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VIASAT X OCEAN BLUE MAKING WAVES WITH SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGY

VIASAT X OCEAN BLUE MAKING WAVES WITH SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGY

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By Sharmista Sahu

One small action done over time results in a large and impactful outcome. Now multiply this by each one of us. We all have the opportunity to take action and have a positive impact on our environment.

Yearly, Earth Day is a big reminder of this opportunity. But beyond a reminder, it’s also an initiative to contribute to the planet’s wellbeing.

But sometimes it’s hard to know where to begin or what to do to protect the environment…That’s when collaborations like Viasat X Ocean Blue Project come in to pave the way forward.

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THE BEGINNING OF A PARTNERSHIP

Every year, Viasat celebrates Earth Day with live events and initiatives to support organizations that are taking action to restore the planet. This past year, instead of a live event. Viasat’s employees were encouraged to vote for one of the organizations participating in their virtual event that they think should benefit from Viasat’s Earth Day donation. Employees are encouraged to sign up for any of the live virtual events to learn more about the organization and cast their votes.

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As part of last Earth Day 2021 celebrations in April, Viasat invited Richard Arterbury (Founder), and Karisa (Director of Operations) of Ocean Blue Project to speak to their employees. Richard and Karisa joined Viasat employees on a webinar.

They spoke about the organization, and all the efforts in progress to clean up our one-world ocean; a huge challenge in itself. They also explained their Blue and Circular Economy initiatives and the use of sustainable technology.

Viasat employees learned about how they can make a difference and help the ocean from the office. They felt inspired and compelled by our initiatives and chose the Earth Day donation to go to Ocean Blue Project! 

“We’re always eager to share organizations like Ocean Blue Project with our employees. It’s exciting to show what amazing programs there are out there and be able to contribute to the good they do.” – Alyssa, Social Impact at Viasat

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The initiative to recover 1 million pounds of plastic from the ocean is no easy feat, even though it’s just the tip of the iceberg. But the passion and care for our one-world ocean keep our collaborative team, Board of Directors, staff, and volunteers at Ocean Blue Project going.

Core Values of Viasat and Ocean Blue Project

Viasat brings connectivity to people, where needed the most— across land, air, and sea. It provides satellite and internet connectivity solutions and services to businesses and commercial ventures, in aviation and space technology, and maritime operations. It’s a company that believes in connecting people no matter the challenges.

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With maritime threats becoming faster and stealthier, Viasat provides vessels with secure and resilient integrated maritime communication solutions. From aviation customer support to cybersecurity and data protection solutions for enterprises, to secure maritime communications, Viasat tackles some of the world’s toughest challenges. It makes a difference by integrating business and technology and connecting hard-to-reach rural communities with the rest of the digital world with affordable, high-speed internet.

Empowering employees an protecting the environment have continued to be important to Viasat and they’re proud to partner with Ocean Blue Project. Together, we’re creating a social impact many generations to come will benefit from— like restoring the health of our oceans. To learn more about Viasat’s environmental initiatives, visit Viasat.com. 

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Ocean Blue Project is an environmental non-profit on a mission to clean the world ocean of 1 million pounds of plastic. A mission that is as vast, critical, and inspiring as the ocean itself.

In 2012, Father-and-son Richard and Fleet Arterbury started the Ocean Blue Project in Newport, Oregon. They’re tribal members of the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

Diverse individuals and organizations take part in initiatives, donate, and support Ocean Blue Project. This aligns with its core values of  Collaboration, Equality, and Action.

WHAT COMPANIES CARE ABOUT THE ENVIRONMENT?

Patagonia is a leader, with building tools and initiatives like Action Works and Catchafire. These bring together committed organizations, grassroots environmental activists, and individuals who want to make a difference.

Patagonia also belongs to the Sustainable Apparel Coalition, as a high proportion of Patagonia’s materials come from recycled fabric. It has a self-imposed Earth tax—  1% for the planet. This provides support to environmental non-profits working to protect our air, land, and water.

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For 5 years, Ocean Blue has received grant funding, product donations, or program support from Patagonia. 

Woolly Made, Earth Hero, Next Level Burger, HMTX,  and Earth Breeze are  all supporters of Ocean Blue’s events and other Portland-to-coast efforts that have a direct positive impact on the local ecosystem, and they’re all hosting promotions in partnership with Ocean Blue and Earth Day Oregon this year. We need more businesses to be eco-leaders to support and give back to their community and environment.

ENVIRONMENTAL RESPONSIBILITY IN BUSINESS

Viasat is a company committed to making a difference, and part of their commitment is engaging employees to be part of the solution.

We have many organizations and individuals pitching in but we need more businesses to commit. Follow Viasat’s lead who has included the environment in the focus of their values and activities. The goals they are working toward are helping us address the huge challenges that lay ahead.

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Apart from involving its diverse employees and individuals on a large scale, Viasat is helping promote inclusion— an important value here at Ocean Blue Project.

Marine plastic poses an ecological, social and economic problem. The more businesses recognize this fact and take action to tackle this challenge— the more plastic we recover from the ocean.

Together we can make a difference.

Breaking the Plastic Wave

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There is no one single solution to ‘breaking the plastic wave.’ It requires a change in the entire system rather than a single solution.

Reducing plastic production, creating recycling facilities, developing more sustainable alternatives to plastic, better waste collection, and reducing plastic waste exports. These are some of the changes required. 

These solutions are collective, which means we all must take immediate, concerted action towards creating a resilient, circular, blue economy.

To do this, we need more companies and businesses to come together and collaborate.

According to the United Nations, at least 800 species worldwide are affected by marine debris and as much as 80% of that debris is plastic.

Without immediate action, the annual flow of plastic into the ocean, which is currently at 11 million metric tons, would triple. An alarming fact that throws light on what could possibly happen if we go about ‘business as usual.’ 

Companies helping tackle Ocean Pollution

Necessaire, Boeing, Wells Fargo, AG Jeans and Boxed Water is Better are some of the other noteworthy brands and partners that donate annually. They’re proud Ocean Blue Annual Corporate Members.

Thankfully, with committed companies like these, connected to our one-world ocean, our impact grows exponentially. 

We’re all in this together and each of us can make a difference by getting involved. The hardest part is always the first step. And that’s all it takes. 

BLUE AND CIRCULAR ECONOMY GOALS

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With sustainable development goals like the Blue and Circular economy initiatives, plastic flow to the ocean can be reduced up to 80% by 2040, saving governments around the world $70 billion.

A Blue economy uses ocean-centered resources and strategies to preserve the sea, by decreasing and eliminating pollution, and recycling and upcycling waste.

A Circular Economy is one where the manufacturing and production model is reshaped. From a linear model of take-make-waste to a circular model of reusing waste to repurpose and recycle to extend the product’s lifestyle.

Upcycling is an integral part of a circular and blue economy. Giving the debris of microplastic a new life by upcycling them into new packaging or products, from buttons to skateboards, keeps the plastic out of the ocean. As of today over 235,000 pounds of plastic from the ocean have been recovered and are waiting to be given a second life.

Ocean Blue Project approaches ocean preservation from all angles— action, organization, and education. This approach has real results which creates a tangible impact on our planet for years to come.

An investment in Ocean Blue Project is an investment in the future. Support the blue revolution— donate and get involved in our initiatives here. 

WHAT IS SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGY AND HOW IS IT USED?

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Machine used to remove microplastics from sandy beaches

Sustainable technology is the innovation that considers natural resources and fosters economic and social development. The goal of these technologies is to reduce environmental and ecological risks in creating a sustainable product. E.G., minimizing waste, or material and energy input.

Ocean Blue Project has acquired state-of-the-art technology capable of recovering large amounts of plastic from the beach surface. This provides researchers a good source of sample data to work with and conduct an in-depth analysis. Ocean Blue is also bioprospecting to determine the most effective fungi strains to eat plastic through support from Sum of Us. 

The analysis provides insights into the age of the microplastics, the seasonal differences, and the amount recovered, curbing microplastic pollution at its source. A pre-analysis is conducted to understand the impact of the study on organisms.

Institutions like PEW Trusts and UNEP have defined actions on the analysis. PEW Trusts is a non-government organization. They seek to use data and technology to change public policy. They also use infrastructure to deploy sustainable technology to address this challenge.

UNEP blue economies protect and manage the world’s marine and coastal environments sustainably.

Plastics recovered from the beach surface are stored, cleaned, and sorted before being relocated to upcycling partners. Ultimate care is taken not to carry out any fieldwork during the nesting season of birds like the Snowy Plover.

Ocean Blue is actively seeking research partners to pursue their own research projects. Contact us today to learn about ways to partner.

HOW DOES A CLEANUP HAPPEN?

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Over 8 million tons of plastic flow into our ocean every year—  eventually breaking down into microplastic (less than 5mm long). These remain in the ocean for an indefinite period of time because they’re hard to recover due to their size. With the use of advanced ocean cleanup technology, Ocean Blue Project collects and analyzes microplastics to identify root cause solutions.

Did you know that 79% of all beach debris is made of plastics? And millions of birds mistake these plastics for food. 

Community beach clean-ups are a great way not only to prevent plastic flow into the ocean but also to teach youth the importance of clean water projects. Also about the impact plastic pollution has on marine life and on the planet.

WHAT CAN I DO AS AN INDIVIDUAL?

One individual can easily cause a shift in the awareness of the community by leading by example.

You can sign up as a volunteer for a cleanup, organize a beach or community cleanup, or donate to Ocean Blue Project to help create a cleaner, healthier ocean.

Every movement starts with one step. In this case, the one-step is education. Self-education and educating others on the downside of usage of plastic and how we can avoid it. In fact, how we can refuse to use it. And write your policymakers. They have the most power to make a true difference. 

If you want to begin with one small action today, you can start with “Cleanup 3 for the Sea.” By picking up just 3 pieces of litter every day, you make a difference. Document your journey on social media with #cleanup3forthesea, and inspire others to join in!

With the holidays around the corner, pick up one of our reusable water bottles for your near and dear ones. Every sip is a reminder that they’re supporting ocean conservation. And that the purchase has an impact on the planet!

Remote volunteering is also an option—  and you can join the movement from anywhere! Register to Create a Beach Cleanup to do a DIY Cleanup or become an Ocean Blue Cleanup Crew Leader.

Keeping our one-world ocean clean is for you and all generations to come. A healthy ocean means thriving marine life and a balanced ecosystem, which means there will be a healthy future for all living beings.  Let’s get started!

What can I do as a corporation or organization?

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When organizations come forward to involve as many people as they can, the impact is powerful. It sets a brilliant example for other businesses and corporations. The movement to clean one world ocean becomes exponential.

Your corporate sponsorship will have a direct impact on the ocean and we at Ocean Blue Project will shout it from the rooftop. Depending on the sponsorship, we at Ocean Blue Project offer social media posts, sponsored beach clean-up events, and more.

This collaboration between Viasat and Ocean Blue Project is such. It is dynamic and influential, and it supports employees and individuals to take action and be part of a rewarding movement.

Impact of donations

Did you know that Ocean Blue removes 1 pound of plastic for every dollar you donate?

Funds help in developing and acquiring clean-up equipment and sustainable technology. These help to combat the source of microplastic pollution. Every donation aids collaborative solutions with local communities for causes that matter.

It makes it possible for the Ocean Blue Project to grow as a grassroots, nonprofit organization.  It continues to protect marine wildlife and endangered species. This has a phenomenal impact on protecting our one-world ocean.

Providing employees with an outlet like an employee giving program empowers and encourages them to continue to give. It also rewards their commitment and passion.

Encouraging employees to take part, and educating them on biodiversity goes a long way in creating a collective movement towards co-existing with nature and thriving.

We’re all interconnected and part of an ecosystem. The sooner we understand this, the sooner we become mindful and purposeful of our daily actions.

When you donate to Ocean Blue Project, you’re donating to the programs aimed at restoring marine ecosystems. Your donations fund all cleanup projects throughout the United States.

Furthermore, you’re donating to an organization that believes in taking action by doing the right thing. This means meeting the needs of marginalized communities.

Where can I start right now?

Like, follow, share your support on Ocean Blue Project’s social media. Share your initiatives, ideas, and anything that you’re doing to make a change. Keep the momentum going towards cleaner oceans and a greener Earth!

By 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.

Another way to get started is by signing up for our newsletter. Join the movement towards a blue one-world ocean!

All the information you need to begin is on the website.

Author bio: Sharmista Sahu is a marketing and communication professional. She loves to write an impactful story. Creating value and giving back is important to her and she does this by volunteering for nonprofits. On one hand, she loves the outdoors—  treks, nature trails, and swimming in the sea. And on the other, she loves to curl up with a book and her cat.