Blue Hawaii

Head to the fourth floor of the State Capitol on Wednesday, Jan. 13, to learn about the ocean, marine life and our beaches at the Blue Oceans Day symposium. The event, held from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., features information booths, activities and even free blue T-shirts (with sea creatures on them) for the first 200 who show up—both adult and keiki sizes.

Blue Oceans Day is an annual event at the Capitol and held by such local nonprofits and organizations as the Surfrider Foundation, NOAA Fisheries Service, Marine Conservation Biology Institute, the Conservation Council for Hawai‘i and several others.

Program officials even want President Obama to take notice. At noon, a group photo of all participants wearing blue will be sent to him, along with recordings from an “open mic” video session from those want to give him a message (having to do with the oceans of course). Blue Oceans Day comes two weeks before the White House Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force delivers its recommendations to the president, concerning the “protection, maintenance, and restoration of oceans, our coasts and the Great Lakes.”

I attended this event two years ago when I was working at the Capitol and found it informative. There are plenty of small ways to make a difference in protecting the environment—ocean related and otherwise—and I walked away with some neat freebies too, such as recycled totes, magnets and a calendar.

While you’re at the Capitol, visit your representative and senator. With the 2010 Legislative session just around the corner, you can find out what she or he has in mind for your district and how you can help to enact changes. But whatever your political beliefs, put them aside for the oceans for a day. We live on an island in the Pacific after all.