I didn’t get my first salty taste of the ocean until I was 18 years old, but since I started traveling with the Digital Bookmobile, I have gotten to explore beaches of all shapes and sizes in places like Florida, New Jersey, Rhode Island, California, Oregon, and Washington. While each beach has its own unique feel, every beach I’ve been to has had two things in common; the smiling faces of those enjoying their time on the water, and the trash that previous beach goers had left behind.
Since 2003, the first week of July has been established as National Clean Beaches Week by the Clean Beaches Coalition. National Clean Beaches week aims to raise awareness about the importance of respecting the beach for ourselves, marine life, and the environment. No act toward cleaner beaches is too big or too small, and the best way to begin any journey is by reading a book.
Here are five books to help inspire anyone to do their part in embracing the importance of cleaner beaches:
What a Waste: Rubbish, Recycling, and Protecting our Planet by Jess French (Nonficton)
Did you know that every single plastic toothbrush ever made still exists? Or that there is a floating mass of rubbish larger than the USA drifting around the Pacific Ocean?
It is not all bad news though. While this is a knowledge book that explains where we are going wrong, What a Waste also shows what we are getting right! Discover plans to save our seas. How countries are implementing green projects worldwide, and how to turn waste into something useful. The tiniest everyday changes can make all the difference to ensure our beautiful planet stays lush and teeming with life.
Song of the Dolphin Boy by Elizabeth Laird (Fiction)
Finn has always been different, and in the tiny fishing village of Stromhead he sticks out like a sore thumb. Always told to keep away from the water, he’s felt that something was missing until one day he dives in and finds that, swimming with the dolphins, he feels completely at home.
But his new friends are in danger of being injured by the rubbish that floats out into the water – and now a supermarket is going to release thousands of balloons that could drift out to sea and cause even more damage. Desperate to help the dolphins, Finn goes to the Lighthouse Crew, a group of kids who have always left Finn out. Will they be able to set aside their differences to save the dolphins? And what will Finn discover about his past along the way?
Blue Mind: The Surprising Science That Shows Being Near, In, On, or Under Water Can Make You Happier, Healthier, More Connected, and Better at What You Do by Wallace J. Nicholas (Nonfiction)
Why are we drawn to the ocean each summer? Why does being near water set our minds and bodies at ease? Combining cutting-edge neuroscience with compelling personal stories from top athletes, leading scientists, military veterans, and gifted artists, Wallace J. Nichols shows how proximity to water can improve performance, increase calm, diminish anxiety, and increase professional success.
The Soul of an Octopus by Sy Montgomery (Nonfiction)
The intelligence of dogs, birds, and chimpanzees was only recently accepted by scientists, who now are establishing the intelligence of the octopus, watching them solve problems, and deciphering the meaning of their color-changing camouflage techniques. Montgomery chronicles this growing appreciation of the octopus, but also tells a love story. The Soul of an Octopus reveals what octopuses can teach us about consciousness and the meeting of two very different minds.
101 Ways To Go Zero Waste by Kathryn Kellogg (Nonfiction)
We all know how important it is to reduce our environmental footprint, but it can be daunting to know where to begin. Enter Kathryn Kellogg, who can fit all her trash from the past two years into a 16-ounce mason jar. How? She starts by saying “no” to straws and grocery bags, and “yes” to a reusable water bottle and compostable dish scrubbers.
In 101 Ways to Go Zero Waste, Kellogg shares these tips and more, along with DIY recipes for beauty and home; advice for responsible consumption and making better choices for home goods, fashion, and the office; and even secrets for how to go waste free at the airport.