Updated: Jun 24, 2018
After finishing the first "half-day" of our trip, the delegation and I woke up bright and early the next morning, preparing for what would be an extremely busy day. Dressed in formal clothes, we grabbed a quick breakfast (without time for the straw challenge) and headed out for the day. Our first destination? The Senate staffer building.
Side Note: If you'd like to learn more about what exactly Sea Youth Rise Up is, and what we did the first day in D.C., click here.
Meeting With Senate Staffers
As part of the second day, we were able to meet with various Senate staffers, all of whom were also part of the Senate's Ocean Caucus, which you can learn a bit more about here. There were a total of four staffers there, and we were able to discuss some key ocean conservation issues with them. Chief among these issues were: plastic pollution, and how it relates to the Senate cafeterias and D.C. as a whole, offshore oil and gas drilling, specifically Trump's intention to open all coastal areas to it, the establishment of additional marine protected areas and monuments, and the regulation of sustainable fisheries. Being part of the Ocean Caucus, all of the staffers there were incredibly receptive to the ideas, but whether or not they will be implemented remains to be seen.
Communication with our government officials, both physical and though social media, is an integral part of representation within our government. After all, if the officials don't know what we want, how can they make the change that we want to see? Furthermore, if they know what we want, and still neglect to make change, shouldn't we hold them accountable? Well (pun very much intended) there's an app called Countable that can help us accomplish all of this. I've talked at length about this app in another post, which you can see by clicking here, but here's the short version of what it can do: you can view any and all policy the government's currently voting on, how your representatives vote on that particular policy, and whether or not the policy passes. Additionally, you can contact your representatives directly through the app. It's a great way to maintain much needed connection between the citizens and the government.
The Sea Youth Rise Up Live stream
After the meeting, we headed out through the building's tunnel system and out to open air again. We had little time to waste, however, as we headed to our next location: The Ocean Foundation headquarters. If you've never heard of it, The Ocean Foundation is an incredible organization. Essentially, they find other small, environmental organizations (focused on ocean conservation) and use both monetary and social support in order to increase these organization's outreach. If you'd like to learn more about what they do, you can click here. They were gracious enough to let us use a portion of their office space (which is shaped like a fish!) in order to host our live stream for the day. Big thanks to them!
Anyway, the live stream was about a half-hour long, showcasing each of the delegate's personal stories, issues they're concerned about, and solutions that they have participated in and that others can participate in as well. We also had an opportunity at the end for viewer questions. Overall, it was tremendously successful, and we all had a lot of fun doing it. The entire live stream can be found on Youtube, and if you'd like to view it you can click here.
Sign Making Party
After the live stream, we got a chance to grab a quick lunch, and take a breather for a half-hour or so. Then, it was off to the next location: a sign making party for the March For Our Oceans event that would be taking place the next day. This one doesn't require too much explanation. We had an hour or so, and, using markers (and a bit of paint) we made our own signs to hold during the march. Of course, most of us had to go for some sort of pun or rhyme, and I chose the latter, with a sign that read "Accept the notion of protecting our ocean." It looked and sounded cooler in person.
Next, we headed to the Smithsonian, where we were able to take part in a networking event that included some big names within the ocean conservation community. I got to talk with a lot of amazing people, including: Dr. Julia Schnetzer, who works at the Ocean Plastics Lab (which I'll be talking about in my next post), Jarrod Curry, the Senior Marketing Manager for the Ocean Foundation, and Christine Figgener, a well known biologist and photographer that works primarily with sea turtles. The networking aspect was broken up into two parts, and sandwiched between the two periods was a special video showcase.
Special Video Screenings
Between the two networking "sessions" those who attended were given a very special showcase. Jim Toomey, creator of the Sherman's Lagoon cartoon, gave us a special presentation in which he showed his newest video, created in conjunction with the UN's environmental council. Afterwards, we were able to see him draw a comic strip live, and listen to some of his stories about drawing and filming videos. The presentation as a whole was not only informative, but incredibly interesting. Afterwards, we wrapped up the event, and started to wind things down for the day.
Ending the Day
After leaving the Smithsonian, we went to the grass area near the Washington Monument to watch the screening of another new video about ocean conservation: Straws. We got to see a bit of some other interesting documentaries as well, but after about a half-hour it was time to head back to the hotel. Once in the lobby, the delegates and I worked out our speeches for the next day's rally. After determining order, and having a general idea of what we were going to say, we all headed off to bed.
Needless to say, the second day was much, much busier than the first. From lobbying, to sign making, to live-streaming, we did a ton of work in a very short amount of time. The day was certainly tiring, and I'd be lying if I said I wasn't exhausted, but it was just as gratifying as difficult. I certainly wouldn't have had it any other way. Well, with that being said, on to the third day!
All credit for the following images goes to:
Senate Staffer Building: http://www.businessinsider.com/staffer-arrested-entering-building-cnn-2015-12
Countable App Showcase: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/countable-government-made/id893853823?mt=8
Ocean Foundation Logo: https://www.gefblueforests.org/tof-blue-carbon-initiatives/