Monday, September 10, 2012

If life's a beach, let's keep it clean!

Growing up in California’s Bay Area, I have always had great love, awe, and appreciation for the ocean. Thinking about it now, the seed of my fascination with the ocean may have been planted when I saw my first movie in theaters, The Little Mermaid. After seeing it, and of course watching it over and over again at home, I always regarded the ocean’s undulating surface as an expansive blue curtain shielding another world filled with creatures beyond our wildest imagination.

While I am not a believer in mermaids, yes it’s unfortunate; I still regard the ocean with the same astonishment that I did when I was a child. I spent about 8 years of my young life dreaming of being an oceanographer. Why didn’t I fulfill my dream you ask? It all came to an end on career day when I listened to a real life oceanographer speak for the first time. I fell asleep to him talking about plankton, and mind you I rarely fell asleep in class, and I awoke to him still talking about plankton. He then ended his speech saying “Remember kids, don’t do it for the money”. I left the classroom knowing that was, in fact, not the career path for me. However, I still love the ocean, and know that we must do something NOW to help reverse the damage we have caused to the health of our oceans and all of it’s inhabitants.

Hearing about floating plastic land masses the size of Texas in the middle of the ocean, seeing pictures of birds covered in oil from recent oil spills, and watching the documentary The Cove, is enough to break my heart and make me sick thinking about how humans have trashed, disrespected, and taken advantage of our ocean. Our health is directly linked to its health, which is why I strongly believe we need to do something, together as a human race, and also as individuals on a daily basis.

I was going to pack this blog post with scientific facts about the ocean’s current state, but really do I need to? We all know the ice caps are melting, the ocean is littered with plastic, and its inhabitants are dying because of man made plastic materials and fishing equipment. The ocean also recently received a 60 out of a possible 100 as it’s current overall health score. I know for a fact that if I went home to my Mom with a 60 as my grade on a test, she would be very disappointed. That’s not a score that makes it onto the refrigerator.

While I can sit around all day worried about the state of ocean, I’m going to put my money where my mouth is. I will be participating, and filming beach clean ups over the next two weekends here in NYC, and dedicating my blog posts to reporting back all that I discover.

There are so many simple things we can do to make a difference. For example, and this is one I’ve really been trying to work on myself, let’s ban the plastic bags! Let’s also stop buying water bottles, or at least limit the amount we do buy, replacing them with reusable containers. Lastly, at the very least, let’s make sure to pick up our trash!

Here are a couple links to websites with detailed info about our ocean’s current condition.

I look forward to participating in my first beach clean-up, and encourage all of you out there, be it near the coast or not, to pick up trash. Maybe even just one piece of trash everyday, even if it’s not yours. Think about what a difference that would make if we all actually did it!

I’ll be reporting back next week, so stay tuned!

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