Thousands of citizens and visitors participated in the March for the Ocean in Hollywood Beach Boardwalk, marching alongside a marching band for approximately 2 miles.
The march focused on creating environmental awareness through music, art and education. Several non-profit organizations participated, including Surfrider Foundation, whose Broward chapter helped organize the event along with Free Our Seas.
“For a few years we’ve been trying to come up with a festival that brings awareness to our oceans and the pollution that’s happening,” said Mannon Weiss, co-founder of Free Our Seas. “Partnering up with Surfrider was the perfect match because they support everyone who is trying to make this environment clean and healthy.”
Elaine Fiore, co-founder of Free Our Seas, said people are responsible for ocean pollution and more must be done to conserve the environment.
“Plastic is really affecting our environment. It’s affecting our oceans, beaches and lakes,” she said. “We are the ones that are responsible for it. We are here to be a voice for our ocean.”
Students from Fort Lauderdale High school held a small performance and then lead the parade procession. Adults and children followed behind the marching band, singing and clapping along to their tunes.
“It’s not fun to swim with trash because you don’t know where it’s been, and plastic is just bad. I think we should stop making single-use plastic because most of it just ends up in the ocean,” said middle school student from Beachside Montessori Village, Casey Carlson.
Hollywood Mayor Josh Levy worked with Surfrider to push legislators and governors to enact policies that help conserve oceans and sea life.
“We’re fortunate here in Hollywood that we have a great boardwalk, so it’s really easy to put something like this together,” said Levy.
Hollywood Commissioner Kevin Biederman said taking care of the ocean is beneficial for South Florida.
“The Ocean brings tourism. Tourism brings money down so that we can support our economic engine here in Hollywood, Florida,” said Biederman.
Florida Senator Gary Farmer was born and raised in Hollywood and said that the ocean had a huge influence in his life while growing up, which led to his interested in March for the Ocean.
“For me, it is about the environment and the beauty of it, not just the economics. It’s a moral obligation we have to our kids to leave the ocean in a good place, and hopefully, other politicians are paying attention to the importance of this situation to the voters of the state of Florida” he said.
The next “March of The Oceans” will take place next summer. For more information, visit www.Hollywoodfl.org.