What’s another word for volunteering? How about: cleanswell

April 22, 2021 | 3 minute read
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What’s another word for volunteering? In this series, we’re asking nonprofit organizations to make up words that describe what Oracle Volunteers' contributions mean to them.

Would you ever mistake a piece of plastic for your next meal?

Probably not.

But to sea turtles, a plastic bag floating in the ocean looks a lot like their favorite food, jellyfish. In fact, this mistake proves fatal for nearly one fourth of sea turtles who end up consuming plastic.

In total, plastic pollution impacts nearly 700 species in the ocean. It’s not surprising when you learn that an estimated 8 million metric tons of plastics enter the ocean every year on top of the estimated 150 million metric tons that currently circulate in marine environments. Whether its errant plastic bags and straws finding their way into gutters, or mismanaged plastic waste flowing out of rapidly growing economies, the equivalent of one garbage truck full of plastic ends up in the ocean every minute of every day of the year.


While these statistics are staggering, there are actions we can take to help heal our blue planet. And change begins with gloves, a litter picker, a trash bucket or bag, a smartphone, and you.

"Clean Swell represents a growing global movement to make beaches, waterways, and the ocean trash-free."

Allison Schutes, Director of the International Cleanup, Ocean Conservancy

To help turn the tide on plastic pollution, Oracle Volunteering teamed up with Ocean Conservancy to organize our first-ever global cleanup, encouraging employees to pick up trash along the shores of their local waterways, beaches, parks and neighborhoods. Volunteers log their cleanup efforts in the Ocean Conservancy’s easy-to-use Clean Swell app, which provides researchers and policymakers with valuable insight into how we’re making the ocean ecosystem cleaner and healthier.

These cleanups are taking place as part of Focus on Environment, our global initiative that encourages employees around the world to roll up their sleeves and take action for a healthy planet in March and April.

To date, more than 1,400 Oracle Volunteers have committed to cleanups, which has so far prevented over 13,700 pieces of trash from ending up in the ocean.

“What makes the International Coastal Cleanup so unique and valuable is that volunteers collect itemized data on what they’re finding. Especially during the pandemic, this has really been possible through our mobile app, Clean Swell. It represents a growing global movement to make beaches, waterways, and the ocean trash-free,” said Allison Schutes, Director of the International Cleanup at Ocean Conservancy. “We’re grateful to the Oracle Volunteers and their families who’ve spent several weeks picking up litter and tracking what they’ve found. And, we hope they’ll keep going!” 

Plastic pollution remains an enormous threat to the ocean ecosystem and, in turn, to us. Indeed, to life on earth. The ocean produces over half of the world's oxygen and absorbs 50 times more carbon dioxide than our atmosphere, not to mention the food and enjoyment it provides us. So, this Earth Day, and any day you find yourself out and about, we invite you to embark on a cleanup of your own to protect the ocean and the planet. A sea turtle, hundreds of other marine species, and all of us, will thank you.

Dig deeper

Oracle is committed to doing our part to protect the planet through our volunteering, philanthropy, and sustainability initiatives. Learn more by reading the new Oracle Corporate Citizenship Report.

Photo by Thomas Peschak, Ocean Conservancy

Edwina Dueñas

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