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ow it Started.

1998, the International Year of the Ocean was an important milestone in the worldwide movement to protect the ocean. It brought to the surface the fact that it is now time to mainstream marine and coastal issues in the national social agenda and recognize their urgency. It served a call to all sectors of the society to act and be consciously aware of the need to “think globally and act locally”. Last year, we were made aware that all of us belong to just one big ocean and that the destruction of our seas not only affects us but also has a repercussion on a global scale.

The Coastal Resource Management Project, a project implemented by the Department of Environment and Natural Resources, provides technical assistance and training to local governments and communities in coastal resource management. The US Agency for International Development (USAID) is funding this project. The main objective of the project is to catalyze coastal resource management to a threshold that expands nationwide and is sustained beyond the project. The project started its activities in coastal communities in the south - Olango Island, Cebu; San Vicente, Palawan; Malalag Bay, Davao del Sur; Negros Oriental; Bohol; and Sarangani Province. These sites can then become models to other communities throughout the country. To support the replication and sustainability of the project, activities are directed at enhancing the capability of national and local governments and the communities themselves to develop and implement resource management processes and systems.

Community participation is therefore an inherent and integral part of the project. Different sectors of the community - the fisherfolk, the various local government units, private sectors, NGO’s - are encouraged to participate in the activities of the project.

It is for this reason that CRMP spearheaded the creation of I Love the Ocean, “a movement for sustainable seas.” It all started in Cebu in February 1998. Different individuals from various walks of life with one common goal came together to commit themselves to promoting sustainable coastal resource and ocean management.

In June, the movement was launched in Manila, taking a big step towards greater public awareness of coastal issues and paving the way for urban dwellers to support actions towards the sustainability of our ocean resources.

Although many of us feel removed from what happens in our fishing villages, we must realize that we are a big part of the problems threatening our coastal resources and, more importantly, that we can be part of the solution. We can create a powerful advocacy group to alert the country’s policymakers to the needs of our coastal communities and the need to protect and manage our coastal resources. Many of us have the means, not only to provide financial backing, but also to contribute to the awareness of urban people of the effect our lifestyles have on the environment.
 
 

I. Objectives
          
           The “I Love the Ocean” Movement is an organized action to bring back the sustainability of our seas. It provides organizations (public as well as private) and ordinary folks alike the opportunity to individually express their concern about ocean issues and collectively do something to help save our seas. “I Love the Ocean” involves a membership campaign, public education and community mobilization activities designed to increase public awareness and action on coastal management issues and instil pride in our country’s natural resources and the ongoing efforts to protect these resources.

The “I Love the Ocean” Movement is a recognition of the need to approach the problem of sustainable coastal resource use from all angles. It recognizes that all individuals have a stake in what happens to our marine resources, and that each individual, from the president of the country to the company executive to the nameless man on the street, has an important role to play in saving these precious gifts of nature. Membership in the movement is therefore voluntary and devoid of any conditions but these two: concern for the ocean and our coastal environment, and a willingness to help keep them clean and healthy. The volunteers are duty bound to abide by the I Love the Ocean Creed, translate it into action, and contribute whatever little they can - of themselves, their time or resources - to promote the movement’s cause, the sustainability of our ocean and coastal environment.

 
 


II. I Love the Ocean Chapters

          I Love the Ocean has been launched in six urban centers, where it is being “hosted” by different groups:

Cebu City (4,221 members)-
Blue Seas, Inc., 5/F CIFC Towers, J. Luna cor. Humabon Sts., North Reclamation Area, Cebu City, Philippines. Tel. (32) 232 1821-22; 412 0487-89. Fax (32) 232 1825

Metro Manila (4,636 members)-
Bantay Kalikasan, ABS CBN Foundation, Mother Ignacia, Quezon City, Philippines. Tel. (2) 925 5555; Fax (2) 925 3333

Dumaguete City (715 members)-
Commission on Youth, Cathedral Compound, Dumaguete City. Tel. (35) 225 3278        

General Santos City (701 members)-
School of Fisheries (c/o Connie Portugal), Mindanao State University, General Santos City. Tel. (83) 552 6594, 553 8918

Davao City (829 members)-
Davao City Chamber of Commerce and Industry Inc., JP Laurel Ave., Bajada, Davao City. Tel. (82) 221 7515, 221 4148, 221 7552

Palawan (152 members)-
Bandillo ng Palawan, Room 8 Garcillano Commercial Complex, Rizal Ave., Puerto Princesa. Tel. (48) 434 3882

Initially supported by CRMP, the movement aims to be self-sustaining and will be managed by its members.

The “I Love the Ocean” Creed

I believe that the ocean harbors life, life that I must protect
I believe that the ocean is mankind’s greatest common heritage
I believe that the diversity of the ocean is important to sustaining human life
I believe that I am part of but one ocean and that everything I do affects the delicate balance of life on Earth
I believe that it is my duty to protect the ocean
I believe that, by protecting the ocean, I help protect the future
Therefore, I pledge to always live in harmony with the ocean.

 

 

Stop littering our planet: Reduce, reuse, recycle (especially plastic).

Read labels on tuna cans; buy only those products that respect marine life.

Find out how and where fish at your local market is caught before you buy.

Use unbleached or white toilet paper -- colored paper contains dyes that pollute our water systems and, eventually, the ocean.

Use phosphate-free washing powder, detergent and other cleaning agents.

Don’t take shells or other ‘souvenirs’ from the beach.

Pick up any rubbish you see and dispose properly.

Avoid using water-polluting household chemicals. Instead use eco-friendly substitutes such as vinegar (an all-purpose cleaner) and sodium bicarbonate (a bathroom cleaner/mold remover).

Report to authorities any illegal dumping or fishing activities you discover.

Let your government know how you feel about issues affecting the marine environment: Write local and national officials, or phone the newspapers.

Draft your own Ocean Charter (member-countries of the IOC will have their own Ocean Charter, which will be presented and adopted in 1998 as a highlight of the IYO). Get people in your neighborhood to sign your Charter, then present it to your mayor or barangay captain and request that it be displayed prominently in your municipal or barangay hall.

Show you care: Wear a blue heart.


This website was made possible through support provided by the USAID under the terms of Contract No. AID 492-0444-C-00-6028-00. The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of USAID. Articles may be quoted or reproduced in any form for non-commercial, non-profit purposes to advance the cause of marine environmental management and conservation as long as proper reference is made to the source.