The ocean means a lot of different things to a lot of different people. To some it could be in relation to their job. For others, it might just be a background subject. And for others, it might have a more personal connection. Despite what your standing is, in recent years, the ocean has been a prominent topic due to increased issues. The best way to address these issues is at the very top – the government.
For more than ten years the SCUBAnauts have visited the United States Capitol for Capitol Hill Ocean Week (CHOW). This event allows nauts to gain a better understanding of how the legal system works and make positive choices in regard to the marine environment as a result. However, some nauts may be unable to attend CHOW for some reason or another.
Due to this, there is another option for Florida nauts: Tallahassee Ocean Day. This event is essentially a miniature CHOW, with the benefit of being much closer to home than most. It’s also much easier to manage for newer nauts.
CHOW vs. Tallahassee Ocean Day
Having been to both CHOW and Tallahassee Ocean Day, I can say that both are extremely valuable experiences to have. CHOW teaches mainly about independence and responsibility, especially regarding solo research and other similar topics. Tallahassee Ocean Day can be a warm-up of sorts for CHOW and is a more accessible experience.
Tallahassee Ocean Day mainly circulates around meetings with state senators, house representatives, and discussing bills involving some of the ocean’s issues. These bills are researched independently based on the topic the naut chooses. They also can choose specific bills based on their region’s senator and house representative.
Our goal is to educate ourselves on proposed legislation and share with others our love for the ocean. By participating in both CHOW and Tallahassee Ocean Day, nauts have a unique opportunity to educate our elective officials to the role they have in protecting our oceans and let them know their constituents care.
Single Use Plastics
For this event I chose single use plastics as my topic, and, since Logan M. from Sarasota also chose that topic, we worked together and combined our research. We were able to get our ideas across to our chosen demographic in a well-thought-out and concise manner.
Once we arrived in the morning and got set up at a booth, we spent about an hour talking to people who came by. Then we headed off to our meetings. We managed to fit in about nine of them before the day came to a close, which was amazing for the time frame we had. The best meeting we had was with House Representative Toledo, who was extremely receptive to the nauts’ chosen issues, as well as adding her own talking points to the discussion! This gave the nauts a great morale boost and inspired us to try and aim for that meeting quality with the other representatives. Some nauts felt this was the best meeting they’d ever attending, including CHOW!
This taught the value of teamwork, focused research, and gave the nauts the opportunity to talk to a high priority demographic. I value this experience and am happy with the opportunity it gave me.
— By: Cordelia C., Orlando Chapter, 2nd Class Naut