Ghost Horse Hollow ... because a Fantasy should last a lifetime!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

For the Love of the Sea: Making Waves of Change

Join the Ocean Conservancy & Make a "Sea Change" Today!
February is the month when roses, hearts, and love come to mind as many people celebrate Valentine's Day. One of the things I love to do is to visit a beautiful, clean beach with rolling waves and circling gulls. Recently, I was blessed with an opportunity to stop by a small salt water conservation center near Manhattan Beach, California. I was so inspired by the beautiful creatures of the deep and by their intricately connected and diverse environment, that I decided this month's blog should be about what we can do to help restore and protect marine life. Saving the world's oceans is arguably the most important issue before humankind, because the health of the oceans determines the success of the global food chain. The Ocean Conservancy recently made this observation:

"Providing food, fresh water, and oxygen to the world, the ocean is essential to all life on Earth, but it is in serious trouble from overuse and pollution. Ocean Conservancy believes it's time to change our national policies to protect entire ecosystems as the surest way to solve the most critical conservation challenges we face. The ocean belongs to everyone and everyone is needed to protect it. To get there, we must collaborate across political lines and with new partners from all walks of life."

A few months back I visited the local library and notice a special new release: The World is BLUE by oceanographer Sylvia A. Earle. I had never heard of Sylvia Earle before, and when I read of her credentials and contributions to the history of sea explorations and conservation, I was a bit chagrined. She is one of the foremost authors and leaders in sea ecology, and one of the most prominent and highly respected female scientists alive today. She urges all of us to take care of the Earth's oceans with a fresh sense of what is at stake if we do not. Interestingly, National Geographic's recent article on the Louisiana Gulf included a message from Sylvia Earl, whose early diving career featured studies of these same waters. I was amazed by her description of the abundance of life beneath the waves just a few decades ago. It was painfully clear that much of the diversity and delicacy of the ecosystem of the Gulf had been eradicated in her lifetime. So what can we do to make a "SEA CHANGE" according to the Ocean Conservancy? Here are five simple steps:

We Can Restore the Oceans with Careful Conservation!

  • Don't pour harsh chemicals down the drain or into storm sewers
  • Volunteer to clean a beach, shoreline, river, or stream near you. To participate in the annual International Coastal Cleanup, call: 1-800-262-BEACH
  • For housecleaning substitute baking soda, vinegar, and borax for harmful products like bleach
  • Before going to the beach or boating on the water, eliminate packaging and debris that could blow into the water
  • Fill a plastic bottle with water and place it in the toilet tank to displace and save gallons of H20!
I grew up in the era when Jacque Cousteau's sea adventures were some of the hottest programs on TV. His contributions to the understanding and appreciation that human beings have for the sea were outstanding. If you have never had the chance to view his underwater explorations, try checking out some of the videos that have been recently made documenting his life and work. Cousteau represented a harm-not policy towards the creatures of the deep, more of an observe and appreciate approach to the oceans that once teamed with life and uncluttered currents. A big issue before all nations is the growing amount of plastic debris that is accumulating in the oceans. Did you know that a mass of churning, melting plastic the size of twice the State of Texas is floating in the Pacific Ocean? Clearly, we must recycle on a more diligent scale, with recycling centers available in every city and rural county. We must also address ocean "dead zones," where oxygen depletion in coastal areas is causing massive ecosytem collapse. These appaling ocean floor graveyards are found downriver from fertilzer run-off. Our food production practices need to start considering ocean health.

Moving forward is a process of looking back at our lack of awareness and then making steps each day toward a different tomorrow. Envisioning non-toxic beaches, clean springs in the mountains, fresh rivers, abundant marine life, and thriving estuaries is a great way to begin. Educating children in the ways of bio-diversity, non-invasive economic practices, and organic gardening is another step that our generation can take to preserve our planet on a long term basis. Together, we can make an inspirational SEA CHANGE.

It is an honor to share this planet with so many incredible creatures!