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Picture this: your toes in the sand, the sun on your face, an icy drink in your hand, and the ocean as far as you can see. What's better than that? Nothing much, especially if you're from the Midwest like I am. Once it reaches November, the advantages of living in the middle of the country start to turn into disadvantages: snow, ice, and below-freezing temperatures quite often. By January I'm counting down the days 'til spring, and on those blissful days where the temperature is above 40 degrees, it's like a big bite of a Hershey's bar: sweet and amazing.
So why should you go to the beach if you DON'T live in the Midwest? Why should you love the sand, and the waves, and the wind? Especially if you live there. You see it all the time, so what's so special about some dumb water that stings your eyes and sand that makes your toes itch? Well, let me tell you. There's always something to do at the beach: look for shells, go for a walk (or even a run, if you're feeling extravagant), go swimming, play volleyball, or football, or frisbee, or fly a kite, or TAKE A NAP (because who doesn't love taking a nap?)!
And if you think that's not enough, and the beach is still boring for you, then think of the bigger picture. The ocean is HUGE. It makes up around 71% of the whole world. Almost 3/4 of Earth is made up of pure salt water! But there's an issue. Some of those ocean haters are tossing their plastic wrappers and such onto the sand, and that salt water won't be so pure for much longer. Thousands of marine life are dying from the simple plastic wrappers that hold together a six-pack of cans. "So what?" You're probably thinking. Especially if you live in the Midwest, you're probably just thinking to yourself that "that sucks, and there's nothing I can do about it." Which is how I used to think. But I feel differently now. Even us Midwesters can help the situation, thousands of miles from the beach.
Ocean acidification. Ever heard of it? Maybe you've heard a broadcaster mention it on the news, or the old, really boring teacher in your high school science class. But you probably don't know what it is, or how it effects the ocean. What happens is when you litter or put too much air pollution into the atmosphere, the carbon levels rise. This carbon then goes into the ocean and raises the acidity levels. This can kill smaller marine animals such as little crabs and the shells of turtles fairly quickly, and larger fish and other spiecies over time.
After being reminded about the ocean and its many beauties and pluses, I'm sure you're ready to go back ASAP. So now you're thinking, how can I stop the tiny ocean animals from dying? Let me tell you, it's not too hard, and even you can make an impact from your own home. A few tips:
1. Carpool!!! The exhaust from cars and trucks is reallllly bad for the atmosphere, and the tiny ocean animals themselves. The less vehicles on the road, the more clean of an ocean you have to enjoy.
2. Don't litter, because that can kill not only the ocean, but even your own town. And anyways, who wants to run into a greasy old McDonald's wrapper anyways?
3. Pick up after those lazy bums who throw trash on the ground. They may be inconsiderate, but you're not. Save the Earth!
And lastly, 4. Recycle! The obvious. Recycle all those plastics and other trash so pollution from garbage dump sites doesn't continue growing and effecting everything in our beautiful seas.
If you can follow these four simple steps, you are giving part into not only saving the oceans and marine life, but also saving our planet. And next time you're at the beach, take a deep breath, smell the salty sunscreen sun smell, and enjoy yourself. Because YOU'RE an ocean saver. Go you!