A purchase for good: The Everglades Bracelet
By Leah Sankey
News & Features Editor
Captains for Clean Water and 4Ocean have collaborated to create 4Ocean’s August bracelet, the Everglades Bracelet. Each 4Ocean bracelet is made of post-consumer recycled materials. This month’s bracelet was created to raise awareness about the problems facing Florida’s unique ecosystem and the need to protect, preserve and restore the Everglades. 4Ocean is also donating $25,000 to Captains for Clean water to support their mission.
Captains for Clean Water is a grassroots nonprofit organization advocating for clean water and healthy estuaries across Florida. Their mission includes educating and advancing scientifically supported solutions to restore Florida’s most valuable ecosystem, the Everglades.
The Everglades restoration project will be the largest ecosystem restoration project in history. The purchase of an Everglades Bracelet funds 4Ocean’s initiative to remove trash from the ocean and coastlines (one pound per bracelet) while raising awareness about Everglades conservation and restoration. In total, 4Ocean has removed over six million pounds of trash through the sale of their bracelets.
According to Chris Wittman, the co-founder of Captains for Clean water, Alex Schulze, co-founder of 4Ocean and a native Floridian, reached out to Captains for Clean Water about the collaboration.
“They have a really wide reach around the world so we’re really excited to be working with them. They have two million some followers on social media,” said Wittman. “Those followers are people who care about conservation efforts and water quality in particular and may not be aware of the Everglades restoration efforts and the water quality issues we’ve faced in Florida. The fact that we’re reaching people that are already concerned about environmental issues is really valuable to us.”
The Everglades receive less than one-third of the water that it used to, and less than half of the wetlands that once existed remain. Much of what does remain is polluted by fertilizer, agricultural and industrial runoff.
Wittman said that there has been a plan to restore the Everglades since 2000, when congress approved the Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan. However, this has been put off largely due to corporate interests and politics. Wittman said that there has been more progress towards restoration over the past few years than ever before.
“In order to get people involved and paying attention to the actions of our policy makers, they have to understand the problem and the solution,” said Wittman. “The more people we can educate, the more people we have that are likely to put pressure on our politicians and representatives to do what needs to happen.”
Wittman said that the $25,000 donated by 4Ocean will go toward Captains for Clean Water’s educational programs.
“It’s really a matter of getting the people in power to act quickly. The way that we ensure these projects are moving along is public pressure,” said Wittman.
4Ocean and Captains for Clean Water both believe in restoring the Everglades back to its natural state so that it can flourish and be enjoyed for generations to come. You can purchase the Everglades Bracelet at https://4ocean.com/everglades-bracelet/.