The following post was written by World Oceans Day Youth Advisory Council member, Olivia Taylor. Olivia is 20 years old and lives in the Western Cape Province of South Africa.
On World Oceans Day (WOD) in 2016, I was on a boat in South Africa headed for a drop in the ocean floor at least 50 meters deep for a free diving mission. On this day I met my first humpback whale. All three of them emerged out of the water at once covering us in sea spray. That brief moment that I shared with those enormous whales solidified my love for the ocean.
Since then, every year I have found some way to celebrate WOD in an innovative attempt to make a positive impact on our blue environment. The 2018 WOD was no exception and I produced a final video for Four Elements Conservation.
This video marks the end of an era for Four Elements Conservation but leaves behind a legacy of ocean conservation as well as a platform for deeper and more profound change making. Sometimes leaving something behind can make just the right amount of space to let in a new and reinvigorated sense for environmental conservation, and that is exactly what this WOD meant for me and my non-profit.
As Four Elements Conservation draws to a close the money left over will be used in a way that incorporates both the environment and young people. The money raised over the last few years will be put towards a 3-step program that teaches disadvantaged children in South Africa. The steps are as follows: 1) Help them learn how to swim/be confident in water, 2) Teach them about plastic pollution and littering and how all it all ends up in the ocean, and 3) Enjoy a fun afternoon playing in the ocean and picking up litter to mentally complete the circle of "plastic to ocean" and the problems humanity faces if these issues are not sorted out.