We all want to keep the places where we live and visit beautiful for ourselves and for the upcoming generations. The blue oceans we see in Hawaii, Fiji, Thailand, Mauritius, Guam, Maldives and all over need us to care for them as much as we enjoy them. A part of our reef conservancy program, Outrigger's Zone, we're out to spread the word about how we can all do our part.
With water being over 70% of Earth’s surface, the health of our planet is deeply connected to the health of our oceans. Being that two-thirds of plastic in our oceans comes from land and CO2 emissions lead to ocean warming and acidification, how we treat our surroundings on land greatly impacts our waters. Luckily, there are simple things we can do to be more ocean-friendly when we shop, eat, and enjoy the outdoors.
1. Remember to bring a shopping bag with you when you’re out. Plastic and paper bags are made to be used briefly and then be thrown out as trash, so carrying our own shopping bag helps us avoid that waste. Luckily, reusable bags are usually more comfortable to carry and more attractive. We believe in this so much that our guests at the Outrigger Reef Waikiki Beach Resort receive one upon arrival to their rooms!
2. Carrying a reusable water bottle provides us with a free, healthy beverage in the palms of our hands. It also allows us to avoid purchasing drinks that come in plastic bottles that we use for a few hours but can stay in our environment for 450 years. With more airports, shopping centers and hotels providing free water refill stations, it’s easy to quench our thirst.
3. Choose to eat at restaurants that have environmentally-friendly practices such as using paper straws, recycling, and providing reusable tableware. Also, consider ordering food that is locally-grown and burned less fuel in shipping and seafood that’s harvested in a way that respects the fishery and ecosystem. For folks in the United States, Surfrider Foundation has a list of Ocean-Friendly Restaurants and Seafood Watch can help you find smart fish choices. One of our favorite spots is Kani Ka Pila Grille.
4. Find a sunscreen that has zinc oxide or titanium oxide as its active ingredients. Chemical sunscreens that use oxybenzone or octinoxate can have harmful effects on our coral reefs. Even if we’re swimming in pools or relaxing on the sand, those products eventually wash down our drains and into the ocean, so try to use mineral sunscreens whenever possible.
Environmental choices can be easy, tasty, and attractive. Plus, they are often choices that are better for our personal health as well.