How I Killed a Sea Turtle.

sea turtle plastics north pacific gyre garbage patch plastic bagsLast December, my wife and I had the opportunity to visit Hawaii and go snorkeling in Maui!  The water was blue and clear.  The reefs were beautiful and teeming with life. Among the many fish we saw, one of our favorites was the state fish of Hawaii, the Humu-humu-nuku-nuku-apua’a.  But I’d have to say that our favorite creature overall (dolphins included) was the sea turtle!  

These guys were so chill and seemingly indestructible.  They weren’t bothered at all that we were swimming in their surf —  they just looked at us and swam by at their own pace.  I could almost hear them saying, “Wasup bro!” as we passed one another.  Inadvertently, we almost swam right into one that was surfacing for air.  We were so happily splashing about looking for sea turtles through our foggy snorkel masks that we didn’t even notice the one that was right in front of us!  While it’s not a good idea to get as close as we did to that sea turtle, it was amazing to see him up-close, catch a glimpse of his unique skin art, and slap some fin (OK, maybe not).

After that encounter, it felt like we had become friends with a turtle that day, so you can image how sad it was to discover a few months later that WE HAD KILLED SOME OF HIS FRIENDS!  Yes, I am responsible for killing sea turtles. I must give a response because I’ve participated in the thoughtless wastefulness that has resulted in the death or sickness of numerous sea turtles.

You see, I’m guilty of using plastic bags and other plastic products even when I knew that plastic is a material that never goes away.  And now there’s a MASSIVE garbage dump floating in the Pacific Ocean that’s estimated to cover 3,000,000 square miles of ocean!  This garbage dump, known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is composed primarily of small plastic particles.  These particles are toxic, and birds (like Albatrosses) and sea turtles are eating the plastic and becoming sick, even dying.  Fish are also consuming plastic from the Garbage Patch, and it’s thought that the ingested plastic in the fish may pose a toxic risk for humans.  This. Is. Simply. Unacceptable.

It’s been said that if we want to see change in this world then it is has to start with us.  

Well, I want to make a change.

According to researchers, 80% of the plastic found in the ocean is from land waste such as plastic shopping bags.  If that’s the case, I’m not going to make excuses for forgetting to bring my own reusable bags to the grocery store anymore.  I will minimize my use of plastics as much as possible.  This goes for me and for CREUS, too.  All of our products are currently in recyclable packaging, but we want to do more to be better stewards of God’s creation.  Keep an eye out, because we’ll be aggressively moving towards biodegradable packaging options wherever possible.  

This wasn’t supposed to turn into an angry tirade or an ode to environmentalism, it’s just that it makes sense to be good stewards of the gifts we’ve been given.  I know how easy it is to go along with the waste and consumption that’s accepted by our society.  The plastic bags are right there.  They’re so easy and convenient.  The disposable doesn’t require any forethought or any planning.  I know, I’ve been there too, but we can’t really live life by floating downstream with the rest of society.  Join me in living intentionally, thoughtfully, and lovingly towards all of God’s creation — every man, woman, child and….sea turtle.

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Sources: Environment California, Global Analysis of Anthropogenic Debris Ingestion by Sea Turtles

Originally posted 2013-08-08 16:49:49.

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