Oceanfront property in Iowa! Well not really, but the state constantly interacts with our planet’s vast oceans.
Over six inches of rain fell on Winding Pathways in September 2018. Way above average. Not long ago those zillions of raindrops were swirling around in the Gulf of Mexico. Evaporation sucked moisture into the air, leaving salt behind. Winds carried the moisture north until it bumped into cool air. Bingo, heavy rain and flooding.
Rain isn’t the only way Iowa relates to the ocean. From the second it hits the ground rain heads back to the sea. It often carries fertilizer, dirt, and debris into tributaries that flow to the Mississippi River and then down to the Gulf of Mexico. Nitrogen and phosphorus fertilizer applied to lawns and fields end up stimulating oceanic algae that die, consume oxygen, and create the notorious “dead zone.”
People ship more than nitrogen to the ocean. Virtually anything that enters a storm sewer, creek, or river can make it to the sea. Cigarette butts, oil, Styrofoam, and plastic of all sorts swirl downstream.
Plastics: Blessing and Curse
Plastic is wonderful. It is made into hundreds of useful products. Even the computer keys we’re typing this blog on are made of the stuff. Unfortunately, too much is tossed away.
Much ends up in the ocean where vast quantities circulate in huge arcs. Birds, seals, and fish sometimes mistake it for something edible and end up with a plugged stomach after swallowing what they think is lunch. Wildlife also gets tangled up in plastic, especially plastic fishing nets.
Although Winding Pathways is a thousand miles from the Jersey Shore or the Gulf of Mexico, we take action to prevent sullying salt water. The aluminum water bottle in our pickup truck reminds us of this every day. Printed on the side says KICK PLASTIC, a slogan of the Costa Company. They teamed up with Bureo, a company that makes fishing nets. This encourages people to help keep plastic out of the ocean, partly by making products from recycled items. We like their approach.
Ways to “Kick Plastic”
According to Costa
- almost all plastic ever made is still around;
- The equivalent of one garbage truck filled with plastic goes into the ocean each minute;
- 98% of ocean pollution comes from the land;
- One in four ocean fish contains plastic.
The company asks people to do these things to reduce plastic pollution. Our suggestions follow in italics:
- Stop Using Plastic Bottles. Use a refillable water bottle.
- Say Goodbye to Grocery Bags. Bring reusable nylon or canvas bags to the store.
- Buying in Bulk Makes a Big Impact. Reuse those containers. We bought peanut butter in a large jar in 1976 in Kansas and have refilled it many times with bulk peanut butter from the health food store near home. That jar has been reused well over 100 times!
- Reel in Old Line. Recycle used fishing line.
Winding Pathways takes Costa’s suggestions further. Remember that anything put on the ground could find its way to the ocean, even from Iowa.
- Use fertilizer and pesticides sparingly and carefully, if at all.
- Buy quality products that last longer than cheap counterparts. Durable items aren’t discarded often.
- Put anything recyclable in blue plastic bins that most Iowa towns or trash collection companies collect. They make recycling easy.
Iowa oceanfront property? We hope climate change never raises the sea so high that our state has an ocean beach, but many Iowans enjoy delicious seafood and they vacation on the beach. Let’s keep the oceans healthy and safe, even if we live inland.
Note: The Costa Company did not provide any support to Winding Pathways. We created this article because we love their message, leadership, and products.