The UCSB Chapter of the California Students Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG Students) hosted a rally today advocating for increased protections for our oceans in California. Student activists came together on the UCSB campus to “send off” their peers to Sacramento to represent them in lobby meetings with state leaders.
As students arrived, they joined the sign-making action station and made signs to bring to their Sacramento trip. Slogans on the sign include “Save our Oceans!” “Increase Marine Protections!” and more.
The press conference highlighted students’ passion for ocean conservation and the strength of youth voices. Students are calling on Governor Newsom to expand Marine Protected Areas and pulled from statistics and personal stories to make the argument.
“Human activities such as oil drilling and overfishing are hurting our oceans,” said Kristi Copeland, a third year at UCSB studying sociology and ocean science. “Yet only 9% of California’s coasts are fully protected through Marine Protected Areas,” she continued.
Students recounted their experiences going to the beach, and their overall awe at the ocean. “I’ve had so many nice memories of the beach, watching the tiny ecosystems of the tide pool, waking up early and staring off the cliff to the ocean and seeing a glimpse of dolphins,” said Jake Twomey, first-year economics at UCSB, explaining why he wants to protect the oceans
“I want my future children to experience the same oceans that I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing during my lifetime,” Leona Gomez, a senior at UCSB studying Communication, shared in agreement. “That’s why we’re urging Governor Newsom and other elected officials to commit to increasing California’s marine protected areas to 30% by 2030.”
Just in the past few weeks, volunteers from the CALPIRG Students chapter at UCSB have educated thousands of students about the importance of marine conservation and they’ve collected hundreds of signatures in support. They are sending a delegation of students to Sacramento to lobby state leaders for increased ocean protections on behalf of the Santa Barbara student body.
“I’ve had so many conversations with students on campus about why they care about protecting the oceans, and I’m excited to sit down with elected officials face-to-face, deliver that message to them, and win real change,” said Tara Grover, a third-year student studying Environmental Studies.
At the end of the event, Tara led students in writing handwritten letters to Governor Gavin Newsom. They will be bringing these letters with them to Sacramento and delivering them directly to the governor’s office.