Healthy oceans are paramount in supporting 97% of the Earth’s livable habitats – they cover 71% of our planet’s surface. Not only that, the oceans are vital to human health as well. Without our oceans, no life on earth is possible so we have to be proactive in conserving them… Sadly, we’re facing more challenges than ever before and the fate of the ocean is in our hands!
Most of us are unaware that we’re harming the ocean with ordinary things we do every day. So here are a few things you and I can do to help protect our ocean.
1. Opt for Reusable Plastic Products
Plastic waste we throw away doesn’t disappear and disintegrate into nothingness. Plastic debris in the ocean is not only a big cause of marine habitat destruction, but far worse: it contributes to the deaths of uncountable innocent marine animals.
Fish, seabirds, seals, and other animals often mistake floating plastic for food. Some of these animals choke on plastic debris, while the others (like sea turtles) develop the ‘floating syndrome’ where they float from ingesting plastic. A ‘floating’ turtle struggles to flee from its predators, swim away from approaching boats, and dive down into the ocean for its next meal. You can help prevent these unnecessary deaths, simply by using cloth grocery bags and reusable water bottles.
2. Reduce Electric Use
Many household electronic devices, including computers, stereo systems, and kitchen appliances continue to draw power after they are switched off. In fact, it’s estimated that this ‘phantom’ energy use accounts for 75% of the power consumed by electronics. When flipping the switch is no longer enough to cut off this extra energy use, you can either unplug your devices or use a power strip to safely cut power to devices that are not in use.
Other than that, there are many other ways you can cut down on your energy use, such as turning your thermostat down in the winter, using compact fluorescent light bulbs, and riding a bike to and from work – all of these small efforts add up.
3. Shop Sustainably Sourced Seafood
Global fisheries are on the brink of collapse. In fact, some studies have found that up to 90% of large predatory fish have disappeared since humans began heavy-fishing… and sadly, there isn’t always plenty more fish in the sea.
Fish populations are being depleted at an alarming rate due to unsustainable fishing practices, but you can slow it down by only eating fish from the Marine Stewardship Council-approved list. By supporting sustainable fisheries, you’ll not only help save the ocean and the fish that live within it, you’ll also give yourself peace of mind. So keep an eye out for those MSC ecolabels next time you’re shopping for seafood!
4. Buy Ocean-Friendly Products
If you live in or have ever visited a coastal town, you might recall seeing souvenirs made from various forms of marine life – for example, tortoiseshell hair accessories, coral jewellery, shark products like teeth and fins, or any cosmetic products that contain traces of whales or sharks… Don’t buy them! These products are directly linked to unsustainable fishing and the destruction of entire ecosystems.
However tempting that shade of red lipstick might be, you should always say no to products produced through unsustainable or environmentally harmful methods and make sure a product is ocean-friendly before you reach into your pocket!
5. Dispose of Hazardous Waste Properly
When toxic materials are not disposed of properly, they’re washed into local waterways and eventually the ocean – and with the UK being an island nation, they don’t need to go far to find their way to the ocean! Even if you don’t live near the coast, water (and pretty much everything else) that goes down your drain will end up in the ocean sooner or later.
Think about it: if you feed your body with unhealthy food, you will feel unwell, you will get sick, and won’t be able to perform at your best. The ocean is no different. But you can help the keep the ocean and other waterways healthy by substituting cleaning products with non-toxic ingredients like vinegar, lemon juice, or baking soda when doing your household chores. If you really must use chemical cleaning products, make sure you pick them carefully and dispose of hazardous waste in an environmentally safe way.
What Are You Doing to Help?
We hope that you’ve found these tips useful and that you will start doing your part to make a change.
One person can make a difference, but imagine how much greater an impact we’ll create if we recruit our friends and family to the cause! Share this post on your social channels now to raise awareness, and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for more blog posts like this!