Seagrass: An Ecological Superpower Fighting Plastic Pollution
The wonders of seagrass are only now just being realized, with new studies indicating that the restoration of seagrass habitats leads to the rapid recovery of coastal ecosystems.
One of the major modern-day tragedies currently happening right now is the destruction of the Amazon rainforest.
But did you know that we are losing at least 7% of seagrass fields every year as well?
Scientists were thrilled to discover the natural microplastic collection and purging process that this critical ecosystem provides the ocean. These grasses have been enriching, protecting, and nurturing coastal communities since the dinosaurs. Their roots hold seafloor sediment in place, their leaves filter out polluting chemicals, even a single blade can provide sanctuary for communities of microscopic marine life. Seagrass meadows are even known to make a gentle sound underwater much like tiny bells. These sounds are believed to guide everything from larvae to sharks.
A U.N. report estimates that while these powerhouses of the sea cover only about 0.1 percent of the ocean floor, they perform up to 18 percent of the ocean’s carbon sequestration.
Right now scarring from boat propellers, chemical runoff, and overfishing coupled with extreme weather all threaten to destroy entire meadows. The forgotten Serengettis of the sea threatens to collapse under the destructive weight of the microplastics settling down upon them.
But efforts in Florida, Virginia, Australia, and parts of Europe have proven that seagrass meadows can be reseeded successfully. Scientists around the planet have raised the alarm, increasing their efforts to map and monitor seagrass colonies all over the world.
“I’m pitching seagrasses as an ally in climate change. They are an incredible ecosystem that continues to provide a wealth of benefits to humanity,” says Jonathan Lefcheck, a research scientist at the Smithsonian’s Environmental Research Center.
Offset your carbon footprint and defend our coasts and oceans with Project Seagrass Grow.
Citizen scientists across the planet are pitching in by reporting seagrass locations with the smartphone app SeagrassSpotter.
Shoutout to amazing souls at The Inn at Manzanillo Bay in Troncones Beach, Mexico.
We love it when inns, hotels, and resorts promote stewardship of the land they occupy. The coastal state of Guerrero is home to many beach villages whose main economy is the hospitality industry. It’s incredible to see small business owners align with our values, promoting clean beaches through individual action.
Keep up the good work Barrel Bag fam, we made it through another year. Let’s keep building on the momentum we’ve created.
Wishing you and yours peace and light for the rest of the year, and a fresh fighting spirit in the battle against single-use plastics in 2022.