The Atlantis was designed around the ocean and marine life, and as such, it is the resort’s obligation to protect what is critical to their success and that of the local community, according to Michelle Liu, Atlantis senior vice president marine and water park operations as the property recognizes and celebrates World Ocean Day (WOD) today.
WOD is a global celebration to help protect, honor and conserve the world’s oceans.
With month-long celebrations planned, Liu said it gives the resort and its employees the opportunity to educate and impact guests on, and raise awareness on, the importance of the ocean.
“A healthy ocean is critical to our survival and that of future generations,” said Liu. “When we celebrate, we raise awareness to the role that oceans play in each of our lives, and the crucial actions needed to protect it.
“We need the ocean to breathe. The ocean produces 50 percent of the world’s oxygen, so every second breath we take comes from the ocean.”
The marine and water park operations senior vice president said the ocean regulates the earth’s climate and that 98 percent of the sun’s rays are absorbed by the ocean and that heat is moved around the world via currents. Without the currents, Liu said, the weather would be too extreme and less areas would be habitable.
“[The ocean] plays a key part in the water cycle – and without this process, most of our planet would be a desert. The ocean holds 97 percent of the water on our planet, and almost every drop of rain that falls on land comes from the sea.”
She said every person in The Bahamas is connected to the ocean, as many people rely on and make their living from the ocean, whether through fishing or recreational activities such as sport fishing, diving, snorkeling, or enjoying the beaches. And that the ocean provides food for the majority of Bahamians.
Atlantis has been celebrating WOD since 2015. This year, the resort’s employees will continue to celebrate for the month through various mediums, which will include all colleagues donning blue or accessorizing in blue today.
The food and beverage department has also created special blue pastries for the month, and a portion of the sales will go toward funding the Atlantis Blue Project Foundation.
During June, Atlantis will offer a specially created “Behind the Blue” back-of-house tour for its guests. Activities will also include a poster exhibit in The Royal Lobby, highlighting the resort’s conservation successes; virtual field trips from Atlantis today to schools; donating and planting hundreds of cultivated mangrove plants in conjunction with the Bahamas National Trust; releasing baby stingray and sharks born at Atlantis into the ocean; and Atlantis Kids Club hosting a resort-wide WOD Family Scavenger Hunt.
Liu said Atlantis also seeks to give back to the ocean and ecosystem through its sustainable practices – banning single-use plastics; recycling program of cardboard, oil and green waste; community outreach educational programs working with NGOs (non-governmental organizations) to restore wetlands; research, rescue and rehabilitation of marine life; breed and release program for sea turtles; and through the Atlantis Blue Project Foundation, which is dedicated to saving sea species and their habitats throughout The Bahamas and surrounding Caribbean seas through funding scientific research, conservation programs and community outreach.
As the world recognizes WOD behind its rallying cry to unite to protect and restore the blue planet, officials at Atlantis admit they are proud that every day is Earth Day at the resort – not only as a company, but as inhabitants of the earth. Atlantis officials said they do more than just care – they do everything they can to celebrate, protect and support the ocean and environment.
Resort officials said it is up to everyone to do their part in preserving and restoring the Earth. And that as an ocean and environmentally focused resort, there are efforts they make to fulfill their commitment to the planet – recycling bins for plastic and aluminum cans installed throughout the property; plastic straws replaced with paper straws to avoid endangering the ocean and marine species; and water and energy conservation program includes the use of updated energy-efficient equipment, an established system for lights off and thermostats raised in guest rooms and office spaces, the encouragement for guests to reuse bath towels and reduce number of daily bed sheet changes to participate in conservation. Motor oil is recycled through a local oil refinery company – to date, over 2,700 gallons have been recycled by the resort. Cooking oil is locally recycled into biodiesel to be used in one of the local waste hauling company’s trucks, or it is burned directly, unprocessed, in our food-grade boiler to create steam. A test program to recycle cardboard locally to aid in compost production is currently running. Reusable sugar sack bags are replacing the use of plastic bags in landscaping.
Resort officials said every step they take raises awareness. They encourage The Bahamas at large to reduce these facts together – 1.1 million seabirds and animals killed by plastic every year; and 73 percent of beach litter worldwide is plastic.
WOD unites and rallies the world to protect and restore the blue planet, and supports collaborative conservation, working with its global network of youth and organizational leaders in more than 140 countries, and providing free and customizable promotional and actionable resources.
According to the United Nations (UN) – international days and weeks are occasions to educate the public on issues of concern, to mobilize political will and resources to address global problems, and to celebrate and reinforce achievements of humanity. The existence of international days predates the establishment of the UN, but the UN has embraced them as a powerful advocacy tool.