“The problem of pollution and litter is at once both local and global,” wrote Holly Paterson, executive director of All Hands Alliance in the latest issue of WindCheck magazine. “When we look at the sea around our boat, all that water is connected to the water halfway around the world in the middle of the Indian Ocean, or on the shores of Southern California, from the coast of South Africa to the south coast of France. We care about the sea that we can boat on, our local waters, but we also, by extension, care about the waters that touch everywhere else. And we want those local boaters in those places to care about it, too.”
Holly is right of course, and her point stretches well beyond WindCheck’s audience of sailors in the Northeast. The idea is to raise awareness that the world’s oceans, having long served as a conduit for exploration, travel, and trade throughout the world, now carry another hazardous cargo on their currents: trash and debris.
Unfortunately, this problem is worldwide and growing, with millions of tons of debris entering the oceans each year. The harm this trash causes to marine life and water quality is not fully understood, but we know it’s devastating. We need to work together to begin to stop the flow. But who will lead? Holly had an idea about that too.
“That’s where the power of the sea’s influence comes in,” she wrote. “We feel the ocean inspires everyone who gives it the chance, from the time we were very young, wading in the tidepools at the beach, to later on, when we had many of our first adventures, sailing or driving a motorboat, fishing and exploring on our own. At All Hands Alliance, boaters are the natural leaders of the movement we envision, since we carry this influence in our hearts, and enjoy sharing the sea with our children and friends.”