Colorado. The perfect place to discover . . . Oceans?

Cherlyn Seruto : Monday June 13, 1:44PM

Colorado is well known for its tall mountains, sweeping plains, and opportunities for relaxation or adventure. While walking down just about any street in the state you may just as likely hear conversation topics ranging from the latest rodeo to wall street. The one topic that doesn’t often come to mind when in Colorado is oceans – unless discussing vacation destinations, or in a daydream on a rare cloudy and frigid winter day. Vicki Nichols Goldstein, Founder of Colorado Ocean Coalition (COC), aims to change this by spearheading more oceanic action in the state.

As Vicki states: “Just because you live in the middle of the country, doesn’t mean you can’t protect the ocean.” Colorado Ocean Coalition gives landlocked ocean lovers a political voice and a means to create change both locally and beyond.

The organization has already been very active. In May 2011 COC represented Colorado’s interests at Blue Frontier’s Blue Vision Summit in Washington, D.C., a gathering of the international marine community.

COC at the Blue Vision Summit

The Blue Vision Summit works to create a united front for enactment and implementation of the National Ocean Policy. COC members worked side-by-side with marine greats Sylvia Earle and Carl Safina on international oceanic issues, such as a global network of marine protected areas and steps to address threatened tuna species. This was followed  by a visit to the Hill where COC representatives met with the staff from Senator Udall, Senator Bennett and Congressman Polis office on the importance of oceanic policies to Coloradans.

COC on Capitol Hill in Denver

Coloradans have a lot to gain (or lose) from the health of our oceans. There are many reasons to care about oceanic issues and the National Ocean Policy, even from this landlocked state.

My favorite two reasons stem from my enjoyment of breathing clean air and eating sustainable food.


Like the rest of the planet, 2 of every 3 breaths we take is thanks to photosynthetic plankton in our oceans. You heard that right. All terrestrial plant life only contributes 1/3 as much to our atmospheric oxygen levels as ocean photosynthesizers. The plankton responsible is just as susceptible to oceanic dead zones as other organisms. Coloradans and other inland states contribute to these dead zones via nutrients, chemicals, and other pollution that flushes through our land and into waterways on their way to the ocean.


If you are anything like me, you enjoy the occasional sustainably harvested seafood. With the majority of our international fisheries stocks on the verge of collapse, what Coloradans choose to eat for dinner will make a huge difference for the survival of certain fisheries.

What is your favorite reason to get involved? Why don’t you tell Vicki yourself? To learn more or get involved,  check out our Facebook. There you will find information and updates, including the location of the monthly ‘blue drinks’ in Boulder.


About the author:

Cherlyn Seruto grew up on a deteriorating stream in Los Angeles and has been interested in water quality issues ever since. She has a Masters degree in Environmental Toxicology and has worked on ecological risk assessments and bioremediation projects with major oil and mining corporations. Most recently she worked as a consultant at Rocky Mountain Institute.



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