Last year’s Kids’ Ocean Day message, “Come Together,” illustrated the need for unity among in protecting the environment, the oceans, and marine wildlife. Once again, nearly 1,000 students and adult volunteers will take a stand in the sand on behalf of our oceans to form this year’s message, “Waves of Change.” With this message, the students and volunteers will call for a transformation of everyday habits that negatively impact oceans.
Before even reaching the beach, the students are empowered by ILACSD staff through environmental assembly presentations at their respective schools – Buena Vista Elementary, Ericson Elementary, Field Elementary, Porter Elementary, Joyner Elementary, San Marcos Elementary, Mission Elementary, and Los Peñasquitos Elementary. During each assembly, students learned about unique organisms that live in the ocean, how the ocean is connected to their everyday lives, and actions they can take to protect it.
On May 24, the lessons from the assembly will come to life when ILACSD staff and volunteers lead the students in a large-scale beach and bay cleanup to pick up litter, including cigarette butts, food wrappers, and single-use plastics. The final culmination of Kids’ Ocean Day will feature the students using their bodies to create an aerial art image spelling out “Waves of Change” along South Mission Beach. This powerful image will demand attention and call for action that addresses the dependence on single-use plastic items that allows eight million metric tons of plastic waste to enter the world’s oceans each year.
“Children are the wave of the future,” said Jack Ainsworth, executive director of the California Coastal Commission. “And these kids understand that we need to change our consumption and disposal habits and reduce our reliance on single-use plastics, so the beaches and ocean don’t keep suffering from plastic pollution. I’m proud of all these students for making some waves!”
This is the 20th year I Love A Clean San Diego has organized Kids’ Ocean Day in San Diego County as part of the Annual Kids’ Adopt-A-Beach Cleanup, which has expanded over its 25 years to include five beaches along the California coast. As a precursor to World Oceans Day on June 8, the California Coastal Commission coordinates Kids’ Ocean Day statewide, providing financial support to local efforts with proceeds from the Whale Tail License Plate and voluntary donations on the state tax return to the Protect Our Coast and Oceans Fund.