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  • Writer's pictureJill Reed

Holiday Gifts with a Sustainability Slant

We’ve recently started making a couple of guides over on our Instagram, and we’re hoping to keep adding to them as we find important things to share. Please check them out if you have a chance and let us know what you’d like to see more of there.

At Pura Vida With Kids, we commit to helping keep our beaches and waters clean. Protecting these resources and our beautiful marine life is very important to us.

We pick up trash from the beach every morning on our dog walk - there is never a day without some plastic to fill our baggies. We have discovered many interesting things, and through Instagram, we’ve found others who share our goals.

Since 2020 has been such a weird year and people are still facing lockdowns, curfews and quarantines, everything is increasingly online. It's hard to know how to help in your community and to volunteer your time.

If clean water, marine life, and beaches are important to you, we’d like to share some ideas for gift giving this year that can help. We’ve compiled some of our favorite organizations, artisans and creators to bring to you a curated list of opportunities.

Charitable Organizations Doing Great Work

Plastic Oceans

Plastic Oceans International is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization, founded and existing under the laws of California (Federal Tax ID #81-3778043). We are dedicated to ending plastic pollution and fostering sustainable communities worldwide.

Special projects include:

  • Film and Digital content for sharing their mission

  • Education for students in the classroom - collaboration with educators

  • Rethink Refill for refillable stations in underserved schools worldwide

  • #SwimAgainstPlastic

Their end-of-year fundraiser has a matching donor right now. Help them reach their goal and support their work to help clean our oceans and educate people about the why.


Reef restoration - We restore the most damaged reef areas around the world by empowering local communities and teaming up with local and global experts and scientists.

Education - We believe that simple action goes a long way when repeated by the many. We raise awareness that sparks a passion in our following by sharing restoration stories and promoting the beauty of the ocean and coral reef ecosystems.

Innovation - We are ready to push the boundaries of ocean conservation by using emerging technologies to protect, restore, and spread the word about our ocean. We believe in the power of innovation to create immersive experiences and better connect people with the ocean.

Help the coral gardeners empower local communities on the front lines of reef restoration to bring their reefs back to life. Give the gift of coral and give the gift of life.

We love what this group is doing on the ground in real time in our community. Not only are they taking initiatives to pick up, clean and educate the public about the hazards of plastic dependency, but they’re using the recovered plastics to build homes.

Currently, they are also deeply invested in providing food to the local community via a food bank.

We encourage you to donate - food banks are crucial right now with livelihoods crushed by the pandemic. Food is the quickest way to help families in need right here in our area.

Our MISSION at Costa Rica Makes Me Happy (CRMMH) is: “To recover and repurpose plastic waste, build homes for families in need and educate consumers on the issues of single-use plastics.”


This organization is painstakingly (water is COLD up there) removing fishing gear from our oceans. We found these guys through an amazing cave diver and explorer we follow, Christine Grosart. She works with Ghostfishing as a trustee, underwater photographer, and diver. She is boss and so is this organization.

Photo: Christine Grosart


Established in 2015, Ghostfishing UK removes Abandoned, Lost and Discarded Fishing Gear (ALDFG) or ‘Ghost Gear’. The purpose is to remove, where practicable, potentially lethal entanglement hazards to marine life and scuba divers from the marine environment. The organisation comprises volunteer scuba divers, with extensive training in advanced diving practices specifically in relation to minimising impact on the environment.

We discovered this organization through @turnthetidecornwall and @smartie_lids_on_the_beach both IG accounts doing great work on the beaches in the UK. (see their own spots below)

2 Minute Foundation mission:

“Devoted to cleaning up our planet 2 minutes at a time. We believe that simple, achievable acts can add up to make a great difference.”

Founded in 2007 - We are environmental activists, influencers, campaigners and changemakers. We believe that simple acts can add up to make a big difference, that doing something positive is infinitely better than doing nothing, and that it is positivity, people and passion that will change our world for the better.

Our aims are to see a world without plastic litter and pollution, to inspire and enable people to change the way they interact with outdoor spaces.

Though most of their work is in the UK, they are an inspiration to the world. By matching organizers with beach cleaners and setting up cleaning stations along the beaches all around the coast, we are encouraged to do the same. Support their work at:

Huge organization known the world over for its conservation, preservation and clean water work. They help write laws, get new laws passed, clean the beaches, educate the masses, and create awareness around the dire climate change situation.

  • Plastic pollution

  • Ocean protection

  • Beach access

  • Coastal preservation

  • Clean water

“The Surfrider Foundation is dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s ocean, waves and beaches, for all people, through a powerful activist network.”

Get involved and donate here:

You can give Surfrider as a gift to someone you love and you’ll be supporting their mission and leading others to their work!

Gear Made From Recovered Plastic Waste

Discarded rope and fishing net is destined for landfill, or can end up in the sea or on our beaches. This group collects that recovered trash and transforms it into useful gardening equipment, made from 100% waste material.

“Ocean Plastic Pots uses this discarded material to make a sustainable plant pot. Our Pots create a circular economy and can be easily recycled, but we made them to last, so we hope you’ll hang on to them. Designed in Glasgow and made in Scotland.”

For the gardeners in the family, how about pots made from recycled rope and fishing line? Each purchase benefits Ghostfishing UK, a charity of Volunteer Divers recovering lost fishing gear and nets in the UK.

Based in Barcelona, this company makes sustainable traction pads for surfing. Their mission is to make surfing a waxless sport, but to keep performance a number one goal. Their pads are made of cork and EVA foam and even boxed in recycled packaging.

Check their Instagram out for client photos and their website for distributors. They ship all over the world.

Michelle has been cleaning up her home beaches in Cornwall for four years and with the plastics and rope she finds, she creates amazing art. Her work is super creative and I love to see what she does with color.

She sells her stuff through an Etsy shop and donates from every purchase to #2minutebeachclean

Good Folks to Follow

This guy is so amazing. He is a father of three who is just a regular dude, working a job, raising kids and cleaning his beaches. He finds an utterly obscene amount of junk and plastic on the beaches of Cornwall.

Give him a follow on Instagram. I’ve seen his brother do a fundraiser for him, so look out for opportunities to help. I believe he’s trying to buy an inflatable boat for accessing hard to reach beaches and coves.

We love his Instagram and feel inspired by his dedication.

We’ve been following Mitty for a long while. She is a gifted and genuine artist in her field of conservation photography. She has worked for National Geographic and is a writer and adventurer. She is also the proud co-founder and president of SeaLegacy.

“As a team, we utilize the power of visual storytelling to engage millions of people every day in a dialogue about the threats and the solutions facing our planet’s largest ecosystem. Perhaps the most important thing we strive for is the building of a community around these issues- in the hopes that we can all speak with a common voice about the kind of planet we want to live in.”

Follow her on Instagram @mitty

Discover, Learn, Grow

There you have it, our brief list of organizations, creators and people making an impact. It is always growing and shifting, so check back for additions and new discoveries. We love to see people out there doing the wonderful work of helping our planet and waters and marine life. We love to see anyone in this field taking the hard road to educate others and help empower communities.


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