Oceans are the largest ecosystems on Earth, in which they generate half of the oxygen people breathe. It’s truly remarkable how oceans also provide a sixth of the animal protein humans eat and are a promising source of new medicines combating life threatening illnesses.
Oceans may be resilient against climate change by removing carbon dioxide… but current human activity is truly testing its strength. For those of us that don’t live near the sea, it can be easy to think that we don’t have an impact on these beautiful ecosystems. But, unfortunately all of us do, and some more than others; mainly through greenhouse gas emissions. It is time for us to save our ocean that has always been saving us.
Here are five tips of how you can be a part of looking after our ocean:
- Use fewer plastic products
A staggering 50-80% of marine debris is plastic. It breaks down into smaller chunks, but never really disintegrates. It is pretty concerning that by 2050 there will be as much plastic in the ocean as there is fish. Plastics that end up in the ocean contribute to habitat destruction, entangle and kill tens of thousands of marine animals yearly. Innocent marine animals mistake it for food which ends up choking them to death. It can also entangle and injure them which makes it difficult for them to swim or fly, sadly leading them to drown. To limit your impact, use reusable plastic bags when shopping and carry a reusable water bottle. You can also store food in non-disposable containers and recycle whenever possible.
- Support organisations protecting marine life
All life is connected to the ocean and living creatures (including us!). The more you learn about the issues facing this crucial ecosystem, the more you’ll want to protect it. Knowledge is power, and sharing that knowledge can educate and inspire others. There are so many environmental charities and organisations out there, big and small. Show them your support through fundraising, signing petitions and via social media to assure them you are behind them.
- Make sustainable seafood choices
The world population is growing exponentially. This has led to a rapid depletion of global fish populations due to demand, loss of habitat and unsustainable fishing practices. So when you go out shopping or go out to a restaurant, you can reduce the demand for popular and over-exploited species by choosing sustainable and well-cared for fish.
- Volunteer to beach clean
Beaches are great places to relax, swim, surf or even dive! So, it’s only fair to always clean up after yourself after enjoying being in this natural ecosystem. You can appreciate the ocean without interfering with the wildlife or removing rocks and coral – it is their home after all! Another way to protect beaches is to participate in beach clean-ups. This is a great way to meet new people and help protect the environment at the same time.
- Mind your carbon footprint and reduce your energy usage
Our carbon footprint is greatly linked to climate change, rising sea levels and ocean acidification. This is affecting our marine ecosystem right now as you read this blog post. By reducing our carbon footprint (e.g. eating less meat, using your car less, reducing air travel) you are making a positive difference to the oceans. Reducing your energy usage is also key in reducing climate change effects e.g. energy-proofing your home, mainting your heating and cooling systems and switching to energy efficient light bulbs. You’ll also be saving some money too! Oceana is a fantastic website to learn more about how climate change is affecting our oceans, so make sure to check that out!
Did you also know that the cleaning products you use in your homes can also affect the ocean? Household cleaning products find a way to enter water sources and eventually into the sea. These toxic chemicals enter the food chain, causing animals to be ill. BUT little do we know that later on humans eat that fish and the chemicals will hurt us too in this vicious cycle. In order to change this, buy organic products and live a zero-waste life to limit chemicals entering the water system.
I want to incorporate these strategies a lot more into my every day life. These are just five ways to save the ocean but there are so many more things for us to do and commit to. If you’d like to know more about this, I’d be happy to write another post about marine conservation!
Thank you for reading.