Why You Should Help Protect the Oceans
Many people don’t realize just how much we depend on the oceans for survival. Regardless of where you live, the oceans play an important role in your livelihood. They’re essential for food, commerce, and the health of our ecosystem.
Unfortunately, our lifestyles cause constant harm to our oceans, risking the lives of both humans and marine life. When the oceans suffer, we all do. For example, excessive commercial fishing results in food shortages worldwide. Coastal cities dependent on tourism are facing economical struggles due to marine habitat destruction as a result of pollution and global warming. Thousands of lives are put in danger during severe weather events like hurricanes, floods, and tornadoes, which are caused by shifts in ocean currents as a result in temperature and salinity.
Saving our oceans is no longer a choice about sustainability—it’s critical to our survival. It’s our responsibility to take action in reducing these threats to our ocean ecosystem. Thankfully, there are easy lifestyle changes you can make to help save our oceans.
5 Easy Things We Can Do to Help the Ocean
While saving our oceans can seem like a daunting task, you don’t need to take drastic measures to make an impact. Through simple modifications to your daily habits, you can help protect the oceans. Here are five easy things you can do every day to help save our oceans.
Many people don’t think about the long-term impact that their everyday waste can have on our environment. Disposable items like plastic water bottles are often seen as easy and convenient; however, disposing of plastics in an eco-friendly, sustainable manner is anything but simple.
Plastic is impossible to actually get rid of. In fact, every piece of plastic ever made still exists. In fact, there is now more non-biodegradable pollution in our oceans than there is marine life.
This plastic pollution places an immediate threat to our planet in more than one way. In landfills, plastics slowly break down, releasing massive amounts of methane gas into the atmosphere. In oceans, the impact is arguably worse. Marine life often mistakes plastic pollution for food and eats it. Since the plastic cannot be digested, it can cause internal blockages putting the lives of marine animals at risk.
There are easy changes you can make in your daily habits to help reduce your waste.
- Switch to biodegradable products whenever possible.
- Shop locally to reduce packaging waste.
- Swap out single-use plastics for reusable products.
We often don’t think twice about the ingredients in our everyday household products, like laundry detergent or dish soap. However, these products are often made with toxic chemicals that are actively harming our oceans.
Water treatment plants filter out some of the chemicals we use, but unfortunately, some still end up in our water sources. Avoid products with ingredients like triclosan, phosphates, and phthalates, which are most popular in laundry detergents, toilet bowl cleaners, and dish soaps. These chemicals often end up in our oceans where they affect the water’s pH levels and poison marine life.
Instead, use all-natural cleaning alternatives to reduce the amount of chemicals entering our oceans. Common household ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice can be used to create all-natural cleaners that help save the ocean.
When you do use chemical cleaners, contact your local hazardous waste disposal authorities to make sure you’re disposing of your waste correctly. Items that may require special disposal include aerosol cans, paint, batteries, and other electronics.
Eat Less Meat
Paying close attention to what’s on your plate is one way to help protect our oceans, as the meat and seafood industries have a negative impact on our environment, both on dry land and under water.
Commercial fishing negatively impacts our oceans in more ways than one. The most obvious impact is the depletion of fish populations due to excessive overfishing practices. With fewer fish in the sea, the food chain is disrupted, putting whales, dolphins, and other marine life in danger of starvation. Dangerous commercial fishing practices also result in ocean pollution, habitat destruction, and wasteful bycatch.
Our food production practices on land also impact our oceans. The commercial meat industry is responsible for 57% of greenhouse gas emissions created by food production. These carbon emissions then accelerate the impacts of climate change, causing ocean temperatures to rise. The meat industry is also extremely resource intensive, requiring massive amounts of water and other raw resources in order to meet demand.
Limit your meat and seafood consumption by choosing plant-based alternatives for your diet instead. Challenge yourself to have meatless meals for a certain number of meals each week. Replacing your meat and seafood products with plant-based options is an easy everyday decision that can help protect the ocean.
Share Educational Resources
Sometimes the largest threat to ocean conservation is simply a lack of awareness among the general population. Many people don’t take time to consider how their everyday actions and decisions can impact the oceans. Teaching them about the long-term effects of their actions can be half the battle.
Inspire other people to learn more about ocean conservation through your own actions. When you lead by example, people will naturally be more interested in ocean conservation and how they can help. Invite them to local events like river clean-ups and eco-friendly fundraisers. Show them how easy it is to live plastic-free, by bringing your own bags while shopping and refusing plastic straws.
Unfortunately, some people won’t care about ocean conservation until they understand how the destruction of our oceans can negatively affect their own lives. Spend time discussing how challenges they’re familiar with, like natural disasters and fossil fuel shortages, are a direct result of threats to our oceans.
Choose Eco-Friendly Clothes
One of the easiest ways to care for our oceans is by being a conscious consumer. Supporting eco-friendly brands is an everyday decision you can make that has a massive impact on restoring the health of our oceans.
Before making your next purchase, get to know the brands you’re buying from by researching their eco-policies. Ask questions like:
- What are you doing to minimize waste?
- Are you taking actions to offset your carbon footprint?
- Do you have goals to transition to carbon neutrality?
- What’s your position on using sustainable materials?
- Do you use sustainable packaging?
By asking these questions, you can determine if a brand is prioritizing sustainability in their business. Whenever possible, only shop from brands who uphold sustainability and eco-friendly policies in their everyday business practices.
Luckily, the increasing number of sustainable brands makes it easier than ever to shop sustainably. Many brands are beginning to embrace the use of upcycled materials, creating products from recycled materials like plastic. Here at Socktopus Ink, we create sustainable socks made from upcycled ocean-bound plastics! By repurposing plastic waste, each pair of socks purchased reduces plastic pollution in our oceans.
Help Reduce Threats to the Ocean with Simple, Everyday Actions
The ocean plays a vital role in our everyday lives, even when we don’t notice it. From food shortages to natural disasters, ocean destruction has a harmful impact on our livelihood. It’s important to limit the number of threats humans pose to our oceans and take actions to protect the ocean ecosystem.
Fortunately, doing your part to protect the oceans doesn’t require any drastic lifestyle changes. Instead, you can make small changes to your everyday habits that will help keep the ocean clean. Start reducing your impact on our oceans with these easy, everyday actions:
- Reduce your use of single-use plastic.
- Choose all-natural cleaning products.
- Replace meat and seafood with plant-based alternatives.
- Educate others about ocean conservation.
- Shop for sustainably made clothes.
By taking these small steps toward change, you can help save marine life and their ocean habitat.