Why Should We Protect Marine Life?
Our planet was nicknamed “the blue planet” for one reason: the magnitude of our oceans.
Making up over 96% of Earth’s water, oceans contain the largest ecosystem on Earth and impact everything from our weather to our health. This delicately balanced ecosystem contains 80% of the planet’s biodiversity. The slightest change can have devastating impacts throughout the ocean ecosystem.
Currently, there are over 2,000 ocean animals listed as an endangered species. Despite there being an estimated one million species that call oceans home, the extinction of only 10 of the primary species would destroy nearly 50% of all aquaculture production. This domino effect would continue to impact other ecosystems that rely on oceans for food and resources.
Oceans are one of the most important sources of food for humans. In fact, seafood makes up 20% of animal protein for around 3 billion people across the globe. As a result, the ocean also has a huge economic impact, with ocean industries employing over 50 million people. The destruction of the ocean would result in a massive economic impact on millions of people worldwide as jobs are lost.
The importance of aquatic life preservation has never been more clear. It’s our responsibility to take action to save the oceans. Here are six easy changes you can make to your daily habits to help do your part. .
6 Daily Habits to Help Save Our Marine Life
While the destruction of our oceans is a massive issue, you don’t need to make massive changes to your daily habits in order to have an impact on preserving marine life.
When it comes to protecting marine life, small habits quickly add up to big changes. These small habits don’t need to be complicated or happen overnight, either. In fact, it’s better if you find ways that work for your lifestyle. The easier these environmental friendly changes are to implement with your current lifestyle, the more sustainable they will be over the course of your lifetime.
Eat Less Fish
Overfishing of our oceans is one of the gravest threats to marine biodiversity. The impact of commercial fishing significantly decreases populations of fish that make up the majority of diets for many ocean animals, like whales. By deplenishing the fish population, whales and other marine life are forced to travel farther for food, lengthening their migration patterns and shortening their lifespans.
Commercial fishing also plays a huge role in ocean pollution. One of the most dangerous forms of plastic pollution is commercial fishing nets that are left at sea. These plastic fishing nets are deadly traps for marine life that become entangled in the plastic webbing.
If you do want seafood, make sure you know where it comes from. Source your seafood from companies that are committed to protecting marine life. Use apps like Seafood Watch to find sustainably sourced seafood near you.
Research the fishing methods used by brands to be sure they are not unnecessarily endangering the lives of other marine life. Avoid companies that rely on bottom trawling methods. This method not only results in massive amounts of seafloor destruction, it also kills marine life that isn’t meant to be caught. This impact is known as bycatch, and it affects all types of endangered sea animals, including dolphins, sea turtles, and whales.
Use Less Plastic
Plastic pollution is the number one contributor to the destruction of marine life. Despite being invented less than 100 years ago, plastics have taken over our oceans. Everything from bags to utensils to water bottles now pose the most significant threat to marine life. It’s not just fish that are impacted. It’s estimated that over 700 marine life species are threatened by extinction as a result of plastic pollution. Birds, dolphins, whales, and sea turtles are all threatened by plastic pollution, as it can cause suffocation, starvation, or drowning.
There are many ways you can reduce plastic waste and save our marine life. We live in a throwaway culture, where many products are designed to be single-use. Take note of how frequently you use single-use plastic and begin changing those habits for more sustainable actions. Try making these small steps to reducing plastic pollution:
- Ask for no straws or utensils when ordering takeout.
- Switch to a reusable water bottle.
- Avoid individually wrapped foods and snacks.
If you do have to use plastic, be sure to recycle it correctly in order to avoid it ending up in our oceans or landfills.
Reduce Your Water Usage
Taking steps to reduce your water usage is an easy way to help protect ocean animals. Water washed down the drain doesn’t simply disappear. It eventually ends up in the oceans as it travels downstream, along with any chemicals or harmful contaminants you may use. Contaminated water can harm marine life and lead to ocean acidification or algae blooms. This can impact the entire marine ecosystem.
The good news is that there are simple steps you can take to save water:
- Take shorter showers.
- Collect rainwater to use for your gardens or lawns.
- Avoid using sprinklers.
- Invest in drought-tolerant plants for your landscaping.
- Don’t leave your water running.
By limiting your water usage, you’re playing an important role in saving our ocean animals.
Join a Cleanup Crew
With at least 8 million tons of plastic entering oceans each year, it’s important to take steps to reduce the amount of plastic waste. However, reducing your plastic usage is only one part of preserving ocean life by reducing pollution.
You can also choose to be part of a local beach or wildlife cleanup crew. By picking up litter from your local beach or park, you prevent the waste from entering your local waterways. By removing waterway pollution, you can be part of the solution that helps protect ocean animals.
If your neighborhood doesn’t have a local cleanup crew, start your own! Not only is it a great way to meet new people in your community, it plays an important role in marine life conservation. Just make sure that any materials that are sent out for “recycling” actually get recycled, so they don’t end up back on the beach or in the ocean.
Switch to All-Natural Cleaners
The cleaners we choose have a significant impact on downstream and ocean water quality. Even though you consider cleaners to be “clean”, that doesn’t mean they’re good for the environment or ocean animals. Water treatment plants can often filter out some of the chemicals we use, but some eventually make it into the ocean.
Some cleaning chemicals like triclosan, phosphates, and phthalates affect the pH of the ocean water and can be poisonous to marine life. These chemicals are often found in everyday household products like laundry detergent, toilet bowl cleaners, and dish soap.
The use of the products plays a direct role in a process known as acidification, which is the change in the ocean’s pH levels. Acidification poses a major threat to ocean habitats and marine life, deteriorating the shells of many species and weakening coral reefs.
In order to protect marine biodiversity, use all-natural cleaners to get the job done. In fact, there are many all-natural cleaning alternatives that you most likely have in your house. Common household products like vinegar, baking soda, club soda, and hydrogen peroxide can all be used to keep your house clean without threatening marine life.
Make Sustainable Swaps
Making small sustainable swaps can lessen your carbon footprint, reduce waste, and protect ocean life. With so much plastic waste surrounding us, you can make a difference by investing in upcycled products, like our Socktopus Ink socks! Products like ours are made with recycled materials, giving new life to plastic waste that would have otherwise ended up in our oceans or landfills.
You can also search for eco-friendly alternatives for daily household items that are biodegradable or plastic-free. Go through your house and make a list of any plastic products you use. For example, in your bathroom your list might include your toothbrush, toothpaste, and shampoo bottle. When the time comes to replace these items, shop for sustainable alternatives instead. You could make the switch to a bamboo toothbrush, toothpaste tablets, and shampoo bars. By limiting the amount of packaging and plastic used throughout your house, you are decreasing the amount of ocean pollution and saving our marine life.
Simple Changes Can Have Long-Lasting Impacts on Ocean Animals
It’s incredibly important for us to commit to preserving marine life. Not only do ocean animals deserve to live in a healthy habitat, disrupting the delicate ocean ecosystem can have a negative impact on humans. With billions of people depending on the ocean’s ecosystem for income and food, our day-to-day lives count on ocean preservation.
The good news is that there are easy ways you can modify your habits to play a part in marine wildlife conservation. Help save our oceans and marine life with these 6 easy habits:
- Eat less seafood.
- Use less plastic.
- Reduce water usage.
- Join a cleanup crew.
- Switch to all-natural cleaners.
- Shop for sustainably made products.
The importance of aquatic life preservation has never been more clear. It’s our responsibility to play a part in protecting our oceans and marine life. Make a positive impact for our planet and help protect ocean animals today!