A group of whale watchers observe a humpback whale breaching in the Salish Sea. (Shalu Mehta/News Staff)

Victoria ocean advocates encourage residents to explore connection to ocean

World Oceans Day takes place on June 8

As Canada, and the rest of the world, mark June 8 as World Oceans Day, some Greater Victoria advocates are encouraging residents to learn, work on ocean and waterway activism and really look at solutions to some of the earth’s issues.

University of Victoria environmental studies professor Elin Kelsey is a leading expert in hope and the environment. Six years ago, Kelsey got together with other researchers to start #OceanOptimism, a campaign to shift the current environmental narrative beyond the “doom and gloom” and highlight ocean solutions that are actually happening in the world.

“Ocean Optimism grew out of the idea that the vast majority of ways people learn about the environment is through news which is very oriented on problem identification,” Kelsey said. “It’s important but it means it’s not a complete story. There are all kinds of things in play that are already giving us important results.”

Kelsey said a barrier for the environmental movement has been the belief that fear and shame are the dominant ways to motivate action. However, she says the most recent psychological research shows it ends up causing people to feel apathetic, hopeless and just give up.

“The more powerful way to engage people with these issues is through pride and showing that they are part of a bigger collective,” Kelsey said, noting that many people are already aware of the issues that exist. “The days when you’re just trying to tell people about a problem are well past us.”

READ ALSO: WATCH: 7th annual World Oceans Day makes a splash at Fishermans Wharf

This year is set to be a big one for the ocean as researchers and governments are setting new targets for protected areas, Kelsey said. She added researchers are even assessing the value of one whale in terms of its positive impact on fishing, carbon capture and ecotourism.

In Victoria, local Ocean Bridge ambassador Chelsea Power has collaborated with other youth to lead initiatives in the region to serve the community, oceans and waterways.

Ocean Bridge is a program that brings together 160 young adults aged 18 to 30 across Canada who are all passionate about making a difference when it comes to oceans and waterway conservation. It is an initiative led by the Ocean Wise Conservation Association, a global organization on a mission to protect and restore the world’s oceans.

Power, along with Ocean Bridge alumni Kirsten Mathison, had planned a Salish Sea Bioblitz and speaker series for the week of June 8 to 13 but will be postponing the events to a future date to make space for another social justice cause – the Black Lives Matter movement that has been sparked across the world.

The bioblitz will get people out to the Salish Sea to identify as much biodiversity in the area as possible using an app called iNaturalist. A new date has not yet been set but information can be found at georgiastrait.org.

READ ALSO: Gorge Waterway the focus of Ocean’s Day event in Esquimalt

Power said learning about the ocean and finding ways to protect and restore it is important because it affects people’s lives in tangible ways.

“It’s easy for someone who lives in a coastal city like Victoria to appreciate its beauty but we should be diving in deep to the profound ways the ocean supports us,” Power said. “Two-thirds of our oxygen comes from the ocean, so much of our culture and food is based around it and the economy is dependent on it.”

Kelsey said people should take a look at the solutions that have been created so far to support the ocean and the environment, noting the ocean is the largest habitat on earth.

“There are 8.7 million other species on the planet and majority of them are ocean-based,” Kelsey said.

Kelsey will be releasing a book in October about hope in the environment. It can be found online at Greystone Books.

More information about Oceans Week in Victoria can be found at oceansweekvictoria.ca.

shalu.mehta@blackpress.ca


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Ocean Protection

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Walk for Peace takes a virtual turn for Victoria Hospice

Residents can still register for Gordy Dodd’s 11th annual fundraiser

VicPD to reopen front counter services on Monday

No masks provided, but encouraged to be worn

Oak Bay pandemic project gets 300 submissions

Gage Gallery exhibit shows how people cope during crisis

Peninsula food bank receives $1,000 donation from local retailer

House of Lily Koi raised the money through the annual food bank fundraiser

B.C. accommodators need phone lines to light up as in-province travel given green light

Travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have decimated the tourism and hospitality industries

300 Cache Creek residents on evacuation alert due to flood risk as river rises

Heavy rainfall on Canada Day has river rising steadily, threatening 175 properties

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Annual music event in Comox Valley celebrates online instead

Vancouver Island MusicFest holds virtual celebration set for July 10

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Most Read