I know I’m not alone when I say the beach and ocean are my happy places. The more I spend time on them, the more I fall in love with them. The more I’m in the ocean, the more I want to take care of it. The more time I spend on the beach, the more I want it to never change. It’s a pretty darn positive domino effect if you ask me.
But, things are changing, and we humans just really know how to mess things up. Especially out in nature in the summer. Don’t get me started on how much more trash I find on the beach this time of year vs. in January. It’s sad, frustrating, worrisome, and sometimes I wonder how in the world a six pack of Bush Light can just wash up at my feet when I’m on a beach run (true story).
So, I just really, really, really, want to play my part in what goes on at the beach and on the water this summer. I want it to be a big ‘ol positive one. You know, a “making a few conscious choices and efforts that can make a big impact if we all make the same small daily decisions” type of deal.
Here’s how. (Some of this might seem like no-brainers, but sometimes we need to remind our brain of the no-brainers.)
• Leave nothing but footprints.
There are signs all over in Pensacola Beach that say that on the trashcans around beach access zones. And I love them. Because it’s just SO simple and true. There’s also this cool hand painted sign I saw in Cocoa Beach that said “The beach is not an ashtray. Thanks, Bill” (I’d like to buy Bill a drink). But seriously, only leave your footprints. And if someone happened to leave something other than a footprint, pick it up so they just left footprints without knowing it too. Pay it forward for the beaches and ocean.
• Make little decisions the can make a big difference.
Get ready for a fun little list for this one:
• Now’s a GREAT time to buy an aluminum straw
• Same with a reusable water bottle
• Bike whenever possible
• Wear reef safe sunscreen (Or a tee shirt or rash guard) when swimming or diving near a reef/lots of marine life.
• Carry a reusable tote in your beach bag that you can fill with trash you find/do spontaneous beach cleanups (Cigarette butts included – sorry those make me the angriest for some reason.)
• Be mindful, like SUPER mindful of your single-use plastic usage.
• There’s so much more. But you get the point.
• Support companies the make sustainable gear
Companies are taking it into their own hands to make more eco-conscious gear. I find it not at all ironic the most of these companies are run by surfers, water-loving folks, and nature enthusiasts. Love it.
Case in point: the sunglasses I’m wearing in the pics are from Costa, and in an effort to not use plastic, the frames are made from tree pulp. They also have some made from recycled fishing line. It’s both styling and extremely fascinating.
There’s also numerous swimwear lines making their suits out of fabric made from recycled fishing lines, or recycled plastic water bottles.
So, where you’re stocking up on summer gear, show those companies that are making an effort some love.
• Respect the ocean and its inhabitants.
It’s their home. We’re just visiting. Let’s be polite. If you see something cool, maybe just soak up the mental image instead of jamming a smartphone in its face. Just sit back and appreciate the beauty of a fish, bird, Dolphin, shark, sea turtle, ray, etc. in its natural habitat. Have a Sean O’Connell moment from The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. (If you don’t know who that is, go watch that flick movie asap.) Plus, Natural Geographic takes the best pics of them all anyways.
In terms of the ocean, I firmly believe if you treat it with love, it will love you back in its own, amazing, salty, hard to describe way.
• Get out and enjoy it as much as possible.
The more you’re at the beach, in the water, and in nature, the more you’ll want to take care of it. It’s like you go on a date with it each time and fall in love more and more and more and more. Then, the next thing you know, you’ll be sitting, somewhere, drinking an Arnold Palmer from a mason jar with an aluminum straw, hand lettering a “Leave Nothing but Footprints” Sign, while organizing a beach cleanup, and wearing sunglasses made from tree pulp.
Or maybe that’ll just be me next weekend.
Seriously, though, I think to make as much of a positive impact on the places we love, that they do on us, sounds like a blast this summer.
I look forward to playing the part.
• Thank you Costa Sunglasses for sponsoring this post, for my shades ( Wearing the May and Del Mar). Costa was founded in 1983 by a group of fisherman and they’ve been taking measures to preserve the water they love ever since. Love for the water is in their DNA. It’s in mine. Love working with them.