Wake Up Wednesday

Wake up Wednesday Tips for Reducing Impacts on our Oceans

Why Wake-Up Wednesday?

In October of 2019 WLRN released the film Troubled Waters: A Turtle's Tale, highlighting the work being done by Gumbo limbo Nature Center and the threats to the ocean whose impacts are being seen acutely in our Sea Turtles. The same day the film aired on WLRN, Gumbo Limbo Nature Center posted on their Facebook page a photo of a washback juvenile sea turtle who had consumed 105 pieces of plastic that went viral and was picked up by over 60 international news sources. People around the world are seeing the impact human activities have on the oceans and the City of Boca Raton is on the front lines.

The documentary outlines many of the problems, Wake Up Wednesday is designed to help you know what you can do to help. The sea turtles are showing impacts from plastic pollution, light pollution, nutrient pollution, and climate change. Each of these issues are large, but there are things we can do.

Wake Up Wednesday posts will highlight a problem and give you an action that you can take towards solving it. Follow Gumbo Limbo Nature Center on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to learn more.

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Wake up and take action!

Wake Up Wednesday is a weekly reminder of what we all can be doing to help solve the problems facing our oceans. You don't need to wait for Wednesday to find something to do. The helpful tip sheets below are a great place to start!

Tips for Low-Impact Beach Visits

  1. Carry in - Carry out: Anything that came to the beach with you should leave with you. Double check you have your sunglasses, both of your shoes, the caps from all your bottles, and anything and everything else that came in with you.
  2. Sort your trash at home. Contamination is the number one challenge with recycling today and public recycling bins are notoriously highly contaminated. Carry out any trash you produce and sort it in to the appropriate bins at home to make sure it is recycled right. Learn how to Recycle Right on SWA's website and learn about your collection schedule on the City's Sanitation page.  
  3. Bring only reusable items. Why create any trash at all? Bring your snacks and drinks in reusable containers.
  4. Think beyond the balloon. Balloons are a big offender when it comes to unintentional litter and are especially good at going long distances to litter otherwise pristine areas. Choose a festive alternative instead!
  5. Keep your (cigarette) butts out of the sand. A common misconception is that cigarette butts are biodegradable. In fact, the filters contain plastic and are a major contributor to beach litter and marine debris. If you must smoke on the beach, carry your butts out in a pocket ashtray or other container.
  6. Protect your skin and the coral. The benefits of protecting your skin from UV radiation are well known, unfortunately some ingredients of common sunscreens harm coral reefs when it washes off when we swim or even through our wastewater systems when we shower. Check out NOAA's page for more information about which ingredients to avoid. Instead, use umbrellas, hats, rash guards, and reef-friendly sunscreens to protect your skin.
  7. Take only pictures. The beach, tidal zones, and dunes are vibrant ecosystems and serve important roles in coastal resiliency. Picking flowers, collecting shells, or bringing home sand may seem inconsequential when done by a single individual, but less so when multiplied by all of our beach visitors. Learn more about the impact from Smithsonian Magazine.