Walk Right In
The walkovers that exist at beaches are there for a reason. Use them to get to the beach instead of walking across sensitive dunes, which will help reduce erosion. Dunes protect land against storm waves from the sea, and harbor specialized plants and animals. However, human activity and population expansion threaten their existence.
The reduce, reuse and recycle mantra is extra important at the beach. Don't leave your things behind. How to make this process easier? Pack a picnic in a good old-fashioned basket with reusable cutlery and cups, and cloth napkins. (Try to avoid glass, though. The EPA wisely reminds us that broken glass and bare feet don't mix.)
If you insist on disposables, use ones made from recycled plastic, like Preserve's line of tableware, which can be reused several times before they go into the recycling bin. And to prevent one more plastic bottle from floating out to sea, bring a reusable stainless steel thermos such as the Klean Kanteen or one from Sigg.
Don't Be Trashy
Dispose of your trash properly by using public trash containers at the beach. If you're in a remote location and garbage cans aren't easy to find, take your trash home with you.
Trash left on the ground can be swept up by runoff and carried to the beach. And yes, the EPA says you still have to cut the rings off plastic six-pack holders so that animals such as fish, turtles or seals don't get tangled in them. And hey, while you're working so hard, don't hesitate to pick up any trash left by less responsible beachgoers.
Take Care of Business
Contrary to popular belief, the beach is not one big bathroom. Help keep beaches clean and safe by using public restrooms. Since Spot can't do that on his own, be sure to dispose of pet waste properly.
Be a Good Guest
Remember you're a visitor; don't disturb the wildlife and plants native to the beach -- even if you think the buggers are provoking you.
Do Your Home Work
The EPA reminds us that protecting the ocean starts at home. If you throw it out, spread it on the lawn or flush it down a drain, it could end up in the ocean.
What can you do? Maintain your septic system. Use natural substances like compost instead of harsh chemicals to fertilize gardens and lawns. Don't throw motor oil in storm drains; recycle it at your local service shop instead.
Promote beach protection and take care of your local shores by joining a beach, river or stream cleanup. Check your local government Website to see what you can do in your community, or go to the Ocean Conservancy's Website to join its International Coastal Cleanup.