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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Charity Navigator: Who is Makin' Waves to Save Our Oceans?

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Here, in New Jersey, we’re welcoming the return of summer with open arms. Life is back to the way it’s supposed to be — vans full of excited families and cars packed with best friends clogging the parkway, up and down the coast, trying to reach the beach. Most of us live for these few, precious weeks when the sun is high and the ocean is finally warm enough to swim.

This year, the return of summer and my subsequent return to the shore has me thinking about the ocean in a new way. Most of the world’s largest cities are located along the continental coasts and over 40% of the world’s population live within 60 miles of those coastlines. The ocean is an important and powerful resource for billions of people; it provides food and fosters livelihoods for many, facilitates global transportation of individuals and goods, and oceanic biodiversity is critical to our healthy lives on land.

giphy (7).gifHowever, the ocean, while powerful, is not immune to adverse human intervention and harmful degradation. Dumping trash and waste into the sea, overfishing certain species, and not regulating carbon emissions are all common human practices that are having harmful effects on our oceans and, by extension, us.

These highly rated 3- and 4-star charities are just a few of the organizations that are working to clean up our oceans, educate us on how to steward this important resource better, and fight for more effective policies that will protect our shared waters for generations to come.

Ocean Institute
Located in Orange County, California, the Ocean Institute believes in using the ocean as the classroom to teach children of all ages about marine science and maritime history. They offer tours and trips to give kids and their families hands-on learning experiences that allow them to explore the ocean and all it has to offer. More than 250,000 visitors tour the Institute each year and leave with a greater understanding of the power and purpose of our oceans.

Oceana is an international organization dedicated solely to achieving measureable change in restoring the health of our oceans through science-based campaigns. Additionally, the organization includes a legal arm which fights for more effective legislation and legal precedence as it relates to protecting the oceans as a shared resource.

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Ocean Conservancy is committed to science-based solutions to maintain a healthy ocean and its underwater wildlife communities. The organization is motivated by a shared love of the ocean, the coastlines, and coastline communities and seeks to represent all three through their advocacy and actions. They aim to ensure our oceans are healthy places for their underwater inhabitants and land-based counterparts for many generations to come.

Clean Ocean Action (based in New Jersey!) is a leading regional and national voice working to protect our oceans and waterways from harmful dumping and drilling. As a coalition of business, nonprofit, community, outdoor and religious groups, they represent a broad range of perspectives on the importance of maintaining the health of our shared waters. The organization has advocated for the successful end of several large offshore dumping operations and sponsored a number of effective public awareness campaigns resulting in legislative action.

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If, like me, you’re excited for summer and your return to the beach, I hope you will take a few moments to explore these organizations. Consider volunteering your time to take care of your favorite stretch of coast or contributing financially to keep your favorite beach clean and enjoyable for many years to come.

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