This is Why We March
On June 9th, 2018 a March For The Ocean (M4O) will take place in Washington, D.C. and in cities around the world. Let’s gather in the nation’s capital or at a march in a city near you. Let’s organize. Let’s volunteer. We must declare, loudly and publicly, that the ocean will prevail and will continue to support us for generations to come if only we have the courage and the will to sustain it.
Close your eyes wherever you are, envision the sights and hear the sounds of the ocean. For each of us that moment will be filled with individual and universal meaning. The ocean is the compendium of the circles and cycles of water that constitute our bodies, our sustenance, our energy, our health, our security, and our cultural traditions. Without the ocean we cannot live. All religions instruct us that access to water cleanses our bodies and our souls. The ocean encompasses and transcends everything.
Why would we abandon it?
But that is just what we have done, and are today continuing to do — to return to ignorance and indifference to this natural, nurturing source through continuing pollution, consumption, and associated extraction of resources that have already proven to be a bankrupt strategy for survival. Why? Who benefits? Why must we repeat the mistakes of this past, when we are well on our way to solutions through alternative technologies, regulatory controls, innovative subsidies and policies, modified structures of governance, re-application of our most cherished values, and changed behaviors by millions of Citizens of the Ocean worldwide?
What was begun in the 1970s as a global response to the impacts of human activities on air, land, and sea is now under renewed and determined threat, at the state, national, and international levels. The power of regression is making a singular and focused effort to reverse all that progress — discrediting the science, denying the consequences and impacts, dismantling the advisory boards and regulatory structures, ignoring political opposition, and returning to a world where Nature is there to be extracted, exploited, and exhausted in the name of short-term financial return and fear of change.
The speed and determination of this effort cannot be denied. And it will continue unabated, even as its illogic and illusion is revealed, unless we, those Citizens of the Ocean, resist with every tool available and every erg of energy applied. As with prior challenges, the people have taken to the streets to evince a broad, committed, and effective demonstration of opposition to these inhumanities. While this may be manifest only for a moment in time, in a single place or many, the collective will of the unified statement resonates beyond as undeniable political and social determination to make things right.
And so we are decided that we must now March For The Ocean.
On June 9, 2018, in Washington D.C., such a march will occur. The event will complement World Oceans Day (June 8th), a day designated by the United Nations, which has been celebrated worldwide as a global commitment to ocean health and sustainability. At no time in our history has the meaning and purpose of that day been more critical as an expression of national and international affirmation that all efforts to protect and conserve our ocean world is the peoples’ will. The intent is to gather thousands on the Mall in Washington, D.C. and in other places around the United States and the world, to express their support of all aspects of ocean protection to include threats to marine protected areas, renewed coastal drilling, cuts to budgets for ocean research, unregulated fishing, and the withdrawal from the international climate agreements, among so many others.
The march is being organized by Blue Frontier, an ocean advocacy organization, in collaboration with more than 70 environmental ocean groups. The list is growing every day: you must be a part. For further information and volunteer sign-ups, promotional videos and press materials, please go to the event website: marchforocean.com.
Let’s join this march as wave upon wave of friends and strangers who have declared, publicly, loudly, and responsibly, that the ocean will prevail over attacks and compromises, and continue to support and embrace us for generations to come, by its healing, sustaining water.
PETER NEILL is founder and director of the World Ocean Observatory and is author of “The Once and Future Ocean: Notes Toward a New Hydraulic Society.” He is also the host of World Ocean Radio, a weekly podcast addressing ocean issues, upon which this blog is inspired. Peter represents World Ocean Observatory on the March for Ocean media committee. World Ocean Observatory is a partner organization for M4O. <Join the wave. Learn more.>