How to celebrate World Oceans Day sustainably

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Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planet

As we all know, Miami throws down some good fiestas, so how about putting that lively energy into celebrating World Oceans Day June 8th with Midtown Miami! This year’s theme is Healthy Oceans, Healthy Plant with a special effort focused on initiatives that stop plastic pollution. Thanks to the no straw efforts in place by the city of Miami Beach.

Why celebrate the ocean?

  • The ocean serves as the lungs of our planet providing most of the oxygen we breath

  • The ocean regulates our climate

  • The ocean feeds millions of people every year

  • The ocean is a source for medicines

  • The ocean is home to an immense biodiversity of life

  • The ocean brings us happiness, peace, and a sense of well-being

 

Here are some small steps you can take to celebrate World Oceans Day every day:

1.  Throw a Plastic-Free Party

Ask guests to bring a dish to share in a glass or ceramic container and use tableware made from sustainably sourced materials.  Companies like Susty Party (available at Whole Foods Markets) and Eco-products (available at Costco) produce products that are plastic-free, non-toxic, created from renewable or recycled content, and designed to biodegrade in a home or industrial compost.

 

2.  Skip the Straw

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Americans use (and throw away) about 500 million plastic straws each day – enough plastic to fill 127 school buses!  Miami Beach has banned plastic straws on the beach since 2012, though straws are still evident on the beach…June 8th may be a good day to remind Miami Beach hotels and restaurants of this Ordinance! Do so by ordering your cocktail straw-less.

 

3.  Guzzle From Growlers

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Lucky for us, craft beer breweries have been popping up throughout Miami and I’ve been happy to sip the suds from the beer growlers they sell. Growlers like the ones from Wynwood Brewing and Saltwater Brewery are air-tight jugs, typically made out of glass, ceramic or stainless steel that allow you to take draft beer from one place to another without a degradation of quality.  They are good for the oceans because they are reusable so drinking from growlers reduces waste produced from beer bottles or cans.

 

4.  Cool Down in The Water

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Summer in Miami is sweltering unless you’re near water, so invite your friends over to the pool or better yet, meet at the beach and enjoy the ocean. While you’re there, don’t forget to turn your thermostat to 78 degrees Fahrenheit.  You can always cool it down once you get back home.  Energy professionals know that

For every degree higher you set your thermostat over 78 degrees Fahrenheit in the summer months, you could save approximately six to eight percent off your home energy bill, per degree.

 

5.  Eat Invasives

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Making a meal of invasive species is a great way to combat them.  In south Florida, the invasive lionfish has become a threat to healthy ecosystems. Originally from the Indo-Pacific, these venomous fish have few natural predators and, in turn, eat everything in their path.  Lionfish derbies are helping to remove this invasive fish from local shallow waters and restaurants are now serving this delicate white fish blackened, fried, and grilled.  Some of these restaurants will be highlighted in a future post so stay tuned!

 

6.  Explore

The newly opened Miami Science Barge floating in Biscayne Bay Museum Park is an urban ecological laboratory and public environmental education center, powered by renewable energy.  With an aim to catalyze local efforts to build a sustainable Miami, the Barge is a space for school field trips, public tours, workshops, and events on green design, urban planning, environmental science, and marine conservation, with particular attention to Miami’s potential as a global innovator and leader in climate change and sea level rise.

 

7.  Be Part of The Solution

Photo-Illustration by Darrow; © Richard Cavalleri/Shutterstock (Mid-Beach)

Photo-Illustration by Darrow; © Richard Cavalleri/Shutterstock (Mid-Beach)

On June 8th at 6:30pm, the Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science will present Science Up Close: Predicting South Florida Flood Risk from Days to Decades, featuring local scientist and University of Miami Professor, Ben Kirtman.  In his presentation, Dr. Kirtman will discuss how sea level rise and changes in local rainfall may evolve in the coming decades in response to climate variability and change and what challenges we will need to address to predict future flood risk.

 

8.  Dive In

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Perhaps the best way to appreciate and celebrate the ocean is to dive in.  Fortunately, my former lab mates at the Nova Southeastern University Oceanographic Center in Dania Beach are partnering with the Coral Restoration Foundation to provide you with a once in a lifetime opportunity to restore coral reefs during Coralpalooza!  In this one day event June 4th, participants will dive alongside marine biologists for a day of outplanting the threatened Staghorn Coral to reefs across Florida.  If you ever wanted to experience what it’s like to be a marine biologist, this is your chance!