Takes a heart to change the world.
Women around the world are known as the caretakers of our natural resources and the environment. Today, women are encouraged and motivated to take it all on, both at home and in the workplace.
We see inequities for women in the workplace just as we see injustices happening to the Ocean. Advancing Women Executives (AWE), a mission-driven training and development company that creates equity and economic growth in the workplace, has taken their drive to the beach in hopes of a cleaner Ocean.
This July, AWE employees met at Venice Fishing Pier to clean one of California’s most frequented beaches. Through Ocean Blue’s Create a Cleanup program this admirable team led their very own beach cleanup effort.
On what may seem on the surface to be a fairly clean beach, the team was able to find an enormous amount of tiny pieces of debris hidden in the sand. As an Ocean Blue Corporate Annual Member AWE supports clean beaches. The company is leading the way to give back and save the ocean as an example for businesses.
AWE is changing the culture of work, making it more profitable and do their part to take care of our one world Ocean. AWE accelerates the careers of underrepresented professionals through interactive training, focused coaching, well-curated events and a robust network.
In 2018 alone, 27% of AWE clients were promoted. AWE partnered with over 1000 women from Fortune 500 companies and have trained an additional 20,000 employees on topics like professional branding, communication skills, and executive presence.
Women fighting to save our Oceans
Women have a reputation for being the biggest caretakers of the Earth. Around the globe, women take notice of agricultural and industrial practices and how their environments are impacted as a result. They are known for making movements in their communities to protect natural resources.
Grassroots environmental non profit, Ocean Blue Project, hears from people across the United States who want to help clean up the Ocean. Women want to leave a better planet and home for their children and future generations. So it is no surprise that Richard Arterbury, Executive Director of Ocean Blue, says, “People are reaching out from all over the world and especially from the U.S. who want to give back to the Ocean and just aren’t sure how. The majority of our volunteers are women.”
Women are leading the way for the environmental movement. One example is Wangari Maathai, Greenbelt Movement founder and Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. Maathai led Kenyan women to plant 51 million trees. Trees are essential for mitigating negative effects of climate change. Established plant roots filter city street and agricultural runoff water for waterways that flow to our one world Ocean.
Today, we see Greta Thunberg influencing the climate change school strike and marches. The United States needs leadership that can help the country step up like Thunberg suggests. Women make up half of the world’s population and a large portion of Ocean Blue supporters are women.
Time and time again we see roughly 80% of beach cleanup volunteers being women. These women often bring their children and families. Women steward the environment themselves and teach their children stewardship by example. We see women stepping up to lead the way in local communities from coast to coast in the U.S.
Jenny Yu of San Francisco, California and Christen Enrich of Lake Worth, Florida are just two of the women who reached out to Ocean Blue this year to Create a Cleanup. These women took it upon themselves to lead their local communities in beach cleanup efforts with the support of Ocean Blue.
Jenny Yu is the Service Chair of the SF Unified Lions Club. Over the summer, the club met at Ocean Beach in San Francisco to pick up litter. Yu described the impact her group made, “We collected a bunch of food wrappers, bottles, and things people left behind from enjoying their time there. The garbage cans were over filled before we even got there so that also made the walkway to the beach filthy and dirty. There was a bunch of cigarettes, clothing items and auto parts we found as well.”
The SF Unified Lions Club made great impact on the west coast, while Christen Enrich was empowering her family and friends to do the same on the U.S. East Coast. Enrich first discovered Ocean Blue over the summer as a volunteer beach cleanup on Singer Island – North Palm Beach.
Enrich recalls, “I was speaking to Richard and he mentioned being able to open it up to where people can organize their own cleanups, so when I saw the opportunity I was in!” She is looking forward to doing another cleanup in Lake Worth, Florida soon. “The kids really enjoyed it.”
The Create a Cleanup program allows women like Yu and Enrich, and anyone who wants to lead a cleanup, the opportunity to make direct impact for the natural spaces they love. The program also keeps travel costs and carbon footprint for cleanup projects low.
Carbon emissions being a leading factor of climate change, Create a Cleanup program also lets Ocean Blue keep grassroots donations closer to home, making larger impact for all communities.
Even neighborhood cleanups located inland from the Ocean can make a difference. The Ocean is a mirror reflection of our city streets.
A plastic straw that falls into an urban stream after fresh rain becomes ocean bound. A cigarette butt thrown to the curbside can be swept out to sea because not all storm drains flow to a city wastewater treatment plant.
Some drains flow straight to the river, and are often labeled with paint or a plaque that states it. Rain carries a cigarette butt into rivers that flow into the ocean faster than a street sweeper can deal with it. This is why neighborhood and river cleanups are vital to the prevention of marine debris.
With folks stepping up in local communities, both coastal and inland, to lead the way for their local waterways and beaches, the Ocean Blue team can work remotely to guide the efforts without having to travel. Working remotely saves fuel, lowers overhead expenses, and allows more projects to take place in more communities.
Women led businesses are also Ocean Blue supporters. Callee of Bestowed Essentials, an all-natural eco-friendly self care and home product company, has been donating a percent of sales to Ocean Blue every month for the last year. In collaboration with the local government, Bestowed Essentials sponsored a cleanup in Salem, Oregon last spring. The company has contributed to the removal of over 1,000 pounds of plastics and marine debris from our one world Ocean.
Advancing Women Executives is an Annual Corporate Member of Ocean Blue. This means that along with taking part in the Create a Cleanup program, AWE chose to donate to the nonprofit in support of more cleanups and youth education on marine debris and the ocean plastic crisis.
AWE and Bestowed Essentials are just two of many women owned and led businesses that reach out to support the Ocean, both through being Annual Corporate Members of Ocean Blue and by leading cleanup events in the local communities they serve. While Bestowed Essentials sponsored a cleanup in Salem, Oregon, AWE led an event at Venice Beach in Southern California earlier this year.
Let’s keep this women-led environmental movement going strong. If you are feeling inspired by the efforts of Jenny Yu, Christen Enrich, AWE, or Bestowed Essentials, reach out to Create a Cleanup in your neighborhood or at your favorite beach or river spot. Since everything flows downstream, our Ocean is a reflection of our city streets. Men and women alike can work together to keep our Ocean Blue.