Focus on Oceans: Chalk Art at Film Festival

On Sunday, February 11, Fearless Grandmothers teamed up with UCSB students from the Environmental Affairs Board (EAB) for a street art action highlighting the importance of protecting the ocean from the ravages of climate change, pollution, industrial overfishing, and deep sea mining.

Here are some important facts about climate change and ocean health:

    • Previous records for ocean temperatures have been smashed for 7 years in a row
    • Marine heat waves are endangering marine creatures and ecosystems
    • Ocean acidification, caused by excess CO2 in the atmosphere, is destroying ocean organisms, like coral and fish larvae
    • Warming oceans accelerate melting of sea ice, leading to increasing rates of sea level rise
    • The oceans drive weather—so as ocean heat rises, weather events become more extreme
    • Extreme weather events are costly. A recent study calculated that extreme weather events cost about $16 million dollars per hour
    • Increased ocean heat and marine heatwaves will lead to a die-off of fishing stocks
    • Pollution in marine areas can lead to the development of dead zones, or hypoxia, where oxygen available in the water is insufficient to maintain life — and climate change worsens conditions that cause dead zones

The “Waves of Change” action focused on the impact of climate change on the world’s oceans, including our own beautiful coastline. It was the second annual street art action grandmothers and young people have hosted during the Santa Barbara Film Festival.

Last year’s street art focused on climate solutions with the theme of “Let’s Change the Script On Climate Change.” The public was invited to take up the chalk and draw their favorite “green” thing—ranging from street trees to solar panels.

This year people were invited to add their favorite ocean creatures and activities to the street drawings. Although the art was celebratory, the message was serious.

Californians love their coastline and ocean life. In May 1972, California activists managed to gather over 400,000 necessary signatures and craft a ballot measure for the Coastal Zone Conservation Act. Although oil companies, utilities, and developers poured millions into defeating Proposition 20, outspending the people’s campaign by 100 to 1, the measure passed, leading to the establishment of the California Coastal Commission. Public access to beaches was guaranteed and coastal ecosystems were protected.

With this proud history of activism, now more than ever, we need to continue to protect our beloved ocean.