Thankful for Water


Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays, not only because of the amazing food, but also the opportunity to reflect on everything that I am grateful for. This year, I am thankful for my friends and family, health, a job that I love, a roof over my head, and water.

Living near the ocean has been essential to my happiness everywhere I reside. There is something about being steps away from a sunset over the never-ending water and the sound of the waves crashing onto the sand that gives me peace. The ocean covers over 70% of the earth’s surface, is home to millions of species, and controls our weather and climate. The power and beauty of the ocean is incredible, and we are dependent on it in so many ways.

So, this Thanksgiving, be thankful for our water, and remember that the water we see on the streets, and use on our lawn and in our kitchen, is the same water that flows into the ocean.

Here are 5 easy ways to be mindful of our water this Thanksgiving:

1) Properly Dispose of Oil and Grease

  • Fats, oils and grease can be found in many of our favorite Thanksgiving foods, including turkey, dressing, sauces, baked goods and dairy products. When grease is poured down the drain, it can cause sewage backups and overflows into the street. This untreated sewage ends up in our rivers and streams that flow directly into the ocean. Pour your grease and oil in a leak-proof container and drop it off at one of the LA Bureau of Sanitation’s S.A.F.E. Center locations, where they will recycle the oil for fuel and energy.

2) Compost

  • Another common Thanksgiving problem is overuse of the in-sink garbage disposal. With every household in the neighborhood putting tons of organic waste in their disposal, it can clog the sanitary sewer system, leading to overflows. Start a compost bin with your Thanksgiving fruit and vegetable trimmings. Using compost is a great way to enrich the soil in your garden, and also reduce the run-off of toxic fertilizers into our storm drains that flow into the waterways and ocean.

3) Buy Organic

  • The chemicals found in fertilizers and pesticides used in conventional farming can seep into the soil, polluting our groundwater. Organic farming controls invasive species through a mixture of companion planting, crop rotation, use of cover crops, natural pest control, hand weeding and animal grazing instead of toxic chemicals. Buying organic produce for your Thanksgiving dinner is not only better for our water quality, it’s also better for your health.

4) Shop With Your Own Bags

  • 80% of marine debris is generated from land-based sources, and causes severe adverse effects to terrestrial wildlife via ingestion, bio-accumulation of contaminants, entanglement, smothering, and destruction of habitat. When you head to the store to pick up your last minute Thanksgiving groceries, or when you’re at Best Buy for Black Friday, don’t forget to bring reusable bags from home!

5) Give to Our Clean Water Future

  • LA Waterkeeper is the only non-profit organization whose sole mission is to protect, defend and restore the water resources of Los Angeles County. Our advocacy campaigns, successful litigation, long-term marine ecosystem restoration projects, and ocean and inland water quality monitoring programs are model citizen-action efforts that cannot be done without your help. Donations make wonderful holiday gifts and are a great way to spread the word about the importance of protecting LA’s waterways and ocean. Your donation, however large, is a significant investment in our clean water future.


-Rachel Stich, Communications Manager


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