- Reduce your carbon footprint.
Try being more conscious of your energy consumption; start a carpool, wear more or less layers to regulate the thermostat, take the stairs, use compact fluorescent light bulbs, take public transportation or walk. With over 7 billion people in this world the amount of carbon dioxide that is released into the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels is ever increasing and in turn, making our oceans more acidic. The calcium carbonate skeletons of corals are weakened by the rising levels of acidity in the oceans, within our lifetime we will see the decrease of coral reefs due to this. Check out this powerful video Home to see the impacts we have created on this earth.
- Use Fewer Plastic Products.
More than 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into our ocean every year and more than one million plastic bags are used every MINUTE. The ratio of plastic to plankton in the Mediterranean Sea is 1:2. By 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Plastics destruct habitats, entangle and kill thousands of marine animals each year and are covering our beautiful beaches. Limit the amount of plastic you use; carry a reusable water bottle, bring cloth bags with you always, recycle as much as possible and refuse the use of straws and styrofoam. Check out the documentary A Plastic Ocean to get a better grasps of how real the problem is.
- Be wise about your Seafood Selection
World-wide fish are being caught faster than they can reproduce, diminishing the fish stocks to a level that is past the point of return. As of now, 90% of the world’s fisheries are either fully exploited, over-exploited or have collapsed. Once the larger fish that have long life spans, and take a longer time to reach maturity are removed from our oceans, fishermen then go for the fish that are lower on the food chain, indefinitely altering the ecosystem. On top of overfishing, issues such as illegal fishing, bycatch (when animals such as sharks, dolphins, turtles, and any other fish that is not being targeted is caught in a net or fishing line and discarded as waste) and habitat damage such as trawling. Although farmed fish sounds like a good idea, carnivorous fish must eat smaller fish in order to grow, so in some instances it can take 2kg of fish-feed just to produce less than one kilo of fish (such as salmon). To know what fish is sustainable or not, you must research the area you live in, each region has a different guide for what is ok to eat. Find out which seafood is safe to eat Here.
- Travel the Ocean Responsibly
Practice responsible tourism by looking for the more eco-friendly options of resorts, excursions, hotels, and mean of transportation. When snorkelling, kayaking, boating, surfing, or other water sports related activities, be sure not to stand on the reef, damage the reef, pollute the seas with waste or touch any living creature in the water. Do not anchor on the reef or go fishing of the reef (or at all), these corals take decades to grow and it is possible to destroy many years of growth with just one anchor toss. When walking along the sandy beaches, be sure to take only pictures and leave only footprints, like we discussed in our previous post. Avoid experiences that keep animals captive (swimming with dolphins) or that change an animals natural instincts such as feeding creatures or any other animal for that matter.
- Buy ocean-friendly products and support the right organisations.
Souvenir shops are stock full of beautiful seashells, corals, jewelry and other trinkets that have most likely come straight from the sea just to collect dust on your desk. Be aware that even if a sign says ‘sustainable’ it could just be a printed piece of paper with no truth behind it. Avoid products that contain environmentally harmful ingredients such as micro beads (face and body wash), cosmetics that contain BHA and BHT, and sunscreen that contains oxybenzone. Instead of buying souveniers for your friends and family, make a donation to an organization in their name. There are plenty of organisations where you can ‘adopt a turtle’ where they keep track of when and where they have seen it, adopt a coral line for coral restoration projects, even planting a tree in someones name is a great gift. Donate to any thing from whale shark conservation, turtle conservation, or get a few of these amazing bracelets from 4ocean and help remove a pound of plastic per bracelet.
These are just 5 simple things that you can achieve to help keep the oceans clean for the future of our planet, our lives, and our longevity.
“No water, no life. No blue, no green.”
Dr. Sylvia Earle
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