By Meghan Rice
Southern California beaches are landmarks of the area, where people of all ages and backgrounds flock to enjoy the crystal blue water, blazing sunshine, and white sand. Visiting the beaches, we see volleyball games, barbeques, tents for hoards of people to gather under and enjoy fun festivities under the sun. People bring their lunches and have picnics, celebrate birthdays, and of course, enjoy the swimming in the ocean on hot days. Even when it’s overcast out, the water is beautiful with a view of boats on the horizon and Catalina Island. And at night, we enjoy gathering around a fire pit cooking smores. Surfers make the beach a regular spot to exercise and enjoy the outdoor activities they love. Skateboarders and bikers ride along the coast, and children buy ice cream from the shops by the sand. Southern California beaches are the happening spots for Californians by the coast, and visitors from all over come to visit what this area is famous for. As someone who has lived here their whole life, I am proud of our beaches and wish that future generations would enjoy them as much as I have.
If only the wildlife native to these areas could be respected and enjoyed as much as we enjoy the beaches for recreation. We forget, however, that we share these beaches with wildlife, and that we owe it to them to protect their natural habitat. Plastics, pollutants, and garbage create dangers to wildlife and plague these beautiful beaches. The white sand is littered with the residue of our picnics, barbeques, and late night bonfires. It does not take very much to pay respect to the beaches we so much enjoy as Southern Californians. For all the fun we get from the coast, we need to give back by preventing littering and doing just a small part to reverse what damage has been done.
Coastal Angels is an organization that simply cares about the environment around our beaches and in the ocean. We recognize the impact that our Southern California beach lifestyle can inadvertently have on wildlife. We understand that people do care, and simply neglect to consider the effects of littering or otherwise leaving animals’ habitat dangerous to them. For instance, consider the aluminum can left on the sand after a picnic. It’s so simple to bring a garbage bag to the picnic and take the trash to a trashcan. Now the can gets caught in a wave and tangled in a seaweed patch. Dragged to sea, a marine mammal consumes it, and it tears its stomach. The same thing happens with styrofoam. The animal that consumes it thinks it’s full, and stops eating, eventually starving to death. If we can simply bring a bag for our garbage, we can protect wildlife from plastics and other pollutants, and feel the positive effect we are having in the fight against endangering species that are in trouble. Nature works to protect itself, and if we do our part, we can preserve the natural order that keeps our beaches sparkling, the water crystal blue, and the animals that bring life to the ocean alive and prospering. Join us, Southern California, in Coastal Angel’s effort to reverse damage to our coasts, and spread awareness about the need to keep our beaches clean!