Everyday Changes We Can Make to Help Our Oceans
Oceans cover 71% of the earth’s surface and are a critical part of our global ecosystem, and yet, oceans are among the least protected areas of our planet. Here is a look at some simple yet impactful ways we can positively address the pervasive issue of ocean pollution.
Our Unprotected Oceans:
Currently, less than 10% of our world’s oceans are considered protected marine territory, a far cry from the 30% recommended by many experts. They advocate for this level of protection not only to guard food sources and marine-dependent livelihoods but also because oceans are so critical to climate regulation. Further, protected areas allow needed sanctuary for animals and marine habitats. Essential changes are underway, but they are just a beginning. To learn more about what is being done to protect our world’s oceans, including details of some encouraging global ocean initiatives, click here.
What You Can Do About Plastic Pollution:
There are many ways we can individually contribute toward efforts to protect our oceans and more responsibly use its resources. We can begin by developing a greater awareness of the harmful impact of plastic pollution, and by considering what each of us can do to lessen it.
Plastic pollution is not only a significant contributor to marine habitat destruction, but it also harms wildlife, often by entangling or by accidental consumption. There are many simple steps we can take to reduce the impact of plastic on the oceans. These include:
- Carrying reusable bags, and keeping our food and drinks in reusable containers, avoiding single-use bottles whenever possible.
- Keeping in mind the fact that plastic does not break down over time, and recycling or repurposing it wherever possible.
- Picking up after ourselves, and others, if necessary, while at the beach or boating.
- Becoming active in supporting policies and organizations addressing ocean pollution, and spreading the word.
Click here to learn more about the Earth Day Network’s campaign to end plastic pollution, a sustained effort which will continue throughout the year. Click here to access their easy-to-use plastic consumption calculator to begin tracking your own plastic consumption. Get inspired to host a plastic pollution awareness event, and share your plans on social media; it may encourage others to get involved.
Other Ways to Go Green by Thinking Blue:
Addressing the harmful impact of plastics on the world’s oceans is just one way we can go green. There are many other ways to help our oceans, including being more mindful of our daily water consumption for household chores or bathing. We should consider shortening our showers; the average shower consumes 2 gallons each minute. We can also remember to shut off the tap for toothbrushing. Further, when enjoying seafood, we should consider whether it is sustainably sourced, and let our favorite restaurants know we care about food sourcing. Click here for more information on simple changes we can all make to positively impact the oceans.
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Finally, if you are a parent, or if you have children in your life, encourage them to protect our oceans by inviting them to participate in a local beach or river clean up with you. Getting children out into nature, and empowering them to be good stewards of the earth, is the best way to ensure our planet will have passionate advocates well into the future.
Though we have a long way to go in adequately protecting our oceans, by taking simple steps, and sharing what we learn with others, we can move toward achieving lasting and positive environmental change.