Thoughtful Thursdays: Celebrate the 4th of July by Showing Your Red, White, Blue and…Green!
Published July 04, 2013
Whether it’s the heart-racing explosion of fireworks or sharing good food with good friends on the beach, the 4th of July is a great time to have fun with family and friends!
Here are some helpful hints to make your Independence Day celebration eco-friendly:
Although they look spectacular, fireworks spew a “who’s who” of nasty chemicals. From gunpowder, to toxic pollutants and heavy metals, the debris that rains down from exploded fireworks contains lead, barium, cadmium, lithium, potassium nitrate and occasionally arsenic.
To help improve air quality for your family and still enjoy the festivities, avoid setting off your own personal displays, and check out your local area's show. Some communities are now choosing green alternatives to toxic propellants (like compressed air). You may even want to encourage your local firework show to consider using these more environmentally friendly fireworks methods!
Skip the Sparkle
Adopting a new tradition around the 4th of July may be just what you’re looking for. A greener option to sparklers is for kids to make their own colorful confetti out of recycled paper and then throw it with wild abandon! This is also a safer option for little fingers as the pretty spark that sparklers create burns at over 1800 degrees F which can melt metal or glass – ouch!
As excited as we may be to run straight into the crashing waves when we reach the beach, it is wise to use the wooden boardwalks that lead out to the sand. These walkovers are important to maintain the fragile dunes that are safe havens for specialized plants and animals. These valuable dunes also help protect waterfront properties from high waves.
Classic picnics are just right for a 4th of July beach day. To leave the beach as beautiful as it was when you found it, pack everything in (and out) in a handy basket or backpack and bring metal cutlery, sturdy plastic plates and cups from home. We all have the know-how to prevent the large amount of paper and plastic cups, forks and spoons that end up in the trash each year (enough to circle the equator 300 times).
Sharing the sand with our animal ocean neighbors is simple by giving them personal space and not approaching or touching them.
Any trash you see should find its way into a trashcan or recycling container (even if you need to carry it a while until you can find a trashcan).
Whether it’s new, innovative firework technologies or an old fashioned family picnic, many of the choices we make around Independence Day can make a difference to ocean health. Together, even small choices like these will make a big impact!
Happy Fourth of July!