World Oceans Day takes place on June 8th every year. It’s a global celebration with events to honor and appreciate the oceans and their inhabitants, build community, and focus on ways to protect our waters and marine life. This year, Vegan Action brought their message of compassion to a World Oceans Day family event at Mote Marine Aquarium in Sarasota, Florida.

Vegan Action’s table at the event showcased reasons to not eat animals, including those who live underwater, with recipes and alternatives to certain “seafood” that people may not want to give up. We sampled seaweed snacks and offered copies of the stellar vegan menu from Tsunami Sushi, located in downtown Sarasota. People were amazed at how many vegan sushi options can be found in the area! (To see their impressive menu, click HERE and then click the “sushi rolls” tab.)

We also created a display of plastic pollution and how it harms animals. We showed how plastic bags are often mistaken for jellyfish by sea turtles, which they eat and causes damage to their digestive system or suffocates them. We showed how the plastic that ends up in the oceans eventually are consumed by fish and other ocean animals, which can cause choking or blockages that make them very sick or cause death. (For more on this, watch the documentary “A Plastic Ocean.”)

We touched on a lot of these concerns with our World Oceans Day Trivia. Anyone who played won a colorful, bendable, reusable silicon straw. These were a hit with kids and parents! All participants were shocked by some of the statistics, including how many animals are killed as by-catch and by discarded fishing nets. Everyone who came to our table walked away with our new sea life brochure that highlights everything in the trivia, literally bringing the message home.

Other exhibitors at this event included plastic-free organizations and initiatives, student and intern environmental groups and service projects, sea turtle protection groups, Sunshine Community Compost, and small businesses selling reusable products. Local band The Garbage Men played fantastic cover songs on their completely upcycled instruments (think: cereal box guitars and upturned bucket drums).

Big thanks to volunteers Lindsey, Carlton, and Isaac for all your help!

How did you celebrate World Oceans Day? Will you plan an event in 2020?