Make Activities You Already Do, Good for the Environment, Too
South Florida is beautiful and we are lucky to live here. The ocean and beaches are a large part of South Florida’s economy and our daily living, and we need to take care of it. We’re also lucky to be located near the Everglades National Park, a unique ecosystem that exists nowhere else in the world.
So in honor of Earth Day on Friday, April 22, check out these small tweaks you can incorporate into some of your usual activities that will help the environment. Also, don’t forget to celebrate Earth Day this weekend. There’s tons of South Florida events scheduled for Friday, April 22 (actual Earth Day) and throughout the weekend.
Go on a Lionfish frenzy and slay as many Lionfish as you possibly can. The red-striped spiny fish is an invasive species that is damaging our local waters. Our native marine life are being rapidly eaten by the fish and Lionfish have no natural predators and they breed rapidly. Spearfishing is the most common way to catch Lionfish, but it is possible to catch them on a line. The best part is — Lionfish are actually really delicious to eat. Start a summer-long competition with your group of friends to see who can catch the most lionfish.
Next time you go kayaking or paddleboarding bring a trash bag and a stick or a net with you and spend a couple minutes picking out some of the trash in the mangroves or in canals. All it takes is a few minutes and makes a huge difference.
Diving or Snorkeling
Always try to use a mooring buoy at dive sites when in the Florida Keys Reef Tract. Dropping an anchor on the coral will damage the reefs.
Also, only use a sunscreen that is safe on the coral reefs. When we are in the water, chemicals in our sunscreens come off our bodies and land on the corals. These chemicals are proven to cause coral bleaching, a problem which our local coral reefs are already suffering from.
You can identify sunscreens that are safe for coral reefs by looking at the ingredients. Do not use a sunscreen that contains oxybenzone (Benzophenone-3, BP-3), butylparaben, Octinoxate (Ethylhexyl methoxycinnamate), or 4-methylbenzylidene camphor (4MBC). Also, water resistant sunscreens are more likely to stay on your skin in and out of the water.
When at the Beach
Pick up trash that you see on land and in the water — it’s not hard. You don’t have to make huge lifestyle changes to help protect the environment. When you see trash within reach, just pick it up and throw it away. It doesn’t take any extra time to throw away trash that will eventually end up in the ocean. It’s easy and it will make a big difference.