Seventy percent. That’s how much of the planet’s surface is covered by ocean water, and the reason why protecting it is so vital to life on earth. As our world’s approximately 8 million people live, work, and play around these crucial bodies of water, their negative impacts - overfishing, pollution, global warming, and more - could risk everything both above and below the waves. Here are several important ocean-related charities turning back the proverbial tides on these harmful impacts, one donation at a time:
# 1 - Arguably one of the easiest names to remember, Oceana is a worldwide charity that focuses on enacting positive change through addressing ocean-impacting policies. For more than 20 years, the charity’s many offices across the globe have worked together to study and develop viable solutions to harmful fishing practices, with a goal of ensuring healthy, abundant seafood meals for all in perpetuity.
# 2 - The charitable group Clean Ocean Action is unique in that, rather than being one large group of individuals, it consists of many other groups, all collaborating with one another. Each of these member-groups has a hand in keeping oceans, bays, and beaches clean while working to prevent potentially harmful environmental practices, such as pollutant-dumping in waterways or offshore drilling that can affect both the ocean environment and delicate surrounding ecosystems.
# 3 - Another familiar name among large eco-focused charities is the Ocean Conservancy - for more than 40 years, this worthy household name in non-profits has worked to clean up beaches, educate the public on important ocean-related topics, and lobbied for positive environmental changes in Washington. Reducing and eliminating trash from waterways, beaches, and the oceans themselves is a cause that remains a core principle of this charity - a worthy one, at that.
# 4 - Although it does share a name with a shipping travel group, the Ocean Alliance in our list is the one behind industry-leading research and protection for whales. Armed with their recent cheekily-named “snotbot” (an underwater drone created to gather - you guessed it - whale mucus for study) and a celebrity endorsement from none other than Sir Patrick Stewart, they’re making big waves in whale conservation.
# 5 - The Coral Reef Alliance keeps their focus a little closer to the shoreline, working with data, research, and beachfront property owners to develop and implement reef-protecting best practices. The important insights gleaned from their studies help scientists and beachgoers alike understand the potential impact of humans’ everyday actions on the delicate coral reef ecosystems of the world. A large portion of this reef charity’s focus lies in the lush and colorful reefs off the coasts of the Hawaiian islands, keeping them healthy and protected for all to enjoy.
# 6 - Working on two paths towards cleaner, healthier oceans for all, the World Wildlife Fund isn’t strictly focused on ocean conservation, but it still comprises a large part of their charity work. Maintaining both existing problems - e.g. pollution, ecosystem damage, and more - and the systemic issues that caused these problems need to be dealt with, the “WWF” works with local governments to enact or change ocean-related policies. They also work with their own charity members to raise both funds and awareness for their seagoing causes and campaigns.
# 7 - Finally, for more than 25 years, the Surfrider Foundation has been promoting local advocacy and teaching a new generation about the importance of ocean protection. The foundation has recently fought a winning battle against offshore drilling permits, working with President Biden to “pause” the pipelines that would leave important ocean spaces vulnerable to pollution. The members of this charity also work tirelessly to offer education on ocean cleanup and scientific study to school-age children, building a new generation of ocean-lovers destined to protect their shorelines.
When charities like these seven sea-going superstars work with the public to preserve our seas, everyone benefits. From beautiful trash-free coastlines to healthy, readily available seafood, each one of these hardworking groups plays a part in safeguarding clean water.
If you’d like to do your part in helping the oceans, remember: every purchase at Ocean-Works.org goes towards supporting our incredible ocean charity partners: The National Marine Life Center, Mote Marine Laboratory & Aquarium, and Birch Aquarium.
Author: Delaney Martinez