Every January, many of us pick resolutions that help better ourselves and our lives. Whether we want to get in shape, surf 100 days this year, reconnect with friends and family, or just be a better person, each new year gives us the chance to identify the areas we want to work on and start with a clean slate. And while it's important to self-reflect, resolutions don't have to start and end with ourselves - our ocean could use some attention too.
Here at Surfrider we have compiled a list of resolutions to protect the ocean and coasts we love so much. Added together, these simple, everyday actions have a great impact on protecting our beaches for all of us to enjoy.
Resolution #1: Say NO to plastic by avoiding single-use plastics. Up to 80% of debris in our ocean is made of plastic. Carry your own refillable water bottle and bring reusable bags to the store to keep plastics from entering our waterways. #riseaboveplastics
Resolution #2: Don't waste water indoors! How does water conservation connect with our ocean, waves, and beaches? It's simple. Every drop of water we use ultimately ends up in the ocean. Saving water inside minimizes water supply impacts and reduces the amount of wastewater we send into the ocean.
Turn off the tap while you shave, brush your teeth or wash dishes. Take a shorter shower (5 minutes or less) and fix any leaky pipes to save hundreds of gallons of water every month going to wastewater treatment plants and being discharged to the ocean.
Resolution #3: Plant an Ocean-Friendly Garden. The number one source of ocean pollution is urban runoff. An Ocean Friendly Garden reduces flooding and keeps polluted runoff from reaching the ocean. Live inland? This type of garden will stop runoff from going into all of our waterways!
Here are 4 simple ways to create an Ocean Friendly Garden: Direct rainwater to soil. Apply mulch. Use native plants. Switch to drip. #oceanlove
Resolution #4: Conserving energy can help our coasts! Switching out any remaining incandescent bulbs in your house to energy-efficient light bulbs and other energy-saving activities helps to slow climate change, which is having a dramatic impact on our coastlines.
Resolution #5: Become a coastal defender in your town to protect local beaches. Get involved with your community. Volunteer with a local environmental organization, like the Surfrider Foundation, and make a difference for your beach. #protectandenjoy
Resolution #6: Hold onto those cigarette butts. If you are a smoker and quitting was a resolution as well, then great! If you're not going to quit, then please don't litter your cigarette butts. They are the most common piece of trash found at beach clean-ups. They aren't biodegradable, leak chemicals that kill fish and they pollute our beaches and ocean. #holdontoyourbutt
Resolution #7: Switch up your commute. Our personal vehicles are a major source of carbon emissions. You can help by taking public transportation, car-pooling and riding your bike to reduce your carbon footprint and help curb climate change. #gogreen
Resolution #8: Scoop the poop! We all love our pups, and taking care of their waste properly not only makes us good neighbors but helps protect our water quality. Pet waste impacts water quality and can make it unsafe to swim or surf. Please pick up after your dog.
I hope this list is useful and inspires you to make some changes in 2016. If you've made another environmentally-friendly resolution, let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy New Year!