Whenever we are on the outer banks for the xmas holidays – which thankfully is most years – we start the new year with a beach clean up along a mile long strength of one of our favorite beaches in the world: the national seashore between and Avon and Buxton. This year, we collected about the same as we always do; lots of plastic bottles and bags, balloons, fishing line and a coffee pot.
One difference was that yesterday was balmy and clear (look how much colder it was in 2010!). Another is that there are many fewer small plastic bags stuck in the dune grass thanks to the state ban on single use plastic bags from retailers on the outer banks.
Picking up plastic is a great way to make a difference (if you don’t know why, go here and here). A better one is to consume less plastics, or at least limit how much you throw away.
Want some other ways to reduce your blue footprint in 2012? Stop eating seafood and ride your bike. These three actions will reduce your families negative impacts on the ocean to nearly zero.
In my view, three of the major threats to ocean ecosystems are overfishing, anthropogenic climate change, and plastic pollution. An individual cannot control the cumulative magnitude of these stressors from all of humanity, yet we can all quite easily reduce our own contributions. And if “no” as in “no seafood” is too extreme for you, in 2012 try for less seafood, less plastic and less driving and flying. Finally, don’t be a sucker for the bogus “sustainable seafood” labels and programs out there – more on this soon.
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