To celebrate this Independence Day, thousands of coastal defenders, including Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder, marine biologist Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson, legendary musician Jack Johnson and three-time world champion surfer, Carissa Moore, have been flying a new flag, standing up to declare ‘we are The United States and Oceans of America (#USOA).‘ As part of the campaign, the Surfrider Foundation launched a short film to emphasize that it is up to all Americans to help protect the ‘land and oceans of the free and the home and waves of the brave.’
“This 4th of July, the day we celebrate the freedom of our country, we recognize that our nation doesn’t end at the shoreline,” said Surfrider’s Marketing Director, Eddie Anaya. “With growing threats from plastic pollution, offshore drilling and climate change, we are witnessing the largest assault on our ocean in American history. These problems are daunting and we’re calling on everyone who cares about our ocean and coasts to join together to protect the places we love for the future.”
The U.S. is made up of more water than land. In fact, America’s oceans cover nearly 4.5 million square miles, which is about 20% greater than U.S. landmass. The Surfrider Foundation’s USOA flag design is an artistic emblem that represents the nation’s connection to the land and sea.
“It’s nice to have a flag as a symbol to remind us that the entire country, no matter where you live, is connected to the sea, and our well-being depends on it,” said marine biologist and founder of Ocean Collectiv, Dr. Ayana Elizabeth Johnson.
The coast is a top tourist destination with more than 100 million people visiting our nation’s beaches annually. In addition, ocean recreation and tourism constitute 2.3 million jobs and contribute more than $124 billion to the nation’s economy every year.
However, the nation’s oceans and coasts are increasingly at risk. Pollution at recreational beaches and waters across the U.S. costs the economy more than $2.2 billion and results in 20,000 health advisories annually. At least 5.25 trillion plastic particles are currently floating at sea. The threat of new offshore oil drilling puts the nation’s economies, jobs, communities and livelihoods at risk of a catastrophic oil spill.
“I owe so much to this ocean… and that’s why I’m holding this flag as a commitment to stand up for healthier seas and coastlines free of plastic for everyone around the world who enjoys or depends on the ocean, for all the future generations,” said iconic singer and songwriter Jack Johnson. “We are the United States and Oceans of America.”
The USOA initiative was developed in collaboration with creative agency, Activista, and their award-winning creative directors, Roberto Fernandez and Paco Conde, who are committed to driving social, cultural and economic change through the power of ideas.