Ways You Can Help Save the Oceans
Oceans cover 71 percent of the planet and are home to important species and ecosystems that we rely on for food, livelihoods, climate regulation and more. But the oceans need our help. Saving the oceans can sometimes feel like an overwhelming task, but if we all pitch in, we can make a big difference.
Here are some lifestyle choices that – when adopted – can help protect and restore our oceans for future generations.
- DEMAND PLASTIC-FREE ALTERNATIVES
The oceans face a massive and growing threat from plastics. An estimated 17.6 billion pounds of plastic leaks into the marine environment from land-based sources every year—that’s roughly equivalent to dumping a garbage truck full of plastic into our oceans every minute. And plastics never go away!
We must urge companies to provide consumers with plastic-free alternatives and say no to single use plastics such as straws, plastic cutlery, coffee cups, water bottles, plastic bags, balloons, plastic-wrapped produce and take-out food containers.
- REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT
Carbon dioxide, a known greenhouse gas, is making our oceans more acidic. This is contributing to the loss of corals on a global scale as their calcium skeletons are weakened by the increasing acidity of the water.
You can reduce your carbon footprint by adopting some of these simple measures:
- Ride a bike, walk or use public transportation rather than driving a car.
- Turn off the lights when you leave a room.
- Put on a sweater in the winter instead of turning up your thermostat.
- Have some fun with your diet – buy sustainably caught wild seafood. It is a renewable resource that requires minimal freshwater to produce and emits less carbon dioxide than land-based proteins like beef.
- AVOID OCEAN-HARMING PRODUCTS
There are many products directly linked to harming endangered or threatened species, unsustainable fishing methods and pollution. For example, avoid cosmetics that contain shark squalene, jewelry made of coral or sea turtle shell, souvenir shells of conchs, nautiluses and other animals, and single-use plastics like straws and water bottles that can end up in our oceans. These products support unsustainable fishing and threaten important species and ecosystems.
- EAT SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD
Choose seafood that is healthy for you and the oceans from well-managed, wild fisheries. We know it’s hard to know which fish are okay to eat, that is why you can turn to these helpful resources:
- Print or download a guide from Seafood Watch to help you make sustainable choices when you buy or order seafood, and learn about eco-certification of seafood.
- Refer to these top chefs for sustainable seafood recipes.
- Consider adding small, oily fishwhichis packed with protein to your diet.
- EXPLORE THE OCEANS
“People protect what they love.” – Jacques-Yves Cousteau
Get outside and explore the oceans around you! If you don’t live near the ocean, visit your local lake or river to learn how your watershed connects to the ocean. There are plenty of online opportunities to explore the oceans, too. Dive into Oceana’s Marine Life Encyclopedia to read fun and interesting facts about all kinds of animals from sharks and seals to octopuses and clownfish. Explore the oceans.
- LEAVE NOTHING BEHIND
As beach crowds increase, so does the amount of trash left behind or blown away. Don’t let your day outside contribute to the destruction of our oceans. Remember to leave nothing behind but your footprints -- collect and dispose of your trash