Earth Day | Three Easy Ways Paddlers Can Protect the Environment

Photo courtesy of Chase Kosterlitz
Photo courtesy of Chase Kosterlitz

Three Easy Ways Paddlers Can Protect the Environment

What is Earth Day anyway?

When I was younger, that was always my question when April 22nd rolled around. Perhaps it was Earth’s birthday? But then why didn’t I get the day off from school? Or maybe it was just some day that only hippies and “tree-huggers” celebrated? In short, I had no idea what Earth Day meant and why it was so important. It wasn’t until I was older when it finally clicked, Earth Day wasn’t about one day, it was about an entire movement. A movement that started on the inaugural Earth Day.

On this date in 1970, nearly 20 million Americans took to the streets to demonstrate and protest the rampant pollution and the degradation of our natural environment. People from all walks of life put aside their differences and came together for a cause bigger than themselves, bigger than all of us–the future of our planet. The day was successful and by the end of the year, the United States Environmental Protection Agency had been created. That day proved that if we stand together, we still have the power to make a change for good.  So in honor of Earth Day and those tireless crusaders for environmental sustainability, here are a few easy ways that every paddler can help our magnificent planet. – Jack Haworth 

Photo courtesy of Chase Kosterlitz
Photo courtesy of Chase Kosterlitz

1. Pick Up Trash

Nobody likes to see trash on the beach or in the water, but often times people will turn a blind eye and not bother to pick it up. However, trash is much more than an eye-sore, it is destructive. Scientists estimate there is over five trillion pieces of trash in our oceans and that has deadly consequences for marine life ranging from plankton to whales. While the figures are staggering, paddlers can still make a difference.  Paddleboards offers a stable platform that is perfect for clean-up efforts. It’s simple, next time you paddle past a piece of trash, simply pick it up, put it on your board, and throw it away once you are back on land. It may not seem like much, but it makes a positive impact on your local marine ecosystem.

2. Eat Sustainable Seafood

Just remember what Bruce–the great white shark–said in Disney’s Finding Nemo, “Fish are friends, not food.” While we admire Bruce’s thoughts, most paddlers would probably disagree. Fish is a lean protein and makes up a staple of many paddler’s diets. With that said, it’s important to know where your fish is coming from and how it’s being caught. For decades, the fishing industry decimated populations of fish that were once thought to be endless. Species like Halibut, Cod and Pacific Bluefin Tuna are now at all-time lows due to unsustainable fishing practices. But thanks to our friends at the Monterey Bay Aquarium, eating sustainable seafood is now easier than ever. They developed both a website and app called Seafood Watch, which gives users all the information they need to make responsible seafood choices.

3. Get Out and Paddle

Yep, that’s right. Getting out and enjoying our magnificent planet is what SUP is all about. Come face-to-face with wildlife, feel the rush of adrenaline as you catch a big wave, or simply be at peace in the calmness that only wilderness can provide. Whether taking strokes in a lake, river or ocean, simply exploring Mother Nature’s natural wonders is the best way to celebrate Earth Day. Not only will it give you a greater appreciation for our planet, but it will also inspire you to protect it. Because Earth Day is not just about embracing our planet for one day, it’s about conserving and enjoying our planet everyday. Now that’s something all paddlers can get behind.

Happy Earth Day!

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