7 Ways to minimize your impact on the ocean
Its difficult at times to come to terms with what our planet is going through at this very moment. Most of the time its just hard to understand the data presented and when words are thrown around as Global Warming, Deforestation, and Ocean Degradation it can get overwhelming. We hear phrases like our ocean fishery depletion and ocean acidification but what does that all mean?
Today, more than ever before, our Oceans and Oceans wildlife are in dire need of rescue. Seal pups are washing up on shore, dehydrated and starving to death, due to lack of fish and other foods sources they’d naturally find in the ocean. Coral reefs are becoming bleached due to acidification and we know that coral reefs are a bio diverse habitat for many types of ocean wildlife. Sharks, who are a vital part of the sea, are being wiped out. Turtles and other ocean life are being trapped in plastic rings or suffocating due to ingesting plastics. Dolphins and many other ocean wildlife are getting stuck in large fishing nets and die because of not being able to escape. Our oceans are now filled with plastics and this is killing much of our ocean wildlife.
We have to come to terms with a simple fact. If the Ocean dies - we die! Our Ocean is the life support system for our planet. It provides roughly 50% of the oxygen we need to breath, as well as aids in regulating our planets climate. The ocean is also responsible for us having a vast majority of fresh water. The ocean combined with our sun is the vital mechanism that transports water from dry land to the sea and circulates back to our atmosphere back to dry land again. Our plankton has been decreasing by 40% since the 1950s. Plankton is one of the most important life forms on our planet.
But what can we do as an individual? Here are 7 WAYS TO MINIMIZE OUR IMPACT ON THE OCEAN:
BIO-DEGRADABLE GOODS: look for goods that are biodegradable, meaning that it is capable of being decomposed by bacteria and other living organisms. Biodegradable bottles, bags, cleaning supplies, skin care, cups, etc. You might be surprised to see how many useful + effective products there are on the market that are biodegradable. When shopping, look on the back of labels. If a product is biodegradable, often times it’ll be stated on the label. Another alternative is to make your own products!
USE RE-USABLE BAGS: Carry a tote bag(s) in your car. This is an easy, yet effective tweak to make because most of us use our cars to get everywhere! Grab it before you head into the grocery store or any other place you’ll be shopping for items that need to be carried in a bag. In some areas, they’ll even knock a couple cents off your total for bringing your own bag! When you go to the beach, make sure you bring a re-usable bag to carry your essentials. Whether you’re traveling on a plane, road trip or heading to a BBQ, re-usable bags are a great way to lessen the amount of plastic that goes into the ocean and in turn will spare more Ocean lives.
STRAWS + 6-PACK RINGS: These two have a major impact on our Ocean wildlife. Choose no straws at restaurants or with your to-go drinks. The less that is used, means there will be less made. If you love sippin’ from a straw though and don’t want to give that up, don’t fear! - your covered. There are many companies now that have re-usable straws made from stainless steel or bamboo. (And quite frankly, we prefer those more.) It may sound like a lot of work but 500,000,000 straws are used each day. 40% of all sea birds and 22% of all cetaceans ingest plastics. Opt for no straws everywhere you go or simply bring your own! 6-pack rings, like those from soda or beer cans, are killers as well. Make sure to look for companies with biodegradable rings or without. Opt for purchasing cans that come in a box or just buy singles. If you do have plastic rings to discard, make sure to cut up every 6-pack rings and recycle the can so they don’t end up in our oceans.
COMPST: Most of the garbage we produce in our kitchen is organic waste - meanings, food scraps. Instead of just throwing everything in one garbage can, try to save food scraps and other biodegradable items separately. This can be in a separate bin or kept in the freezer until ready to discard into proper compost bin. You might be surprised of the amount of waste you can lessen just by doing this. Check with your local farmers market to see if they have a community compost bin to bring to weekly. This usually is turned into valuable soil food for community gardens. If you have your own garden at home, even better! Compost at home.
DIET: This is a touchy subject but the truth is we waste a lot of food and as consumers we are depleting our fisheries. We are consuming fish faster than they can reproduce. As consumers we have the power to change the world. Opt for meatless Mondays, consume less fish, or switch to a plant based vegan diet, like some have done. When purchasing fish, make sure that the fish is not caught by using fishing nets. For every pound of fish or shrimp caught, 6 pounds of bi-catch of other Ocean wildlife gets caught and dies. Look for sustainable or line caught fish. Start with one thing that can give a hand to ocean wildlife thriving.
CHOOSE RECYCLABLE: If you cant go biodegradable search for recyclable. Use glass and cardboard instead of plastics. Carry your own cantina for water, don’t buy plastic water bottles. (They’re not that great for you anyways.) There are many companies choosing to use glass or cardboard water containers.
CONSUMERS VOTE: Support companies working to help our oceans through either direct actions or funding. There are many companies that are giving back from clothing lines to food. Shopping consciously, will help you to find these brands. There are more than you think out there! Make sure your purchase changes the way things are made and the impact they have. As consumers we have all the power. Our purchases are our voices. If we make wise purchases, we are telling companies we want change and we care about our planet.
We have the power to change the world. The truth is we are the last defense, the more we inform ourselves the better the choices we will make when it comes to our everyday purchases. We only have one earth and its going to take all of us to keep it clean for future generations to come.