Resolution #2 Action Plan

Resolution 2: Donate time, money, or skills to raise awareness and help the environment

Action Plan: Donating your time to a cause you care about is one of the greatest gifts you can give to both yourself and the world. Spending time cleaning up a beach or volunteering at a local nature center will allow you to spread your passion and inspire others.

There are many different ways to help the ocean and environment, even if you are busy with a job or with a family.

If you are financially able to donate, there are many great organizations that would welcome your financial support. Most environmental organizations are non-profits, and the success of their programs relies heavily on fundraising.

Sometimes potential donors are apprehensive about donating to organizations and not knowing how the money will be spent. It’s always important to do your research, and there are websites like Charity Navigator that rate charities and provide in-depth reports as to how the funds are allocated so you can make sure your money is going to a reputable organization.

You can also search Amazon wish lists to see if your favorite organization has one. Organizations compile lists of items they are in need of, and you can purchase the item and have it sent directly to the organization of your choosing. (Check out Save-the-Manatee Club’s Amazon Wish List or the Whitney Lab’s Sea Turtle Hospital’s Amazon Wish List.)

Donating your skills is a great way give back while also building your portfolio. Maybe you are a fresh-out-of-college web designer or social media manager. A lot of smaller non-profits don’t have the time or the resources to keep their websites updated. Volunteer your services! You can help an organization, while getting a great piece for your portfolio. If you have a skill, volunteer it.

There are many different ways to make this resolution a reality in 2016. What will you do?

New Year’s Resolution #1 Action Plan

Resolution 1: Reduce personal consumption and output of plastics

Action plan: In our modern lives, it is hard to go a day without touching plastic, especially if you are an on-the-go person. This year, a viral video of a turtle with a straw stuck in its nose heartbreakingly showed us that our everyday choices are not without repercussions.  Continue reading New Year’s Resolution #1 Action Plan

The Beach Review’s 2016 Resolutions

Can you believe 2015 is almost over? Me either! The end of the year is a time for reflection. It is also a time to set goals for the new year.

Here are The Beach Review’s five major resolutions for 2016. Sharing resolutions and goals out loud promotes accountability.

Below are TBR’s resolutions for 2016.

the beach review 2016 new years resolutions environment

Over the next week, I will be breaking down each of these resolutions and providing examples that will help put these goals in to action!

I also hope that you might join me by adding one or two of these resolutions to your own list. If you do, let me know in the comment section!

Also let me know if you have any other great eco-friendly, travel, or environment-oriented resolutions you are putting on your own list! I would love to hear them.

 

In Memory of the 295 Florida Black Bears

Let’s have a moment of silence for the 295 bears that were killed in less than 48 hours this past weekend.

Each bear was taken by surprise, a victim in an unfair fight. We want to tell ourselves that we were relieved of these nuisance bears, that a threat to the fragile human species has been curbed for now.

But I think that we, humans, are the real threat. The answer is not bullets or arrows in the name of “conservation”, the answer is coexistence. But in true human form, the powers that be decided on what they would probably call a “quick fix” to the increased sightings of bears in neighborhoods. This bear hunt is setting an unsettling precedent that we will resort to extermination and further destruction instead of developing and building with the long term in mind for all species involved.  Continue reading In Memory of the 295 Florida Black Bears

8 Ways to Prepare for a Hurricane

Right now, South Florida is waiting in suspense to see what Tropical Storm Erika is going to do. While it is still too early to say exactly where she will go, it is never too early to begin preparing for a potential storm.

As someone who experienced the intense hurricane season of 2004, I know it is better to be safe than sorry. Strong storms, like most of nature, are unpredictable. Most people will wait until the last minute to get supplies, and in situations such as this, waiting until just before the storm comes is often too late. Stores will run out of water and gas stations will run out of gas, and deliveries to areas that are either under evacuation or faced with a major storm threat will be suspended.

So beat the rush and make sure your family and home are ready just in case!

What To Do As Soon as Possible

Check to see what supplies you already have

Gather any flashlights, candles, and batteries you have in case the power goes out. Check the pantry to see what non-perishable food items you already have, such as canned food, chips, nuts, or fruit. Also see if you have bottles of water or other drinks that will be ok to drink unrefrigerated. Make sure you have a first-aid kit, and if you are taking medication, make sure you have a full supply or refill just in case you can’t get to the pharmacy for a week or longer. Don’t forget about your pets; make sure they have enough food and water to last too!

Shop for what you don’t have

Whenever you are in the “cone of concern,” it is a good idea to head to your local store ASAP and get what you need. It is unbelievable how fast places can sell out of important things such as water, and the place you want to be is in one of these stores when everyone else who waited is fighting over the last pack of batteries.

Fill up your car with gas

Filling up your car with gas is absolutely imperative. If the power is out, there is no gas. If an area is under storm warning, gas tankers will suspend their normal routes. If you have a gas grill, it is also a good idea to refill your propane tank if needed, so you will have a way to cook or boil water if the power goes out.

Board Up

If you have a lot of windows, sliding glass doors, etc. and strong winds are predicted, purchase plywood from your local home improvement store and board up any windows. Do this whether you are staying in your home, or seeking shelter elsewhere. Don’t wait until the very last minute to do this, because it can take more time than you might think to do it right. If you are lucky enough to have storm shutters, put those babies down and batten down the hatches! Not only will boarding up protect you during the storm, it will also protect you after the storm, when unfortunately sometimes looting can become an issue.

Just Before the Storm

Charge your electronics

Make sure phones, computers, and tablets are charged. Though cell towers and WiFi may be impacted during the storm, charging them just before the storm hits is a good idea. At least throughout the storm you may have music and games available, and there’s always a chance the cell towers may be working so you can let loved ones know you’re ok.

Bring in anything that is not bolted down

Wind is a powerful force, and something that should not be tempted. Bring in any patio furniture, grills, garden gnomes, or anything else that can become a projectile object in tropical storm or hurricane force winds. Don’t take any chances!

Fill up your tub with water

Sometimes before a storm, a city will turn off the electricity or water systems for safety reasons. Before this happens, or before the storm takes these services out, fill up your tub or tubs with water. This will come in handy for bathing or washing things if necessary.

Prepare a “Hurricane Party” Room

For the brunt of the storm it is best to go in the center of your home that is on the first floor and has no windows. A laundry room or closet usually works best. Before the storm happens, make it comfy! Bring in a spare mattress or some bean bag chairs, put candles, flashlights, and water in there. Make yourself as comfy as possible to ride out the storm!

Final Thoughts

Preparing for the storm is key to maximize the safety of both you and your family. If you are ordered to evacuate, evacuate. If you live in a flood zone, maybe go to a shelter or to a hotel. Whatever you do, don’t take any chances, and don’t panic either! Also, don’t try and drive during a tropical storm or hurricane. Prepare a bag in case you need to leave suddenly, and put any prized possessions in a sealed plastic container or waterproof safe to protect them.

Be safe and smart!

For more information on storm prep, check out Ready.gov.

6 Reasons to do a Beach Cleanup Before Summer’s Over

For most of the US, summer is winding down. Soon, the kids will be back at school and the heat and waves of summer 2015 will be a precious memory.

But for those of you who are still planning beach vacations, who are venturing south for the winter, or who are lucky to live near the beach full time, here are six reasons why you should participate in a beach cleanup before summer is officially over (or really whenever you can)!

beach cleanup the beach review sea turtles

Help protect sea turtle hatchlings and other marine life

Sea turtle season doesn’t end until October, so there are still plenty of hatchlings waiting to emerge and find their way to the ocean. We know that their journey is already hard enough, so let’s make sure that their path to the ocean is as easy as possible. Despite sea turtle nests being marked off and protected, I always find a lot of trash around the nests. Not only does this litter pose a threat to the hatchlings, but it also threatens any shore birds that search the sand for their food. The tide brings in a lot of garbage, let’s make sure it doesn’t go back out!

beach cleanup trash

Make great friends and memories

Whether you get a group of your friends together to go cleanup your favorite beach spot, or join one of the many great organizations that coordinates beach cleanups each month, you can make positive memories with friends old and new. If protecting the ocean and the environment is something you are passionate about, get outside of your comfort zone and join a group cleanup. It is a great way to meet other people who share your passions. I have met some of the nicest and friendliest people attending cleanups. People are always stoked to meet someone else who actively shares their passion for the environment!

beach cleanup trash

Beach cleanups are great exercise

Carrying buckets of garbage in the sand is an excellent workout that is sure to get your heart pumping and your body sweating. If you don’t have a grabber, which I highly recommend if you plan on frequently doing beach cleanups, you will be doing a lot of squats to pick up garbage. Most organized beach cleanups last about two hours, a great amount of time for a workout out in the fresh, salty air. It’s a fantastic way to start the day!

bucket and ocean

You can be the change

It’s easy to get caught up in our busy lives and get stuck behind our computer’s keyboard. If you want to see a difference in the world, be the difference. It’s as simple as that. Participating in a beach cleanup is a rewarding experience, and if you have never done one, I am sure you will be shocked by the amount of garbage you will find.

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Beach cleanups are a great time for introspection

Whether you are cleaning up the beach on your own or with a group, a beach cleanup is a great time to analyze your own choices when it comes to both consumption and disposal. When you actually see first hand the amount of garbage carelessly left behind, it may lead you to reexamine your own choices. Being conscious of our own consumption, and what happens to our own garbage can lead us to make changes that lower our own footprint.

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You can raise awareness

Raising awareness about the plight of the fragile shore ecosystems is important. Many people thoughtlessly extinguish their cigarette butts in the sand, and leave them behind, probably thinking it’s just me, no biggie. But when many people adopt this mentality, that is when the beaches become, for lack of a better word, gross. I think it’s a great idea to photograph garbage as you cleanup. Take pictures of the amount of cigarette butts you find, or the weirdest item you find. Then share, share, share! Share across all your social media platforms! People by nature are very visual creatures, so actually showing instead of telling is a fantastic way to raise awareness to the issue of beach litter. Maybe, just maybe, someone will think twice before leaving behind a styrofoam cup, or not disposing of fishing line properly because of an image or experience you share.

Beach cleanups are a ton of fun, and even though summer is almost over, many groups organize beach cleanups year round. Whenever you get the opportunity, I strongly urge you to spend a morning or afternoon doing a beach cleanup!

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Check out some of these South Florida organizations to see when they are doing their next beach cleanup:

Surfrider Foundation Chapters worldwide

Sea Angels South Florida, monthly cleanups

Stoked on Salt South Florida

The Beach Review Action Committee South Florida

Also check out local meet-ups on Meetup.com.

Be sure to mark your calendar for Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup on September 19th, 2015!

If you run an organization that facilitates beach cleanups, feel free to comment with a link to your website!

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What the Frack!?! Fracking in Florida to Continue, Possibly Grow

Yesterday, the Florida House approved HB 1205, which approves the continuation of fracking in Florida. The purpose of the bill is to provide regulations on fracking, and there will be a moratorium until tests and agencies have instituted rules.

Another bill up for a vote is HB 1209. If this bill is approved, then frackers will not have to publicly disclose which hazardous chemicals are being used in the process.

What is fracking?

Hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is a process where one drills deep down into the earth, and then the earth is injected with harsh chemicals and other liquids at a high pressure in order to extract the natural gas through a well.

Fracking involves drilling many, many holes into the earth, injecting the earth with poison, and then having receptacles to hold the toxic waste water. In order to access these sites, pipelines and roads will have to be constructed.

Risks of fracking include compromising drinking water and causing earthquakes.

Where is this happening?

In Florida, right here, right now. In the Western Everglades, one oil company- Collier Resources- owns 800,000 acres, monopolizing the industry in Florida. According to the South Florida Wildlands Association, not only does Collier Resources own the oil rights to their private land, but also rights in such places as Big Cypress National Preserve, Corkscrew Regional Ecosystem Watershed, Florida Panther National Wildlife Refuge, Dinner Island Wildlife Management Area and the Picayune Strand State Forest. While offshore drilling is still off-limits in Florida, Collier Resources also owns sizeable oil rights under the Ten Thousand Islands National Wildlife Refuge – should that prohibition ever get lifted.

What does this have to do with me?

Fracking in the fragile ecosystems of Florida is dangerous to anyone who drinks water. Florida has a very porous geology, and it is not clearly known what the longterm impacts of pumping harsh chemicals could be, or how quickly these chemicals will be saturated, or if they can be contained once they are released. There are over 600 chemicals used in fracking, including known carcinogens, many of which need to be properly disposed at a hazmat site. Are there hazmat sites in the Everglades? Should we build one in a fragile and already jeopardized environment? NO.

Generally, it takes 2-8 million gallons of water to frack a single well, if not more. Where is this water coming from? The Everglades itself? California, another fracking state, used 70 million gallons of water in 2014 alone for fracking. They are currently going through one of their worst droughts in history.

Fracking goes beneath the aquifers. In Florida, we are lucky to have fresh water resources like our natural springs. These springs provide some of the clearest and purest water in the world. Why put this water at risk? When we are already dealing with sea water levels rising that may impact our fresh water supply, why also jeopardize our water from below too?

If fracking is bad, why do people still do this?

As quoted by the Tallahassee Democrat, “I like the outdoors,” said Rep. Neil Combee, R-Polk City. “I like conservation. But let me tell you another thing — I like electricity. I like lights and air-conditioning and television. I like gasoline to put in my truck to come up here to visit with all my friends, all of you in here.”

Yes, everyone likes electricity and modern transportation. But when we have cleaner options now readily available and increasingly more affordable, why are we sinking our money and our mentality into tech that puts us at risk? Why are we not building solar fields, or passing bills regarding other renewable, sustainable energy sources?

The answer, as you have probably guessed is big. oil. money. Oil money in a lot of ways built this country, and it has been a wealth long sought after by many, an attainable form of the American dream. But this American dream has long since turned into an American nightmare.

But when does physical money begin to trump environmental costs? Does the human factor not even deter these companies?

Just so everyone is clear- life on earth cannot exist without water.

Thinking that oil is the only way to power this country is an antiquated way of thinking. We know better, and we as the people, and we, as the elected officials who are supposed to represent the people- they are us- need to stop pretending like we don’t know better.

How is a country supposed to grow, when we continue to act immature, when we continue to put our fingers in our ears and go “la la la” while the facts are speaking loudly and clearly.

What can I do?

You can contact your local official TODAY, right here, right now, and let them know what you think about fracking. These people were elected into their position, and are public servants. They wanted to connect with their communities, and they fought to represent you, so let them!

Find your State Senator here and make the call now:

https://www.flsenate.gov/Senators

You can also contact these key swing votes on the fracking issue:

Senator Jeremy Ring (850) 487-5029 ring.jeremy.web@flsenate.gov
Senator Anitere Flores (850) 487-5037 flores.anitere.web@flsenate.gov
Senator Geraldine F. Thompson (850) 487-501 thompson.geraldine.web@flsenate.gov
Senator Joseph Abruzzo (850) 487-5025 abruzzo.joseph.web@flsenate.gov
Senator Jeff Brandes (850) 487-5022 brandes.jeff.web@flsenate.gov
Senator Miguel Diaz de la Portilla (850) 487-5040 portilla.miguel.web@flsenate.gov
Senator Tom Lee (850) 487-5024 lee.tom.web@flsenate.gov
Senator David Simmons (850) 487-5010 simmons.david.web@flsenate.gov

Also, please share this post with anyone you think will want to get involved!

Let’s protect our future. Let’s protect our home. Let’s protect our children, and tell those motherfrackers to frack off!

See other places that have banned fracking.