On the eve of the biggest shopping day of the year, here are a few ways you can use your dollars to support healthy (and sex-friendly) oceans while still satisfying all the different desires of those on your holiday shopping list:
For the Foodies:
These three books, all by sustainable seafood chef, Barton Seaver, will keep any foodie busy dishing up tasty, sex-friendly seafood dishes all year round:
- For Cod and Country: "...Seaver introduces an entirely new kind of casual cooking featuring seafood that hasn't been overfished or harvested using destructive methods."
- Two If By Sea: "Barton Seaver's second, seminal book on seafood cookery offers more than 150 new mouthwatering recipes, including entrees, salads, appetizers, soups, pastas, stews, sides, and sauces."
- Superfood Seagreens: A Guide to Cooking with Power-packed Seaweed. "With benefits ranging from weight loss and increased energy to overall good health, no wonder sea greens (such as kelp, dulse, wakame, and alaria) are poised to become the next superfood craze."
Finding the ingredients to cook with can be as much as a challenge as finding a good recipe. The following companies are working to make sustainable, trustworthy seafood available to consumers around the country (and they are both founded and owned by women, which is rad):
Salty Girl Seafood: fresh-frozen and smoked seafood products. "Every fish we source is wild caught and undergoes rigorous evaluation to ensure that the specific fishery, gear type, species, and location meet our sustainability standard."
LovetheWild: sustainable seafood and sauces in ready-to-cook packaging. "We bring you fish from fishermen and fish farmers we know and trust. They care about the planet as much as you do." (A particularly good option for those who wish they were foodies, but perhaps are a bit intimidated by the thought of prepping a seafood feast...).
For the Fashionistas:
Patagonia: This year, Patagonia has committed to giving 100% of all proceeds from its Black Friday sales to environmental NGOs. With products made from recycled products and eco-friendly business practices, this company gives back to the planet everyday.
Waterlust: With patterns inspired by the sea and its inhabitants (whale shark leggings anyone?!) this company creates sustainable products that support ocean science and education programs.
For the Adventurers and Travelers:
The following countries have all passed legislation that promotes more sex-friendly seas. By spending your tourism dollars here, you support the governments and communities that support the sea.
The Cayman Islands: stay tuned for a more detailed blog about the great developments in this small Caribbean nation but the short story is this: In mid-August, based in large part on the science produced by REEF's Grouper Moon Project, the government passed a series of regulations to protect the endangered Nassau Grouper. One of these regulations is to ban take, possession and sale of Nassau grouper during their spawning season, from December to April-- a very sex-friendly move.
Palau: This tiny island nation made big news last year when it protected 80% of its ocean territory, banning all extractive activities including fishing. Large reserves such as these help protect spawning habitat for many species and migration corridors for those animals that migrate to mate.
Blue Halo Initiative: An effort supported by the Waitt Institute, the following countries have or are working to create island-wide marine management plans that are firmly rooted in up-to-date science and are community-driven. Included in these management plans are considerations for the reproductive habits and needs of local marine species.
For the Bookworms:
Norman the Nurse Shark (for kids): this wonderful story by Jillian Morris, founder of Sharks4Kids, introduces many charismatic marine species to children, as well as some of the threats they face. Proceeds help support ocean education programs run by Sharks4kids around the world.
American Catch: another great by author Paul Greenberg, this book provides fantastic insight into how we (as in, the USA) have squandered much of our precious fisheries resource, and what we can do to better support local, sustainable fisheries in our coastal waters.
Sex in the Sea: yeah, I know, tooting my own horn. But I really do think it is a great gift for the water/nature-lover, the science enthusiasts, the teachers, the teenagers, and the know-it-alls on your list. Also good for that impossible uncle that you never know what to get. Educational, a bit surprising, and humorous, it makes for a fun read...or so I've been told.
In honor of:
One of my favorite ways to give at the holidays is to donate to organizations that are out there doing the good work to serve those most in need, and those without voice—including marine life. The following are just a few examples of some great non-profits that now, more than ever, could use a boost. Donate in the name of someone you care about to help create change.
Ocean Discovery Institute: a small non-profit that "uses ocean science to empower young people from underserved urban communities." This organization is helping to build the next generation of ocean leaders—and making sure they are as diverse as the seas.
Science and Conservation of Fish Aggregations (SCRFA): this science-based non-profit works to promote understanding and protection of fish spawning aggregations around the globe.
National Resources Defense Council (NRDC): this non-profit has a strong oceans program that tackles several of the issues threatening safe sex in the sea, including noise pollution, climate change, and overfishing.
350.org: one of the leading grassroots organizations fighting climate change—which is one of the biggest threats to successful reproduction of marine life, especially for coral reefs.