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Opinion: Go Outside and be a Good Steward

It’s pirate month! Argh matey!

This past week I went on vacation to Florida. And while we drove by packed crowds at the beach and bars, we also drove through marked “seabird nesting areas” and the fridge in our rental had a magnet about protecting sea turtles.  

The magnet on my fridge. If Florida can do it – so can Georgia!

I may not have been able to go out to eat, or frequent some parts of the beach, but I was impressed with their conservation efforts.  

We can do the same for Georgia’s great outdoors.  

Getting out of the house is more important then ever. And while it’s probably not a good idea to go to packed bar, it is a great time to enjoy the great outdoors. Exposure to nature is good for the body and mindIt can reduce the risk of chronic conditions (the same ones that make Covid-19 worse). 

As I watched my kids play in the sand, I realized that going outside is also timeless. A photograph of us on the beach could have been from 1950, 1980, or 2010. The sun, the sand, the natural beauty. There is no need for electronics. Zinc Oxide, which my parents remember as the only sunscreen of their youth, is now back in vogue because it is safer for both humans and animals.  

Greenspaces of all kinds are good for everyone, but they often suffer from a tragedy of the commons. When you only visit a space for a day or a week, it is easy to forget that the natural ecosystems supports a myriad of wildlife and people year-round. Many Georgians rely on beach or forest or wetland ecosystems for their livelihood. A fishery collapse impacts our fisherman, deforestation leads to loss of habitat and dangerous runoff that effects our farmers, and a destroyed wetland threatens clean drinking water. 

We have a responsibility to be good stewards of Georgia’s natural beauty to preserve it not just for our continued enjoyment, but for the wellbeing and way of life for many Georgians. 

This month Science for Georgia will feature advice, tips, and tricks to go outside and to be a good steward. Many of these things are as simple as picking up your trash, filling in your sand holes, and picking a friendly sunscreen.  

It’s also National Pirate Month so togetherrr we can perrrserrrve and not plunder the envirrronment matey!  

Share our beach information page with your friends. 

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