A primary allure of Palm Beach County is its beauty, but beneath the swaying palms and azure ocean lies a fragile ecosystem tied inextricably to human action (or inaction). Our habitat has borne hardship, but there’s good news: Organizations all over South Florida are striving to conserve and care for the environment we call home. From grassroots efforts to major players, Palm Beach works on behalf of the sea turtles, trees, beaches, and seas that share our home.
4Ocean, a global ocean cleanup company headquartered in Boca Raton, emerged after two surfers took a 2015 trip to Bali and arrived, to their dismay, to trash-filled beaches. Witnessing the magnitude of the ocean plastic crisis spurred Alex Schulze and Andrew Cooper into action. Today 4Ocean conducts professional cleanups—they’ve recovered more than 7 million pounds since 2017—and aims to improve society’s consumption habits. The company pulls a pound of trash from the ocean with each bracelet purchase ($20). And the sustainability message extends to the product, which is made from recycled glass and water bottles.
Florida Sea Turtle Company, founded by a Boca Raton high schooler, donates 10 percent of proceeds from its line of clothing, accessories, and art ($16 and up) to local sea turtle conservation programs.
North Palm Beach–based Hidden Water offers an earth-safe alternative to plastic bottles ($6 for a six pack) and removes a piece of plastic from the ocean for every can sold.
Lacoste and The Everglades Foundation launched an exclusive polo ($89.50) that supports Everglades literacy by empowering Florida teachers to educate on protecting the state’s one-of-a-kind ecosystem.
Check out these locally organized efforts working to preserve our area’s natural resources:
· Boca Raton start-up StrawFish provides a one-stop shop for biodegradable consumables to help businesses transition to single-use plastic alternatives.
· Delray Beach nonprofit Community Greening is on a mission to create sustainable urban green spaces by planting trees; they’ve planted more than 3,000 since 2016.
· To bring awareness to the impact of Lake Okeechobee discharges on the St. Lucie River and Indian River Lagoon estuary, trek alongside a 37-mile flow of water from the Port Mayaca Locks to the St. Lucie River.
· Friends of Jupiter Beach organizes monthly beach cleanups, and its volunteers have removed an estimated 71,000 pounds of trash since 2006.
· Saltwater Brewery in Delray Beach has launched E6PR, the first six-pack rings made from byproduct waste and other compostable materials.
· Loggerhead Marinelife Center’s Blue Table Restaurant program promotes ocean-friendly dining practices by eliminating plastic and Styrofoam and encouraging the use of sustainable seafood and area produce.