María Celeste Arrarás and Vanessa Hauc Talk About Latinx-Led Initiative to Protect the Oceans
"My love story with the ocean began at birth because I was born on an island," says Puerto Rican TV host María Celeste Arrarás. "As a little girl, my dad would take me fishing and to the beach. Once we went on an expedition to La Mona Island, which is a paradise on Earth, and we saw parrotfish and all kinds of rich marine life. It was amazing seeing all the fish and how their colorful scales shined when the sunlight hit," she recalls. That's why Arrarás joined actor Aaron Diaz, TV host Vanessa Hauc, Latinx influencers, and the nonprofit organizations Ocean Conservancy, Sachamama, and VoLo Foundation to support the campaign Mi Historia Con El Oceáno.
A SEA OF PLASTIC
"Our oceans have never been so deteriorated. It's something that I witness with my coverage for Planeta Tierra. I'm traveling and seeing how contaminated our oceans are and how they are filled with plastic," says Telemundo anchor Vanessa Hauc, cofounder of Sachamama, a nonprofit organization devoted to protecting the earth and raising awareness about the challenges our planet faces. "It's important for us to look at this ecosystem and connect with it," Hauc says. "That's why this campaign is called Mi Historia Con El Oceáno, because we all have stories that connect us to it."
LOVE FOR THE OCEAN
"I grew up in Lima and my parents would always take us to the ocean on weekends. I always admired and respected the sea, it is such a perfect and majestic force of nature," Hauc says. "I lived in Miami Beach in front of the ocean for 18 years, and I would walk on the beach and sit in the sand and forget all the worries of the day. I connected with God and felt so much peace."
REDUCE PLASTIC CONSUMPTION
"The ocean brings us peace, joy," Hauc says. "When you make that personal connection with the ocean you want to do something to protect it — that's the idea behind this campaign." She says we can contribute to saving the ocean by teaching our children to value it and raising awareness on social media. Another important action is to avoid using plastic bags, bottles, and straws and opt for reusable bottles and grocery bags, and biodegradable items like bamboo utensils and cassava plastic bags. "The great majority of the plastics we use end up in oceans, rivers, or the earth," she says.
YOUR VOTE IS YOUR POWER
"Our vote is another powerful tool to help the environment," says Hauc (here interviewing former Vice President Al Gore about climate change). "Let's make sure the candidate we choose has the protection of the environment as a priority. The United States is the second country that pollutes the most in the world and we need a leader that changes the way we are developing and using energy. We need the United States to be a leader on an international level to get other countries to lower the emissions that cause global warming. We need to vote for a leader that is pro-planet, pro-life, pro–clean water and pro–clean air."
THE OCEANS NEED HELP
"We have to do something to protect the oceans because 70 percent of our planet is made up of oceans and we depend on our oceans for our economy, a great part of what we eat, our families' health," Hauc says.
MARINE LIFE IS AFFECTED
"Every year over 100,000 marine mammals and turtles die because they consume plastic in the oceans. Ninety percent of the fish in the sea have plastic inside of them," Hauc says. "Experts predict that if we continue at this pace, by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish."
"When I was a kid I used to be a swimmer. I've done all kinds of fun things in the sea, like swim with sharks, with seals, with whales," Arrarás says. "When you have a personal connection with the ocean, you learn to protect it."
"If the oceans are not healthy, humans are endangered," says Arrarás (here with her son Julian). "The oceans directly impact our health, they provide food. The Amazon and our oceans are essential for our survival."
LIFE AT SEA
"We are leaving the earth to new generations and we have to teach our children to recycle, to embrace sustainable living, and not contaminate," concludes Arrarás (with her daughter Lara).