Today is World Ocean Day! The big, beautiful Blue covers 70% of the Earth's surface and contains 97% of all of Earth's water! It's a massive, and important resource that's filled with life and gives life to us all!
Unfortunately, our oceans are in trouble. If we continue on the same trajectory we're on now, by the year 2050 there will be more plastics in our oceans than fish (source). The number of dead zones in our oceans is growing, due to pollution from plastics and other garbage, oil, chemicals, pesticides and other pollutants.
Saving the ocean may seem like a daunting task, so we've compiled a list of 7 simple things that anyone can do to make a difference!
1. Bring reusable water bottles and coffee cups with you.
By refilling your reusable water bottles and coffee cups, you will save hundreds of single-use plastic bottle, cups, and lids from ending up in the ocean, like in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
In general, trying to avoid as many single-use plastic items as possible will make a positive impact! Look for reusable or biodegradable alternatives instead.
2. Buy less unnecessary plastic packaging in the store.
While grocery shopping, try paying attention to the packaging of the items you're buying. You may start noticing a lot of it seems to have unnecessary plastic, like an orange, or a cucumber wrapped completely in plastic!
If you are able, buy the items without the unnecessary plastic packaging instead. It's not our fault that the company packaged it that way, but we can send a message with our purchasing habits.
Another tip to cut out plastic while grocery shopping is to shop in the bulk section when you can!
3. Eat sustainable seafood.
There may not always be "more fish in the sea". 85% of the world's fish stocks are over-exploited or at full-capacity. Support sustainable fishing by only buying sustainable seafood at the supermarket or at a restaurant. The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a handy sustainable seafood guide available for download.
4. Inflate your car tires.
Okay, this one seems a little out there, but I promise it connects. Did you know that under-inflated car tires waste more gas than properly inflated tires? The U.S. Department of Energy estimates that under-inflated tires waste about 1.2 billion gallons of gas per year in the U.S.
Cutting back on fossil-fuel consumption helps to reduce the effects of climate change and ocean acidification, which alters marine chemistry and affects marine wildlife on a global scale. By making sure your tires are properly inflated, you're reducing your carbon footprint in general, helping to lessen the effects of climate change, little-by-little. I mean, we did say simple, didn't we?
5. Conserve water.
Any of the water you use in your home is later sent to a sewage treatment plant which removes pollutants before sending the water back out into larger bodies of water. Issues arise, however, when we use too much water. The treatment plants can become overwhelmed by excess water, which allows pollutants to make their way into our oceans, rivers, streams, etc.
Do your part by taking shorter showers, turning the water off while brushing your teeth, etc.
6. Avoid ocean-harming products.
Avoid personal care products which contain ocean-harming ingredients, such as cosmetics containing shark squalene, or sunscreen containing oxybenzone, which negatively impacts coral reefs. In addition, avoid purchasing jewelry or souvenir items made from coral, sea turtle shell, conch or nautilus shells. These products support unsustainable fishing practices and threaten marine species and ecosystems.
7. Donate your dollars, or your time.
Lastly, donate to marine conservation organizations, if you can. Or, donate your time to participate in a cleanup, if you live near the coast. A list of such organizations can be found here.
Please remember that even small changes will eventually add up to huge results!
Happy World Ocean Day!