Footprint Foundation and Footprint LLC are helping Chris conserve sea turtles in the wild and you can help too!
Here are NINE ways that YOU can help!
- Just say NO to plastics! Sea turtles and other ocean life mistake plastic as food and ingest it. An estimated that more than 100 million marine animals die each year as a result of eating or getting entangled in plastic. Avoid using disposable plastic bags, bottles, skip the straw, and hang onto those helium balloons! Check out some easy ways to reduce your use of plastics here: https://lessplastic.co.uk/
- Reduce your carbon footprint! Climate change affects the health of coral reefs which are vital to the hawksbills survival. A warming planet also skews sex ratios in baby turtles, changes the abundance and distribution of prey, increases erosion of nesting beaches, and more. Learn some simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint here: https://www.huffpost.com/entry/7-instant-ways-to-reduce-your-carbon-footprint_b_59321992e4b00573ab57a383
- Choose responsibly caught seafood! Sea turtles are vulnerable to commercial fishing methods like trawling, longlines, and drift gillnets, becoming unwanted catch (also known as “bycatch”) that is discarded like trash. To help make turtle friendly seafood choices check out the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch which is also available as a handy app for your phone! https://www.seafoodwatch.org/
- Don’t buy souvenirs or other items made from critically endangered hawksbill shell! See our How To Identify & Avoid Hawksbill Turtleshell guide to learn how to recognize turtleshell and other similar looking materials. When traveling, ask vendors what souvenirs are made of and when in doubt, don’t purchase items in question. https://www.tooraretowear.org/how-to-recognize-turtleshell
- Leave No Trace! This means practicing good housekeeping when visiting a beach where turtles nest. Remove your trash (and trash left by others) and any obstacles that may become hazards for nesting sea turtles and hatchlings like beach furniture, holes, and sandcastles. Turtles need clean and clear beaches (and oceans!) to increase their chances of survival.
- Go see them! Witnessing a sea turtle nesting or baby turtles erupting from a nest is pure magic. When you go visit a place with sea turtles nesting or in the water, local communities and the turtles benefit. Be sure to follow these tips for protecting turtles while you travel, such as no touching or turtle selfies. Several organizations offer trips to see and volunteer with these animals. For example:
- Turtles dig the dark! Sea turtles need dark beaches for nesting and for navigating their way to the ocean. Light from beachfront development can deter females from coming ashore to nest as well as lead newly born hatchling away from the water and towards danger. Learn more about sea turtle beach etiquette here: https://www.seeturtles.org/sea-turtle-nesting-beaches/
- Choose sunscreen carefully. Chemicals in some types of sunscreen can damage coral reefs and pollute turtle habitat. Avoid any sunscreen with “oxybenzone” and “octinoxate” and look for brands labeled as “Reef Friendly” and avoid sprays that can pollute the sand where turtles nest. The best way to avoid sunburn is to cover up with hats and shirts. Check out this article in Vogue about the best ways to avoid sunburn: https://www.vogue.com/article/reef-safe-sunscreens-oxybenzone-free-sea-turtles-environment-stream2sea
- Use your voice! There are many opportunities to encourage governments, companies, and others to better protect these animals. Check out these organizations below for issues you can speak out about. https://seaturtles.org/take-action/action-center/