You're by the sea, enjoying the cool breeze that tangles up your hair and the warmth of the sun. These sensations make you smile. You really needed this! There's no better feeling in the world for you. If you can't go to the beach at least once a year, your life isn't complete. You crave the peaceful feeling that your hectic urban lifestyle can't give you.
Holiday is a very special season, so you plan your trip carefully, the things you'll pack up, whether to travel by plane or by bus, the places you'll visit this time. You could say everything is ready to be just perfect, but... are you really sure of that?
Things may be okay for you, but you may be causing a serious harm on the ocean and the environment without even noticing. Did you know that people can waste massive amounts of water when using beach public showers? Forty four beach parks in California have shut its showers because 15 million park visitors would use 1.5 gallons of water each one, and this wasted an additional million gallons. It's better to take just one shower at home or at the hotel room when you're done with all your activities.
Now, what things can you also change while traveling?
Eating the same as always
Not giving yourself the chance to taste new flavors and dishes is boring. Don't take for granted the opportunity to know the local gastronomy of a place.
Just no. Whether you're on the street or on holiday at the beach, your trash will end up polluting the oceans the same way. During the season, people find it easier to dump their waste on beaches or streets because they mistakenly believe that it will be picked up later on. But things don't work like that, if you keep doing this, you'll only contribute to the disappearance of your beloved ocean.
“More than 8 million tons of plastic waste seeps out of the ocean each year, this is equal to discharging all the waste in the container of a garbage truck each minute." – UN
Getting up late
This is an important habit to improve when you're on vacation. If you get up late, you won't be able to make the most of your time to discover the wonders of your destination. This will only make you look like an apathetic person in the place you're visiting.
You buy products made from endangered species
When you go on vacations, you want to spent your money on the most exotic things you can find, but it's important to verify craft or the materials they're made from. You could easily end up buying articles made from endangered animal species. If you keep doing this, you'll only be damaging entire ecosystems and encouraging illegal hunting and fishing.
Going to the most crowded places
During vacation, the number of people going to the beach grows exponentially until it gets packed. Please bear this in mind and if you want to be more adventurous head to places that are slowly gaining a name for themselves.
Using products that are harmful to the environment
As we already stated, every object you dump carelessly ends up in the sea, and this also goes for beauty and care products like shampoo, sunscreen, or toothpaste. These products threaten the lives of many marine species. A good option to protect them is to look for brands that use natural or organic components.
“In the beaches of Quintana Roo, Mexico only a 30% of sewage water is treated, while a 70% ends up polluting rivers, cenotes (sinkholes with ground waters), lakes, and oceans."
I understand that you want to treat yourself when you're on a trip, but any touristic attraction always has an expensive and a cheaper alternative: you can choose between popular restaurants or small local spots with traditional food. Why don't you try out a traditional dish? I bet they're cheaper and taste better than anything prepared at big, expensive food chains.
Paying to swim with wild animals
Ok, I get it. Dolphins and seals are super cute, and scuba-diving in coral reefs can be an amazing experience, but I'm sorry to say that these kinds of activities are really harmful to the ocean's ecosystems. When species are kept in captivity, we take them away from their natural habitat and tamper with their growth and development. All for what? Just to have a little fun for a while?
It's time for you to rethink your vacation habits in case you do any of those mentioned above. You may think you're just a grain of sand when it comes to the consequences of massive tourism, but stop and think that it is a small rock that can stop an avalanche from coming down. You simply need a push to realize how your practices and habits are not as healthy as they appear on the surface. Everything we do has an impact on animals and the environment. Remember: we all live in the same planet, and the oceans and their biodiversity form part of you everyday life, so let's protect them.
Translated by Andrea Valle