Happy New Year!
سنه جديده سعيده.
Feliz año nuevo!
It’s officially 2019, and while the celebrations may be winding down, the fun has only begun! That’s because for many people around the world, this is a time to start fresh and commit to conquering new goals.
Still pondering your New Year’s resolutions? Don’t fret—resolutions aren’t all as soul-crushing as dusting off the old treadmill... In fact, New Year’s resolutions can be inspiring, exciting, and something you look forward to accomplishing. Better yet, they can be good for you and the environment!
Before you call “BullShark,” consider the stressors that continually threaten coral reef health... Many of these stressors are the result of physical and/or chemical anthropogenic degradation (that means human-created, or degradation WE are responsible for).
The start of a new year is a perfect opportunity to highlight the many ways (both small and large) we can each help protect coral reefs for years to come. Add one, some, or all of these tips to your New Year’s resolutions, and make 2019 a year for the reefs!
1. Eliminate single-use plastics
Eight million metric tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year. Do your part to reduce this number, by eliminating single-use plastics. Single-use plastics are plastic items that are used once, then disposed, such as shopping bags, water bottles, straws, or produce bags. Not only do these create a lot of waste, their production takes a huge toll on the environment, as well.
Thankfully, eliminating your dependence on single-use plastics is simple. Here are some ways to get started:
Bring your own bags to the grocery store, restaurants, or while shopping
Wrap excess food in wax-coated fabric or glass containers, rather than single-use plastic bags
Carry a reusable water bottle with you to stay hydrated throughout the day
Ditch the straw! Kindly remind servers at restaurants that you do not want a straw with your drink, or opt for your own reusable straw
Buy in bulk— avoid products with excess/ individual packaging.
Recycle your favorite containers by refilling them with your favorite cooking essentials (*Many grocery stores allow you to bring your own containers to fill with spices, nuts, flour, and more)
2. “Take Three for the Sea” or Host a Beach Cleanup
For those of you who live near the water, take initiative and help keep your coastal area clean! A simple resolution is to “Take Three For the Sea” – a.k.a. pick up three pieces of trash every time you’re at your local waterway.* If you want to take it a step further, grab some friends and host a local beach cleanup. Fun with friends and great for the environment— win-win!
* You can participate whether you live near saltwater, or a freshwater river or stream – remember all waterways lead to the ocean!
3. Raise Your Voice!
Contact your local, regional, or national officials to inform them of ways they can address coral reef degradation (or overall environmental protection!). Depending on your legislation, you may be able to contact them over the phone or email. Otherwise, you can spread awareness for coral conservation by actively participating in community conversations and inspiring others to become marine stewards.