Maybe it was the countless times I went to the beach when I was young. Or, perhaps it was from listening to the captivating voice of David Attenborough while watching Planet Earth. My deeply rooted admiration for our ocean dates back to who knows when, and continues to grow. I find it to be something so serene, calming and yet so mysterious and supernatural, it’s almost hard to wrap my head around it…
… and I also find it very, very concerning when I consistently hear that our oceans and the animals that inhabit it are in some deep trouble.
As the demand for inexpensive fish continues, overfishing carries on, destroying habitats, and threatening the existence of marine life. Our ocean covers over 71% of our planet. To date, only a little over 1% of the ocean is actually protected (1). Mind-blowing! With so much leniency for corporations to swarm in and use industrial equipment to hoard masses of fish and sea animals, it’s beginning to leave little hope for the future of these creatures, and will seriously effect the generations of humans to come.
I know we can all play a role in choosing to make a difference for our environment, our home, no matter how small we think it to be. We can either contribute to the problem, or pull back from it. And, it can be done in the simplest of ways with a few lifestyle changes.
1. Be aware of plastic use
Pretty basic. Swap out plastic bottles (which are no good for our health anyways) for an insulated, reusable water bottle (I carry one with me at all times). Ditch the plastic toothbrushes and plastic utensils. Recycle, recycle, recycle. It is estimated that 1.15 to 2.41 million tonnes of plastic are entering the ocean each year from rivers (2). A little goes a long way, so even the smallest swap in your household can make a difference. Believe that.
2. Be aware of what they’re not telling you
Yes, the last thing we want is our plastic straws ending up on our coastlines or in the ocean, but have you heard of what excessive fishing practices and leftover gear/nets from commercial fishing is doing to our deep blue? Eight million tons of plastic flow into the ocean every year, and straws comprise just 0.025 percent of that (3). Yet, no one talks about this. But when we’re talking about billion dollar businesses, it’s easy for these things to be “better left unsaid”, but for the safety of our oceans, this is far from the truth. For this reason, stay informed, and…
3. Spread the word
There’s a good chance you’ve seen a Netflix documentary, media headline, social media post, or heard about the damage happening to our oceans. It’s obvious and in our face. Speak up! Educate yourself and others, it’s how we create change.
4. Reduce seafood consumption
After exploring documentaries and doing my own research to write this blog post, I’ve made a conscious decision to seriously watch my consumption of fish. If you enjoy seafood as much as I do, it’s hard to bargain with, I get it. But trust me when I say this – since writing this post I have eaten fish only once (sushi) in weeks. It’s not creating scarcity in my grocery shopping, food preps, or restaurants outings at all. If that doesn’t sell you, large fish tend to carry higher amounts of mercury (i.e. tuna, salmon) which is extremely toxic to the human body, so it’s best to limit/avoid for our health.
5. Leave nothing behind
Does it bother you seeing broken plastic toys or garbage hanging around the beach as much it does for me? Respect the outdoors by cleaning up after yourself as much as you’d respect doing so at a friend’s house.
6. Join a cause
I started with 4ocean, a public benefit corporation and Certified B Corp whose mission is to end the ocean plastic crisis. Every 4ocean product purchased (i.e. bracelets, apparel, beach gear, accessories) comes with their One Pound Promise to pull 1 pound of trash from the ocean, rivers, and coastlines.
A great group to support is Sea Shepard Global, an “international, non-profit marine conservation organization that engages in direct action campaigns to defend wildlife, and conserve and protect the world’s oceans from illegal exploitation and environmental destruction.” Over 90% of donations to Sea Shepherd go towards their campaigns, from the maintenance of their ships to keeping our crew fed and equipped for direct action (in better terms – dealing with the not-so-nice guys).
If you cannot support financially, there are other ways to support a good cause: follow companies/support groups/organizations on social media, share posts, volunteer, and spread awareness.
Are you ready to take action as much as I am? Let’s do this, together.