As a Los Angeles resident, I am well aware that the Southern California coastline is breathtaking but also needs our constant care. With the rising concern for environmental preservation, coastal clean-up initiatives all around the world have gained significant momentum in recent years.
Every September, as part of Coastal Clean Up, our family participates in beach clean up activities in the South Bay beach cities of Los Angeles. But volunteering for such clean-ups is not a 'September' job alone - it must happen throughout the year and around the world!
Trash and marine debris are not just unsightly, they are a big pollution problem that affect our oceans. Thousands of marine animals ingest and die each year or get entangled in plastic bags, bottles, syringes, broken glass and other hazardous items.
We ask ourselves often - Can we make this issue go away?
Completely go away? May be not but we can volunteer to clean our beaches and educate people on ocean pollution. I think coastal clean-ups are a great family activity. There are several nonprofits that organize group clean-ups. Some require a 3-6 month commitment, some are one-off.
Here in Southern California, the Surfrider Foundation is a one such activist organization that focuses on plastic reduction, ocean protection and coastal preservation. We attended one of their events in our town where they partnered with the local middle school's student-run Plastic Reduction Organization. It turned out to be a fun activity, while doing good.
Are you looking for such an activity?
Great, come help make a tangible difference and contribute to the protection of our marine environment. Collectively, we can preserve the beauty of our earth. Here are some resources:
Ocean Conservancy's program is called Connect + Collect . Check out their interactive map which has all the details you need to join their Heal The Bay events. There are several opportunities in the USA: New York, Massachusetts, Washington, California, Alabama, Florida and Georgia. Opportunities are also posted in specific cities in Columbia, Nicaragua, UK, Slovenia, Italy, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam. Check out their International Coastal Clean-Up page which has a ton of details of how to help!
If you are in California, this is a good starting place: California Coastal Commission . Click on the map in the link to see the list. The Pacific Beach Coalition also has several locations and opportunities to volunteer. Many states have an 'Adopt a Beach' program where you can sign up to adopt a specific stretch of coastline.
Marine Mammal Stranding Networks also has volunteers that are trained to respond to stranded mammals. They help to rescue mammals and also provide medical assistance.
Sea Turtle Conservation Project has activities to monitor nesting sites, protecting eggs and learning about turtle migration and behavior.
Ocean science programs are offered at aquariums around the world where one can learn about the importance of marine life conservation.
Marine Debris projects raise awareness of the debris in the ocean - as it affects every US coastal state and territory. Program coordinators provide local expertise to marine debris stakeholders. Some communities encourage artists to collect trash and turn it into sculptures.
Coral Reef restoration takes place in Florida and Hawaii where efforts are underway to project coral reef ecosystems.
Folks in Australia, volunteer with Take 3 for the Sea. They have a ton of great programs.
Folks in Bahamas, this a great program!
Whale Watching is also an interesting opportunity to research and collect data on whale populations.
Green Sea Shells is all about the joyful pursuit of happiness. I believe healthy living is happy living. I think we all need to do our part to serve our community and our planet. Subscribe to the blog updates and follow me on social media platforms on FaceBook, Instagram and Twitter.