Environmental Education, Events, Litter Prevention, Recycling, Solid Waste Reduction

World Ocean Month 2022

Did you know that no matter where you are in Florida, you are never more than 60 miles from the ocean? Florida has the longest coastline in the contiguous United States and is the only state to border both the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Our state is also home to the 3rd largest coral reef in the world, 825 miles of sandy beaches, 1 of the 15 National Marine Sanctuaries and the most biodiverse estuaries in North America.

A 2019 study published by the Ocean Conservancy shows there are half a million Floridians working in the ocean economy with $14 billion in annual wages. 83% of those ocean jobs are in tourism and recreation. The ocean economy contributes $30 billion annually to our gross domestic product.

In Florida, we depend on the ocean and the ocean depends on us.

During World Ocean Month we have united with our partners at Surfing’s Evolution and Preservation Foundation to share the message that it is our collective responsibility to protect and preserve the oceans.

From keeping our beaches and waterways litter-free to choosing sustainable seafood, we all have a role to play.

Here are some ways you can make a difference – today and every day!

  1. Choose to reuse. There is an overabundance of plastic in our oceans that will never completely decompose. By opting for more sustainable items like reusable grocery bags and refillable stainless-steel water bottles, you create less waste and reduce the amount of plastic entering the waste stream.
  2. Join a beach or waterway cleanup. Marine debris threatens marine ecosystems where it is often mistaken as food by wildlife or causes entanglement – both of which can be deadly.
  3. Join ANY cleanup. 80% of trash that enters our waterways comes from upland sources. Litter is carried by wind and/or stormwater runoff and will eventually reach a water body if not intercepted. Remember, no matter what, you’re only 60 miles from the ocean.
  4. Use cleaner products. Chemicals in everyday products like cleaners and sunscreens can be toxic to sensitive habitats like coral reefs (and humans, too!). Opt for non-toxic, eco-friendly alternatives.
  5. Have a Lagoon Friendly Lawn. Nutrient pollution from fertilizers and other residential runoff can trigger harmful algal blooms. Base your landscape on native plants that thrive naturally.
  6. Eat sustainable seafood. Sustainable seafood is seafood harvested in ways that don’t harm the environment or other wildlife.
  7. Educate others. Tell your friends, family and neighbors how they can make a difference, too!

Visit WorldOceanDay.org for more information on the global effort to protect our oceans!

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