Today is World Oceans Day. In honor of the vast majority of the earth’s surface, we celebrate all things oceanic. It’s an opportunity to think about why it’s worth protecting — whether it be from pollution or climate change — and how we can do more to keep it healthy.

Today, I woke up, went to the little garden on my patio, and picked some organic, pesticide and fertilizer free lettuce for the salad I would make for lunch. How does this relate to the ocean? Well, aside from the general liberal-hippie notion that all things are connected, gardening (and farming) really does affect the ocean. It affects all our waters.

Case in point, an imminent challenge to historic farmland pollution of the San Joaquin River and its tributaries. San Diegans, along with many other Southern Californians depend on the San Joaquin Delta for drinking water. Thus, the less we depend on polluting, unsustainable farming practices, the healthier our waters will be.

Surfrider Foundation has a campaign devoted specifically to protecting our oceans through “Ocean Friendly Gardens.” This program teaches people a new kind of CPR: Conservation, Permeability and Retention. The website explains the acronym:

Conservation of (a) water, (b) fertilizers, pesticides and herbicides, (c) energy (moving & cleaning water use lots of energy), (d) wildlife habitat and (e) reduced use of gas-powered maintenance machinery (air pollutants) and yard waste through native or climate-appropriate plants, spaced with their mature size in mind.

Permeability through healthy, biologically active soil, and utilizing materials for – or making a cut in – driveways, walkways and patios that allow water to percolate into the soil.

Retention devices like rain chains, rain barrels and rain gardens retain water in the soil for the dry seasons or save it to water veggies, preventing it from running off the property.

With yesterday’s San Diego City Council action to allow community gardens throughout America’s Finest, more shiny happy people will be able to enjoy growing their own produce. Hopefully they’ll also learn the new CPR and take pride in knowing exactly where their ripe new tomato comes from and how it was grown. And this CPR just might help save lives too.

Livia Borak is an attorney at Coast Law Group, LLP in Encinitas where she focuses on a variety of environmental issues representing various non-profit organizations. She’s a former San Diego Coastkeeper staff attorney and member of the third-place CityBeat Trivia night team By Rolland’s Beard. She serves on the board of League of Conservation Voters and is legal advisor to the environmental nonprofit Coastal Environmental Rights Foundation. She makes killer chocolate chip vegan cookies.

by Livia Borak

Originally posted at