Over three decades ago on July 17, 1988, Shark Week premiered on Discovery Channel and we haven't looked at the notoriously scary swimmers the same way since. It was first intended as a way to encourage conservation efforts and to upend common misconceptions about sharks but has grown into the longest-running cable television programme event in history and is broadcast to 72 countries all over the world.
Although it has run into criticism for bowing to a more entertainment-orientated audience and for Michael Phelps racing a CGI shark instead of the real thing (can you blame him?) it still brings to surface the weird and wonderful world of the deep, including two-headed sharks and the search for the largest great white in the world on this years' agenda.
Ahead of the Sunday premiere, Discovery partnered with charity Oceana to lead beach clean-ups in Los Angeles, New York City and Knoxville, raising millions for conservation since its beginnings. But Shark Week is just a small part of the bigger push for ocean conservation, with approximately 8 million pieces of plastic pollution finding their way into our oceans every day, the problem is ever growing and the animals who call the ocean their home will be the first to suffer.
To help combat the problem and protect the sharks, organisations like international non-profit organization PangeaSeed are bringing people together from all over the world to use their creative talents to help conserve the oceans. Their Sea Walls initiative is part of their ARTivism program that brings together the oceans and the streets with artworks and murals that capture not only your attention but your imagination.
Not only are they environmentally friendly but they aim to educate, raise awareness and provide a platform for conversation about ocean issues and to grow a community where your creativity is your voice. Here are some of our favourite shark-related murals that promote shark conservation and showcase the beauty of these marine mammals that deserve our protection.
Another organisation whose passionate and dedicated team of volunteers have vowed to protect sharks and promote marine conservation is Shark Guardian, a non-profit charity aiming to educate, raise awareness and support marine research projects worldwide. We're proud to have helped support Shark Guardian by developing their brand awareness and designing brochures, leaflets, stickers, business cards, event banners and more to promote their message at events and schools across the world.
Shark Guardian networks with other conservation organizations and NGOs based in different countries around the world and conduct educational presentations and seminars, organize workshops, initiate research projects and so much more all in the name of shark and marine conservation. Most of the money raised for Shark Guardian is used to host free presentations to everyone from school students to dive centres, and helps to continually raise awareness about the dangers posed to sharks today and how you can help protect the oceans.
So as we enjoy Shark Week either through the documentaries, murals from across the globe or from just enjoying the influx of shark-related memes on twitter, a whole range of creative talent is fuelling awareness all over the globe and generating positive change. In the end hopefully our finned friends will be the ones to benefit and creativity really can help save the sharks.