A poster seen at the 2017 People's Climate March in Washington DC.
“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is ever going to get better. It's not.”
~ The Lorax, Dr. Suess
When I think of an advocate, I often think of the Lorax, the iconic conservation figure created by Dr. Suess. The Lorax spoke for the trees, which had no tongues.
The lesson of the Lorax was that there are things that must be cared for, resources that need to be stewarded. Often we need someone to remind us what we have or what may be lost. We need someone to speak out on behalf of the things that can’t speak for themselves – whether trees or horseshoe crabs.
Without an advocate we might not even hear about important things until they are gone.
However, what may be the saddest aspect of the Lorax is that there was just one, fighting a lonely battle.
Advocacy is a word that generates strong responses. It often gets mixed up with “lobbying”, which can be a part of advocacy, but doesn’t capture its entirety.
At the American Littoral Society, “advocacy” isn’t just about those employed here speaking up, taking action, and working to advance coastal conservation. It isn’t just about reaching out to elected officials in hopes they will give some attention to our cause.
Advocacy, as our mission statement says, is also about empowering others to do the same.
Advocacy is about making more advocates.
At the Littoral Society, we recruit members and supporters. We host education programs for children and adults. We hold volunteer events. We make every effort to bring people to the coast because we believe that when people get their feet wet and hands sandy, they become advocates for the beaches, bays and estuaries, as well as all the creatures that need them.
Together we can more effectively speak on behalf of marine life and its habitats. Together we have a louder voice to raise on behalf of the horseshoe crabs and shorebirds of Delaware Bay, the whales and fish and of the Bight, and for the communities that are tied to these ocean resources.
We urge you to become an advocate and welcome the addition of your voice.
Be a Lorax. Be someone who cares a whole awful lot.