Oceans cover 70% of the Earth's surface, with over a billion people depending on them for their source of food. They are not only our life source, providing protein for more than a billion people across the world, but they also have an essential role in regulating global climate by moderating temperatures, influencing weather patterns, and acting as the planet’s largest carbon sink.
Furthermore, because oceans produce at least half of the planet's oxygen, their preservation is literally a matter of life and death. Oceans need our help as we are taking more than what can be replenished - 90% of big fish populations are depleted and half of coral reefs are destroyed.
5 Things We Can Do to Protect the Ocean
- Opt for plastic-free alternatives
Each year, over 80 million tonnes of plastic pieces are dumped into the ocean. A garbage truck full of plastic is dumped into the ocean every minute! It takes hundreds of years for plastic to decompose, if they ever do at all.
We must demand that businesses provide plastic-free alternatives and stop selling single-use plastics like straws, cutlery, coffee cups, water bottles, and plastic bags. Alternatively, use your own reusable containers.
- Eat sustainable seafood
Ideally, we would eat minimal meat and instead consume mostly plant-based diets, but this is not realistic for many people. Therefore, if you do consume seafood, be sure it is sustainable. It's tough to know which fish are safe to eat, so these helpful tools were developed: Seafood Watch assists you in making sustainable selections when you buy or order seafood (sorry, US only), and you may learn more about eco-certification of seafood here. You may also use these recipes that utilize sustainable seafood.
- Avoid products that harm the ocean
There are numerous goods that are directly linked to damaging endangered or threatened species, as well as unsustainable fishing practices and pollution. You can avoid items such as cosmetics that include shark squalene, coral jewelry, seashell souvenir shells, nautilus and other animal shell souvenirs, and single-use plastics like straws and water bottles. These goods contribute to unsustainable fishing and endanger key species and habitats.
- Adopt ocean-friendly habits
There are several things we can do in our regular lives to mitigate the adverse effects of our actions and climate change on the ocean. We can use less water, utilize less energy, reduce pollutants, and volunteer our time for beach clean-ups by making modest changes. If everyone made tiny adjustments, the final result would be a considerably cleaner and healthier ocean.
- Support Organisations Working to Protect the Ocean
Organizations and institutions around the world are working to safeguard ocean habitats and marine animals. Find one that speaks to you and consider donating money or offering your time for hands-on work or activism. If you live near the sea, consider joining a local branch or group and getting involved in efforts that are relevant to you.
Let us be reminded of the significance of the ocean and how an unhealthy one will impact us. We must reconnect with the ocean in a sustainable manner to ensure that its benefits are passed down for future generations.