The continuing oil spill is focussing minds on the importance of the seas and coasts as vital environments for wildlife. And if the oil finds its way into the Gulf Stream then the UK and western Europe could find thelselves affected too. There are obviously huge issues around how oil companies operate and how spills are dealt with on the industrial and political level. However, we can all do our bit to help look after these environments and this can make a small difference and hopefully can help us to feel less helpless and hopeless. Here are just a selection of the ways you can get involved:
In the UK, the Marine Conservation Trust runs the Adopt a Beach scheme and the annual Beachwatch survey, involving tidying the beaches and surveying the types of litter picked up. You can find out what's happening in your area on their website here. The website also highlights the importance of cutting down on plastic use and reducing waste as ways of helping to protect the seas.
The Shore Thing is a project that works with schools and volunteers to record the wildlife on the beaches around the UK. Having accurate records of the wildlife that is found there, means we have a better chance of protecting it.
Save the beach, sponsored by Corona, aims to make people aware of pollution and waste on beaches, the preservation of the environment and to rehabilitate European beaches. From 5th June users of http://www.coronasavethebeach.org/ can choose a beach they want to save and take a picture or make a video to show the dangerous state of the place and upload it on the page. On the 23rd of August everyone will be invited to vote for the beach Corona Beer will save in 2010.
8th June is World Ocean Day. This is a day to celebrate the oceans and to highlight the need to protect them, a message which is particularly poignant and urgent this year.
You can donate your hair to help mop up the oil spill. This article from the BBC talks about how that works. Matter of Trust is a charity that is collecting hair to be used in this way.