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Protecting the Oceans: Your Role

| April 14, 2012

atlantic ocean preservation

An ocean in need of rescue. (© FlaglerLive)

In last week’s Coastal View I wrote about the importance of the oceans to life on earth and some of the challenges facing the oceans and their inhabitants–pollution, shark finning, whale and dolphin slaughter, and more. While not revisiting all that depressing news, I want to share with you effective actions we all can take to change the decline of the oceans and some 2.2 million species.

frank gromling flagler live coastal view columnistFrom working with various people and organizations seeking to protect the oceans, one thing I’ve learned is that the actions of every person do make a difference. “Every person” means even those who live in the heartlands, far removed from oceans geographically (but not from the oceans’ influences, or the influence they can have on the oceans).

I never much thought about the effect that plastic products, for example, when allowed to enter the rivers of the Midwest, can have on the Gulf of Mexico or the Atlantic Ocean. I never considered that fertilizer runoff from farms and ranches in the Ohio and Mississippi River Valleys could actually make its way to the Gulf, lending its destructive chemical power to what is known as the Gulf of Mexico’s “Dead Zone.”

The dead Zone. Click on the image for larger view. (Nature Conservancy map)

By educating myself through books and learning from technical experts, I now am much more aware of the negative impact people have on our land and water. For example, 80 percent of plastic found in the oceans comes from land sources, where it never reached recycling facilities. Consumer products such as food containers and drink bottles, including water bottles, make up the bulk of this floating mess. Just in the North Atlantic Garbage Gyre, that swirling mass of plastic particles from Cuba to Maryland and east to the Azores, scientists estimate that in each square mile of ocean there are over 200,000 pencil eraser-size plastic pieces.

So, what to do? I’ve provided at the end of the column a list of the major actions each of us can take to save the oceans. While this list is small because of column space, I do have an extensive list I would be happy to email to you if you contact me at my email.

The key is to get started today, right now. To wait until the weather is better, or you have the time, or the moon is full really says you aren’t going to do anything. So, read the list below or email me to get the full list of things you can do to protect the oceans.

I hope you decide to take action, and that you encourage your family and friends to join your efforts in ways that appeal to them. Thank you in advance for stepping up and I look forward to your comments or emails.

And don’t forget, you still have time to come out to Turtle Fest in Flagler Beach. I’ll be there signing books at the Ocean Publishing booth right next to the Volusia/Flagler Turtle Patrol display. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday to benefit the work of the Patrol.

Join me again next Saturday when I will divulge the details of my personal alien encounter.

“What Can We Do?”

Keep things in perspective. Be mindful of the big problems, but focus on solving them through what we can do everyday to help reduce them. Remember to LearnShareAct.

Learn all you can:

  • Decide what interests/concerns you
  • Research on the Internet (select credible sources)
  • Visit your library to find books
  • Attend seminars
  • Register for classes

Share what you have learned:

  • Family
  • Friends
  • Co-workers

Act today and every day:

  • Lead by example
  • Volunteer
  • Write articles or opinion pieces
  • Tell your representatives what you think

Frank Gromling is the owner of Ocean Publishing in Flagler Beach. Reach him by email here.

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2 Responses for “Protecting the Oceans: Your Role”

  1. Liana G says:

    And a really, really small and almost insignificant action that has a huge impact and generates extra income for your city is to simply RECYCLE. The city even gives out these containers free of charge. I remember reading somewhere that the city received close to $60,000 one quarter from its residents recycling efforts. Maybe we can get the city to do a better effort promoting this program by pledging to use some of the money it receives from this effort towards community improvments or community gardens.

    Great article. Thanks. My problem is that I am involved in too many causes and I have stretched myself thin, mentally. I need to commit to just 2 and focus on those. Almost there….

  2. palmcoaster says:

    We should not be focus on or believe, the lies, cover ups and blanketed statistics BP and others alike, paying us peanuts for the oil they extract within our territorial waters to export and stick it to us at 4 dollars and up per gallon, while contaminating our precious environment due to lack of proper regulations enforced. This is ridiculous that the oversight and compliance is enforced by them oil corporations, because our Department of Energy looks at the other way.

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