This is what the ocean is to us in the summer; a place to connect as a family, to get out of our homes and every day lives, and, if we invest a little more time and energy, a place where we feel connected to nature, uplifted and peaceful.

The establishment of the National Park System in the USA provided places of beauty that belonged to all people.

President Franklin D Roosevelt said that "The fundamental idea behind the parks ... is that the country belongs to the people, that it is for the enrichment of the lives of all of us."

However, it was also stressed that with this enjoyment came the obligations of stewardship.

US President John F Kennedy said: "National parks and reserves are an integral aspect of intelligent use of natural resources. It is the course of wisdom to set aside an ample portion of our natural resources as national parks and reserves, thus ensuring that future generations may know the majesty of the earth as we know it today."

Our beaches and our ocean are at the core of our tourism offering and our self-image as a country, as JFK said, they are also for future generations, and so we need to look after them.

We take care of our own backyards, mowing the grass and picking up trash that blows in, and in the same way taking care of the beach should be as much part of the visit to the beach as the swimming, picnic, drink or party.

A motto that appears frequently in national parks: "Take on pictures, leave only footprints" also applies to us here. If we are lucky enough to go out on a boat unfortunately we often see a slick of oil and floating trash around the boat yards and boat ramps.

Too often we walk onto the beaches for the day, at the end of the day we shake out our towels and walk back to our cars — leaving behind overflowing bins and discarded cigarette butts or cans and bottles on the sand.

confetti-plasticThe soup of plastic particles that contaminates the ocean also contaminates our beaches.A worse picture is presented after a major event at the beach.

Use boats and boat yards thoughtfully to minimise pollution.

Take your trash home with you from the beach ... check around and take someone else's thoughtless discard with you as well.

Any regular readers of this column will be familiar with Greenrock's concern over ocean plastics and the soup of plastic particles that contaminates the ocean.

horseshoe-bayNext time you walk on a Bermuda beach, inspect the sand for 'confetti plastic'.Next time you walk on Horseshoe Bay or John Smith's Bay or any of our other ocean-side National Parks take a close look at the sand and you will see that the 'confetti plastic' that contaminates the ocean also contaminates our beaches.

When you pick up your towel, your beach chair and take care of your own trash, perhaps you could also take a few minutes to pick up a few handfuls of the confetti plastic as well — there is actually no other way to get rid of this pollution — but 65,000 of us, one handful at a time, could actually make a difference.

One final quote on National Parks from George M Wright, Joseph S Dixon, and Ben H. Thompson: "perhaps our greatest national heritage is nature itself, with all its complexity and its abundance of life, which, when combined with great scenic beauty as it is in the national parks, becomes of unlimited value."

This national heritage, which we all enjoy daily in Bermuda in summer, needs your care so that it can be handed as the same valuable inheritance to our children.

About Greenrock

According to The Footprint Network, which measures the ability of the planet to produce resources and absorb waste, our resource use and waste production is 60% more than the earth can produce or absorb annually.

This overshoot is the result of decisions that we each make every day. We seek to generate debate and to influence people to change their behaviour.We strive to be catalysts: Success for us is when we can Change the Mindset so that sustainable use of resources is included in decision-making for individuals, government or businesses. ... read more


Where to find Us

Suite 324, 48 Par-La-Ville Rd,
Hamilton HM11, Bermuda

Telephone: 1-441-747-ROCK (7625)
Email: info@greenrock.org
Website: www.greenrock.org