WASHINGTON, D.C., April 11. WORLD record holder Aaron Peirsol has announced that he will "race for the oceans" during his run-up to the 2008 Beijing Olympics, according to a press release from Oceana, the largest international organization solely dedicated to advocating for the world's oceans.
"I want to get the swimming community and our fans involved in the fight to save our oceans," said Peirsol.
Peirsol is presently acting as a spokesperson for Oceana. He is working with the organization to highlight the need for more people to get involved with Oceana and its campaigns throughout his journey to the Beijing Olympics.
"Oceana has accomplished an amazing amount in a short period of time – and it's clear to me that if more people get active and support the effort to save our oceans, this organization can do a lot more," said Peirsol.
"Aaron's passion for saving our oceans is remarkable," said Oceana CEO Andrew Sharpless, "He found us and contacted us because he liked the fact that we get stuff done and we believe we'll be able to get a lot more done with his help, specifically, educating and mobilizing people to join us in the campaign to save our oceans."
Oceana currently has more than 300,000 supporters in more than 150 countries and would like to – in the next few years – dramatically expand this base.
"It's simple really," said Sharpless "Our oceans have been governed in the dark for too long. We've found that if we can get more people involved in and concerned about ocean issues, we can win real, meaningful victories."
Since its inception in 2001, Oceana has already been able to convince U.S. and European officials to protect more than 750,000 square miles of ocean from destructive fishing (the largest such protections to date in both the continents), and has also succeeded in getting European authorities to enact the biggest reduction in oil pollution in years by forcing commercial ships to stop the routine dumping of more than 20 million gallons of oil and other wastes in the water every year.
A surfer, Peirsol grew up around and in the ocean in Southern California and became motivated to get involved because of his personal experiences in the water.
"Even though I'm a young guy, I've noticed a lot of scary things out there– fewer fish and more pollution. It's made me decide to get involved and try to make things better," said Peirsol. "You can get involved too – it's easy, just go to www.RacefortheOceans.org and sign up."