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Our ocean, our life

70% of the surface of the planet earth is made up of that big, massive body of water – the ocean. It provides the water needed by human beings at the rate of 97%. It is the source of life, it is the recipient of life. What it contains is beyond measureable knowledge. All of the big 4 oceans of the world are interconnected and flows from each other. And they likewise counter flow with other smaller bodies of water like the sea and the rivers. (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) The United States is surrounded by 95,331 miles of ocean and its coastlines are the habitat of 153 million people.

Living by the ocean, the sea, the coastlines provide many amenities and livelihood: fisheries, energy facilities, marine transportation, pleasure, recreation. The pier and the ports cater to a business potential totaling nearly 800 million dollars. The beach as a tourism and recreation venue welcomes a total of more than 200 million people. (Ocean and Coastal Resource Management) With such wealth of service and resources and value of existence, the ocean and the beach deserves to be taken care of. This treasure of our planet life is more than a gift of nature, more than a gift of God.

The ocean and the beach and the coastlines are bloodlines and lifelines to human beings. It is our sanctuary and our protector. It is our responsibility. The Perspective I was born and raised in a country surrounded by a coastline of 54,716 km – Indonesia. My house is a stone’s throw away from the beach. My growing up consciousness dwells mostly on the ocean and its beauty, bounty, might and wealth. I went swimming, fishing, surfing, diving and boating amidst that wonderful body of life. As time went by, I noticed that the influx of people caused damages to the beach and the ocean.

Some of them are reckless in managing their waste and garbage. They just throw anything they feel like throwing anywhere. Some indulge in illegal fishing like using dynamite. Some sea faring vehicles emit heavy doses of carbon dioxide without any concern about the result to marine life. When we settled in San Francisco, I likewise went to the beach by the ocean and have the privilege of continuing to enjoy the breeze and beauty around. Yet, I also discover that there is also the recurrence of the bad habits of some people. Garbage is just dumped anywhere.

There are so many people enjoying the beautiful beaches of San Francisco and therefore the overpopulation cause tremendous accumulation of waste. This is apart from the garbage they just leave around the beach, there is also a tendency to throw garbage to the ocean waters. I want to find a way to help solve this situation. I learned about some non-profit organizations in San Francisco, Surf Rider SF and Golden Gate National Park. I will get in touch with them and offer my volunteer services. I will also ask a few of my friends, maybe 7 or 10 of us and form a small group to spearhead an advocacy campaign while we are going around the beach.

Each weekend that we visit, we will bring 7 creative garbage cans. It will be decorated and painted with the words: TAKE CARE OF OUR OCEAN, OUR LIFE. We will tell those non-profit organizations to help us get approval from the beach authorities to allow us to put up those garbage cans. When we visit the beach, we will spend a few minutes picking up some garbage while we talk to the people and encourage them to do the same, if not, at least be mindful of their own garbage and throw it appropriately. The Proponent

I have derived so many inspirations on environmental protection; preservation of ecosystems; protecting our oceans, beaches and marine life; protecting the air. The documentary and book of Vice-President Al Gore on “An Inconvenient Truth” is one of them. Then most of all there are the artists, Lilian Cooper and Mierle Laderman Ukeles who espouse the imminent urgency and responsibility of society to help in preserving the environment. Southern England as her place of birth and growing years give Lilian Cooper the inspiration of the magnanimity of the environment especially rocks and mountains.

Such awakening made her interested in the pristine beauty of everything around her and thus, she captures them into her paintings and drawings. Her coastline project draws the edges of the North Atlantic Coast. In all her works, she believes that man belongs to his landscape and vice-versa and mutual existence carries responsibility. (Lilian Cooper Homepage) In America, a most indefatigable artist in the person of Mierle Laderman Ukeles broke the barriers that separate an artist making use of life and nature and at the same time participating in its preservation and protection.

She propagated the concept of furthering the influence of artists to make people aware and empower to contribute to the sustainability of the environment. Ms. Ukeles declared her awakened principles in her Manifesto for Maintenance Art. In 1976, she became a volunteer artist in resident with the New York City Department of Sanitation. She created projects and wrote them in publications that expounded and encouraged urban waste management. She worked on projects like Touch Sanitation in 1978 to 1984.

There are still ongoing projects of the New York City called Flow City that she started in 1983 and Fresh Kills Landfill that she started in 1989. “Community involvement and affirmation are at the heart of Ukeles’ art work”. (Krug, 2006) The Promise There are actions being taken by a good number of advocacies, of organizations, of artists, of cause oriented groups, and of awakened individuals. It is the biggest hope of many people that majority of mankind must really work together in unity to achieve the goals of the preservation of our environment, of our beaches, of our ocean. In so doing, we preserve and promote life.

And mankind then truly deserves this beautiful planet. References: “About Ocean and Coastal Resource Management”. 2007 Ocean and Coastal Resource Management National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration U. S. Department of Commerce http://coastalmanagement. noaa. gov/about/welcome. html “Ocean”. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration U. S. Department of Commerce http://www. noaa. gov/ocean. html Lilian Cooper Homepage http://www. liliancooper. com/index. php? page=1 Krug, Don. (2006). “Ecological Restoration” Arty & Ecology: Perspectives and Issues Greenmuseum. org http://www. greenmuseum. org/c/aen/Issues/ukeles. php

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