If WE don’t act, who on Earth will? Global ocean conservation group Surfers Against Sewage  asked the question in its Spring 2018 Pipeline newsletter, which details the nonprofit’s efforts of advocating on behalf of our oceans.

Florida’s red tide and blue-green algae environmental crises have polluted our shores and resulted in unprecedented loss of life of sea creatures large and small.

The death toll continues to grow, but at last report numbers 16 bottlenose dolphins, 540 manatees have died this year and nearly 100 deaths are blamed on red tide, according to the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

The crisis has mobilized people of all walks of life, asking “What can I do?” Two public forums — one in Venice and another in Englewood  — were filled with standing-room-only crowds, as residents struggle to understand the factors that feed the toxic red tide Karenia brevis algae bloom.

For solutions, we can look across the pond to Surfers Against Sewage  group comprised of people who love the ocean and who have stepped forward to protect it.

The group has stepped up to clean beaches in the United Kingdom and is turning its attention to education about the hazards that plastics pollution poses to sea life and to our oceans.

Locally, the grass-roots nonprofit Sarasota BayWatch has been at the forefront of beach cleanups and environmental awareness in our area. Sadly, this year’s annual scallop search planned for August was postponed because of the ongoing red tide bloom.

What can we do? We can all act locally to make a difference globally in our waterways:

— Reduce use of plastics and vow to haul out at least three pieces of plastic every time you set foot on the beach.

— Vote! Quiz candidates and support those who vow to protect the environment. Hold them accountable if they do not.

— Plant Florida native trees and Florida-friendly landscaping to eliminate the need for fertilizer and excess watering.

— Reduce and eliminate use of fertilizers.

Aquatic Plants of Florida worked to plant native vegetation in coastal areas. [PHOTO / ALLARD PPC]
Here in Sarasota, Allard PPC worked in a consultative role with Aquatic Plants of Florida to restore coastal areas with native plants by aligning businesses that want to do good with environmental causes.

We are proud to be part of the group that is working to defend our waters here in Florida.

Ross has taken it a bit further than that, having started his work in water protecting and conserving Florida waters in 2004 and recently expanding his efforts to raise awareness about threats to the coasts and estuaries of his native England as well.

SAS educational and environmental awareness efforts have made huge difference in the United Kingdom, so yes we can do this in Florida and beyond. It’s been done, so why can’t we?

“One person really can make a difference and we’re among many who are living proof,” Ross says.

How are you telling your story? Contact us at Allard PPC.