When it comes to improving ocean health, minimize the bad, maximize the good!
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, Restore, Rethink, Respect
As our human population grows, nearly 7 billion, we use more resources and produce more waste that ends up in landfills or in the ocean. The ocean is our life support system and we cannot survive without it. Nearly 80 percent of all the life on Earth is in the ocean.
Reduce your carbon footprint.
Elect officials that support clean energy and tax carbon polluters. Elect those with solutions to global warming, overfishing and pollution and hold them responsible for their promises. Walk, ride a bike, scooter, skateboard, or use public transportation when possible. Carbon pollution causes acidic environments for marine life, preventing creatures from forming shells and building coral reefs.
Check out Climate Reality website on how to reduce your carbon footprint.
Reduce use of things that damage the environment
Reduce energy consumption by switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs. Take the stairs instead of the elevator when practical. Bundle up or use a fan to avoid using your thermostat too much.
Consistently use both reusable bags and water bottles. Plastics are a big threat to the ocean ecosystem. Plastics that end up as ocean debris contribute to habitat destruction and entangle and kill tens of thousands of marine animals each year. Plastic take hundreds of years to decompose. They can be a hazard to wildlife and leaches toxins into the environment.
For more inspiration about how serious the problem of plastic in the ocean is, see this Ted Talk about The Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Reduce use of fertilizers and products containing hidden pesticides.
Buying local organic food supports your local economy and reduces hazardous toxins from entering watersheds as well as your carbon footprint. Excess fertilizers and pesticides flow into our storm drains, waterways, and oceans. They can create “dead zones” where oxygen is greatly reduced and marine creatures can’t survive.
Reuse as much as you can.
Besides those bags and water bottles, remember to bring your own re-usable cup to the café and work.
Recycle everything you can.
Find recycling stations and centers and learn what you can recycle.
Restore and repurpose old items
Instead of automatically throwing things away, get creative in repurposing.
Rethink and consider how everything you do on a daily basis affects the ocean
Eat sustainably caught seafood. Eat low on the food chain and become a more informed consumer. Global fish populations are rapidly being depleted due to demand, loss of habitat, and unsustainable fishing practices. When shopping or dining out, help reduce the demand for overexploited species by choosing seafood that is both healthful and sustainable.
Consider a hybrid or electric car, solar panels for your house, a grey water system, and replanting your garden with native species.
Don’t Buy Products that Exploit Marine Life. Avoid buying items such as coral jewelry, sea horses, tortoiseshell, and shark products that harm marine populations and coral reefs.
Educate Yourself About Oceans and Marine Life. Watch ocean documentaries and movies. Learn about conservation issues and contact your federal and state representatives telling them where you stand on these important issues. (For US representatives go here and to find your state representatives search for “find state legislators for *insert name of state*)
Influence Change in Your Community. Learn about the ocean policies of public officials before you vote.
Respect the ocean environment in some of the following ways:
Encourage everyone in your family to help take care of the beach by example
Volunteer on beach clean up days.
Donate to, join, volunteer, or sponsor ocean conservation organizations.
Pack your trash and clean up after yourself after visiting the ocean.
View marine life responsibly without interfering or harassing.
Never Release Balloons. Balloons are dangerous to marine life. They can be easily mistaken for food. Don’t release balloons into the air instead pop balloons and throw them in the trash!
Dispose of Fishing Line Responsibly. Don’t throw fishing line into the ocean – recycle it or put it the garbage. Monofilament fishing line takes about 600 years to degrade. Marine mammals, fish, as well as people can get entangled in fishing line.
Be an Ocean-Friendly Pet Owner. Clean up after your pet. Never flush cat litter down the toilet because it contains pathogens such as toxoplasmosis that harmful to marine life. Never release any aquarium fish into the ocean such non-native species can be harmful to the existing ecosystem. Consider seafood sustainability when choosing pet food.
Travel the Ocean Responsibly. While enjoying ocean recreational activities such as boating or jet skiing, be careful of marine life in the waters around you.
Look for eco-friendly options when planning a cruise.