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Everyday Changes We Can Make to Help Our Oceans

Endless sea and sky to the distant horizon

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.

Contact us to learn more about how eco-friendly and sustainably made clothing can suit your style without adding to environmental waste, and click here to learn more about how Indelible Lifestyles supports protecting our planet.

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.

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Earth Day: What is it, and how can you participate this year in 4 fun ways?

Earth Day April 22, 2018. Beautiful and clean beach in California

Earth Day: What is it, and how can you participate this year in 4 fun ways?

If you love the ocean and all things eco-friendly as much as we do, then Earth Day is something you have to look forward to. Finally, a day where people get their priorities straight about giving back to the planet that we take so much from every day, right? 

Since the Earth Day Network launched this annual event back in 1970, it has become one of the biggest environmental-protection movements in the world. On Earth Day this year, which is April 22, 2018, one of the main themes is “End Plastic Pollution.”

We think Earth Day is the perfect time to get outside and celebrate the natural resources of our beautiful home. Here are four great ways to make a difference and show your appreciation for the Earth while having fun too:

 

1. Why not start your own #CoastalCleanUpDay project on Earth Day?

You can make the rules and do it your own way. Then share your adventures in fun selfies on social media! It could take the form of a field trip for your class. It could be a day out for your local club, or you can make it just a fun excuse to do something with your friends.

To give you some ideas, the California Coastal Commission originally started California’s Coastal Clean Up Day, which normally happens in the fall in all but three counties in California! Volunteers collect and recycle ocean debris with the help of this organization to provide supplies and other organizational tools. Last year in September of 2017 was the 33rd annual Coastal Cleanup Day that had 59,154 volunteers. Contact them for ideas if you want to do a big Earth Day cleanup drive in your area.

 

2. If you’re near Pacifica Beach, then jump into EcoFest on Earth Day after joining their local “Earth Day of Action” cleanup.

The Pacifica Beach Coalition hosts one of the biggest eco-friendly celebrations in California on Earth Day. They lead both beach and neighborhood cleanups that start from Daly City and extend even so far as Half Moon Bay. In 2017, the Pacifica Beach Coalition brought 6,800 volunteers together to clean up almost 2 tons of waste and 0.5 tons of recyclable materials.  

Later in the day, they follow it with the annual EcoFest at Linda Mar State Beach. Here you can grab great food while enjoying live music, seeing eco-booths, joining hands-on kids activities and seeing inspirational environmental speakers too. 

 

3. Take the car-free challenge for one day. 

The National Ocean Service describes how even air pollution affects the oceans:

Some water pollution actually starts as air pollution, which settles into waterways and oceans. [Plus,] … millions of motor-vehicle engines drop small amounts of oil each day onto roads and parking lots. Much of this too makes its way to the sea.

That’s why going car-free this Earth Day is a great way to help the condition of our air and the ocean at the same time. In fact, many people in New York City went car-free for Earth Day last year. From 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., a total of 30 blocks on Broadway Street was free of all vehicular traffic, allowing only pedestrians and cyclists instead. With the extra space created on the roads, people had a chance to enjoy special dance performances, fitness classes, arts and crafts, sustainability workshops and educational games on display especially for Earth Day.

Challenge your friends to find fun ways to go car-free this Earth Day, and then tell us how it went!  

 

4. Show off your cool, environmentally friendly swag when you head outside or go to the beach on Earth Day.

Indelible Lifestyles makes it a goal to celebrate Earth Day every day by carrying the coolest brands that create eco-friendly clothes, accessories and surf gear. Support the anti-plastic waste movement this year by getting one of our trendy RAREFORM backpacks made from repurposed billboard material. Check out our Five Oceans ecoFlyer frisbee made from recycled plastics. We’ve even got organic surf wax that’s completely non-toxic to prevent water pollution, rash guards and more in our online shopContact us; we’d love to chat with you.

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Help Prevent Oceans of Plastic

Eco-friendly family enjoying a picnic on the beach without the use of plastics preventing ocean pollution plastic

Bits of Knowledge Help Prevent Oceans of Plastic

Let’s get real about plastics. Today, many picnics are saved by plastic beverage containers on beaches that wisely prohibit glass containers. On these beaches, a garbage can — and often a recycle bin — are fewer steps away than from your beach blanket to your car. Plastic containers assure less “clean-up” announcements in stores and do not shatter on kitchen and bathroom floors. Plastics make life cleaner and easier.

And 8 million tons of plastic are dumped into our oceans every year.

If you care enough to read this, you already know the importance of recycling and properly disposing of plastics. If images of death by plastic in marine life does not anger you, we hope that eventually you will become enlightened and a more responsible citizen of Planet Earth. As Sylvia Earl puts it no blue no green, Lets take care of our oceans.

One area of plastic pollution gets too little attention, but it is a major factor in the degradation of our planet: micro-plastics. So where do these micro-plastics come from? Well, some of it comes from the breakdown of larger plastic pieces such as water bottles and beach toys. There are four notable direct sources:

  • Pre-production plastic pellets are raw resin that is melted and used to manufacture plastic containers that we are happy to use. They vary in size from 1mm to 5mm, so they are not harvested by beach clean-up efforts. Unfortunately, tons of these pellets are lost during manufacturing and transportation and end up in the ocean;
  • Plastic abrasives are used in many personal care products, including shower gels, toothpaste, and cosmetics. After they scrub the dead skin and other gunk from bodies, they follow the biodegradable skin down the drain on their unbiodegradable way to the oceans. One shower could result in 100,000 plastic bits entering the ocean;
  • Plastic resins are used in a process called shot blasting that is used to clean ships. The ship is scoured clean and the tiny resin “shots” go on to kill the fish and marine wildlife.

Okay, these ocean-killers are not your fault. You read labels and if your personal care products are not biodegradable, you do not wash them down the drain. You use a special strainer or choose other products. But here is an area where we can all be proven guilty unless clothing is all natural fabrics:

  • Plastic fibers such as nylon and acrylic are gone with the “rinse” cycle on washing machines and on their way, eventually, to our oceans.

Micro-plastics are becoming better known as an ocean pollutant. In the United Kingdom, MPs are calling for a ban on tiny plastic beads in cosmetic and other personal care products. Some large cosmetic companies have made voluntary, and huge, commitments to phase out micro-beads by 2020. You may want to consider what is on your face and if you should choose a biodegradable product. Toiletries are big items on gift lists. Consider how you can give the ocean a present with your gift selections.

Tamara Galloway, University of Exeter, reported. “Pollution from micro-beads is a truly global problem. Tides and currents can carry pollution across oceans to countries a long distance from where they were originally released. Ideally, any legislation to control them should be on an international level.”

Micro-plastics are found in deep ocean sediment and in icebergs, making it an obvious, planetary challenge. When it is difficult to think globally, try thinking personally: when you eat six oysters, you probably ingest 50 particles of indigestible microplastics. Plastics can be used to set a table; they should not be on the menu!

For eco-friendly clothing, shoes, products and surf gear contact us. We are committed to ocean preservation and your responsible enjoyment of our great outdoors.

 

Our other blog that talk about plastics can be found here:

Shocking Photos Share The Real Plastics Impact on Oceans

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How To Be a Friend to Oceans and Marine Life

people pick up trash off the beach

How To Be a Friend to Oceans and Marine Life

Good citizenship — so important civic organizations give awards for it and Boy and Girl Scouts earn badges for it. Oceans need good citizens, too. Your footprints will be washed away, and, of course, you never litter the beach. But what else do our oceans need from their human visitors? The National Geographic Society lists ten steps you should take to keep our oceans clean. This article gives examples of how you can work toward a shared goal of keeping our oceans as free as possible from human pollution and interference:

  • Keep your energy use reasonable — no matter how far you inland you travel — to help prevent changes in ocean climate. Put on enough clothes to be comfortable indoors with the thermostat set three degrees below your usual comfort level. Instead of turning on the air conditioner, try opening windows and using fans. Consider using a bike for local travel. Lobby local officials for bike paths.

 

  • When buying seafood at a market or restaurant choose species that are not being depleted. Grouper and guitar fish made the endangered or threatened lists in the past two years.

 

  • PLASTIC! An eyesore, a danger onland and offshore. You know this. Go European and shop with a cloth or reusable bag. Reduce dependence on plastic kitchen items. Recycle every bit of plastic you discard. When on the beach, don’t just search for shells, carry a bag for plastic litter and put it in a recycle bin or at least in a garbage bin. Instead of scavenger hunts, hold a plastic hunt with a prize for the most pounds of plastic removed from your favorite beach.

 

  • When you visit a beach, be polite to your hostess. You would not take her pets home or stick a prize knickknack in your pocket. So why hassle marine wildlife and chip off bits of live coral? 

 

  • Boycott products that harm coral reefs and marine creatures. Coral jewelry is attractive, but coral reefs are natural treasures. You do not need anything made from a shark. How can you enjoy a tortoiseshell hairpiece when you know they are made from endangered hawksbill turtles?

 

  • Be a pet owner who also treasures our oceans. Read pet food labels to be sure any seafood is not from an endangered species. Do not flush cat litter; its pathogens can kill fish and other marine life. Do not catch salt-water fish just to display them in an aquarium. And, do not toss any aquarium fish into any body of water. One non-native fish can release eggs that upset an ecosystem.

 

  • Support organizations that help to protect the ocean. Time, talent, and tweets are always needed. A little cash goes a long way, too.
  • If local, elected officials do not support marine conservation, find out why and work to have marine-friendly candidates elected. If you see a threatened species in a grocery store or on a menu, complain to the manager and voice your concern on social media.

 

  • Be a responsible citizen on the water whether on a private boat or on a cruise. “Man Overboard” is an accepted distress cry. “Beer bottle overboard” can teach a fellow boater to have more respect for the environment. If you take a cruise, find the most eco-friendly cruise lines.

 

  • Learn all you can about the ocean and its eco-systems. Find ways to put your knowledge into action and into educating others on ways to protect this vital global resource.

 

The more time you spend in and on the water, the more effective you can be. Others may follow your example. The time to save the ocean is yesterday, so we have a lot of catching up to do.

Contact us. We sell and promote products that give back to the community and environment.

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Dead Zones Are Not Fodder for Science Fiction

Dead Zones Are Not Fodder for Science Fiction

Glorious ocean waves blind us with their power and beauty while covering up a global disgrace: our oceans have dead zones, 405 dead zones including the entire Baltic Sea. The number of dead zones is up from just 49 in the 1960s.  According to NOAA, a dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico grew to the size of New Jersey in 2017. No zombies were reported, but too many dead fish piled up ignore.

An ocean dead zone is simply water that has too little oxygen for fish and the creatures they feed on to survive. The culprit is nutrients — nitrogen and phosphorous — that fertilize crops for greater yields. These nutrients wash into rivers along with rainwater and then to oceans unleashing huge algae blooms. The algae die and decompose, using up oxygen that fish and marine life need to survive. Some fish can swim until they find oxygen and food; many die trying. Fishermen lose livelihoods, and seafood prices rise above the “affordable” mark.

The Chesapeake Bay had a large dead zone, and in 2010, the federal government set mandatory limits on nutrients entering the bay. Farmers howled; states spent billions of dollars; and the Chesapeake Bay is experiencing a revival in marine life.

Only a few other dead zones have recovered. The Black Sea revived in the 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union and a massive decrease in fertilizer runoff from Russia and Ukraine.

A Smithsonian-led study shows that ocean dead zones are increasing because of climate change. As sea levels rise, wetlands are devastated. They are natural buffers, soaking up nutrients from toxic runoff.

Scientific studies have concluded that the dead zone problem can be met by reducing nutrient pollution. Yet, a growing world population must be fed, and fertilizers, mainly nutrients, increase crop yields. Encouraged by real, although difficult, solutions, in 2015 the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency set a 2025 nutrient reduction goal that involves rebuilding soils and reducing greenhouse gasses. Their five steps, which they call “bold” are as follows:

  • Couple crop insurance premium subsidies with the adoption of beneficial practices for nutrient, water and soil outcomes;
  • Enable private service providers to drive targeted adoption of beneficial practices;
  • Expand and target Farm Bill funding of beneficial practices in high impact areas for reductions in nitrogen loss and soil carbon improvement;
  • Drive ballot initiatives or legislative actions to develop new state funds that support adoption of beneficial practices in high impact areas for reductions in nitrogen loss and soil carbon improvement; and
  • Direct post-disaster federal funds toward restoration in high impact areas for reduction in nitrogen and flood risk, and soil carbon improvement.

Legislative action to date has been — to put it kindly — wishy-washy.

Nancy Rabalais, executive director of the Louisiana Universities Marine Consortium, reports, “Nitrogen and phosphorus levels in the Black Sea have been dramatically reduced…We know that the majority of nutrients [in the Gulf] come from big agribusiness. What we’re missing is the social and political will to reduce nutrient pollution.”

Sciences geared to keeping our planet alive continue to evolve, and social sciences prove that the squeaky wheels get the grease. It is time to take the dead zones out of guarded labs and the dusty halls of academe. We, citizens of planet earth, need to clearly — and loudly — define the problem. Ask yourself how many people you know are aware of dead zones? And then offer scientific facts that prove the solutions. Scientific journals do not deny the problem: reports are becoming more frequent. Solutions are becoming more obvious. But who reads scientific journals unless a research paper or exam is looming?

You can take the problem to social media. #deadzone will get more clicks than #scientistsProveOceansAreDying. You can make it difficult for people, including legislators, to ignore your tweets.

For eco-friendly products and clothing contact us. We love the ocean as much as you do.

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Shocking Photos Share The Real Plastics Impact on Oceans

The year 2017 saw more than one severe hurricane, which helped lead to the shocking photos presented in October of the same year. Images of the once striking Caribbean Sea, covered in a layer of plastics, were released by a number of different news outlets. This was not shock news, it was our reality. The images were taken near Honduras by photographer Caroline Power, who posted the pictures to social media with the intention to shock humans into changing our habits.

When these images are placed against the water’s undisturbed image, the shock gets worse. These waters are often so clear that visibility of the bottom of the ocean is possible in shallow areas. However, the images produced by Ms. Power make the ocean look like the mounds of a landfill. Scuba divers dove beneath the trash to snap a few disheartening images from beneath. Both sets of photos will break the heart of anyone who cares about the ocean’s preservation. There are ways to end this massive waste and contamination of the Earth.

1. Buy Reusable Products

One of the most striking images was the image of floating plastic ware. Plastic ware is one of the most unnecessary purchases humans make. Reusable flatware moves easily, packs in coolers, and cleans easily. Consider all the items that are reusable, and skip the throwaway versions. This list includes, but is not limited to:

  • Paper towels (use cloth towels or napkins)
  • Plastic ware (use metal flatware)
  • Plastic bottles (buy reusable water bottles then refill)
  • Zip-top bags (use cloth lunch-style bags and reusable food storage containers)

2. Refuse Plastic Grocery Bags

The cost of reusable grocery bags is minute compared to the pollution caused by one plastic grocery bag. Purchase a few reusable grocery bags, including cooler bags, then use them for every grocery trip. Keep a stack in the car for those quick stops after work, and have them on hand for the weekly grocery trip.

3. Skip the Doggy Bag, If Possible

Another big issue in the water was the take-out containers. If you can eat the whole plate at a restaurant, do so. Try to skip take-out and cook food from home instead. This is typically healthier for your body and for the environment. Restaurants are not allowed to let food leave in anything but those wasteful containers in most states, so try to plan before going out or ordering food to go.

4. Wash Your Veggies

Those plastic bags at the grocery store are convenient for your produce purchase, but consider how many of those bags float away to places like the Caribbean Sea. If possible, buy produce wrapped in paper, or simply wash it when you get home. Use a separate washable reusable bag to carry it home. The plastic bag is not necessary for a small amount of produce, especially if paper bags are available.

5. Buy Recycled Items

Some items, such as toilet paper, simply cannot be avoided. However, it is possible to support recycling by buying the recycled versions of these products. Further, some toilet paper brands are packaged in paper, rather than plastic. Look for toilet paper and other products that are not only recycled but wrapped in recyclable material. The paper will break down faster than the plastic, and will not clog the ocean’s natural beauty.

6. Sort the Trash

Many areas have ordinances to make residents sort trash, while other residents do it naturally. However, if you are not sorting the trash, reconsider your actions. Look at the plastic that you do buy and make sure it is recyclable. Send it to the proper recycling facility to make sure it is used again. Check with your local recycle center to find out how to best dispose of the plastics you do find yourself purchasing.

 

7. Sustainable Purchasing

Sustainable purchasing is putting in an effort to shop for greener, healthier, and more sustainable products. The basic concept is every single purchase has hidden human health, environmental and social impacts and that its possible to reduce said impacts by buying better products. Here at Indelible Lifestyles we carry brands that are actively working to bring clothing and products to fruition you can feel good about. As we like to say style and sustainability do not need to me mutually exclusive! Check out our products at www.indeliblelifestyles.com, atleast 1% of all sales are donated to non profits through out 1% for the planet partnership.

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The Rising Seas: Global Warming and Our Oceans

Polar bear on ice close to rising warming ocean water.

As global warming wreaks havoc on the environment, temperatures are gradually rising and the sea levels are rising too. Global warming occurs naturally over time, but it is still quite clear that humans are impacting the environment in monumental and very hazardous ways. Global warming has a huge impact on our oceans, and while many realize that these effects are harmful, not enough of them are dedicated to making a change. These solutions seem complex and like they require a major transformational shift in our current paradigm. With ocean-conscious companies, like Indelible Lifestyles, we know that there are forces out there that are striving to make a difference and remind us not to lose hope. Working together towards a more sustainable future is the biggest fault of the world today. We need to collectively plan, organize, and implement solid long-term solutions to our planet’s biggest problems. Here is information about how global warming is causing our oceans to rise, and what we can do to change this detrimental pattern.

The warming of sea temperatures

Global warming affects temperatures outside as well as inside and on the surface of the ocean. As the ocean heat climbs, thermal expansion makes the sea swell and causes sea levels to rise. The melting of ice sheets and glaciers also contributes to the ascending coastline. Since 1990, in fact, ocean levels have risen at a rate of about 1.3 inches per decade. This rate could result in a sea level rise of over 5 feet in about 100 years, eventually enough to put cities like Boston, New York, and London underwater. As we have seen in recent world events people who live on the coastlines are more likely to experience catastrophic hurricanes and suffer damage from storm surges. Pollution is a major cause of global warming with carbon dioxide emissions adding greatly to the firmly established decline in our ecosystem. To reduce the effects of global warming on the environment, there are many things we can do to improve our energy footprint: going green is one of the best ways to do it.

 

Impacting the ocean habitat

With warming waters and rising sea levels, marine mammals, especially polar bears, are seeing their homes disappear. The warmer temperatures are making their habitat melt away leaving them with fewer options for finding food. Many polar bears are starved to death, leaving less and less of these majestic creatures in existence. Coastlines are eroding and flooding caused by global warming has started to occur in some places in the U.S. The ocean habitat is clearly suffering. We can tell that the oceans need help when coral reefs are dying at alarming rates, fish species are dwindling in numbers, and massive oil spills are the only legacy we seem to be leaving. Oceans cover around 70% of the world’s surface.

“When the last tree is cut down, the last fish eaten, and the last stream poisoned, you will realize that you cannot eat money.” – Native American proverb

 

The future of our oceans and our dear planet ride on us. It is up to us to push for better environmental protections, to move the global trend towards green energy, and to demand in politics, in society, and in life better treatment of the earth. To provide an environment that is livable to our future generations is going to take some serious changes. Think of ways today that you can reduce your carbon footprint. Insulate your home to prevent heat from escaping, get a wood burning stove to cut down on furnace usage, and upgrade your appliances to energy-efficient models. There are many things one can do to help regenerate our oceans. Consider giving to charities that help the oceans, spend your time trying to push for better water regulations, and learn about everyday ways to help the environment around you.

The more extreme environmental predictions are dire at best. Ocean life is dying, sea levels rising, and we sit here trying to clear away enough red tape to make a difference. The effects of global warming are growing larger and more obvious. If we don’t change fast, the planet will continue on a downward path until the ice caps melt completely and submerge entire cities and regions. Water is essential to life – let’s take steps towards making our oceans stronger and healthier with the choices we make every day.

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Reclaiming and Recycling Ghost Gear

ghost nets at bottom of ocean

Ghost gear is an ocean horror that some sea-loving people and organizations are striving to turn into less hazardous and even useful materials. Ghost gear is the term for discarded fishing gear and is an estimated 10 percent of marine trash. Much of it is thrown overboard when ports do not have the capacity to recycle fishing nets. The SeaDoc Society estimates that one ghost net can kill $20,000 worth of Dungeness crab in ten years. The Virginia Institute of Marine Science estimates that abandoned crab pots in the Chesapeake Bay area trap more than a million blue crabs a year.

Ridding the ocean of ghost gear is a critical component in making our oceans more habitable for marine life. Forward thinking organizations are focusing on positioning used nets not as waste products, but as commodities. “Once it becomes a commodity worth having it becomes a business opportunity, and that changes the whole agenda,” says Mike Baker, chief executive of World Animal Protection.

A pioneer in this endeavor is Net-Works that makes carpet tiles from discarded fishing nets. More companies and organizations are seizing this new opportunity to create something of value from hazardous waste:

  • Since 2008, the US Fishing for Energy partnership has collected nearly 3 million pounds of discarded fishing gear from 42 US communities and turned it into electricity that powers 182 homes for a year;
  • The Chilean government supported a skateboard realtor that set up a net collection program and pays local charities to make skateboards from the nets, thus creating work for indigenous people;
  • Ghost nets recovered by divers from The Ghost Fishing Project are recycled and made into Lycra® fabric;
  • Seher Mirza, a textile researcher at the Royal College of Arts, London, developed ‘Threads of the Indus,’ to empower indigenous communities to create traditional crafts with ghost nets and other waste objects that help them earn a living;
  • Pakistani artist Ramla Fatima is working on a sculptural installation exclusively out of ghost nets and discarded material found on ocean beaches. “Ghost nets have proved to be a very exciting art material, which is quite relevant to my subject matter – ‘dematerialization of the body.’ I hope when people look at my work, it will remind them of the importance of the sea,” she said;
  • Ghost Net Australia has measured and recorded more than 13,000 pieces of net recovered off the coats of north Australia since 2004, creating a comprehensive overview of the amounts and types of ghost nets impacting that area. Their efforts to protect the environment have led communities and natural resource management agencies to develop partnerships to reduce ghost net impacts on marine life;
  • Team Ghost Fishing is part of the Healthy Seas initiative, and they claim that removing ghost nets is critical work along with removing other ocean litter. They recycle the waste into textiles. One of their first projects was salvaging discarded fishing gear from Dutch North Sea wrecks.

Some net recovery projects do more than remove dangerous waste from oceans, they also work to recycle as much material as possible to keep it out of landfills. Lost nets pose particular recycling problems because of the mud and growth that accumulate in them over time. In British Columbia, a Pender Island recovery program and the Stevenston Harbour Authority teamed with the Emerald Sea Protection Society to test the possibility of getting ghost nets clean enough to be recycled. They recovered 4,500 pounds of net that had been killing marine life for three decades. The team found that with a pressure washer and determination, the net was clean enough to be recycled into useful materials.

At Indelible Lifestyles we applaud these efforts to clean up our oceans and are proud to offer our customers eco-friendly products.

 

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Top Threats to Our Oceans- Noise Pollution

containers cargo ship in a summer day

Jacques Cousteau called the oceans “The Silent World,” but our oceans are getting increasingly noisier. Ambient ocean noise increased an estimated ten-fold from 1950 to 1975. The ocean is not getting any quieter thanks to grinding ship propellers, explosions from oil and gas deposit explorations, and even jet skis. Noise abatement programs have only recently entered scientific discussions and are barely on the radar of laymen who want to improve the quality of our oceans.

Many of today’s ships are larger than aircraft carriers, and they send out tremendous low-frequency sound energy. This type of noise doubles every decade. Acoustical testing for underwater oil and gas deposits can go on for weeks with continuous, powerful, underwater explosions. Christopher Clark, a marine bioacoustics expert from Cornell University, says, “Imagine that every 10 seconds there is an explosion that is rattling grandma’s china out of the cupboard, and it is falling on the floor.”

Underground testing is up to seven times louder than ship sounds. Clark reports that instruments 60 miles off the coast of Virginia pick up underwater noise from Brazil, Ireland, and Nova Scotia. In one summer, about 25 underwater testings were going on at the same time in the North Atlantic making the ocean one big storm of noise.

The impact of this sound on whales has been observed. Whales “see” by hearing. Many of their migratory routes and feeding grounds are along coastlines — some of the noisiest ocean habitats. When females cannot hear males singing, they lose breeding opportunities; when whales can’t hear other whales announcing a food source, they lose opportunities for finding food. Whales were seen trying to hide behind rocks when loud seismic surveys were being conducted along the coast of California, and some came so close to shore they were seen in the breaking waves. Right whales have been observed going silent when surrounded by noise. Right whales lose about 60 percent of their ability to communicate in the busy shipping corridor from Cape Cod to Boston, and they have been observed going silent in noisy sections of the ocean.

Large ocean areas — 100,000 square miles — have become so polluted with unnatural noises that whales have abandoned these areas. The New England Aquarium has been keeping track of right whales in the Bay of Fundy for 25 years. They had samples of hormone levels in whales before, during, and after the 9/11 attack. When ship and aircraft noise ceased after the terrorist attack, the whales’ stress hormones dropped dramatically. Southern Hemisphere right whale populations are increasing by 7.5 percent annually. In the Northern Hemisphere, where there is far more shipping, the population is increasing by barely 2 percent. Some of the damage is due to fishing nets and fatal encounters with ships, but it is now believed that noise accounts for some of the population decrease.

Fish are affected by noise pollution as well according to research by marine biologists in Norway. They report that fish move out of noisy ocean areas, and that the survival rate of the young is greatly decreased in areas that have high noise levels of noise.

Dr. Sylvia Earle, marine botanist, oceanographer, and former Chief Scientist at the United States National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), says, “Undersea noise pollution is like the death of a thousand cuts. Each sound in itself may not be a matter of critical concern, but taken all together, the noise from shipping, seismic surveys, and military activity is creating a totally different environment than existed even 50 years ago. That high level of noise is bound to have a hard, sweeping impact on life in the sea.”

How can you help reduce noise pollution in the ocean? See the Sea Organization offers these suggestions:

  • Buy local to reduce the amount of goods being shipped;
  • If you own a boat, keep your propeller clean to keep the underwater sound as low as possible and further reduce noise pollution by keeping the engine well tuned and insulated from the hull;
  • When boating or using jet skis, avoid sensitive marine areas.

Most important, talk about it. How many people think of the ocean when they hear the words “noise pollution”? Share what you know, and more people will join the growing number of people who want to protect our oceans.

Check out www.indeliblelifestyles.com to shop for eco friendly clothing, products and surf gear! Keep in mind at least 1% of our sales goes to ocean related non profits through our 1% for the planet partnership.

 

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Top Threats to Our Oceans- Acidification

Family walking home from the sandy beach on Kefalonia Island (Avithos). Footsteps in the sand at sunset.

At Indelible Lifestyles, we believe a healthy environment is a top priority for the well-being of our generation and future ones. We sell and promote products that give back to the community and environment. Based on the beautiful central coast of California, we know how important oceans are for everyone’s enjoyment and livelihood. We feel it is important to highlight some of the threats to our precious oceans and provide solutions so everyone could contribute to the health of the environment.

What is Ocean Acidification?

The pollution we create isn’t just warming our climate, it’s affecting the oceans and the complex ecosystems inhabiting them. Over a quarter of the carbon dioxide we produce by burning fossil fuels is absorbed into our oceans. This absorption triggers chemical reactions resulting in the increased acidity of ocean water.

According to the Smithsonian Institution’s Ocean Portal article, since the Industrial Revolution, it is estimated the ocean absorbs about 22 million tons of carbon dioxide a day. This made the ocean water about 30 percent more acidic. No known pH changes in the last 50 million years have been this fast and dramatic. Although marine life could adapt to gradual change, it is uncertain just how drastic this relatively sudden shift in the ocean’s chemistry will impact the underwater ecosystems.

What are the Impacts of Ocean Acidification?

The Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory discusses how continued ocean acidification causes a decrease in calcium carbonate minerals–the building blocks for skeletons and shells of many marine organisms. This lack of calcium carbonate affects how some organisms produce and maintain their shells. Oysters, clams, sea urchins, snails, and various small shellfish suffer as a result. The acidic water also increases the acidity of marine life’s body fluids causing respiratory struggles while impacting metabolism.

In addition, ocean acidification threatens various species of coral. The low pH reduces the reef-building coral’s ability to produce skeletons. Some research suggests, at the current rate of rising acidification, coral reefs may erode faster than they could rebuild by the end of the century. This destroys the habitats of diverse species of fish, mollusks, and sponges residing in the reefs.

At this point, it is impossible to predict exactly how ocean acidification will affect marine life and the entire ocean ecosystem as time goes on. It’s not just a problem for oysters and coral, though. Billions of people worldwide rely on the ocean’s marine life for food and jobs. This threat to sea creatures could become a threat to the global health and economy.

How can you help?

No single person can stop ocean acidification–that is, unless you invent that mythical combustion engine fueled by water. There are small steps you can take to help the planet and its oceans.

Get Involved

Be a voice for the oceans. Many people are unaware of environmental issues. By spreading the word, those around you will be more aware and likely to take action. Communicate with politicians and policy makers to let them know about this global issue and the importance of taking action.

Use Less Energy

By using alternative energy sources and reducing your energy consumption, you help the environment. Installing energy efficient appliances, carpooling or biking, and being mindful of your energy usage can help reduce your carbon footprint. Using a carbon footprint calculator like the one found at Conservation.org can help you become more aware of the carbon emissions released during your daily routine.

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle

This familiar phrase means so much to helping the environment and oceans. Using less and reusing decreases demand of new products made from new materials. This helps reduce the fossil fuels burned by factories making our everyday products. Shopping at a garage sale or thrift store, avoiding bottled water, and recycling whatever you could helps reduce your impact on the environment. In addition you can shop for eco friendly clothing/products at places like www.indeliblelifestyles.com.

Know What You Are Buying

Be aware how the products you buy affects the oceans. Overfishing is a widespread problem. Try to buy sustainably sourced seafood to help the fish population stay resilient. Organic fruits and vegetables reduce pesticide use. These hazardous chemicals run off into the world’s water supplies further depressing the health of marine life.

Anyone who has spent time in or near the ocean knows the powerful effects it has on our lives. It is our responsibility to ensure this precious resource is preserved for the future. Indelible Lifestyles gives back atleast 1% of all sales to conservation. Be sure to check out our products and help us help the environment.