures Act (CPPA). The CPPA is a consumer protection law that prohibits a wide variety of deceptive and unconscionable business practices. The statute specifically provides that a public-interest organization, like Earth Island, may bring an action on behalf of consumers and the general public for relief from the unlawful conduct directed at consumers. If successful, this lawsuit will prevent Coca-Cola from falsely advertising its business as sustainable, among other things.

“For 12 years we have advocated for a more just, equitable world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impacts, driving corporate responsibility to stop plastic pollution at the source,” said Julia Cohen, MPH, co-founder and managing director at Plastic Pollution Coalition, a project of Earth Island Institute and a global alliance of more than 1,200 organizations, businesses, and thought leaders in 75 countries. “We want the Coca-Cola company to stop the greenwashing and false claims, be transparent about the plastic they use, and be a leader in investing in deposit and refill programs for the health of humans, animals, waterways, the ocean, and our environment.”

As a fiscally sponsored project of Earth Island Institute, Plastic Pollution Coalition is at the organization’s core of educating consumers about plastic pollution, including in the District of Columbia, and engaging in advocacy related to environmental and human health impacts from plastic.

Plastic pollution is a global problem and threatens human and environmental health on a massive scale, from the plastic-producing petrochemical plants that disproportionately impact communities of color and low-income communities to the plastic waste that is often dumped in developing countries to the toxic microplastics invading our bodies, which have been shown to contribute to cancer, neurotoxicity, reproductive issues, endocrine disruption, and genetic problems. Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of these issues and are too often deceived by companies like Coca-Cola, which claims that they are reducing their plastic footprint on the earth.

Earth Island Institute is represented by Richman Law & Policy, which specializes in consumer protection law.

World Oceans Day is Tuesday, June 8.

More information here.

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It’s World Oceans Day, and we are spotlighting our Coalition member Pirani Life, a company on a mission to end single-use and help everyone party sustainably. We spoke with Pirani Life’s founders Brandegee Pierce and Danielle Del Sordo to learn more about the story behind their reusable cups and tumblers.

How have you seen your beaches change over the years growing up in South Florida? 

Being on this beautiful planet and in South Florida 35 years, we’ve seen a steady increase of coral reef bleaching, eroding coastlines, and trash scattered across the sand and in the ocean from both littering beach goers as well as marine debris that washes ashore after storms and on a regular basis.  Brandegee on his 30th birthday was stuck with a needle that washed up on the beach (fortunately after a doctor’s visit, there was no issues but still really scary!)  Sadly, it got to a point where I (Danielle) could no longer go on a jog in the sand without getting infuriated with all the trash on my path.  It would end up turning into a cleanup vs a peaceful workout. We became a part of the #LitterFreeFlorida movement filled with organizations and individuals who are cleaning the coast on weekly and often daily basis, educating beach goers, students and citizens of South Florida to do better, choose reusables and take action for a better planet. 

We have recently expanded to the mountains in Asheville NC, where we see significantly less trash, and different types of litter, although it still exists and all streams lead to the sea.  We can see why not seeing trash directly entering our oceans could be a disconnect for people to think that it’s not that big of a deal to change their lifestyle and choose reusables over single use.  That’s why we are here to continue to create awareness!

How did you come up with the Pirani Party Tumbler?

Stepping outside of our comfort zones was never a challenge for us. We are designers with a passion to make a difference. In 2013, we quit our Corporate America careers in Industrial Design (Brandegee) and Costume Design (Danielle) to travel the world. We lived out of a backpack for 18 months looking for inspiration to start up an eco-friendly company together. Ideas ranged from sustainable swimwear to a healthy food truck, and the list can go on. Fast forward 6.5 years and Pirani Life was born!

Most of our sports take place in the ocean, and we were lucky enough to live one block from it. As South Florida native water babies living an active outdoor lifestyle, we grew tired of seeing litter scattered across our beautiful beaches. One of the biggest offenders was always that iconic red party cup. This fueled Brandegee to design the first vacuum insulated version of it. After countless 3D-printed prototypes created in our home studio (a.k.a. the living room), he was determined to create the last party cup you will ever need and help put a stop to the billions of single-use plastic cups that are tossed every year.

Pirani’s mission is to empower everyday heroes in safeguarding our planet through raising eco-awareness and creating sustainable solutions.  The biggest sense of accomplishment is when people tell us that through our messaging and brand, we made them think twice about using single-use items.  

What does #PartySustainably mean to you?

#PartySustainably is what makes Pirani Life, Pirani. We want the party to carry on without the waste we’ve seen in order to take better care of our beaches, forests, and the planet as a whole. You may see #PartySustainably and wonder where to even begin. Honestly, it’s anything that involves living the good life and taking better care of the environment to help the lives of others and for generations to come. To Party Sustainably means thinking about what you can do better to live your best life without relying on single-use plastics or overlooking picking up after yourself during a good time.

What plastic-free living tips do you have that people might not have thought of?

At Pirani Life, we like to spread the message that living sustainably is not about being perfect and every small action makes a difference.  Here are some of our favorite ways to #LiveSustainably at Pirani Life:

·      Forgot your reusable bags?  Wheel your groceries out of the store and bag at the car!

·      Got your favorite pho takeout but it comes in plastic?  Keep the container and use it as Tupperware!  Giving plastic a second, third, or fourth life is much better than single-use!

·      Don’t be shy!  Ask every barista, bartender, smoothie or juice maker to pour in your Pirani!  You will be surprised at how many say yes.

·      Don’t “Wishcycle”  and NEVER RECYCLE THIN FILM PLASTIC! We spent some time visiting recycling plants and the most important thing we learned is recycling will never be viable if its cost outweighs the benefit.  Thin film plastic like shopping bags clogs facilities and increases the cost of recycling a lot.

We can go on and on with this list, but those are our top 4!

If you could tell the world one message about plastic pollution, what would it be?

Imperfection in masses is better then perfection by a niche group.  Although we respect the zero-waste community a ton, the cold hard truth is the vast majority of people on this planet will never be zero waste.  Instead of shaming people for using a straw, commend them for using a Pirani Tumbler 😁 or a reusable bag or skipping the plastic water bottle.  Eventually as this message disseminates to the youth, we will hopefully have an overwhelming majority of people that care for this planet and be in powerful positions to make legislative and corporate decisions that are needed to improve the health of our beautiful and hopefully forgiving planet.

Join our global Coalition.

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Photo by Ben Hicks

It’s World Oceans Day! We invite you to listen, learn, and take action today with the resources below. 

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By PPC Member Oceanum Vela

Kittery, Maine – In honor of World Oceans Day on June 8, 2020, environmental scientist, sailor, and now eco-preneur, Melissa Kalicin has announced the launch of Oceanum Vela, a company that repurposes authentic sails from elite racing boats into all manner of products. Her mission is to bring the global ocean race sailing community together to engage in the circular economy, all while promoting responsible sporting and ocean health. 

Kalicin noticed that a big impediment to the greening of sailing is the discarding of old race sails. Most, including some elite sails that are important parts of racing history, are sent to the landfill or, luckily for her company, are in a holding pattern of hope being indefinitely stored. 

This bag was made from a sail used in The Volvo Ocean Race 2008-2009.

Oceanum Vela works with local boutiques that repurpose sails into attractive bags and accessories. By doing so, the company prevents waste, generates awareness of the sail-to- landfill problem, and raises funds for ocean conservation efforts through proceeds from each memorabilia piece sold. 

“It’s exciting and rewarding to develop a line of authentic race sail memorabilia from races such as the Ocean Race and America’s Cup,” enthused Kalicin. “Positive early reaction from racing fans, the sailors, sail makers and race organizations showed we were certainly onto something.” 

One of Oceanum Vela’s first projects involved upcycling the sails from the former Volvo Ocean 70, Ericsson 3 from the 2008-09 Volvo Ocean Race in Italy. Oceanum Vela partnered with Jean-Martin Grisar, one of the original sail makers from the Ericsson campaign.

“Ten years ago, I had these sails in my hands, when they were new,” said Grisar, owner of JM Sail and Bags in Rimini. “I am very excited to work with them again, turning them into stylish bags and accessories fulfilling a mission of sustainability doing something positive to preserve our oceans.” 

Having enough of a supply of old sails has not been a problem for Oceanum Vela — it collected approximately 3 tons of sail material since beginning operations in late 2018 despite not a having a warehouse. And interest from fans, pre-coronavirus, was building nicely. 

“Sailing the Southern Ocean or racing across the bay at top America’s Cup foiling speeds is usually just a dream to most sailors and sailing fans,” Kalicin shared. “Many fans reached out to us with requests for merchandise from sails from their favorite teams. Feedback on the Oceanum Vela concept and our products have ranged from ‘that’s brilliant’ to ‘a Carbon Race Sail duffle from a Maxi Yacht; I love it!!’ Kalicin is bullish about Oceanum Vela’s prospects to provide real value to racing fans once a post-COVID-19 equilibrium is reached. Despite the unprecedented times, interest in partnering to have race sails repurposed into original sponsors’ product lines and accessories to raise funds for ocean conservation is growing. 

“We have both race teams and sail lofts storing old sails for us in the US and Europe storing sails until the threats from COVID-19 recede and people can safely handle them again,” Kalicin noted. 

In addition to the new projects, Kalicin continues to work on building the sustainable aspects of her business, firmly believing in her passion is both the right thing to do and is confident that racing fans — and other green-minded consumers — will agree. 

Oceanum Vela became a member of the Plastic Pollution Coalition in January 2020. Kalicin, who was recently featured on the GreenSportsPod podcast, operates the company in line with PPC’s mission to “work toward a world free of plastic pollution and its toxic impact on humans, animals, waterways, the ocean, and the environment.” Oceanum Vela strives to work with like-minded businesses and have a transparent supply chain as we attempt to make our products meet a 95 percent recycled content material threshold. 

Ten percent of proceeds from Oceanum Vela’s sales go to ocean health organizations. This June, proceeds will go toward Clean Oceans Access, a fellow Plastic Pollution Coalition member, based in Newport, RI, with goals to eliminate marine debris, improve coastal water quality, and protect and preserve shoreline access. Clean Ocean Access aims to promote a sustainable sailing community through projects such as Healthy Soils, Healthy Seas, RI, and Shrink Wrap Recycling.

Join our global Coalition.