Sea Turtles: Why Do We Need to Care?

sea turtles

All animals are part of the ecosystem and sea turtles are no different.  These are important sea creatures playing their respective role in maintaining a healthy marine ecosystem.  At the rate these sea turtles are declining in numbers, other marine life will also be in danger.

The role of sea turtles in ocean ecosystem

Sea turtles help in maintaining habitat.  Green sea turtles for instance help in keeping healthy seagrass beds properly mowed because they are herbivores.  It’s important to keep these seagrass bed properly ‘trimmed’ so that the whole nutrient cycle under the ocean is kept in balance.

Without the green sea turtles to graze on seagrass beds, it will overgrow and will result to obstruction to currents and light which will then create a suitable habitat for microorganisms, algae, invertebrates and fungi.  It’s all about chain reaction; these fellas really do play an important role in keeping the balance in check.

sea turtle in Costa Rica

Sea turtles also helps to make sure the coral reefs will flourish.  The hawkbill sea turtle, with its beak-like mouths feed on marine sponges.  Why is it important?  Well, marine sponges can aggressively dominate the reef communities which is not exactly a good idea since it will not only compete with space against corals but its physical and chemical defenses also prevents other fish and marine animals from eating them.

So again, there will be a whole chain reaction where other animals will be left with either no or fewer food.  When hawkbill sea turtles feed on these sponges it allows for other animals as well to feed on it which these animals will normally not be able to do (because they can’t break into its exterior) and more importantly, allows for diversity of reef communities.

Beach dunes or dunes ecosystem also benefits from turtles eggs.  Because sea turtles lay eggs on the beaches, whether these eggs hatched or not, it provides nutrients that in turn affect the vegetation, species distribution and shorelines stability.

Sea turtles are also responsible for keeping the food web in check in the ocean ecosystem.  For instance, the leatherbacks, loggerheads and green sea turtles, feed on jelly fish!  Imagine if these jelly fish dominates the sea more than fish!  These sea turtles also provide food for fish and shrimp, by carrying around barnacles, algae and other similar organisms.  The eggs they lay on beaches will not hatch 100 percent; some will serve as food for other predators like ants, crabs, raccoons, and others.  The same goes with the hatchlings, there are studies that show 97 percent of these hatchlings will be eaten within the first hour upon entering the water.  It may sound a little gruesome, but it’s the rule of nature, they are part of the food chain, and majority of these hatchlings will serve as food for other animals.

What’s happening to the sea turtles?

The sea turtles’ population is greatly affected by fishing- either by direct death or by injury brought about by commercial fishing. The continuous habitat degradation also plays a big role and of course the effect of climate changes.

It’s bad enough that sea turtles needed to face natural phenomenon and the natural sequence of food chain, what’s really disturbing is the incessant poaching and illegal trade of sea turtles – eggs, meat, shells – which pose a great threat to this species.  The carefree attitude of most people – in disposing trash, disturbing the animals without regard – also plays a big role in the continued decline in sea turtle numbers.

These sea turtles need us to care more for them – so that they will thrive – but keep in mind that we need them too, so that nature will be in balance. Creating awareness is one way to save these sea creatures.  Educating as much people as we can will make a big difference.  We can do better.  We can make it happen.

How to Express Ocean Awareness Through Art

sea turtle green mission

More and more artists are now using ocean art to inspire changes and raise awareness about the need to conserve and protect our natural world.  These artists are utilizing their talents to produce artworks – not only those that shows the beauty of the ocean or the gifts of life underneath it but especially artworks that communicate the predicament that our ocean is currently in – the problems about pollution and the incessant abuse of natural ocean resources.

Check out this Interview with Claudio Garzon, an eco-friendly

Artist teaching kids about environmental art.

There’s No Denying

plastics are foreverIt’s not very surprising now a days to take a walk along the beach or river, and you won’t get too far without seeing or encountering plastic trash – from plastic bags, plastic bottles, and plastic wrappers to fishing nets and other plastic debris.  There’s no denying that we are in a ‘messy’ predicament right now.

There are plastics everywhere.

Plastics are not biodegradable.  If you think ‘diamonds are forever’ guess what, so are plastics!

The very plastic you’re using at home, at work, at school or anywhere for that matter – will eventually find its way to our water system and we now know will eventually end up in the ocean.

These plastic will endanger the lives of marine animals – there are instances where turtles or dolphins get trapped with discarded nets or even plastic furniture.  These animals oftentimes die; very seldom will they get rescued from it.  This plastic trash is clearly a threat for these marine animals.

sea turtle caught in plasticsImage source: beaches.uptake.com

Through the years, these plastics get broken into tiny bits – some small enough for marine animals and even birds to mistaken it for food, and into microscopic size over time…but still…it will not totally biodegrade.

plastic pollution kills birdImage source: coastalcare.org

It maybe no longer visible to the human eyes but it’s still there, it’s still plastic, it doesn’t get absorbed into the natural system.  It continuous to pollute our waters and gets eaten by tiny marine organisms that will of course enter the food chain.  And guess who is on the top of this food chain?  Exactly.

seabed pollutionImage source: coastalcare.org

Unnatural Expectation from the Natural

The ocean has been providing us food, water, livelihood and even recreation.  Its abundance is simply immeasurable.  It’s quite heartbreaking to know that not only do people are taking more than he needs but is also showing no regard at all.

We are making unnatural expectation from the ocean.  The bounty that the ocean used to naturally provide us is no longer coming ‘naturally.’  Simply put, we are ‘forcing it’ out of the ocean.

sea turtle defenders, green mission

Artists on the Move

The likes of Claudio Garzon, along with other artists who are choosing to use their talents to inspire people, to educate them and raise ocean awareness are the ‘ocean defenders’ of our time. Facebook Page Sea Turtle Defenders Keeps the Ocean’s Safe for Sea Turtles through education.

We are defending the ocean, the planet and future generations.

It’s nothing short of admirable to have these artists affect a movement by making use of the fact that arts do affect people’s lives.

They communicate their ocean sentiments through paintings, sculptures, murals, songs and or plays that leave a lasting impression to whoever manages to come across such artwork.

The Mission of the Sea Turtle Defenders: endeavors to identify, categorize, and disseminate current environmental and related social educational information to children, families, educators, and community leaders to raise their awareness and  continuously advocate for sea turtle rights.

Sea Turtles vs. Trash Pollution

defend sea turtles

Trash pollution is undeniably one of the reasons that our ocean is facing a phenomenal degradation today.  There is a considerable decline in fisheries, marine habitats are visibly destroyed plus of course the effects of climate changes that can be felt everywhere.

You can argue that the earth is an ever changing world, that it continuous to evolve through the years, that changes are bound to happen – but we cannot deny the fact that humans are a big factor in creating unnatural changes and shift in this planet.

Are sea turtles paying the price?

Time and again sea turtle casualties has been reported due to fishing nets and boat accidents (still debatable whether intentional or not), but cases where trash is involve is not too new either.

Sea turtles are literally dying from our trash, from our plastic trash.

Some mistakes plastics for jellyfish, would feed on them until such time that it causes fatal internal problems.  Some are being caught in abandoned nets or ropes and drown.  Some gets trap with these plastics, would eventually survive but with disfiguring effects on them.  While some more others are basically falling ill due to polluted waters.

So yes, sea turtles are paying the price for the incessant trash pollution.

What can we do?

We can begin by respecting the ocean as a sign of gratitude for all the abundance it’s giving us.  We have to recognize the fact that not only does the ocean provide us with food and water, it also house magnificent creatures as well as organisms that made our very existence on earth a possibility.

We must learn to care for the ocean and protect it.  Protecting the ocean means protecting all the marine lives that live in it, and protecting their lives means protecting ourselves as well.

We can create awareness about the effects of trash pollution that all leads back to the ocean.  We have to educate the people on how the existence of marine lives including the sea turtles are being threaten because of the enormous trash we are dumping in our waters.

plastics and sea turtles

NOW, is a good time to start making changes.  We can defend the sea turtles by creating awareness.  People will tend to care more for something that they know more about.  We have to continually educate other people about the importance of caring for the ocean.

We can start small by being more aware on how we dispose of our trash.  Remember that it all leads back to the ocean.  Start considering a greener lifestyle, it’s not only good for our own health, but for the environment as well.  Say no to plastics whenever you can, always opt for biodegradable and recyclable materials.

Quite frankly, to care for the ocean and defend the sea turtles we have to be more proactive.  We have to make sure that our voices are being heard.  And we have to continue on doing that until radical changes are finally taking place.

Trash Talk: Plastics into Work of Art

We have come to a point where trash pollution is undeniably one of the world’s major problems.  And what’s making it even worse is that most of this garbage pollution is plastics which comprise the 80 percent of the world’s marine pollution.  And we all know that plastics will not completely biodegrade but instead it will just add up to water debris that endangers marine life and ultimately even that of ours.

art for ocean awareness a

An artist with a mission.

These concerns are what trigger artists like Claudio Garzón to turn trash, these plastics – into work of art.  While other people’s idea of walking along the beach or along the river involves collecting colorful stones, glasses or perhaps shells; Claudio’s is to pick up plastic trash that he can later on use in creating artwork.

And it doesn’t end there, it’s not enough that he’s recycling these plastics while creating amazing art, he also want to create awareness that will then educate the people on how plastics are destroying our ocean and endangering marine lives.

claudio garzon

He is passionate both with arts and with defending the ocean.

He loves teaching children about   the changes that they can make and how they can keep the ocean clean.  For him, the whole idea is not just creating recyclable arts but to educate as well.

His infamous Plas Tikobots, which are science fiction robots that are made entirely from the plastics that he found, are generating buzz about marine life protection.  These Plas Tikobots are usually modeled after sea creatures – turtles, sharks.

Through his amazing artworks, he hopes to enlighten the mind of the people to start caring and showing gratitude to the ocean.

It’s quite ironic how a beautiful piece of artwork is actually made from plastics that are polluting our water which of course is downright ugly!

Not just an artist.

Suffice to say, Claudio Garzón is not just your ordinary artist.  He’s using his artistic ability not just to share beautiful artworks or teach arts to children but more so to raise awareness and create education that will save marine lives and ultimately, ours, too.

Claudio Garzon's turtle art

Trash talk.

Plastics are endangering our lives.  It’s a fact. We can no longer deny how irresponsible we have become in using throwaways, always choosing comfort and ease no matter the price earth has to pay.  But of course, we can always play dumb and act innocent about our contribution to this ailing planet.  But who are we kidding really?  What’s already happening and what will happen to this earth in the future is our responsibility.  Would you blame your neighbors for the trash in your own home?

Planet earth is our home, our only home.  It’s about time we start taking responsibilities, let’s create awareness and start making changes.  Do what you can!

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