3 Simple Ways to Protect the Ocean This Summer

3 Simple Ways to Protect the Ocean This Summer

It’s officially summer! You know what that means...rays of sunshine, crashing waves, summertime barbeques, surfing competitions, volleyball tournaments, and much, much more. Summer is one of the best times of the year because we can get out and enjoy the full glory of nature. But in these times, we must remember- it’s not all about fun and games. Summertime is meant to be an exciting time of year; kids are free from school, work hours are a little more flexible, and families take more vacations. But that doesn’t excuse anyone from being a responsible, environmentally conscious, contributing member of society. 

We’ve all walked the beach or boardwalk before and trampled through a ridiculous amount of garbage and debris. Paper receipts, plastic bags, coffee cups, cigarettes, plastic water bottles, aluminum cans, fast food containers...the list goes on and on. There are all sorts of statistics to prove how big of an issue this is. According to UNESCO, 80% of marine pollution is caused by land-based sources such as agricultural run-off and plastic. Plastic debris causes the death of more than one million seabirds every year, as well as more than 100,000 marine mammals. Furthermore, there are now nearly 500 global ocean dead zones, meaning lack of oxygen due to pollution from human activities is causing marine life to die off. 
Why do we think it’s acceptable to litter? How have we convinced ourselves it’s okay to destroy another living beings’ habitat? There are two simple answers: laziness and carelessness. It’s time we, as a society, do better. Let’s start looking at our habits, understanding their repercussions, and making changes to lessen our impact on The Big Blue.

Planning any beach getaways or activities this summer? Make sure you follow these 3 simple ways to protect the ocean and keep our beaches clean. 

Rid Yourself of Enemy #1- Single Use Plastic

Single use plastic has completely devastated marine life. We know you’ve heard the horror stories. Sea turtles with plastic straws stuck in their nostrils; dolphin rostrums getting stuck in plastic 6-pack rings; whale bellies packed full of garbage and debris that was mistaken for food; and more. All of these horrific tragedies can easily be avoided. All you have to do is make a few simple changes. Bring reusable bags rather than plastic bags, use a reusable water bottle, replace all your plasticware with glassware, etc. An animal’s life shouldn’t be taken because we’re too lazy to walk to the trash can. 

Always Pick Up After Yourself

On that note, it’s incredibly important to clean up after yourself every time you visit the beach. You may think dropping one piece of paper or plastic won’t have that much of an impact, but imagine how many people have that same, misinformed mentality! That amounts to an entire landfill of trash. Have you ever been to a beach that didn’t provide a trash can or dumpster? Don’t think so! Simply look around to locate the nearest one. It won’t take much of your time to collect all of your garbage and throw it away in the appropriate place. You can even go the extra mile and pick up any trash you find strewn about while taking a stroll along the shoreline. That’s much better than allowing it to wind up on the bottom of the ocean floor tormenting sea life and affecting our beloved bodies of water. 

Organize a Beach Clean-Up

While this one may take a bit more effort, the reward is totally worth it. And no, we’re not talking a monetary reward. Imagine how great you would feel after organizing a successful beach clean-up. You can plan an entire city-wide event or even just keep it simple and ask a few friends to join you. Not only will you feel great after doing such a good deed, you’ll be supporting your community and environment the entire time. It’s a win-win! You’ll probably be astonished to see just how much trash you and your team collect. It can be really eye-opening. 

It’s time we stop destroying everything around us and actually start taking care of our environment. It’s really not hard at all. If you have the time to spend the day soaking up the sunshine with your friends, you most certainly have the time to clean up after yourselves. Leave your cozy little beach spot looking like you were never even there. Think of all the precious little sea creatures you’ll be helping! All of these small changes amount to a world of difference to our environment. So, the next time you catch yourself saying how much you love the beach, remember- actions speak louder than words. It’s our duty to protect Mother Nature- do your part. 

By: Sydney Daly-Weber

Holly MacKinnon