Summers by the sea require responsible recreation
As Memorial Day weekend heralds the beginning of beach season, millions of people will start flocking to the shores to enjoy the sun sand, and surf.
Unfortunately, many of these visitors will not leave these precious natural areas better than they found them.
That’s why it’s so critical for responsible beachgoers to pick up the slack (and the trash) that others leave behind, so we can all keep enjoying our beautiful oceans for as long as possible.
From small to big, there are tons of things we can all do to protect our oceans year round, whether we’re at the beach or at home.
Leave No Trace
While you’re visiting the beach, it’s important to practice leave no trace principles. The leave no trace philosophy is summed up in the phrase, “take nothing but photographs, leave nothing but footprints.”
With the number of people visiting a crowded beach each day, it can be easy to forget that these are fragile natural places that need to be carefully protected. You can do this in many different ways, including:
Carrying out everything you carried onto the beach. Don’t leave any trash behind, and pick up any trash you see.
Respect the wildlife. Do not try to touch, chase, or harm the animals you encounter.
Leave natural objects where you find them, they are a part of a complex ecosystem.
Choose a Reef Safe Sunscreen
A day at the beach definitely requires a liberal dose of sunscreen, but be careful about which one you choose to slather on. Sunscreens that contain oxybenzone can be harmful to delicate coral reefs, causing them to bleach and die.
Coral is very slow growing, and can take years for the damaged reef to recover, if it ever does.
Protect the coral reefs and other ocean-dwelling organisms by choosing a reef safe sunscreen. Babo Botanicals stocks some great options!
Choose Sustainable Seafood
You can help protect our oceans without ever setting foot in the sand! One important way to do this is by choosing sustainable seafood sources if you eat fish.
Irresponsible fishing practices can lead to overfishing, which causes global fish populations to suffer. Coupled with the destruction of their natural habitats, many species are rapidly heading toward the endangered species list.
You can stem this tide by shopping only through reputable seafood suppliers that use sustainable fishing practices. Check out the Ocean Futures Society’s sustainable seafood guide to find a supplier near you.
Reduce Your Plastic Use
It’s no secret that tons and tons of plastic waste ends up in the ocean each year. This unprecedented plastic pollution harms our ocean, as well as the animals living in it.
Marine life can become trapped in or confused by plastic waste, mistaking it for food and slowly starving to death. We know that this harms the fish, what we’re not sure about yet is if it could be harming us too. After all, fish eat plastic and we eat fish…
The only way to solve this problem is to drastically reduce, or even eliminate, our reliance on plastics, and to clean up the millions and millions of pieces that are already polluting our oceans.
Decrease Your Carbon Footprint
Climate change is happening rapidly, and our oceans are the first to face its effects. Warming ocean temperatures cause coral reefs to bleach and die, fish migrate toward cooler waters at the poles, disrupting fishery globally, sea levels steadily rise, and extreme weather events become more and more commonplace.
If we want our children and grandchildren to be able to enjoy a pleasant day at the beach, we need to address climate change by cutting our carbon footprint, now.
But there’s only so much that we as individuals can do. Which brings me to my next point.
Raise Your Voice
To protect our oceans, decisive action needs to be taken to address pollution, climate change, unsustainable fishing practices, and other issues facing our seas. Changes need to be implemented from the highest levels, so that the biggest culprits, corporations, can be reigned in before it’s too late.
Use your voice to stand up for our oceans by electing officials who care about protecting them as much as we do. Our oceans are the most unique part of our big, blue planet, and they need to be protected!
A freelance writer working with bighearted businesses who want to better our world.