It’s really close to Thanksgiving! I’d like to give thanks to all the charities, organizations, and campaigns around the world fighting to make sure our planet remains healthy and free of pollutants, such as excess carbon dioxide and trash. Now, let me introduce the main subject of my thanks by mentioning what two incredible individuals have done in the past.
On October 25th, 2019, YouTubers Mr. Beast and Mark Rober began a campaign, Team Trees (#Teamtrees), to help save the planet. Their goal was to reach 20 million dollars by the end of that year. For every dollar raised, one tree would be planted. On December 19th, just 56 days after the launch, Team Trees had hit their 20-million-dollar goal! Because of Mr. Beast, Mark Rober, and the people who donated from all over the planet, we gained 20 million more trees than we had before the campaign began! #Teamtrees still has momentum even today! Each day, at least 2,000 trees are still being planted. If you want to support #Teamtrees, you can go to their site and donate today to help sustain this beautiful planet for our future generations!
Obviously, trees are very important to our ecosystem! Trees provide shelter for more than 400 species of birds, mammals, and amphibians. Trees also help with climate control. Trees are helpful for many more reasons, but, most importantly, they provide the Earth with crucial oxygen! Trees take in carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and, through the process of photosynthesis, give off oxygen. Whenever trees are burned down or die, not only can they no longer produce oxygen, but all the carbon dioxide they have gathered over millions of years goes spilling back into our atmosphere!
Now it’s time for my main thanks. Despite the roles trees play in maintaining our atmosphere, livelihood, and oxygen, there is a greater oxygen supplier that is in much more danger than it should be… OUR OCEANS!!
Our oceans, seas, and rivers are in grave peril and, no surprise, humans are the main cause. Thankfully, just like these heroes did two years ago, this year, on October 29, 2021, Mr. Beast and Mark Rober initiated a new campaign: #Teamseas! Their goal is to raise 30 million dollars by the end of this year, removing 30 million POUNDS of trash from the oceans and our beaches, which is just incredible! The money donated will be split between two different organizations: Ocean Cleanup and Ocean Conservancy.
Ocean Cleanup is “developing and scaling technologies to rid the world’s oceans of plastic.” In 2011, a 16-year-old boy named Boyan Slat went scuba diving in Greece and was sadly surprised to find more trash than fish! This tragic discovery led him to the thought, “Why can’t we just clean this up?” Boyan Slat felt so strongly about this, he decided to start Ocean Cleanup in 2013 at age 18! It’s incredibly exciting to think how an inspired 18-year-old had a dream and worked toward it to start a huge organization! Imagine how much all humans on earth could accomplish if everyone cared this much.
Ocean Conservancy is an organization that cleans up our beaches. In some areas, beaches are covered in lots of trash and, over time, that trash drifts into the ocean! Ocean Conservancy has been operating for over thirty years and, with the help of nearly twelve million volunteers from one hundred and fifty-three countries, has collected more than two hundred twenty million pounds of trash! How this organization was founded is quite interesting, but let’s leave that for you to decide: In the summer of 1971, the annual International Whaling Commission was meeting in Washington D.C. A man by the name of Bill Kardash happened to be attending. As he was walking through the halls, he saw a man with a guitar sitting on the floor. Mr. Kardash stopped and began speaking with that man and their conversation was the main inspiration for the founding of this organization. Everything Mr. Kardash learned on that trip inspired him to get further involved. One year later, he started The Delta Corporation which later became Ocean Conservancy.
We can all take a lesson from Boyan Slat and Bill Kardash. That lesson is this: If you see something that you think is worth doing, go above and beyond to make it happen. It’s truly incredible how one instance in your life can give you the determination and dream to start something bigger than yourself. So far, I’ve mentioned 4 superheroes with incredible superpowers! I wonder if you’ll use your superpower because helping #Teamseas would have such an incredible impact on not only the Earth, but your mind as well. A healthier brain equals a healthier heart!
Since Team Sea’s launch, in the span of just 15 days they have already raised OVER 15 MILLION dollars and that is all due to the natural superpower of community! Seriously, if we all come together and keep the numbers rising, by 2040, the oceans could be 90% clearer, and our planet would be much healthier than it is right now!
If you’re up for it, there are so many things YOU could do to contribute! You could volunteer and clean up the beaches, seas, and oceans. You don’t even have to volunteer. You could literally go anywhere on your own time and clean up because it’s not only the beaches and oceans that are filled with trash but imagine how much garbage the wind picks up and blows into the sea! Picking up trash ANYWHERE could be great way to help keep not only our oceans clean, but our world.
Another way to contribute is by donating money to already existing charities and foundations that clean up the world, BUT, the most prominent campaign to donate to is #Teamseas especially considering the massive impact it already has and will continue to have that YOU could be a part of. You don’t have to donate a large sum of money either! Just remember that one dollar is one pound disposed and every pound counts! Despite all the campaigning that is going on in this blog post, also remember that you don’t have to spend ANY money at all! Volunteering is free and can be just as effective as donating!
Remember how I mentioned oceans are a larger source of oxygen than trees? Well, here is the percentage. 50 to 80 percent of oxygen on Earth comes from our dying Oceans. The worse off our oceans are, the worse off we are. A really important factor to deciding whether to donate to a campaign is how much you know about the subject. For more motivation to help you decide whether you’d like to assist our oceans and seas, here are several reasons why they are so important to keep clean:
- 100,000 marine animals die each year from getting tangled in plastics.
- Millions of sea creatures consume microplastic thinking it’s food which causes them to choke or starve. Larger animals who eat these fish then have plastic accumulate in their tissues. This also includes HUMANS!
- National Geographic estimated a total of 5.25 TRILLION pieces of plastic debris in the ocean. There are almost 8 BILLION people on the planet. Compare the two.
- As plastic degrades and breaks down in the ocean, they release chemicals, poisoning our waters. Some plastics even take HUNDREDS of years to break down which is hundreds of years of our oceans being consistently and slowly poisoned.
- Phytoplankton is the food source for certain fish and those certain fish are the food sources for other fish and so on. Every creature directly or indirectly eats phytoplankton and by poisoning our oceans, we are poisoning the phytoplankton, therefore poisoning EVERYONE!
- The ocean regulates Earth’s climate by a system of heating and cooling specific areas. The ocean currents then travel around to different bodies of water all over the earth. Without that process, areas of our planet that are inhabitable now, wouldn’t be inhabitable.
If you’d like to learn more about these facts, but also more about the ocean, please spare a couple minutes of your day and watch this 8-minute YouTube video. I promise that not only is it educational, but the information is also presented in a cartoonist style meant to keep your attention. It’s quite an amazing video and I implore you to watch it whenever you can. This video is also one of the many fundraisers across the YouTube community for #Teamseas.
When you’re done watching the video, if you’re feeling good, please go and donate. Again, you don’t have to donate. If you’re not donating (there is no shame in not donating), then at least go check out the website and get excited! 2021 hasn’t been the greatest year for some, but let’s finish this year off stronger than ever! Let’s start next year with brighter hopes for our future!
Here are the sites that have been hyperlinked throughout this blog post and a couple of extras:
- Team Seas: https://teamseas.org
- Team Trees: https://teamtrees.org
- Ocean Cleanup: https://theoceancleanup.com
- Ocean Conservancy: https://oceanconservancy.org
- 8-minute YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T48_SrFCdaQ&list=WL&index=15
- Mark Rober’s campaign initiation video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pXDx6DjNLDU
- Mr. Beast’s campaign initiation video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cV2gBU6hKfY
- Also, if you’d like to watch their Team Trees initiation videos, here they are:
- Mr. Beast: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HPJKxAhLw5I
- Mark Rober: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U7nJBFjKqAY
To finish this off, here is the moment you have all been waiting for… To celebrate Team Seas and its sensational contribution to our world, I am doing two book giveaways and, for an added bonus, a list of middle grade books featuring the ocean that you may be thankful to enjoy!!!!!
Stop by my Instagram page for your chance to win free books! Keep reading to see which ones they are.
1. Daughter of the Deep by Rick Riordan
Rick Riordan is one of my favorite authors, so you can imagine how excited I was to find this brand-new book from him! For more sea-faring books by this author, check out The Sea of Monsters and The Son of Neptune.
Amazon description: Ana Dakkar is a freshman at Harding-Pencroft Academy, a five-year high school that graduates the best marine scientists, naval warriors, navigators, and underwater explorers in the world. Ana’s parents died while on a scientific expedition two years ago, and the only family’s she’s got left is her older brother, Dev, also a student at HP.
Ana’s freshman year culminates with the class’s weekend trial at sea, the details of which have been kept secret. She only hopes she has what it’ll take to succeed. All her worries are blown out of the water when, on the bus ride to the ship, Ana and her schoolmates witness a terrible tragedy that will change the trajectory of their lives.
But wait, there’s more. The professor accompanying them informs Ana that their rival school, Land Institute, and Harding-Pencroft have been fighting a cold war for a hundred and fifty years. Now that cold war has been turned up to a full broil, and the freshman are in danger of becoming fish food. In a race against deadly enemies, Ana will make amazing friends and astounding discoveries about her heritage as she puts her leadership skills to the test for the first time.
2. Wild Rescuers: Sentinels in the Deep Ocean by StacyPlays
Any Minecraft fans out there? This adventure series is for you—and also for animal lovers and environmentalists. I wouldn’t have thought to put wolves in an ocean story, would you?
Amazon description: After barely surviving the harsh tundra biome, Stacy has finally discovered the origins of the intelligent, playful wolves who’ve raised her. But will Stacy be able to decode a mysterious diary that may hold the keys to her future in the taiga?
As she races against time to uncover the secrets buried within the diary’s pages, Stacy and her pack set out on a new thrilling adventure across biomes. Will they beat the clock and make it to the farthest reaches of their world: the deep ocean?
As they dive deeper into the unknown, Stacy and the wolves learn that the deep ocean may hold the biggest secret yet. Stacy’s wolves might not be as alone in this world as they once thought.
3. The Strangeworlds Travel Agency: The Edge of the Ocean: Book 2 by L.D. Lapinski
I love the idea that you can go to a different world just by stepping into a suitcase. I want a whole room full of suitcases that are portals to different lands, don’t you?
Amazon description: Pack your suitcase for a magical adventure! At the Strangeworlds Travel Agency, each suitcase transports you to a different world. All you have to do is step inside…
Flick is now a badge-wearing member of The Strangeworlds Travel Agency so when an urgent summons arrives at Strangeworlds from Pirate Queen Nyfe, she and Strangeworlds Society guardian Jonathan immediately pack their bags for an adventure to Queen Nyfe’s world: The Break, a place of magic and piracy.
Nyfe’s world is falling apart. The Break is used to having ships vanish without a trace, but there has been a sudden increase that can’t be explained by giant squid or mer-people. The edge of their flat world is coming ever closer to them and they need to escape before it collapses entirely.
But how do you sail a ship through a suitcase? How do you fit a mer-queen the size of a whale into something small enough to carry in your hand? Will Flick and Jonathan be able to find a way to transport the inhabitants of the Break to another world before theirs disappears forever?
4. A Mermaid in Middle Grade: Book 1: The Talisman of Lostland by A.M. Luzzader
If you haven’t read this series yet, what are you waiting for? Magic + mermaids is a winning combination every time.
Amazon description: A young mermaid. A sea witch out for revenge. Can Brynn Finley become a sea guardian and help humans in danger when she just barely started the sixth grade?
Brynn Finley is the only mermaid in class who hasn’t been able to learn magic. Until she can unlock the secret to magical spells, she can’t be a guardian of the sea with her parents and friends. On her quest to solve this mystery, Brynn and her best friend encounter a loveable sea turtle, a pair of selkie sisters, and Phaedra, the great and terrible sea witch. Soon, Brynn is over her head in trouble, and she must learn to ask for help if she’s going to follow the merfolk oath to be a protector of the ocean and a guardian of the sea.
5. Ultimate Oceanpedia: The Most Complete Ocean Reference Ever (National Geographic Kids) by Christina Wilsdon
These National Geographic Kids books are the greatest. You learn so much in such a fun way.
Amazon description: From tsunamis and sea turtles to riptides and reefs, learn all about the creatures, science, and ecology of our oceans, which cover more of the planet than all the continents and are just as important! Travel through all parts of the ocean to learn how it affects of our world, including storms and climate.
Amazing facts, photos, illustrations, and diagrams are found throughout this book, along with conservation tips, weird-but-true facts, and a mini ocean atlas. Challenges to the health of our ocean and its creatures are also presented along with what people are doing to keep it pristine for generations to come.
Guess what? I love these National Geographic books so much I’m going to give this one and Ultimate Oceanpedia away! Join me on my Instagram page to learn more.
Amazon Description: Dive into these fishy facts: Did you know that the prehistoric shark, megalodon, had jaws so big that it could swallow a car? Or that goats, pigs, dogs, cats, and even an alpaca have all learned how to surf? And if that’s not weird enough for ya, one man even rowed solo across the Pacific Ocean for 312 days!
In this book filled with 300 wacky facts and pictures, you’ll glimpse the ocean’s weirdest wildlife, uncover shocking shipwrecks, and meet sensational seafarers, from pirates and sailors to ground-breaking marine scientists. Perfect for ocean enthusiasts and trivia-loving landlubbers alike!
7. Fins: A Sharks Incorporated Novel by Randy Wayne White
A story about three kids who come together to save sharks and learn how to be a team along the way. I hope this is just the first in a series!
Amazon description: The world’s shark population is in trouble for a sad, simple reason: shark fin soup. And although it’s illegal, poachers have been targeting Florida’s biannual migration of blacktip sharks.
Marine biologist Doc Ford needs some assistance protecting the sharks and enlists the help of three kids―Luke, Maribel and Sabina. Luke is brand-new to Florida from the Midwest; sisters Maribel and Sabina have only recently arrived from Cuba―and all three feel like fish out of water. It’s going to take some convincing for them to work as a team and to recognize in themselves the courage, wisdom and tenacity that Doc sees in them.
Together they form Sharks, Inc. and are given an important assignment: to set out each day on their small fishing boat in hopes of tagging sharks for Doc’s research―and to stay away―far away―from any possible poachers in the area.
The trio certainly isn’t looking for trouble, but when they come face to face with danger, survival requires them to rely on each of their own unique gifts, and especially on one another.
8. Alessia in Atlantis: The Forbidden Vial by Nathalie Laine
An underwater fantasy novel is a fun twist. Plus a giant frog monster and a conspiracy…dive into this story to find out what happens.
Amazon description: It’s not unusual for twelve-year-old Alessia to lose control of her emotions and create a scene at school.
It is unusual when one day she’s attacked there by a giant frog monster and plunged into the underwater realm of Atlantis in an overturned boat.
On arriving in Atlantis, she learns that her long-lost father may have been from there. Determined to investigate, she stays and enrolls in Atlantide school: The Octopus’s Garden.
But uncovering the truth is not easy when the tyrannical Atlantide Emperor forbids asking about missing people. With the help of her newfound school friends, Alessia will have to steal evidence from a grumpy teacher, escape from rebel merfolk and make rhymes with menacing blue people of Minch to discover the key to her past.
Meanwhile, someone knows exactly who she’s the daughter of, and is ready to kill her for it.
9. Beyond the Bright Sea by Lauren Wolk
This story about a girl named Crow has won a ton of awards and I can see why. Imagine living your whole life on a tiny island…
Amazon description: Twelve-year-old Crow has lived her entire life on a tiny, isolated piece of the starkly beautiful Elizabeth Islands in Massachusetts. Abandoned and set adrift in a small boat when she was just hours old, Crow’s only companions are Osh, the man who rescued and raised her, and Miss Maggie, their fierce and affectionate neighbor across the sandbar.
Crow has always been curious about the world around her, but it isn’t until the night a mysterious fire appears across the water that the unspoken question of her own history forms in her heart.
Soon, an unstoppable chain of events is triggered, leading Crow down a path of discovery and danger.
10. Song for a Whale by Lynne Kelly
Just because Iris is deaf, people treat her like she’s dumb—but actually, she’s brilliant! So when Iris learns about a whale with a communication problem of his own, she decides to help him. For more books about characters who learn differently, check out this post.
Amazon description: From fixing the class computer to repairing old radios, twelve-year-old Iris is a tech genius. But she’s the only deaf person in her school, so people often treat her like she’s not very smart. If you’ve ever felt like no one was listening to you, then you know how hard that can be.
When she learns about Blue 55, a real whale who is unable to speak to other whales, Iris understands how he must feel. Then she has an idea: she should invent a way to “sing” to him! But he’s three thousand miles away. How will she play her song for him?
11. Emily Windsnap: Six Swishy Tails of Land and Sea: Books 1-6 by Liz Kessler
You read that right—not just one book: SIX! It’s a mini-library of mermaid adventures and it could be yours…FREE. I’m giving away a set of these on my Instagram page.
Amazon description: Half-mermaid, half-human, and all magic, Emily Windsnap has had middle-grade readers under her spell for more than a decade. All six of her shimmering underwater adventures are now available in one beautiful collection of paperbacks with a bonus twelve-page friendship booklet for readers to share with their BFFs.
About mermaids, Liz says, ‘I am fascinated by the sea and all the mysteries of the ocean. It’s so huge, and there is so much of it that we haven’t discovered and know nothing about. To me, mermaids represent the possibilities of what might just exist on the edges of our imaginations and our world.’
Thank you for using the power of extreme patience and making it all the way through this blog post! I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thank you all for supporting me and being super freaking awesome! Not only am I thankful for Team Seas, Mr. Beast, and Mark Rober, but I’m even more thankful for all of you! I sincerely hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and I hope you enjoy the book giveaway!