Earth Day is Every Day! Celebrating 15 Years of Cleaning Beaches

By Alana Bonzi
Co-founder, SEGO Initiative 

On April 14th, SEGO Initiative kicked off their 15th Anniversary Fujisawa Beach Cleaning Project with an Earth Day Wellness Cleanup and Art By The Beach exhibition. 

Some 365 volunteers gathered on Katase Higashi Hama in Fujisawa to collect and remove 205 bags of marine and beach debris on that sunny Sunday. 

This Earth Day cleanup is the spring campaign of the Project. Since 2009, Fujisawa Beach Cleaning Project has partnered with the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup Campaign held annually in the fall. This year, the International Coastal Cleanup in Fujisawa will be held in September. 

Photo: SEGO Initiative / Jetset Inc

Started as a way to connect communities in a tangible activity to give back to the local community, the project has evolved into three key pillars: 

Volunteering when teams of corporate beach cleaners and their families, local students, and teachers come together as a community to take care of this local beach, making it a cleaner place to be for all.

The public education pillar involves providing a sense of agency and urgency, as volunteers collect, count and survey the marine debris as part of a large-scale citizen science project. Large-scale public art exhibitions held during the cleanups provide another powerful aspect to the public education pillar. This moves beyond data to touch the heart of visitors, volunteers, and viewers alike. 

Photo: SEGO Initiative / Jetset Inc

The artwork puts a spotlight on our emotional connection to the ocean and each other while providing a space to reflect and engage in conversation around some of the solutions to the challenges that we and the ocean face. Finally, this pillar also involves public ocean literacy programming that includes our Ocean Awareness webinar sessions with filmmakers, artists, scientists, and conservationists offering a chance to come together to learn and share as a community.

Photo: SEGO Initiative / Jetset Inc

Reconnecting to the marine environment with opportunities to personally experience the beauty and the fragility of the marine ecosystem that we are trying to protect when we are nearby, on, or under the water. These opportunities can include sailing or low-impact yoga warm up sessions.

While the Fujisawa Beach Cleaning Project is SEGO Initiative’s longest running project, the not-for-profit also has a focus on the land with the Organic Farming Project and the Cacao Collective Project. Tying back to the community, both projects provide opportunities to learn with farmers about the food that we eat, starting from the soil, to the way food is grown and how it is consumed. These agriculturally based projects also connect back to the ocean as healthy seas depend on healthy soils.

A member of the Friends of the United Nations World Oceans Day network, SEGO Initiative and the Embassy of Canada are co-hosting a “Sea to Summit” event on June 7 in celebration of the UN World Oceans Day.

With the support of the History Channel, two short documentaries from the “Save the Beyond” series will be screened. One documentary focuses on glaciers and the other on the ocean, offering a chance to view the aquatic environment with new eyes, from sea to summit. Each documentary will be followed by a talk session. There will be a youth panel session featuring three young social entrepreneurs and chances to network to ensure an intergenerational, educational, and immersive experience for participants.

All the association’s activities depend on corporate support, including the Fall International Coastal Cleanup in Fujisawa this September and the UN World Oceans Day event in June. We are currently seeking partners, and offer a variety of opportunities to showcase our supporters. 

A huge, huge thank you to the teams from American Express, Bloomberg, Dell Technologies, J.P. Morgan, Oracle Japan 日本オラクル, SAVENCIA, to student, parent and teacher teams of Saint Maur International School, Laurus International School of Science and to Ocean Conservancy (International Coastal Cleanup Campaign Team). Photo: SEGO Initiative / Jetset Inc
Community members and volunteers of the Earth Day Wellness Cleanup and Art By The Beach exhibition

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