Every person on Earth relies on the ocean in one way or another. Even in landlocked areas as far as possible from the seashore, people rely on the ocean for food, oxygen production, and temperature regulation. “How can we protect the ocean?” you may ask. Here are some ways to help the ocean and its creatures wherever you live.
1. Learn as Much as You Can
The better an understanding you have of the benefits of coral reef ecosystems and other reasons the ocean is important, the more motivated you will become to protect it. There are lots of informative books and documentary films on the subject.
2. Reduce Carbon Emissions
Coral reefs help to absorb carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming. However, as carbon emissions trap energy from the sun in the atmosphere, the waters of the ocean heat up, producing a hostile environment for coral. The loss of coral further compounds the problem. You can help break the cycle by shopping local, adjusting your thermostat to conserve energy, and finding alternative, eco-friendly ways to commute to work.
3. Watch Food Labels
Overfishing and unsustainable fishing practices are big problems. You don’t have to give up seafood altogether, but watch the labels and do your homework to be sure it was sourced sustainably. This includes your pets’ food.
4. Clean up After Pets
Pet waste can contain parasites and bacteria that spread disease. If the waste gets into the water, it can become contaminated. Even inland storm drains eventually reach the ocean, so dispose of pet waste properly. Pick up after your dog, and don’t flush kitty litter down the toilet.
5. Avoid Exploitive Products
Jewelry made from coral or turtle shells are popular, especially as souvenirs. However, they harm ocean animals and their environment. Avoid buying products such as these, as well as cosmetics containing squalene, which is obtained from sharks.
6. Avoid Single-Use Plastics
Approximately eight million tons of plastic waste enter the ocean every year. Marine animals can be killed by getting tangled up in them or ingesting them. Avoid the use of disposable water bottles, utensils, and bags whenever possible.
7. Join a Clean-up
If you live near the ocean, you can join a beach clean-up. Wherever you live, you can make a difference by joining a community clean-up. Litter that makes it into rivers and waterways eventually reaches the ocean, so you can do your part wherever you are.
8. Spread the Word
Contact lawmakers and representatives about the importance of preserving the ocean. Be persistent because even if your representative doesn’t agree with you or see the point, the more communications they receive, the more likely they are to do something about it. Talk to your friends and family members and encourage them to make phone calls and send letters as well.
9. Get Organized
Plan events in your community that help preserve the ocean, such as clean-ups. Many communities already have these events, but more cannot hurt.
10. Visit the Ocean
Whether it be through a San Diego whale watching trip or a stroll on the beach, seeing the ocean firsthand can help inspire and motivate you. Take a tour on a boat and see for yourself the good you are doing and what remains to be done.