11 Amazing Organizations Fighting to Save Our Oceans
The Surfrider Foundation, a California-based grassroots conservation group, has been fighting to protect the oceans and beaches of this country since its foundation in 1984. Surfrider's powerful grassroots network works to protect coasts and oceans by supporting water quality testing, community partnerships, beach cleanups, and more. For every dollar donated to the foundation, 84 cents directly funds programs and campaigns to protect the coast, while the rest goes toward generating future donations and covers operating costs. You can learn more about Surfrider’s efforts by visiting its campaigns page, and you can sign up to receive more information on its successes—and volunteer—at surfrider.org.
The Ocean Conservancy focuses on long-term solutions for healthy oceans, wildlife, and coastal communities. The conservancy's current programs include supporting sustainable fisheries, working to combat ocean acidification, and restoring the Gulf of Mexico. And for over 30 years, the Ocean Conservancy has been hosting the International Coastal Cleanup, which brings together millions of volunteers to remove trash from beaches around the world. Dontate and learn how to get involved at oceanconservancy.org.
The 5 Gyres Institute
Husband-and-wife duo Marcus Eriksen and Anna Cummins co-founded the 5 Gyres Institute to fight the plastic pollution of our oceans through science, art, education, and adventure. In 2015, 5 Gyres successfully advocated for the ban of plastic microbeads used in skincare and cosmetic products in the U.S., and in 2017, the organization received special consultative status with the U.N. Economic and Social Council. Read 5 Gyres' FAQ page to learn why plastic in our oceans is a global health crisis and how you can make a difference. Learn more and donate at 5gyres.org.
The Environmental Defense Fund
With focuses on climate, oceans, ecosystems, and health, the Environmental Defense Fund is one of the world’s largest environmental organizations, with offices in more than 15 countries. One of the organization’s goals is to curb overfishing and start sustainable fishing models in the 12 countries that make up 62 percent of the global fish catch. The EDF works directly with fishing communities to provide transitional and financial support. Learn more at edf.org.
Since 2001, Oceana has advocated for policy change using science-backed platforms in fishery management, clean energy, and much more. As the largest international advocacy organization focused solely on ocean conservation, Oceana has a far reach and brings together ocean advocates from around the world. Learn more and dontate at oceana.org.
Bye Bye Plastic Bags
Bali-based sisters Melati and Isabel Wijsen created this youth collective to develop programming for local kids to learn about pollution, participate in beach cleanups, and take a stand against public policies that are detrimental to our oceans. The sisters started Bye Bye Plastic Bags in 2013, and today the organization has a network of dozens of student volunteers around Bali who promote “just saying no to plastic bags.” Learn more and help their cause at byebyeplasticbags.org.
Natural Resources Defense Council
Since its founding in 1970, the Natural Resources Defense Council has been comprised of law students and attorneys ready to fight for clean air, clean water, and healthy communities. Today, they are joined by activists, scientists, policy advocates, and other members to advocate for our oceans and other natural resources. The Council’s oceans program includes curbing overfishing, improving ocean governance, and protecting important marine areas. Learn how to help at nrdc.org.
A far-reaching nonprofit (with conservation efforts in 72 countries), the Nature Conservancy is the world’s leading conservation organization, fighting to protect both nature and people. Whether through direct action, like volunteering for a beach cleanup, or education, like spreading the understanding of the benefits of a clean ocean, the Nature Conservancy has a many opportunities for anyone to get involved. Learn more at nature.org.
Lonely Whale Foundation
Entourage star Adrian Grenier and co-founder Lucy Sumner started the Lonely Whale Foundation to spread awareness about ocean health and the wellbeing of marine wildlife. The Foundation has started the #StopSucking campaign to educate people about the perils of one-use plastic straws in the ocean and ultimately to stop using them. Learn more at lonelywhale.org.
Bahamas Plastic Movement
Launched in 2014, the Bahamas Plastic Movement, founded by Bahamas-native Kristal Ambrose, aims “to build a community of education and activism around plastic pollution.” Through the four pillars of research, education, citizen science, and policy change, Ambrose hopes to one day see the Bahamas be free of plastic debris—all thanks to an engaged and active citizen base. BPM’s programs include beach cleanups, studying pockets of plastic debris, plastic pollution “camps” for local kids, and Upcycled, which encourages students to think of creative solutions to preventing plastic waste. Learn more at bahamasplasticmovement.org.
Parley for the Oceans
Parley for the Oceans brings creators—artists, musicians, designers, writers—together to change the way we use plastic. The A.I.R. Strategy faces plastic pollution head on: Avoid plastic wherever possible, intercept plastic waste, and redesign the plastic economy. The organization is working toward inventing smarter materials to use in place of plastic, while also reducing the amount we do use until that time. Learn more at parley.tv.