Happy World Oceans Day, my friends! It’s an incredible day do support, learn, and protect these magnificent ecosystems. Did you know that we know more about outer space than we do about our oceans? That boggles my mind. Our oceans are also responsible for managing the world’s climate, sequester about 1/3 of the earth’s carbon, and support millions of people. Without healthy oceans, our planet and lives would be vastly different.
However, despite all of these benefits, the oceans are in peril. Fish populations are collapsing and coral reefs are dying. Because of increased CO2 absorption, oceans are acidifying. Sea life is hurt by plastic pollution. Despite this dismal picture, we can still do so much to help our oceans!
Pick up Litter to keep Oceans Clean
Litter clean ups are a fabulous way to protect our oceans and waterways. Keep plastic and other pieces of trash out of our waterways by cleaning up what you can.
Write to Your Reps
Let them know you care about ocean health. If they don’t know you care, they won’t make its protection a priority.
Lower Your Waste
Our society has a trash problem – we produce way too much trash. As a result, it ends up everywhere and eventually finds its way into our waterways and oceans. Trash can mimic food sources and nesting materials, which has a lasting impact on animal health. In addition, as trash degrades, it can leach toxic substances into soil and water. If we lower the amount of trash we produce, we can limit how much gets into our ecosystems. Try a trash audit and learn where you can reduce your waste!
Reduce Plastic for World Oceans Day
Likewise, if you reduce your plastic consumption, you reduce the amount of total plastic produced. Plastic causes a lot of harm to aquatic environments by contributing to toxic pollution, mimicking food sources, or choking out native species. Therefore, the more plastic we can avoid, the better.
Reduce Fish Consumption
Fish populations around the world are collapsing for a variety of reasons. Firstly, climate change is making more species vulnerable. Secondly, fish consumption has skyrocketed in the last several years. This has lead to unsustainable fishing practices such as dredging or trawling. There are sustainable options for seafood, but these options are currently few and far between. In addition, there is a lot of disagreement in what “sustainable” is or which fish populations can withstand commercial fishing. Since there is little agreement, the best option at this point in time is to reduce how much seafood you consume. Try a tofu bowl or a black bean burrito for easy plant-based recipes!
Say No to For-Profit Aquariums
Sea World and other for-profit aquariums are not safe for wild creatures. In fact, many of these animals are wild caught and not bred in captivity. The most desirable animals are babies, which are protected by their mothers and/or family groups. During the catch, adults may be killed and the babies are often injured. As a result, around 2/3 of wild caught animals will die in transit or within the first year of captivity. These institutions generally aren’t concerned with conservation or animal welfare, so best to avoid them.
Let’s be honest, we can’t do everything. In many instances, the best thing we can do is help others financially with the hard work. I know this isn’t a viable option for everyone. Times are tough! But even a $5 donation or $2 per month makes a difference! Some good charities to consider are:
Watch a Documentary about Oceans
This is my favourite, low energy, easy thing to do. Documentaries are great for learning and “visiting” the far reaches of our planet. Thankfully, people are fascinated by oceans. As a result, there are a plethora of fabulous ocean documentaries available on a variety of streaming services. Pick one or three and have fun!
- Blue Planet I and II
- A Plastic Ocean
- Mission Blue
- Sharkwater Extinction
- Dolphin Reef
- Chasing Coral
- Our Planet
- Night on Earth
- My Octopus Teacher
- Superfish: Bluefin Tuna
- Rise of the Great White Shark