5 Things You Can Do to Protect our Oceans
by Judith Tobey
More than ever, the fate of the ocean is in our hands. At Oceanblue we strive to be good stewards and leave a thriving ocean for future generations. Our commitment is to make changes big and small wherever we are. To make a positive difference to the oceans and world around us. Below you will find five easy lifestyle changes that can aid in the effort of saving our oceans and the animals that inhabit them.
1. Mind your carbon footprint and reduce energy consumption
Reductions in energy consumption will help reduce our oceans’ temperatures. Current increases in our oceans’ temperatures are threatening marine life and starving it with low levels of oxygen. Carbon dioxide emitted from fossil fuel burning contributes to the acidification of our oceans. A grave danger from this phenomenon is the demise of coral reefs worldwide because the water’s lower pH dissolves their calcium framework. There are so many simple changes can make an impact on your carbon footprint. Use public transportation, ride a bicycle, or even walk. Purchase home appliances that are highly efficient. Turn off devices that you aren’t using. Keep your car tires properly inflated. Adjust your home temperature a bit higher during summertime, and a bit lower in wintertime. Opt for eco-friendly light bulbs in your home and office.
2. Reduce your use of plastic and clean-up when visiting the beach
Right now it is estimated that up to 12 million metric tons of plastic – everything from plastic bottles and bags to microbeads – ends up in our oceans each year. Our oceans are slowly turning into a plastic soup, and the effects on ocean life are chilling. Even if you don’t live near a beach, anything that goes down your drain can eventually end up in the ocean. The more plastic you use, the more plastic ends up landing in our sea. Both marine life and birds often mistake pieces of plastic for food and all too often end up choking or with digestive disorders. Plus, a large percentage of the plastic garbage polluting the oceans begins as litter on a beach. Enjoy your day at the beach without engaging in activities that will destroy our oceans. Properly dispose of your trash, pick-up litter that other people carelessly left behind, and participate in beach clean-up initiatives. Volunteer for a beach clean-up. Practice responsible boating, kayaking and other recreational activities on the water. Never throw anything overboard. Be aware and respectful of marine life in the waters around you.
3. Make safe, sustainable seafood choices
In the past, fishing was more sustainable, today, however, fishing is a multimillion dollar industry. Due to overfishing, catching and eating certain types of fish, faster than they can replenish their populations and lack of marine life protection have to lead to many marine species becoming extinct or endangered. The use of catching methods that are environmentally unsound for our oceans. Most corporate fishing methods keep only a small portion of what they catch, what’s left over, gets thrown back—usually dead or dying. Fish farming methods are unhealthy and area a threat to our oceans and eco-systems. Certain types of fish are conventionally farmed in ways that increase toxin levels in the farmed fish. Farmed fish are given antibiotics in an effort to ward off diseases that results in overcrowded conditions and they are treated with pesticides to combat sea lice. Fish farming is harmful to aquatic environments. Fish farms often pollute their surrounding environments with fish waste, chemicals, and even antibiotics. Here are a few ways to help you make informed safe and sustainable seafood choices. Check labels: Seafood products are often displayed with a variety of labels and certificates which are designed to help consumers to make informed choices when buying fish and shellfish. This is a short list of the most common icons you’ll see on seafood products that you should be looking for on a seafood product: Dolphin Safe, Global Aquaculture Alliance, Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), Responsible Fishing Scheme, Pole-and-Line Caught and RSPCA Freedom Food. For nearly every type of seafood you’re craving, there’s a sustainable alternative. Use a sustainable seafood app e.g.: Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch: seafoodwatch.org/seafood-recommendations/our-app. Canned fish: Most tuna brands support destructive fishing practices. Check out this site for tuna buying guide to help make educated canned tuna choices: www.greenpeace.org/usa/oceans/tuna-guide.
4. Reduce your use of chemicals
Harmful chemicals are extremely difficult to be removed from our oceans. A healthy environment starts at home. Many household and garden products like detergents, furniture polish, disinfectants, deodorizers, paints, stain removers, pesticides, fertilizers and even cosmetics release chemicals that may be harmful to human health and to aquatic life. Some chemicals damage fish tissues, while others create nutrient imbalances leading to algal blooms and disrupt our eco-systems. There is something we can all do to help by making a few lifestyle changes. For example, many domestic chores can be done with simple, non-toxic ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, or lemon juice. When shopping choose eco-friendly products. Your toilet is not a trash can. Be mindful of your household waste disposal down your toilet. Do not flush medications, supplements, cigarette butts, coffee grinds, paint, fat, grease, chemical solvents, baby wipes, dental floss, cotton balls, feminine products, kitty litter… down your toilet. Dispose of these items in trash receptacles instead
5. Support organizations that help protect our oceans
Healthy oceans are the life support system for our planet. More than half of the oxygen we breathe is generated by our oceans. All marine life is under threat from human activity, sea turtles, fish, coral reefs, plant life, seabirds… Increased acidification, habitat loss, pollution and overfishing, have put the health of our oceans into real peril. There are many organizations out there that are working hard to preserving the health of our world’s oceans. If you wish to help alleviate or even reverse these effects donate time or money to an organization that will help tackle these important issues. Plus, educate yourself about the ocean’s ecosystems and marine life. We are all connected together here on Earth. The more you learn about the issues facing our planet and eco-systems, the more you will want to help insure the life of our planet, our oceans and inspire others to do the same. Please support organizations that protect the ocean and wildlife.
Help Oceanblue save our oceans. Make these conscious choices in your everyday life and encourage your friends and family to do the same. Together we can make a difference.