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by Bettina Zilkha | June 28, 2009 | Lifestyle
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: Arco de La Azohía in Spain, one marine area supported by Oceana’s work; Bettina Zilkha; Tom Farley, Baroness Monica von Neumann, Sting and Janet Carlson at a recent event for La Mer and Oceana, hosted by Zilkha; La mer Moisturizing Cream.
The frightening tructg: 50 years from now, our oceans will be devoid of fish, and pollution will make swimming impossible. Our beloved seaside resorts will become ghost towns. Last summer, waters along the entire East Coast were filled with jellyfish, a phenomenon marine biologists attribute to overfishing and global warming. By eliminating their predators, we paved the way for these venomous creatures to ruin our days at the beach.
But here’s the good news: Pollution and overfishing can be stopped before it’s too late.
For me, the best thing about the summer is being able to spend long days on the sand and indulging in one of my favorite activities: swimming in the ocean. As New Yorkers, we are so fortunate to be close to gorgeous beaches. I’ve always had a strong connection to the sea, so when I found out about Oceana I was eager to lend my support.
The largest international organization devoted entirely to ocean conservation, Oceana has some 300,000 supporters in more than 150 countries, and works to bring about policy changes that will have a far-reaching impact on marine life. Oceana has already protected more than a million square miles of ocean fl oor through its habitat-preservation campaigns, and also works on issues like mercury pollution and overfi shing. Two aspects of the nonprofi t’s message are especially inspirational: that anyone can help make a difference, and that it’s not too late—much of the negative human impact on the oceans can be reversed.
When Oceana asked me to host an event announcing its partnership with La Mer for this year’s World Ocean Day (June 8), I didn’t hesitate. In honor of the collaboration, La Mer created a special limited-edition World Ocean Day Crème, with all net proceeds going to Oceana. It’s a wonderful way to support our seas while treating your skin to something special. To effect real change, it’s vital that individuals, corporations and nonprofit organizations work together. We all have a common interest in keeping the oceans abundant and healthy.
World Ocean Day, which falls just as escaping to the beach becomes a citywide obsession, is the perfect time to spread the word about the importance of protecting sea life. Oceans cover nearly three quarters of the earth’s surface, yet the vast majority of environmental groups focus on land-based issues. As it turns out, the things that many people are already doing to help the environment—conserving energy, recycling, not using plastic bags—have as much of an impact underwater as they do on land. It’s something to think about during your next trip to the beach. For more information, visit oceana.org.
photographs by Patrick McMullan/PatrickMcMullan.com (STING, ZILKHA); La Mer (LA MER); Oceana/Juan Cuetos (ARCO DE LA AZOHIA)