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Ocean Matters Teens, Brian Skerry, and Stories about Whales Remind Us of the Power of Communal Action

by Arcadia Davies, Ocean Matters Teen Advocate Leader

I just want to thank everyone for coming out and making that night as wonderful and special as it was! Just by showing up you all are making the world a better place and helping move us even closer to a healthier ocean. Never underestimate the impact your actions have, whether that’s just attending an event to learn more, participating in a beach clean up, or making your whole household sustainable— all of it is important, no matter how big or small. So thank you for supporting us and go Team Ocean!!

– Isabella Campos, age 18

Recently the news is full of scary and overwhelming stories about the current state of our planet, and for many of us our conversations and thoughts are too. In the face of an issue as big as climate change, it is easy to feel debilitated and helpless. But on Thursday, August 27 Ocean Matters co-hosted an event that challenged that narrative and reinspired hope. This event, held in partnership between the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History, acclaimed photojournalist Brian Skerry, and Ocean Matters, showcased the beauty and magic of our planet; through stories, art, photos, and community, we were reminded why the hard work to protect our planet is so important. 

It Takes You
In Ocean Matters we love to say: It Takes Everyone, and this event reflected that sentiment. In addition to witnessing the incredible knowledge and wisdom that Brian Skerry has to share, it was an honor to watch the voices of four passionate and insightful teenagers be amplified. Ocean Matters Teen Leaders Isa, Cheyenne, Jack, and Alena reminded us that what we do matters. They captured the room as they spoke passionately about their own experiences restoring coral reefs, cleaning up beaches, and simply being outside observing and appreciating the world. They left many of us pondering the question: what can I do to help? 

In many ways, our actions as individuals are reflective of singular puzzle pieces, they can initially look insignificant but, when used thoughtfully, are absolutely necessary to the larger picture. As someone who is currently studying environmentalism as a graduate student, I, myself, am oftentimes guilty of feeling helpless and debilitated. There is no doubt an endless amount of sad, scary, and overwhelming information about the state of our world available; but to only consume this content can deprive us of imagining a better future and appreciating what we want to protect. This event provided an opportunity to slow down, bask in the beauty and wonder of our planet, and appreciate the passion and care of so many around us who want to do their part. 

“It was so wonderful to be in a room full of people who shared a love for protecting our oceans. It was magical to see Brian Skerry present, and I’m grateful that Team Ocean was able to spread our message and mission.”

– Alena Keenan, age 18

“Participating in the event gave me a sense of belonging. I had an abundance of joy while having personable conversations with the attendees as well.”

-Cheyenne Holt, age 18

Make Your Pledge Now
At the event the teens gave an opportunity to make a pledge declaring how each person would like to make a small but significant contribution to the planet. That could mean picking up trash on the beach, prioritizing walking over driving when available, or carrying around reusable silverware. I would like to make my pledge now: I pledge to remind myself of the hope and joy that I felt when hearing the stories, care, and passion of these presenters, and that I will allow that to guide me in moving through feelings of disempowerment. I pledge to remember that my actions do matter and trust that together we can make change. 

I hope that you all will join me in this pledge and also make your own! To join in a pledge use this link and share it with friends.

Arcadia Davies, Ocean Matters Teen Advocate Leader, is currently studying for a Masters of Environmental Management at the Yale School of Environment. She is interested in understanding the complex relationships between people and environments through analyzing historic and contemporary traditions. 

Arcadia Davies