Here at Dolphin Connection, we’re blessed with clear blue water and seas that are protected as part of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. As part of our mission to connect our guests to dolphins and the ocean habitat they call home, we have the opportunity to speak with visitors who care about the water and all its inhabitants on a daily basis. Nonetheless, even here in paradise we see signs of debris in our oceans. Fishing line, plastic bags, disposable bottles: all items that could be safely disposed of, should be recycled, or - best of all – reused, are commonly seen littering our bays, rivers, estuaries and ocean.
One of the biggest threats currently facing our oceans and our ocean animals is plastic. As a waste product that never decomposes in our land and in our seas, this plastic is contaminating our soil, our water and our wildlife. Plastic trash that is not recycled often ends up in our waterways. From there it breaks down into tiny pieces that become islands of trash in the seas, some as large as the state of Texas! Even more dangerous, these pieces of plastic can be eaten by, or tangled around, our wildlife. Sea birds, sea turtles, whales and dolphins are especially at risk from plastic marine debris. The good news is that this is an easy problem to fix! By sipping our water out of reusable cups, glasses and water bottles, we will greatly decrease the amount of plastic pollution harming our planet. By recycling fishing line, we are helping to protect our sea life from entanglement. By bringing our own cloth bags to the grocery store rather than using their plastic bags, we are reducing the chance that a bag might end up in the ocean to be ingested by a hungry sea turtle who mistakes it for a jelly fish. Any time we can reduce the amount of plastic we use, reuse the plastics we already have, and recycle the plastic we no longer need, we are committing to a making a positive difference. By choosing one – or more! – of these actions that you can commit to, you are making a decision to take care of our seas.
As with many things, it is the individuals who truly have an impact and can initiate change. While you alone may not feel like your actions make a difference, you are one of many people and all of us together are incredibly powerful. One way that we use our power is through our purchases. Supporting environmentally conscious companies is a clear way to have an influence. One particular company that Dolphin Connection believes in is Method brand dish soap. They not only use recycled and recyclable plastic when making their soap bottles, they are even using the plastic debris recovered from the oceans in the processing of their bottles (http://methodhome.com/ocean-plastic/). Companies like Method that truly walk the walk give us reason to believe that healthy oceans are a very real part of our future.
Whether you’re reading this blog from a landlocked state, a dry desert or even another country, you do impact the health of our oceans. All water ends up in the seas, and all soil runoff ends up in the water, so even if you’re only dreaming of the turquoise paradise of the Florida Keys, you still do make a difference. And for those of you who are here with us on Duck Key at Hawks Cay Resort, you are on vacation on an island! Look around, you have 360 degrees of opportunity to be inspired by, and care for, the ocean. Weeks, months or years from now, when this vacation is but a happy memory, we hope that you will continue to be inspired to do wonderful things for the oceans and the animals who depend on it.