By Youth Ocean Advocate Clara L.
As I travel on the Argosy cruise boat — up the downtown waterfront, through the Ballard locks, and into Lake Union — it becomes clear how important the bodies of water that surround Seattle are to our city. Our waterfront is both iconic and crucial to our economy. Shipping and commerce through the Port of Seattle is a major part of our economy, and cruise ships bring in a substantial number of tourists each year. It’s also important to remember how we’ve changed our waterways in building our city. We replaced the habitat along the shores of Elliot Bay with buildings, we created artificial waterways to connect bodies of water, and overfishing threatens our local fish populations, especially salmon populations.
While in the past we made decisions without much knowledge or concern about our effect on the environment, we now know much more. We now have a responsibility to make smart decisions to protect the Puget Sound and our other waterways. Being next to a major city puts a lot of strain on the Puget Sound. Our trash and our plastic often find their way into the water. Storm water runoff brings smaller toxins, such as oil and fertilizer, into the waterways. Our demand for seafood sometimes causes overfishing and other unsustainable fishing practices. However, we as neighbors to the Puget Sound can do a lot to stop these problems. Cut down on the use of plastic products so that they don’t end up in our waterways. Check your car frequently for oil leaks or better yet, choose an alternate form of transportation. When eating seafood, make sure you choose sustainable options (seafood watch is a good resource for this), and make it clear to restaurants and stores that you want sustainable seafood. We have a lot of power over our waterways, but if we come together and make sustainable choices we can protect them instead of damaging them.