We all enjoy a trip to the seaside, a dip in the sea, or a splendid ocean view. Some even take a step (or dive) further, enjoying ocean-based activities. Among them: are kayaking, sailing, fishing, snorkeling, SCUBA diving, and many more. However, it is no secret that the world’s oceans are under threat.
When you consider that the ocean supplies at least half of the world’s oxygen, is home to most of the planet’s biodiversity, and is the primary source of protein for more than a billion people worldwide, the importance of the oceans is crystal clear.
The topic for this year’s World Oceans Day, on June 8th, is “#RevitalizeTheOcean”. Part of a decade of challenges to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 14: “Conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas, and marine resources” by 2030.
Their goals are:
- to raise awareness and fully explain the effects of human actions on marine environments
- to build a global citizen movement for the ocean
- to organise and unify the global population around a project for the long-term management of the oceans.
Here are some ways you can help to #revitalisetheocean:
Demand alternatives to plastic
Plastics pose a significant and rising hazard to the seas. Every year, an estimated 8 million kilos of plastic flow into the ocean. Almost equivalent to one rubbish truck dumping a load of plastic into our oceans every minute. As many plastics take 1,000s of years to break down you realise: they are never going away!
Straws, food wrap, plastic utensils, drinks bottles, plastic bags, plastic cartons, and many more. We must find plastic-free alternatives. The best way to do so is, as a consumer, to demand alternatives. If enough people do so, companies that use plastics will have to make changes.
Try cutting down on your carbon impact
Our waters are increasing in acidity as a knock-on effect of increasing levels of carbon dioxide. The oceans absorb more CO2 from the air, raising their acidity. The increased acidity of the water destroys corals by weakening their calcium skeletons.
Lower your carbon footprint by following these easy steps:
- Rather than driving, ride your bike, walk, or take public transport like the train.
- Instead of cranking up the heat in the cold, wear a sweater.
- Reduce the water temperature on your boiler. 75 degrees in the winter and 65 in the winter is enough. Those 10 degrees can lower your energy bill by up to 10% too!
- Liven up your diet by purchasing sustainable wild seafood. It’s a renewable resource that uses very little freshwater. It also produces less CO2 than land-based proteins like beef.
Steer clear of ocean-harming goods
Many items endanger vulnerable species or add to irresponsible fishing practices and pollution. Avoid cosmetics containing shark squalene, jewellery made of coral or sea turtle shells, and souvenir conch, nautilus, and other animal shells, for example. These items encourage unsustainable fishing or put vital species and ecosystems at risk.
Enjoy only sustainable seafood
Choose seafood from well-managed, wild fisheries that are good for you and the seas. It can be difficult to determine which fish are fine to eat, but the following resources can help:
- Refer to the Marine Conservation Society’s Good Fish Guide. This rates all species of fish by how sustainably they are.
- Try some sustainable seafood dishes, from renowned British chefs.
- Increase your protein intake by including little oily fish in your diet. Most are sustainable and provide incredible health benefits.
- Look at some of our previous blogs on healthy and sustainable eating.
Pick up when you pack up
When beaches are busy, the amount of rubbish left behind or blown away increases. Don’t contribute to the degradation of our seas, on your day out. Remember to dispose of your rubbish. Take a biodegradable rubbish bag with you. Weight it down with rocks and use it during the day, ensuring no trash blows away. The golden rule is to leave the area as if you’d never been there in the first place!
Make the most of your special abilities
You’re not a marine biologist, right? No matter. Help at a local beach clean-up or join an organisation that fights to safeguard coastal environments and embrace ecotourism. Even supporting local restaurants, grocery shops, and other local companies can help. Choose those who offer sustainable products, with minimal plastic packaging. You will be making a difference.
Another way to get involved is as a citizen. Contact local and national elected officials to express your support for ocean-friendly legislation. This website makes it easy to find your elected officials and send them a message all in one place.
Book your travel with a responsible travel business. One that is dedicated to safeguarding animals, strengthening local communities, and employing knowledgeable guides. Once you reach your destination, there are sure to be lots of tempting excursions on offer. Only choose those that respect marine life and ecosystems. Anything you can do to support the local community will be valued by locals. You will make a significant difference.
You can find out more about World Ocean Days on the World Oceans Day website.