New Orleans,
25
May
2018
|
06:12 PM
America/Chicago

Ocean Heroes Bootcamp at Audubon Aquarium creating global army of youth environmental activists fighting plastic pollution

Nearly 10 environmental organizations joining forces for the first time ever to empower youth participants to take action against single-use plastics

A youth revolution combating plastic pollution is coming, and it’s starting in New Orleans.

From June 2-4, Ocean Heroes Bootcamp is bringing together nearly 1,000 youth activists ages 11-18, both virtually through Ocean Wise and at the Audubon Aquarium of the Americas in New Orleans, to provide them with the opportunity to collaborate with each other and learn how to make a difference in their communities through the permanent reduction of plastic pollution.

During the bootcamp, youth participants will celebrate the designation of Netflix and Nickelodeon actor Aidan Gallagher as the youngest ever UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador for North America; learn the tools of building a successful impact campaign to get rid of single-use plastics in their own communities; and team up with leading youth environmental activists to create their unique campaign concepts. On the last day of the program, youth participants will have the chance to pitch their campaigns to actor, UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador and Lonely Whale Co-Founder, Adrian Grenier, and receive feedback from him directly.

“Our oceans supply up to 70 percent of earth's oxygen. If they die, so does everything and everyone that needs oxygen,” said Aidan Gallagher, environmentalist and actor best known for his starring roles in Netflix’s The Umbrella Academy and Nickelodeon’s Nicky, Ricky, Dicky & Dawn. “Protecting our oceans' health should be our top priority. I believe we can create a generation of like-minded advocates to conserve marine life and Ocean Heroes Bootcamp is doing just that.”

Ocean Wise is making it possible for youth activists who cannot attend the in-person Ocean Heroes Bootcamp program to participate virtually through their customized sleepover program taking place in Vancouver, Nairobi, India, and more. Youth participants worldwide will be taught the same material that’s being shared in New Orleans and connect with each other by live video conferencing, providing an opportunity for youth to learn from each other across geographic boundaries and time zones.

Immediately following Ocean Heroes Bootcamp, the UN Environment is hosting an event in celebration of World Environment Day on June 5 in New Orleans to promote global awareness and action for the environment. Mayors from along the Mississippi River, state legislators, Adrian Grenier, private sector and other organizations will present their commitments to tackle marine litter. A select group of Ocean Heroes Bootcamp participants will share their campaigns virtually to the Canadian government, President of the G7, to encourage world leaders to join them in the fight against plastic pollution. UN Environment will then lead an urban cleanup for all event participants using the innovative Litterati app to track the plastic waste that gets collected.

“The plastic pollution crisis is one of the greatest environmental challenges of our time,” said Barbara Hendrie, Director of UN Environment for North America. “We’re proud to support Ocean Heroes Bootcamp to inform our youth activists about how they can create change in their communities, starting with the elimination of single-use plastics.”

Statistics show that there will be more plastic in the ocean than there are fish, by weight, by 2050. In New Orleans’ own backyard, the Gulf of Mexico is loaded with one of the world’s highest concentrations of plastic due to fibers pouring in from the Mississippi River, making it especially relevant for Ocean Heroes Bootcamp to take place in the city.

“At a time when our ocean’s health is in jeopardy, it’s critical we empower the next generation of activists to take a stand and leverage their authority to make a difference in their communities,” said Dune Ives, executive director of Lonely Whale. “We’re thrilled to be working alongside such influential organizations as we build off of the successful campaigns led by each of our individual teams to expand our reach globally and drive systemic and persistent change.”

National environmental organizations making Ocean Heroes Bootcamp possible include Lonely Whale, UN Environment, Captain Planet Foundation, The 5Gyres Institute, Ocean Wise, Litterati, Algalita, Point Break Foundation, Love Letters to the Sea, Big Blue and You, and more.

For more information on Ocean Heroes Bootcamp, visit www.oceanheroes.blue. You can also connect with Ocean Heroes Bootcamp on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

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About Lonely Whale

Lonely Whale is an award-winning incubator for courageous ideas that drive impactful market-based change on behalf of our ocean. Founded in December 2015 by Adrian Grenier and Lucy Sumner, Lonely Whale is inspired by the power of community to create the change needed to ensure a healthy planet. Lonely Whale is working towards a new era of radical collaboration, together facilitating the creation of innovative ideas that push the boundary on current trends in technology, media and advocacy that positively impact the health of our ocean. Lonely Whale’s work has been recognized by Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas, the Shorty Awards, and the ADDY Awards. Lonely Whale is a proud supporter of the UN Environment’s #CleanSeas campaign. To learn more and support, visit www.lonelywhale.org or follow @LonelyWhale.

About UN EnvironmentUN Environment is the leading global voice on the environment. It provides leadership and encourages partnership in caring for the environment by inspiring, informing, and enabling nations and peoples to improve their quality of life without compromising that of future generations. UN Environment works with governments, the private sector, the civil society and with other UN entities and international organizations across the world. www.unenvironment.org / www.worldenvironmentday.global

About Captain Planet Foundation

Based on the animated series Captain Planet and the Planeteers, Captain Planet Foundation (CPF) was co-founded in 1991 by media mogul Ted Turner. Since then, CPF has played a critical role empowering the next generation of business leaders and policy makers to be environmentally literate citizens who leverage technology and information to protect the air, land, and water upon which all life depends.

As a grant-making foundation, CPF has funded over 1.2 million children to directly participate in environmental restoration projects with schools and non-profits in all 50 U.S. states and in 25 countries internationally. In addition to its Small Grants Program for educators, the Captain Planet Foundation also operates Project Learning Garden (providing schools with onsite learning laboratories and healthy food access), Project Hero (web-based and project-based learning platform for students to save locally endangered & threatened species), and the Institute (science education initiatives that promote the intersections between technology, innovation, the environment and personal action). For more information: www.captainplanetfoundation.org

About 5 Gyres Institute

Since 2008, the 5 Gyres Institute has researched plastic pollution in all of the world’s oceans. In 2014, the organization published the first global estimate of surface pollution, finding 5.25 trillion particles weighing in at 270,000 tons of “plastic smog” worldwide. The 5 Gyres study on microbead pollution in the Great Lakes inspired a two-year collaborative campaign, which culminated in the 2015 law that made these plastics illegal in the United States. In July, the NGO will embark on its 19th Expedition, to research microplastic pollution and zero-waste solutions in Indonesia. 5 Gyres is a science-to-solutions focused non-profit dedicated to a planet free of plastic pollution. More information is at www.5gyres.org.

About Ocean Wise

Ocean Wise is an international non-profit conservation association with a vision of a world in which oceans are healthy and flourishing. Our mission is to inspire the global community to become Ocean Wise by increasing its understanding, wonder and appreciation for our oceans through research, conservation and education initiatives. We are committed to promoting the highest standards of education and creating a real awareness across all ages of the conservation issues our world is facing. To learn more visit www.ocean.org.

About Costa

As the leading manufacturer of the world's clearest polarized performance sunglasses, Costa offers superior lens technology and unparalleled fit and durability. Still handcrafted today in Florida, Costa has created the highest quality, best performing sunglasses and prescription sunglasses (Rx) for outdoor enthusiasts since 1983. Born on the water, Costa works hard to protect the waters it calls home. Through programs like its Kick Plastic campaign, where the brand seeks to raise awareness about the growing plastic pollution problem threatening oceans worldwide, to serving as a long-term partner to shark research organization OCEARCH, Costa encourages people to help protect the Earth’s natural resources in any way they can. Find out more on Costa’s website and join the conversation on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter at @CostaSunglasses.

About Klean Kanteen

A leader in BPA-free, stainless steel drinkware and food transport, Klean Kanteen is family owned and operated, with distribution in 40-plus countries worldwide. With environmental stewardship and fair labor central to the company’s philosophy, Klean Kanteen is in Business for Good™. A 1% for the Planet member, Klean is committed to donating at least 1% of net revenue to qualified nonprofit organizations focused on environmental work, and has donated $2.1 million to date. In 2012, Klean Kanteen proudly became a B Corporation, certified by the nonprofit B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability and transparency. For more information, please visit www.kleankanteen.com.