10 (Realistic) Ways To Save The Ocean
We have a duty to protect water not only for ourselves, but for our future generations. You ARE able to make a difference with your actions that don’t require anything other than making more eco-concious decisions. Once trash and other pollutants get into our waterways, they are near impossible to completely remove, which is why it is so important for everyone to be aware of our effects on the water we rely on to sustain life.
Last week we shared with you more resources to look into about our ocean crisis, and this week I wanted to provide you with some ways to follow up and take action in your own life whenever you have time!
What Can You Do?
1. Adopt A Drain
Volunteer fifteen minutes, twice a month, for cleaner waterways and healthier communities. Storm drains flow directly to local lakes, rivers, and wetlands, acting as a conduit for trash and organic pollutants. Adopt a Drain asks residents to adopt a storm drain in their neighborhood and keep it clear of leaves, trash, and other debris to reduce water pollution.
All you have to do is go to this website, enter your address, and adopt as many drains in your neighborhood as you want! You can see who else in your community is protecting their storm drains, as well as how much trash has been saved from entering the waterways in your community.
Once you sign up, try to set a goal to get 3 more people you know to Adopt A Drain! Share photos of you cleaning your own drain to get others inspired, and to show them how quick and easy it is to make a HUGE difference.
Also, check out our water safety article here for more about this!
2. Use reef-safe sunscreen
Not many people know this, but one of key ingredients in most chemical sunscreens is oxybenzone, a synthetic molecule known to be toxic to corals, algae, sea urchins, fish and mammals. The toxins can break down coral and cause them to bleach, as well as interferes with the neurological functions of ocean animals.
Thanks to the ever-growing sustainability movement, there are now many reef-safe, non-toxic sunscreens on the market! Here is a wonderful list of some safe and sustainable options to choose.
3. Volunteer doing coastal restoration projects
Click here for United States wide opportunities to clean and restore the important estuaries in the country. Estuaries are critical marine habitats that provide resting places for migratory birds, and act as a nursery to many important marine life, so we need to unite to protect these endangered areas!
Click here for Bay Area opportunities for habitat restoration, trail maintenance, landscaping, and more!
Finally, this website has resources on how to find any and all opportunities in your state!
5. Speak up about the issue
Right now I think it is incredibly important to just have discussions on the issues surrounding ocean pollution, unsustainable fishing practices, coastal degradation, and the impacts that all of this will have on future weather and climate. The best way to do this is to begin informing yourself on the issue, posting your thoughts and questions on social media, and just not pushing it under the rug. If we show the key policy makers that this is an issue we all demand action on, change will happen.
6. Stop eating fish, or at least choose sustainable options
Unfortunately, the majority of fishing and fish farming practices happening globally are incredibly unsustainable, and are destructive to the surrounding ecosystem. On top of being a damaging and polluting practice, many of the fish we eat are at the lower end of the food chain which means that they have some of the highest levels of ingested toxins and microplastics inside of them. There is heaps of research on this topic available for you to begin to delve into this topic, and we also have a resource list here if you want to learn more!
If you aren't ready to make a dietary change, this website can help you begin making conscious decisions about the seafood that you consume. This website from Seafood Watch can help you begin understanding how to make informed decisions on the seafood that you do consume.
7. Use less fertilizer/harmful products outside
The water that doesn’t soak into the soil flows across our yards, streets, and sidewalks into the storm drains on your street. As the water travels to the storm drain, it picks up any pollutants in its path like pet waste, motor oil, pesticides/fertilizers, ice salt and more. Unlike the water that goes down your drain to the sewer, water that flows into storm drains is not treated and filtered for pollutants. Instead, this contaminated water flows into streams and lakes, and eventually ends up in the ocean.
Pesticides and fertilizers are in many cases unnecessary, and they are incredibly dangerous to human, animal, bug, and plant health. Explore our article on chemical free gardening here!
If you need to wash your car or perform any oil changes, do so on your grass so that the chemicals can be filtered through the soil and grass before reaching the groundwater, and so it doesn't flow down your storm drains.
8. Volunteer at a beach/lake cleanup
Find a trash cleanup to participate in, or start your own here! Participating in trash cleanups is a great way to connect with your community, understand the issue better, and get the trash out of the ocean!
9. Visit an AZA accredited aquarium
Choose to visit and support your local AZA accredited aquariums, which contribute to marine animal rescue and rehabilitation, coral reef rebuilding, wetland restoration, sustainable seafood programs, beach clean-up events, sea turtle monitoring, and more. Choosing accredited aquariums to visit assures that your money is going to an organization with the highest standards for animal welfare and ocean conservation!
Here is a list of all accredited aquariums and zoos in the United States.
10. Say no to single use items
We all know that plastics are rapidly filling up our beautiful water bodies all around the globe, so one of the greatest things that you can do personally is eliminating single use plastics from your daily life. As consumers, we drive the market and have the power to shift what companies do if we unite in large enough numbers and show businesses what we want in products. Already, companies are switching their plastic items to be in aluminum or glass containers because the demand for sustainable packaging is so large.
This is something that you can continuously work on throughout your life, making swaps as your time and wallet allow! It is just something that is really good to be conscious about if you are in a spot in your life where you can be.