|photo (c) Doug Perrine/SeaPics.com|
Restoring Oceans. Restoring Hope.
The world's oceans face a mounting crisis of abuse and overuse--but you
can help! Just by taking small, common-sense steps that reduce your
impact, you join a growing movement of ocean awareness that's good for
the ocean....and good for you.
Share the "50 Ways to Help Save the Ocean" emails on Facebook, just click here: Share on Facebook.
This outreach effort is inspired in part by David Helvarg and his seminal work 50 Ways to Save the Ocean.
Plant native plant species. Plant your yard or garden with native species to save water and support native wildlife. Native shrubs and flower beds provide better habitat for birds and other wildlife than grass lawns. They also require less water and fertilizer. When runoff full of fertilizers and pesticides reaches the ocean it can cause a harmful algal bloom and poison marine life. To learn about native plants in your area, click here.
Elect representatives who will save the sea. It is important to keep the conservation of the ocean as a priority for our government in the upcoming elections. Make that the case by voting for officials who will preserve the ocean. Write and call your representatives to tell them how important this issue is to you. Make your voice heard! To find out who your local and federal representatives are, click here. Also, check out Ocean Champions, an organization that promotes ocean conservation policy.
Calculate your mercury intake. Swordfish, mackerel, and tuna are high in mercury. To help save the ocean, leave these fish in the sea! If you eat seafood, you are ingesting mercury, a heavy metal known to cause many health problems. Air pollution from fossil fuel burning adds mercury to the atmosphere, then it settles in the ocean. It enters the ocean food web and becomes most concentrated in predator fishes. Click here to calculate your mercury intake at GotMercury.org.
Always pick up after your pet. Pet-waste contains bacteria that pollutes local waterways and the ocean. Bacteria in pet waste can cause harm to marine ecosystems and species as well as threaten freshwater drinking supplies. Viruses in cat waste can make sea otters sick! Always carry disposable bags while walking your pet to pick up and dispose of waste properly
Take action on Pacific Leatherback Conservation Day, October 15th! Speaking out, sharing, and leading actions this Tuesday, October 15th, on Leatherback Conservation Day is a great way to advance sea turtle and ocean conservation. Host a bake sale, paint a mural, or create a leatherback sea turtle costume for a parade, demonstration, or even Halloween. The Action Pack linked below is an activity planning guide full of simple and more involved actions to help you make a difference! Help make Pacific Leatherback Conservation Day a huge success by taking these three actions below:
1) Take the Pacific Leatherback Conservation Pledge!
2) LIKE the Leatherback Conservation Day Facebook page.
3) Download the Pacific Leatherback Conservation Day Action Pack PDF File.
Get ready to celebrate Pacific Leatherback Conservation Day on October 15th! This special day was designated in California thanks to nation-wide support from advocates like you! It serves to recognize the importance of Pacific leatherbacks and inspire everyone to take actions to help reduce the threats they face to survive. Help make Pacific Leatherback Conservation Day a huge success by taking these three actions below:
1) Take the Pacific Leatherback Conservation Pledge!
2) LIKE the Leatherback Conservation Day Facebook page.
3) Download the Pacific Leatherback Conservation Day Action Pack PDF File.
Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. Everyone knows the saying, but not
everyone does it! Committing yourself to reduce, reuse, and recycle can
help you, your community, and the ocean by saving money, energy, and
natural resources. Already doing it? Try to rethink and refuse items
that quickly become litter. Tons of waste that we dispose of ends up in
the ocean, which harms the ecosystem and marine life. For more
ocean-friendly recycling info, visit the EPA’s website.
Carry reusable utensils. Keep a reusable fork, knife, and spoon in your bag or car so you can avoid using single-use plastic utensils. If you forget your reusable utensils and must use plastic at a BBQ, potluck, or takeout restaurant, save them! Wash and use them the next time you are out. Plastic is one of the most detrimental forms of pollution in the ocean. For more ocean-friendly tips to kick rethink plastic visit the Plastic Pollution Coalition website.
Join International Coastal Cleanup Day. This September 21st is International Coastal Cleanup Day at your local beach or watershed. It’s the largest volunteer event to help save the ocean each year! It doesn’t take much time, and makes a significant impact on the coastal ecosystem. SeaTurtles.org is keeping sea turtle beaches clean all year with Marine Debris Action Teams. Click here to find your local Coastal Cleanup Day worksite.
Reduce your disposable plastic use. Use canvas shopping bags and reusable water bottles instead of plastic whenever you can. Just say no to straws and coffee stir sticks. Plastic accounts for 90% of all ocean debris. Unlike other types of trash, plastic is not biodegradable. Plastic is forever. Plastic waste is believed to cause the deaths of 100,000 marine animals each year. To support our education, advocacy, and plastic waste cleanup efforts on Costa Rican nesting beaches, where our efforts have already removed 1,250 lbs of debris and plastic litter, click here.
Take a walk on the beach. Beaches are a natural part of our beautiful world. When we use beaches, we grow to treasure them and strive to protect them. Take some time to walk, swim, and participate in responsible beach and ocean activities. And remember, take only memories and leave only footprints. Sea turtles need clean beaches, free from obstructions and light pollution. Learn more at www.seaturtles.org.
Don't flush unused or expired medications. Many drugs and chemicals are not degraded in wastewater treatment facilities, and are released into the ocean to impact wildlife. Hormones, antidepressants, painkillers, and other medicinal drugs have been detected in water supplies, watersheds, and the ocean. Never flush your old pills! Collect your medical waste and dispose of it at a local pharmacy or state facility – check out the location nearest you at this EPA website.
Conserve water! Saltwater is abundant in the ocean, but clean freshwater is scarce on earth! Be mindful of your water use at home and while at work. Reduce your time in the shower, minimize or eliminate watering your lawn and landscaping, and immediately fix leaky faucets and toilets. Conservation means more habitat for freshwater fish species, inland watersheds, and a healthier ocean. For more ways to conserve water click here.
Be a responsible boater. When enjoying the water on your
kayak, motorboat, or sailboat, never throw litter or food overboard. Be
aware of and respect marine life around you. Each year, thousands of sea
turtles are critically injured from collisions with speeding boats.
Take it slow! When working on your boat, use nontoxic cleaning products,
immediately fix fuel leaks, and contain any paint or metal flakes
(they’re toxic!). Click here for Ten Tips for Clean and Green Boating.
Look, but don’t touch, when SCUBA diving. Diving immerses you in the ocean ecosystem, where your actions can directly effect wildlife. To reduce your impact, never touch any corals, even sturdy ones, as their protective “slime” is degraded when you do. Interfering with eels, crabs, and even sea turtles can be dangerous for you and the stresses you cause can be dangerous to the animals! For an unforgettable SCUBA expedition assisting with permitted sea turtle and shark research, dive with Todd Steiner and Randall Arauz this November in the Cocos Islands, Costa Rica! Click here to learn more.
If you go fishing, fish responsibly. If you choose to go recreational fishing, avoid species that are overfished and follow all laws relevant to season, bag limits, and size restrictions for your catch. Whenever practicing catch and release, fish with barbless hooks or lures: studies show that the survival rate for fish caught on such equipment is significantly higher. And remember: always have a license! Not only does that help keep track of how many people are affecting marine life, but the funds helps protect and conserve the ocean. To read about the impacts of industrial fishing on endangered sea turtles around the world, click here.
Join an offshore whale watching, sea turtle spotting or seabird cruise. A trip to the coast to go on a whale watching tour gets you up close and personal with marine life you care about. These businesses that rely on healthy oceans and wildlife, and that operate responsibly, are part of the ocean conservation community. You can share photos of rare whale, sea turtle, or seabird sightings with citizen science projects, like our Leatherback Watch Program, to add valuable marine wildlife data. To join one of our upcoming offshore trips August-October, leaving from several northern California locations, visit www.seaturtles.org/events.
Choose an ocean conservation license plate! Many states offer the option of specialty license plates for vehicles, including those that support sea turtles, whales, manatees and coral reefs. The plates raise funds for the various organizations as well provide a visual reminder to other drivers about the importance of ocean conservation. Here are links to learn more about specialty license plates in California, Florida, Texas, and New York.
Give your car an ocean-friendly washing. If you choose to wash
you car, using precious water and energy resources, please give you car
an ocean-friendly washing. Taking your car to a commercial carwash is
the most ocean-friendly choice! Washing your own car uses about 60% more
water than a commercial car wash. Additionally, untreated chemical
runoff can travel into the streets and end up in streams, lakes and the
ocean. At a commercial car wash dirty water must be piped to a
wastewater treatment facility, and they often use recycled water. For
more facts and tips from the Environmental Protect Agency, click here.
Just say no to swordfish. Most swordfish is caught using surface longlines or drift gillnets that catch and kill thousands of endangered sea turtles each year around the world. Sustainable? No! U.S. Atlantic longliners catch hundreds of sea turtles each year, and despite our protesting, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has given this fishery its "sustainable" eco-label. In the U.S. Pacific, swordfish is still caught with deadly drift gillnets along the California coast, where endangered whales are tangled and killed (click here to take action and Halt the Curtain of Death in California!). And Hawaii's longline swordfish fleet keeps drowning endangered leatherbacks, false killer whales, blue sharks and seabirds on millions of hooks. In other countries, the bycatch and "by-kill" is worse! Toxic mercury contamination in swordfish is so common the FDA advises childbearing women and young children to never eat it. Use the Got Mercury? seafood mercury calculator to learn more.
Help us bring justice to murdering sea turtle poachers in Costa Rica.
It is with a sad heart that I write from Costa Rica to share unsettling
news and a call to action. This last Friday, Jairo Mora Sandoval, a
26-year-old conservationist working to protect leatherback sea turtles
on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, was murdered while leading a beach
patrol. Tomorrow, I will be co-leading a similar patrol on our
cooperative conservation ecotour. This email is typically upbeat and educational, but this week I am asking you all to click here to help us respond to the horrific murder of Jairo Mora Sandoval.
Become a citizen scientist for the ocean. What is "citizen
science"? This is the newest frontier for volunteer science research
assistants and collective efforts to utilize lots of simple observations
by folks like you and I to monitor environmental changes. The world is
changing fast - and with new smartphone Apps like iNaturalist
you can help document changes to local watersheds, beaches, and the
ocean! Turtle Island Restoration Network supports citizen science
contributions in our Cocos Island research dive trips, our Costa Rica beach ecotour, and SPAWN's coho salmon monitoring.
Fall in love with the ocean. We naturally protect what we love
from harm - it's instinct. Visit the beach, take a swim, or gaze
longingly into beautiful photos of the ocean to strengthen that love
(like this photo from Doug Perrine/SeaPics.com). Whether you are
igniting an old flame or discovering for the first time your love for
the ocean and all its wild inhabitants, dive in and make a commitment
to form a close relationship with the ocean. Dr. Wallace "J." Nichols, a
member of our Board of Directors, brings students and scientists
together to study the positive, transformative effects of expressing
love for the ocean in a series of lectures, known as BLUEMiND. Click here to learn about BLUEMiND.
Never dump waste into a storm drain. A storm drain along the street diverts excess water into local creeks and wetlands to keep roads from flooding. It is often a direct link to a creek or ocean ecosystem! Never dump oil pet waste, or litter into a storm drain as it will soon pollute everything downstream. Take action - start a community storm drain stenciling project to label local storm drains "No Dumping - Drains to Ocean!" Click here for resources from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Be a voice for the ocean at local public hearings. Getting
engaged with local government, whether it's a city planning commission,
water board, or parks office, can lead to amazing opportunities to add
your voice in support of helping the ocean. Ocean health is threatened
when new construction occurs too close to the ocean or waterways that
lead to it or when sewage or polluted water enters the ocean.
Establishing or supporting parks along the ocean, such as Marine
Protected Areas, can bring many conservation benefits to the ocean.
Turtle Island Restoration Network is working to strengthen our local
Stream Conservation Area ordinance, click here to learn more and take action.
Keep oil off the beach and out of the ocean. You probably know
that almost exactly three years ago, the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil
rig exploded, killing 11 people and hundreds of sea turtles, marine
mammals, and seabirds during the worst oil spill in US history. But did
you know that the combined total of oil spilled into beaches and the
ocean from leaky cars, boat bilge discharges, gas stations, and other
sources in urban runoff each year are much greater than even the BP oil
spill of 2010? So be sure to practice proper maintenance on your cars
and boats, and work in your community for tighter control standards on
all other point-sources for accidental petroleum emissions.
And as always, please continue to oppose offshore oil drilling - the
consequences of accidents and the impacts of acoustic exploration are
horrific to the ocean and its wildlife.
Save your local sand dunes. Coastal sand dunes serve
very important functions as nesting habitat for sea turtles and
shorebirds and as physical barriers to protect coastal communities from
waves, flooding, and saltwater intrusion. Respect this delicate habitat:
stay on hiking trails and never trample dune vegetation; when driving
on the beach, stay off of the dunes; leave seaweed and driftwood in
place on dunes as they provide food, shelter, and habitat for wildlife;
take part in a dune restoration project and work to protect beautiful
and essential coastal sand dunes.
Volunteer with an ocean conservation project. Contributing
time as a volunteer advances critical conservation efforts and
demonstrates to your friends and family your caring commitment to
helping save the ocean. Whether you volunteer in-person at a beach
cleanup, work remotely to support advocacy, or attend an organized event
this Earth Day, every hour volunteering is greatly appreciated by the
organizations and efforts you support. Click here for meaningful ways you can volunteer to support the Sea Turtle Restoration Project.
Landscape organically to reduce chemicals and urban runoff into the ocean. Spring
has sprung, sending many of us outside to manage and improve
landscaping around our homes or apartments. Choosing non-toxic products,
avoiding the use of chemical fertilizers, and creating raingardens,
swales, or rainwater harvesting systems can help reduce polluted urban
runoff that reaches the ocean. Choosing plants for your yard that are
native species that grow locally will mean less water and chemicals are
Click here to download the Teacher's Guide to Rainwater Harvesting on Campus created by SPAWN, the Salmon Protection And Watershed Network.
Practice conservation when on vacation. Performing
volunteer service to support ocean conservation is a great way to spend
your Spring Break or part of your next vacation. Whether choosing an
organized Ecotourism trip package or simply choosing sustainable seafood
and cleaning the beach when on your own, dedicate a portion of your
vacation to ocean conservation. For information on our new Costa Rica
beach ecotour June 2-8 to assist leatherback and marine debris
conservation research, click here.
Buy local to reduce carbon emissions. As the atmospheric carbon (CO2)
rises from fossil fuel emissions, the acidity of the ocean also rises
and its health is compromised. Choosing to buy locally-sourced goods and
services reduces carbon emissions from transportation. Check the label:
products made in far-away countries like China depend on burning of
even more fossil fuels for their transportation to you.
Make ocean-friendly choices when shopping. Never buy
any product that looks like it was made from a sea turtle shell, from
shark parts, or from marine life. Even purchasing items constructed from
dried corals, seashells, and dried seahorses encourages collection of
these creatures from fragile marine ecosystems. If you see restricted
items like sea turtle shells, use your camera to document and share
where illegal marine-life items are being sold. Then, inform local
authorities, local conservation activists, and send us the details too.
Make ocean-friendly choices as a pet owner. Do not
flush your cat's litter, because it can contain pathogens that survive
wastewater treatment and are harmful to marine life when the effluent
reaches the sea. Never stock your aquarium with wild-caught saltwater
fish, and never release any aquarium fish into the ocean or other
bodies of water; introduced non-native lionfish are now invasive species
harmful to Florida's coral reef ecosystem (like in the photo above
courtesy of George Cathcart/Marine Photobank). Finally, read your pet's
food labels and consider seafood sustainability when making purchases.
Pitch in and clean up litter. Winter and spring rains will wash
litter into wildlife habitats and eventually into the ocean where sea
turtles, fishes, and marine mammals encounter it and become entangled,
poisoned and sometimes killed. Litter from inland and coastal
communities is the number one source of marine debris that plagues
oceans around the world. Don't live near the ocean? Cleaning up local
litter is still important, because plastics and other industrial source
materials (such as dyes and petroleum by-products) may have toxic
effects on inland ecosystems and aquifers connected to drinking water
Carpool with friends and co-workers. Reducing personal vehicle
emissions helps save the ocean because the excess carbon in our
atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels for personal vehicle
transportation is raising the acidity of the ocean and disrupting the
growth of shellfish and corals. Organize a carpool to work or to social
events with friends and use the opportunity to tell them all about your
passion for saving endangered sea turtles!
Pass on wild shrimp. All wild shrimp, regardless of its country
of origin, is caught using fishing gear called bottom trawling that
consists of weighted nets dragged along the ocean floor that catch,
ensnare, topple, or drown everything in their path. Juvenile fishes are
damaged, corals are bulldozed, and baby sea turtles drowned every day in