The Block Island Times

Saving the Surf

By Sarah Nahabedian | Aug 09, 2013
Photo by: The Surfrider Foundation Facebook page

The state of the ocean today is the topic of much debate. On the one hand there is the obvious fact that our oceans are not as healthy as they should be and human interaction is a significant part of that. On the other hand the oceans provide a lively hood of many people across national boarders. There is an area of ocean conservation that these two groups of people can agree upon. The amount of trash in our oceans destroys ecosystems daily, laying to waste the bounty that fisherman so dearly rely upon. The Surfrider Foundation is an organization that uses local chapters to try to preserve beaches and the oceans at large. Kira is the leader of the Rhode Island chapter of the Surfrider Foundation; she came and spoke at the BIMI lecture series this past Tuesday.

The Surfrider Foundation was started 1984 by a bunch of Malibu surfers. They found out that one of their favorite surfing spot was about to be reshaped and bulldozers had already arrived on the scene in order to move the sand and earth. Had they succeeded the changed beach topography would have likely changed the quality of the waves on that beach, as well as damaging the ecosystem that relies, and lives on the beach. From this small group of surfers the organization has grown to encompass not just Malibu surfers but to encompass people of all walks of life. Their various chapters organize local responses for various threats towards marine environments.

Kira has helped the Surfrider Foundation and even served on their board. Now she is raising attention about the Giant Trash Gyres. The Giant Trash Gyre or Giant Pacific Trash Patch is a circle of trash in the Pacific Ocean that is over 700,000 Sq. Kilometers. The problem with humans is when something is out of sight it is out of mind. That is if you are not faced with something daily or even weekly, we will rarely think of it. If you face a poster that shows the trash patch, your mind will imprint that image in your head and it will be a lot harder for you not to do anything about it.

The easiest start toward minimizing our impact on the ocean is to halt our use of plastic bags. Plastic bags make their way into the ocean more than any other for of trash due to their sail like properties. The plastic bag will break into smaller pieces of plastic, which is ingested by plankton, and through bio magnification we eventual ingest the plastic. By stopping the use of plastic bags we can slow the poisoning of our oceans and our selves.


--Aaron Beguelin


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