5 Easy Ways You Can Make a Difference this World Turtle Day

If we don’t do something now, sea turtles will soon become yet another species lost to extinction. It’s up to all of us to prevent that from happening.

I think it’s safe to say we all fell a little bit in love with sea turtles after watching Finding Nemo. I mean, who could resist the goofy, big-hearted Crush the “surfer dude” and his tiny sidekick, Squirt?

If you havent seen the popular movie yet, you should definitely make a plan to watch it. In the meantime, scroll to the end of this post for a short clip featuring Nemo and Crush.

In 2015, Christine Figgener, a marine biologist at Texas A&M University, uploaded footage of a sea turtle with a plastic straw up its nose. The clip went viral, prompting a multitude of anti-straw campaigns, such as this hard-hitting one from Greenpeace.

Why World Turtle Day Matters

Highlighted by Earth Day Network as a species in need, we have more reason than ever to support World Turtle Day. These ancient creatures have been around for 100 million years.

Having survived the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago, sea turtle populations are once again at risk. This time, humans are to blame.

Between by-catch, illegal trade, plastic pollution, habitat loss and global warming, turtle numbers are dwindling rapidly. According to the World Wildlife Fund, “Tens of thousands of sea turtles are lost each year to over-harvesting and illegal trade.”

Make Every Day World Turtle Day

Here are five simple yet powerful things you can do right now to make a difference for turtles.

1. Switch to a Plant-Based Diet

There’s a lot of confusion around “sustainable” fishing and seafood guides. Even when people catch marine life in a less harmful manner, seafood is rife with ocean pollutants.

Not only is switching to a plant-based diet better for the planet and the creatures we share it with, it’s also the healthier choice for humans. If going 100 percent plant-based is too much of a stretch, you could opt for the Blue Zones diet, which encourages a strong plant slant.

Whatever you do, just don’t eat turtle soup or turtle eggs. I have it on good authority that Santa will fly right past your house if you do.

world turtle day

2. Adopt a Sea Turtle

People are often enamored by the idea of owning an exotic pet. It’s not a good idea for a number of reasons, most notably because wild animals belong in the wild. Pet turtles are particularly challenging to care for and can even make you sick.

A far better idea is to adopt a sea turtle. Along with your personalized adoption certificate and various other keepsakes, you’ll also have the satisfaction of knowing you’ve contributed to a worthy cause. Best of all, there’s no tank to clean.

3. Help Put an End to Plastic Pollution

There are various ways you can help fight the war on plastic. It starts at home. Make a pact to stop using single-use plastic. With zero-waste stores on the rise and plastic alternatives becoming more commonplace, it’s not that hard.

Take part in (or organize your own) beach and river cleanups on a regular basis. Educate friends and family, and encourage them to say no to plastic, too. One (not so pushy) way is to give them a reusable shopping bag, straw or travel mug as a gift.

4. Stop Visiting Aquariums

Wild animals deserve to be in the wild. Failing that, they at least deserve the right to live somewhere they can stretch their legs (or fins) properly. Places like marine theme parks, zoos and aquariums exploit animals for human entertainment.

Instead, you can visit a sanctuary or nature reserve, go on a non-hunting safari or volunteer with a reputable organization. All of these give you the opportunity to see these animals in a more natural setting.

5. Educate Yourself (& Others)

Knowledge is key. It’s only once you learn about something that you feel compelled to take action. (Recently, I wrote an article on animal testing, which prompted me to stop taking over-the-counter meds.)

Download Earth Day Network’s Protect Our Species Primer and Action Toolkit to find out what’s happening to the species on our planet as well as the various ways you can help.

It’s particularly important to education children. They’re much easier to win over, and once they’re on board persuading the adults in their lives to take action will be less of a challenge.

Change happens one person at a time, until eventually, there’s a movement. To quote Margaret Mead, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed, citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”

If we each do something, together our collective efforts will have an impact.

[Watch] Crush the ‘Surfer Dude’ Sea Turtle in Finding Nemo

TAKE ACTION

Egg poaching is just one of the many ways the sea turtle population is at risk. In Nicaragua, poachers are taking a more barbaric approach to get what they want. Join over 165,686 people and sign and share the pledge to support efforts to put an end to this horrifying practice.

If you want to make a difference on an issue you find deeply troubling, you too can create a Care2 petition, and use this handy guide to get started. You’ll find Care2′s vibrant community of activists ready to step up and help you.

 

This May, Care2 is launching a campaign to protect endangered species. Join us to save these real-life fantastic beasts!

Photo Credit: Getty Images

98 comments

Jeanette B
Jeanette Björk21 hours ago

Thanks for sharing! And thanks for the toolkit!

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Leo C
Leo Custer11 days ago

Thanks for sharing!

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Ruth S
Ruth S15 days ago

Thanks.

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Ruth S
Ruth S15 days ago

Thanks.

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Leo Custer
Leo Custer17 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Ganaisha Calvin
Ganaisha C19 days ago

One of the many reasons to end the production of single-use plastic

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Leo C
Leo Custer19 days ago

Thank you for sharing!

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Michael F
Michael F20 days ago

Thank You for Sharing This !!!

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Pietro Maiorana
Pietro M23 days ago

Con i crediti farfalla io sostengo "SEETurtles"!!

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Jan S
Jacob S23 days ago

thank you

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