UCLA Students Host Ocean Carnival In Support Of Increased Ocean Protections

 

On Thursday afternoon, March 9, student activists at UCLA hosted a carnival to demonstrate support for increased ocean protections in California. Organized by CALPIRG (California Public Interest Research Group)-a student-run nonprofit at the university-the event was a part of their Save Our Seas campaign. To address the threat of offshore oil drilling and commercial overfishing to marine ecosystems, the campaign pushes for increasing the number of marine protected areas (MPAs) to cover 30% of CA oceans by 2030 (from the current 9%) as agreed upon by experts. As a giant inflatable turtle overlooked from the stage, students who attended the carnival learned about the marine crisis and how they could make a difference. Three guest speakers were present including Taunya van der Steen Mizel from the Nature Conservancy; Steven King, an advocate from Environment California; and Marcia Hanscom from Ballona Institute who collectively emphasized the importance and urgency of protecting the environment.

Attendees explored a variety of stations with different activities such as tote bag painting, origami-making, and answering ocean trivia to receive prizes. They also wrote and decorated postcards addressed to Governor Newsom, signed petitions urging for protections, and answered ocean trivia. By participating, students could also receive prizes and enter a raffle.

"The public deserves to know about consequential decisions being made by the state and have a say in that decision," described Hy Ly, a CALPIRG intern.

In light of California's current review process on existing MPAs with a decision pending in April about whether or not to increase protections, CALPIRG activists are taking initiative to urge Governor Newsom and state agencies to expand MPAs and save ocean life. With CALPIRG student representatives having just lobbied in Sacramento the weekend prior, they wanted to bring that momentum back to campus. By informing the public, CALPIRG aims to show state decision-makers that the public cares about this issue and amplify support in favor of protecting oceans.

 

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