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A BOP Student’s Perspective on How to Protect Our Oceans

By Heather Flanagan
June 8, 2017

BOP middle school students have a lot to say about ocean conservation!

Seventh grader Eli Sweatt (center right), the author of this piece, at the Blue Vision Summit with Central Park East II classmates and environmental activist Ralph Nader. Photo courtesy of Clarissa Lynn.

Central Park II East student Eli Sweatt writes passionately about his commitment to protecting our oceans and his experiences attending the Blue Vision Summit, a biennial ocean conservation conference.  His teacher, BOP teacher fellow Clarissa Lynn, wrote this intro:

“In early May, BOP invited our school to bring five middle schoolers to the Blue Vision Summit at George Washington University, in Washington D.C.  My school, Central Park East II traveled with contingents from The Young Women’s Leadership School of Astoria and P.S. 288.  Students had the opportunity to attend a full day at the Summit which included inspiring speeches, a shout-out to the BOP schools, a powerful and educational plenary session, and choices between a variety of smaller panel sessions.  Throughout the summit our students took advantage of networking opportunities with dedicated activists, experts, scientists, fishermen, surfers, and even politicians.  We finished with a bit of sightseeing before heading back to the bus stop for our return to NYC. This summit widened the scope of our student’s recognition of the importance of the Billion Oyster Project in combatting the extreme threats to our Earth’s oceans.  We all left with a sense of urgency, but also knowing that our oyster restoration work in the East River is a part of a multifaceted strategy to save our oceans.”- Clarissa Lynn

“Blue Vision Summit Experience” by Eli Sweatt

If you are one of the many people in the world that use plastic straws you are killing and harming the natural life in the ocean. When I went to the Blue Vision Summit I learned not only about the danger of straws but an abundance of information about the world and how to save it. [You can learn about efforts to combat the negative impact of straws here.-ed]  I learned different ways to help the world by doing daily things. The Blue Vision summit was an opportunity to meet new important people and learn new important information about the earth. At the Blue Vision Summit, students were allowed to ask questions to the panel of experienced professionals. Additionally, I got the privilege of speaking in front of the CEO of the National Aquarium (John Racanelli) as well as other environmental professionals.

Central Park East II students at Blue Vision. Photo courtesy of Clarissa Lynn.

During the Blue Vision Summit, I learned that the ocean produces more than half of the earth’s oxygen, so without the ocean, all living things in the world will die. Currently, the coral reefs and a lot of organisms in the oceans are dying which is bad for the world. Everybody in the world needs to reduce the plastic output because plastic suffocates the fish in the ocean. Plastic is an enormous threat to fish because scientists have caught fish and cut them open and found plastic in the fish’s insides.

The speakers at the summit continuously spoke about how much power the youth possessed in helping the world now, for the future. The informed youth can spread the word to their peers, acquaintances, family members and friends about ways to help keep the ocean clean and healthy. If more people understand how important it is to help the world and do as much as we can to save it and be heroes under the power of Trump the higher the chance we have of saving the earth from global warming. As one of the speakers said at the summit “We Are Armed With Knowledge.”

BOP teacher fellows Clarissa Lynn, Aniline Amoguis, and Tim Hitchcock with their students. Photo courtesy of Clarissa Lynn.

Some ways you can help the ocean and global warming is to not use your car as much because your car releases carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide which are both greenhouse gases which are extremely toxic for the environment and and adds on to global warming and heats up the atmosphere even more. If you can bike walk or run more rather than release a whole bunch of carbon emissions that is a simple and easy way to help the environment. Plastic suffocate fish and fish help the underwater ecosystem by giving off a nutrients that help the development of other organisms. Do not put any garbage down the sink and the toilet pipes that will lead to the sewer system then end up in estuaries and eventually get to the ocean. The garbage will kill the organisms in the water and if there are no creatures in the water there is no life on earth.

The Blue Vision Summit provided attendees with more than enough information to get out and help save the Earth. The Blue Vision Summit was an amazing experience and I was extremely fortunate to be able to attend. Until the next summit I plan on studying about how the blackfish contributes to the New York estuary ecosystem. I would be honored to get the opportunity to go again, next time I would want to make more connections with other people, I would also want to ask more questions about how to be more active in helping our environment on a daily basis.

BOP teacher fellows Clarissa Lynn and Aniline Amoguis with their students at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial. Photo courtesy of Clarissa Lynn.