Kaylie S.- Photojournalist
There has been a trend on the popular apps instagram and tiktok lately where if a certain person dresses a certain way they’d be considered a “ vsco “ girl. These ‘ vsco ‘ girls say things like ‘ an i oop ‘ or ‘sksksk’. Another thing these vsco girls say is “ save the turtles “ , what these “vsco” girls don’t realize is that turtle endangerment is no joke.
Every turtle species has been endangered since 2016. The green sea turtle was first listed under the ESA ( the Endangered Species Act of 1973 ) in 1978 . Then in april 2016 it was revised by listing eight distinct population segments (DPS) as threatened and three DPS as endangered . Many people don’t realize how much turtles do for our food chain & ecosystem . They play a big role and they are the closest thing we have to dinosaurs . The earliest known turtle fossils are from the triassic period , about 220 million years ago. Automatically, they are nearly identical to modern day turtles ., according to ADW . Sea turtles have been around for 120 million years , according to a recent analysis.
Have you ever heard someone say or have seen a post about metal straws ? This metal straw trend is helping people use less plastic . Less plastic = less pollution. Currently, over 1 million marine animals including mammals, fish , sharks , turtles and birds , are killed each year due to plastic debris in the ocean,we also kill an estimated 4,600 turtles every year due to fishing because they often get wrapped in the nets or hooked on bait lines set for fish . As of today there is an estimate of 100 million tons of plastic in oceans around the world .
Because of this trend, many people have asked themselves “ what do turtles even do for us? “Each sea turtle species uniquely affects the diversity, habitat and functionality of its environment. Whether by grazing on seagrass, controlling sponge distribution, feasting on jellyfish, transporting nutrients or supporting other marine life, sea turtles play vital roles in maintaining the health of the oceans. They also play a big role for our ecosystem. Sea turtles provide habitat for an array of “aquatic hitchhikers” like barnacles and other small crustaceans, remoras, algae, and diatoms. Because sea turtles undergo long migrations, they help transport these species. They also act as a sort of an umbrella for fish that use them as shelter from predators.
Regardless if they do something for our ecosystem or not , they are a living species and I don’t want another one of our harmless animals going extinct knowing it’s our fault, and that we could’ve prevented it . Turtles deserve to live a life free without getting their neck caught in a plastic six pack cutout. These animals are precious ,and there’s a lot to lose if they go extinct. So the next time you purchase something plastic please make sure you throw it in the proper garbage bin . Turtles are so cute and so harmless , I don’t want my future kids growing up in a world wondering what these sweet kind animals were like .