Posted by: Amanda Roletti
I have always had a love for the beauty and escape that the natural world provides, especially the ocean. My love for the ocean developed as a very young child. I grew up in San Diego and had the amazing privilege of living in beautiful weather and right on the coast throughout my youth. Ever since I can remember my answer for “what do you want to do today?” has been “go to the beach”! My childhood memories all take place on the coast, whether it be camping on the beach with my family, exploring tide pools with my mom, snorkeling with my dad, or swimming in the ocean all day with my younger sister. As I grew up, the coast and the ocean remained my playground and my escape. I would ride my bike to the beach and stay in the ocean until the sun set almost everyday. When it came time to apply for college, all I knew was that I wanted to study something to do with the natural world and I had to stay by the coast. My top choice for school was the University of California, Santa Cruz. I knew they had one of the best environmental studies programs in the nation and well, the school was five miles from the beach. I was accepted and my college experience has only enhanced my appreciation and passion for the ocean.
My motivation to protect the ocean is not only for my own interests, but for others as well. Nearly everyone in the world depends on the ocean in some way. In fact, seventy five percent of the world’s population lives within seventy five km of a coast (Hinrichsen 27). Furthermore, in California, seventy five percent of the population lives within fifty miles of the coast and seven ocean-dependent industries contribute more then seventeen billion to the state’s economy annually (Hinrichsen 28). The issues that the ocean is facing not only harms marine life, but human life as well. I decided that I wanted to work for an ocean conservation and protection organization after realizing how important to ocean is to me, the marine environment, and almost every other person on this planet.
This quarter, I had the amazing opportunity to break into the professional world for ocean advocacy and intern with the organization, Ocean Champions. They are the first organization in the nation to have a connected political action committee that represents the ocean and ocean wildlife. Ocean Champions’ mission is to develop a broad, bipartisan base of political leaders for ocean conservation and protection, or ocean champions, in the U.S Congress and key states. Ultimately, they aim to elect candidates that strongly support ocean conservation in order to make ocean policy a priority in Congress and in state governments.
My knowledge about the political process, ocean policy, and the problems our ocean is facing tremendously expanded during my time at Ocean Champions. I was able to gain first hand experience and meet incredible leaders in the environmental field. I am fortunate that I was able to work with such a successful environmental organization. Ocean Champions has specific goals that they try to accomplish, such as winning certain elections and passing legislation, and they know exactly how they will achieve success. They are a very strategic organization with a plan of action.
I gained a new perspective not only for approaching environmental policy, but for viewing my own life as well. Interning at Ocean Champions made me realize that it is so important to develop strong relationships with people, especially the ones in your field. My internship allowed me to make these relationships and learn valuable skills you cannot learn in the classroom. I was able to develop relationships with incredible professionals in the environmental field and develop real world skills at the same time. Ultimately, I met all of my original goals and learned more about the professional world, ocean conservation, politics, environmental policy than I ever anticipated through my internship. Thank you Ocean Champions for being champions.
Date Posted: March 24, 2015 @ 12:42 pm Comments Off