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POP Movement Internship Reflection

As a young activist, it is often difficult to focus on one concentration involving the environment. There is an abundance of issues that must be addressed, but being one person, it can become difficult to help in little and big ways. I have always had a love for the ocean and throughout my life, I have learned about the stress we put on marine life every day. I have also developed an interest in sustainable fashion and innovative eco-friendly creations, such as reusing old soap bottles or creating a new way to absorb energy. 

This summer I had the opportunity to intern with the POP Movement and help their many initiatives in big and small ways. Earlier in the summer, POP was conducting zoom meetings to discuss issues involving the ocean. I was lucky enough to be able to participate in this event and take notes in some of the breakout sessions. These meetings included people from all over the world with different backgrounds but with one common love of the ocean. Through these gatherings, I learned a lot about various ideas and issues people have seen.

Meetings were broken up into three different groups including the youth, coastal regions, and a blue economy. Each group discussed a particular topic and ways to implement or improve that idea. The youth discussed how the younger generation can be involved with the protection of the ocean. The coastal group discussed how coastal communities can solve issues developed in the area. The blue economy group discussed ways to promote, implement, and act on the idea of a blue economy. What I found interesting was that in all three of these discussions the importance education was brought up – not just education in the classroom, but outside of it too.

If I were to ask you if you knew what a blue economy was, would the answer be yes? I would have said “no” before taking part in this discussion. 

The idea behind a blue economy is the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs, and ocean ecosystem health. To implement a blue economy, communities need to promote sustainability at the local level. The fisherman must learn sustainable practices, and the government should know about blue ecology and conduct research. Each of these activities involves the use of education to understand the overall benefits. The youth group also discussed the importance of education as an approach for coastal areas to benefit the communities and societies that live there. Although to act on this idea, it must start at home. Schools need to add current events to the curriculum and inform students about how they can act on the issues at hand. At home, parents can begin implementing ways to live more sustainably, including how to properly recycle, compost, using reusable water bottles, and much more. Education is vital in the world today and must be used to better understand the history and the future.

-Nina Bohan

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