Often the place where the ocean meets the coastline is portrayed as a wild place, where a line of foamy blue runs parallel to a line of sandy brown. Birds flock there and some shrubs grow and, at least in the ocean of our minds, it is a quiet, undisturbed, sun-and-silence getaway.
But the urban ocean experience is different, as anyone living around Southern California knows. Wildlife habitats are impacted by human activity, and that quiet meeting of foamy blue and sandy brown is dotted with busy boats and bustling harbors and people fishing, whale watching, and going out onto the waves.
The Aquarium of the Pacific's annual Urban Ocean Festival considers our city-snug water and the issues surrounding the complicated relationship between a metropolis and a vast below-the-wave world. The 2015 festival lands at the Long Beach ocean animal park on Saturday, May 2 and Sunday, May 3, and brings with it a host of to-dos and to-sees that ponder our impact on the ocean.
What to do, where to go and what to see
Any impact on the ocean has a distinct environmental theme, and one of the themes of the Urban Ocean Festival is definitely eco-care. Highlighting this is a rather memorable way is the Trashin' Fashion Show, a festival favorite that features clothing made of recycled items.
Bits of soda cans, coffee filters, and plastics? You're bound to see them on a skirt or hat.
Other doings during the day include art exhibits and poetry readings. How to get in? There's no separate ticket required — your aquarium admission provides entry to everything.
Even if you can't make the annual eco-fest, it's worth editing the images we keep in our heads, the daydreamy ones of a silent beach and peaceful ocean, its surface still with no boats leaving wakes. For a good chunk of California's oceanfront, like oceanfronts around the planet, is citified and busy and full of boats and humans interacting with the water and its inhabitants.
We know the ocean's impact on us, its beauty, the food it provides, its fog, its mystery. But our impact on the ocean must be always considered and weighed as well.