Mission Sea Turtle

Here’s your mission should you choose to accept it: hold you breath for a month, eat an entire salad bar, swim a marathon a day for 2 weeks, while figuring out how to get to a place you haven’t been to since you were a baby 30 years ago, without the help of signs, GPS, maps, helpful policemen or Google Earth, then at your destination mate non-stop for a few weeks, lay a few hundred eggs at night in a hole you dug with your back feet without looking, now swim back to where you came from to eat some more salad bars and get ready to do it again. Each year. For the rest of your life. Which is long.

I forgot to mention that all along the way you need to be sure that the food you eat isn’t made of plastic that just looks like food (which can mess you up real bad), you should avoid getting run over by a speeding boat (which can crack your shell), you better not get caught in a net or on a hook (which are everywhere these days), and last but not least you have to hope and pray you’re not eaten as turtle soup (sounds gross, but some people like it A LOT).

Did I mention that you are a sea turtle (and your brain is the size of a pea)? Impressed? You should be. Sea turtles are AMAZING animals!

The point is that life is pretty darned hard if you’re a sea turtle. And it’s made much. much harder because of humans going about their business of eating, fishing and using plastic stuff.

The good news is that there are lots of things we can do to make the ocean way safer for sea turtles and other wildlife, not to mention healthier place for ourselves.

So, here’s your REAL sea turtle mission. I assume that you are willing to accept it since you’re watching a sea turtle race and you’ve read this far…

Plastic doesn’t belong in the ocean. It doesn’t belong on land, in rivers or lakes either, for that matter. So, avoid using it whenever possible. People all over the world are cutting disposable plastic bags, cups, plates, bottles and utensils out of their lives. It’s not hard to do.

When and if you eat seafood make sure it’s not connected with fishing methods that kill sea turtles. Not a single sea turtle should die for your fish sandwich or shrimp cocktail. Ask before you eat.

LEARN MORE: Blue Ocean Institute Sustainable Seafood Program

Seeing turtles is one of the mostly inspiring and joyous experiences we humans can have. If you’ve never seen a turtle, or want to see more, be sure to do it in a way that directly benefits endangered turtles. The SEE Turtles project can help you out.

We all need to dive in to this Ocean Revolution, take personal actions to solve problems facing turtles and our oceans, evolve our lifestyles and share our ideas wildly. In short, “LIVE LIKE YOU LOVE THE OCEANDr. Wallace J. Nichols

Viva la Ocean Revolution!

Dr. Wallace J. Nichols is a scientist, activist, community organizer, author and dad. He works to inspire a deeper connection with nature, sometimes simply by walking and talking, other times through writing or images. Science and knowledge can also stoke our fires. But he knows that what really moves people is feeling part of and touching something bigger than ourselves.


  1. susan says

    wonderfully written for young ones…education is the key to understanding the problem…but their futures, along with the wonderful sea creatures, has become precarious…I abstain from all seafood…there are other foods just as good for you….

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