World Oceans Day: Why I’m Supporting Sea Shepherd, 5Gyres & 4Ocean

Updated: Aug 22, 2020

I recently realised that my birthday is the day after World Oceans Day.

The fact that I was oblivious to this shows how I didn’t really care much about ocean conservation. This reveals my hypocrisy as a self-proclaimed environmentalist.

To make amends, I’ve decided to make some contribution.

I took the time to search for ocean conservation groups that do not take money from big polluters (which shall be discussed in a future article).

Here are the three amazing ocean conservation groups that have my support.

1. Sea Shepherd: Defending Our Oceans

They are like the Extinction Rebellion of the sea — a direct action ocean conservation movement.

Sea Shepherd aims to end the destruction of habitat and slaughter of wildlife in the world’s oceans.

Their campaigns include:

  1. the conservation of endangered vaquita porpoise in Mexico

  2. the investigation of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing in the Eastern Tropical Pacific

  3. revealing the impacts of open net-pen salmon farms on wild salmon based on scientific research in British Columbia, Canada

  4. the beaked whale research project in Guadalupe Island, Mexico

Unlike many big conservation groups that have succumbed to corporate greenwashing, Sea Shepherd actually gives a damn about marine life.

You can donate to their conservation efforts or be a Sea Shepherd yourself by volunteering your time at sea or onshore.

2. 5Gyres: A Movement Against Plastic Pollution For Ocean Conservation

5 Gyres Institute is dedicated to solving the plastic problem in the ocean through primary research.

They’re amongst the first to do research on plastic in the world’s oceans, which has been published in over 25 peer-reviewed scientific journals.

The founders are a loving couple who met in a sailing expedition. One day, they witnessed small fish that were mistaking contaminated plastic waste for food. This sparked their mission to solve this plastic problem.

What else do they do besides research?

  1. Teaching students about the history of plastic and what actions they can take.

  2. Creating an ambassador program for key volunteers to spread awareness within their respective communities.

  3. They have a TrashBlitz app that encourages the community to track data on waste and thus be their own scientists.

You can support them by purchasing items like metal straws and Klean Kanteen Tumbler or directly donate to their cause.

3. 4Ocean: Cleaning The Ocean And Changing Consumption Habits

When the founders realised the depth of the ocean plastic crisis, they vowed to do something about it.

So they initiated a cleanup.

This is not just an ordinary cleanup campaign but rather one with a business model so that they could afford to pay the workers and spread the awareness.

For each 4ocean bracelet purchased, they pledged to pull a pound of trash from the ocean. So each time you purchase a bracelet, you’re directly helping them to clean the ocean.

Where have they done the ocean cleanups?

  1. Bali, Indonesia

  2. Port-au-Prince, Haiti

  3. Puerto Barrios, Guatemala

  4. South Florida, US

They know that this is just the beginning. It would take major systemic changes so that we may see nothing but warm sand and rolling waves again.

If you don’t want to shop any of their products, you can directly donate to their Pound+ campaign that will directly fund the removal of trash from the oceans, rivers and coastlines.

Two Other Ocean Conservation Groups You Should Know About

I wanted to donate to Ocean Quest Global which was founded in Malaysia as well as the Tropical Research and Conservation Centre (TRACC) in Sabah but they do not seem to be accepting donations.

Instead, they do paid programs where you would have to be involved directly.

Ocean Quest is partnering with Sea Shepherd for their coral propagation workshop, which is offered through the latter’s partner dive centres. So by donating to Sea Shepherd, I’m indirectly supporting Ocean Quest as well.

Join Me In Supporting Ocean Conservation Groups That Walk The Talk

It would be a wonderful birthday gift for me if you could spare some of your hard-earned money to donate to an ocean conservation group.

I’m not sponsored or affiliated with any of them. But I would love to volunteer with them in the future because they do important direct action work to protect our oceans and have stayed true to their ethos.

In short, they are the real deal, no-nonsense and non-elitist conservation groups.

Featured Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash