My wife loves sea turtles. In fact, I’m convinced she’d be the turtle equivalent of a crazy cat lady if it were legal and socially responsible. She squeals when she sees them, and it’s a life goal to go to a sea turtle hatching.
So obviously when we went on vacation a couple of weeks ago, we visited a sea turtle exhibit at the Living Coast Discovery Center in San Diego. It was a pretty quiet and rainy morning, so we were two of the only people there.
I wish I had some photos or videos of this, because as we approached the green sea turtles’ tank, they all swam right up to the glass to greet us. Sea turtles are amazing animals who have been on the Earth for 65 million years—they appeared at around the same time as the dinosaurs disappeared.
And sadly, all six species of sea turtles are currently endangered. A large reason for that is the loss of their nesting beaches and the hunting of adult turtles. But another part of the reason that all six species of sea turtles are endangered worldwide is pollution. Helium balloons that are released into the sky can make it into the ocean where they are easily mistaken for a jellyfish. Plastic bags, balloons, and other garbage often ends up in the digestive system of a lot sea creatures, slowly killing them.
Fortunately, green sea turtles were recently moved from “endangered” to “threatened” status along the Pacific Mexican coast and in Florida, thanks to the efforts of conservationists, but a lot of vigilance is still needed. A disease called Fibropapillomatosis, attributed to pollution, is also having a devastating effect on the sea turtle population.
So imagine my frustration when I got back from my vacation only to find large amounts of pollution and litter in my neighborhood, at our local park and pond, and even at Utah Lake. The picture at the top of this post was taken in my neighborhood just this week. The effects of pollution aren’t just limited to sea turtles. Take a look at this sign posted by Utah Lake:
Now I don’t know about you, but if a fish is dangerous for children and pregnant women to eat, then it’s probably dangerous for everyone. It’s probably not very healthy for the fish itself. For the record, PCBs are man-made compounds that were used until they were banned in the 1970s. Because they’re so stable, they’re still present in the environment today.
The choices we make today have very real consequences on tomorrow. In honor of Earth Day, let’s talk about what you can do to help reduce pollution:
1.) Don’t litter. Seriously. I know this is pretty obvious, but few things will instantly make me lose respect for someone like random littering. Your neighbors won’t like it. The government will likely fine you for it. And most importantly of all, that garbage does real damage to the environment.
2.) Reduce, reuse, recycle. This one’s pretty obvious too. But there are some easy ways to reduce your consumption that you might not have thought about. For example, you can remove your home from junk mailing lists. This is something that imagine most people would like to do already. Taking your name off a mailing list is a great way to reduce your own footprint and reduce the garbage that ends up in a landfill. Or worse, accidentally goes somewhere else. If you’d like to declutter your life and stop receiving junk mail, check out this page from the FTC.
3.) Encourage companies to go green. Harmful compounds like PCBs aren’t created accidentally. Although Corporate America is much more mindful and responsible than it was in 1970, we’ve still got a ways to go. Encourage companies to be better by supporting environmentally friendly products and companies.
We all live on this Earth. Its problems are our problems. Let’s resolve to make a difference. Or at the very least, not be part of the problem.
If you’d like to learn more about Packsize’s commitment to sustainability, and how it can improve your company’s own sustainability efforts, fill out the form below to download our sustainability report.