AS WE ENTER into February, chances are most of us have already broken our New Year resolutions or just given up all together. (For those of you who are still going strong, we commend you!) Instead of making strict “resolutions,” which by definition means, “a firm decision to do or not to do something,” why not try to make a small change every day? Whether you are trying to kick a bad habit or pick up a new hobby, consider incorporating these tips into your life to become a better, environmentally friendly you!

Mental health and happiness are important when making changes so start the New Year off right with a new buddy. Millions of homeless dogs and cats are available for adoption at a rescue near you and can provide unconditional love and companionship. If you’re looking for something with a little less time commitment STC gives you the opportunity to virtually adopt an endangered sea turtle. You can follow the journey of a satellite-tracked turtle or a tagged one in Costa Rica.

Buying for a cause:
Good for the world and your wallet. Purchase items that support the environment and marine life. Many companies partner with nonprofit organizations and make a donation for every transaction. Here are a few online sites that support and donate to Sea Turtle Conservancy.
• Amazon Smile is the same as the Amazon you use for online shopping, but also donates 0.5 percent of the price of your eligible purchase to STC.
• GoodShop is for all your online shopping needs with part of what you spend automatically donated to STC.

• Pura Vida Bracelets allows you to accessorize or give the perfect gift with the fashionable Sea Turtle bracelets and 20 percent of sales go to STC.
• Loggerhead Apparel offers fun apparel with their sea turtle logo and use promo code STC at checkout to support sea turtle conservation.
• The full list of cause-related partners can be found on the STC online gift shop.

Conscious commuting:
Help reduce the effects of pollution on the ocean and the environment by leaving your car at home and opting to bike, walk, or use public transportation.
• When planning your next vacation do some research to find the most eco-friendly option and think about opting out of that week-long cruise.
• When traveling the waterways be responsible by disposing of trash properly and being aware of marine life around you.
• Follow Coast Guard-approved safe boating guidelines and use vigilance to avoid striking sea turtles and other large marine life.
• In the Cocoa Beach area Sea Turtle Preservation Society distributed “Attention Boaters” cards to inform boaters of special precautions to take in the water when around sea turtles.
• Be sure to stow trash and line when under way. Marine debris that accidentally blows overboard or out of a truck can become ingested by or entangled around marine life.
• Remember to wear polarized sunglasses to better see marine life in your path.

Ditch disposable:
Trash is everywhere. A shocking 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic are in the ocean and while thousands of tons remain at the surface, billions of pieces are left to remain in the deep blue sea. Plastic is often mistaken for food and is eaten by marine life including sea turtles. This trash can create intestinal blockage that can choke, poison and sometimes kill them. A simple thing you can do to minimize this waste is to stop using plastic bags, water bottles and other disposable items and replace them with cute reusable ones.

Ecological Eating:
When shopping or eating out make smart, sustainable food choices and reduce your consumption of meat and seafood. More than 70 percent of the world’s commercial fisheries are overfished for fully exploited. Increase in demand has led to unsustainable fishing practices and massive bycatch. Every year more than 250,000 sea turtles are captured, injured or killed by U.S. fishermen from the accidental bycatch.
• Become educated on the different species of seafood to help reduce over exploitation and choose the most sustainable option.
• Start participating in Meatless Mondays to help reduce your carbon footprint and conserve resources. To make a quarter-pound of hamburger it takes 52.8 gallons of water and 6.7 pounds of feed.
• With worldwide meat consumption on the rise now is the perfect time to join the movement and save the planet.

Fitness Fun:
Getting fit doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. Exercise the right way and participate in events that get you moving and benefit the planet along the way.
• Enjoy the sunset by practicing yoga on the beach and after spend some time cleaning the beach area around you.
• If yoga isn’t your thing, look to see if your city hosts walks or runs supporting environmental protection. The city of Indialantic, Florida hosts a Turtle Krawl 5k run/walk in September and all proceeds benefit the Sea Turtle Preservation Society. Be sure to look out for registration in April!

Green gardening:
As spring approaches it’s the perfect time to start gardening and spruce up your lawn while keeping your personal impact on the environment in mind. Here are a few helpful tips.
• Purchase seeds instead of plants, or find a nursery that recycles the plastic packaging around each plant.
• Research what plants and vegetables are native to your area top help reduce the use of pesticides and fertilizers that can contaminate our water ways from runoff.
• Use compost and mulch to prevent the growth of weeds and preserve moisture keeping your water usage low.
• Stay away from electric and gas-powered tools. Try using a push-type lawn mower which is better for your soil and the environment and is an added workout as well.
• Participate in Sea Turtles Dig the Dune workshop February 7 at 10 a.m. at the Barrier Island Center to help restore dunes and sea turtle nesting habitat throughout the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge. Free sea oats seedlings and planting permits will be given to coastal residents and communities.

Holistic Health:
A healthy lifestyle doesn’t just involve your diet, but includes your physical, mental and spiritual well-being. To optimize your whole health consider learning about the natural ways to achieving good health.
• The Barrier Island Sanctuary hosts fun and educational events including a holistic health talk for interested individuals.
• This short Ted Talk given by Dean Ornish, founder of the Preventive Medicine Research Institute, provides knowledge in support of changing to a healthy lifestyle.
• Take a step into nature and a step away from your stressful life with a good book. Blue Mind is about the connection with the ocean and water with the quality of human thoughts and happiness.
• On those rough days when you need a little extra motivation just remember these life advice tips our sea turtle friends.

Editors Note: This Article was originally published on Sea Turtle Conservancy and is featured here with permission.

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