An ocean in Colorado? Well, we are all downstream. Since Colorado is a head-water state (meaning that all of our water starts here and then leaves, nothing flows into us) we have a responsibility to keep our rivers and streams clean so that the next people to get the water get clean water and a good environment for marine life.
Vicki and others from COCO did a lot of work to put together this conference. The flooding right before did not help and had teams of people scrambling to clean up, make arrangements for visitors and find a way to link those who couldn’t come to the action going on. Going to the WAVES symposium was amazing. I learned a few things I didn’t know before, like what really happens to plastic in the ocean, how to make trash into art, what the Sea Shepherd does and how I can help the ocean. We got the news at the conference that Boulder is now a California inland ocean community thanks to Rep. Mark Stone from CA (that’s Vicki from COCO, the Rep. and a Rep. from Boulder accepting the proclamation for Boulder.)
I heard from people who love the ocean and want to make it a better place and explore it further.
In the exhibit hall I talked to diving outfits, a club for teens, artists, and the Sea Shepherd people (and I got a cool necklace from them.)
Back in the lecture hall I heard Stephanie from Green Apple Supply talk about plastics in the ocean. See, a plastic bag floating in the water can look like a jellyfish to a sea turtle. They eat it and die. Plastic, once thought to take thousands of years to break down, actually breaks down quite fast in the warm ocean water, but it doesn’t go away completely. Instead it turns into tiny bits of plastic that fish eat (and then they die), sea birds also eat the plastic as well as larger marine fish and mammals. The plastic can get so bad that it disrupts algae and plankton growth and that makes the whole food web go out of balance.
All of the things at the conference were cool, but meeting Mr.Cousteau was like a dream come true for me.
Fabien talked about stuff like Plant A Fish and Mission 31 where he and other scientists will go under water for 31 days. There is a quote from his grandfather that I think is cool he says, “When one person, for whatever reason, has the chance to lead an extraordinary life he has no right to keep it to himself”.
It was funny to see pictures of Fabien when he was little, but neat to see a picture of him with his Grandpa. He signed my Jacques Cousteau book which now sits on my desk at home.
I came away from the conference with some ideas about starting plastic bag recycling on my street and looking into using bags to make plarn (plastic yarn.) I made a video about things you can do to help the ocean and I’m working on a funny video about plastic bags and the ocean. I got to talk to scientists, artists, lawmakers and people who love the ocean (and Mr. Cousteau too!) The WAVES conference was the best day I ever had!! (And not because I got to sleep in a tent in our hotel room and eat Nepalese food, but that was nice too.)