We all know that are oceans are in danger but it seems so overwhelming – what can be do about it? Climate change, overfishing and plastics are all huge problems but every single one of us can help the oceans to survive these threats.
I’m going to answer this question – how can I reduce my impact on the oceans? The good news is that there are a lot of things you can do to help preserve our spectacular seas.
11 acts of activism to save the oceans:
1. Reduce your synthetic chemical use
Hawaii has banned certain sunscreens due to the chemicals they release into the ocean so cutting down is a good thing. When we wash ourselves, clean our houses and use harsh chemicals on our gardens these are all washed into the sea. If the film Dark Waters about the lawsuit of global poisoning by DuPont’s unregulated chemical use, it’s that we should use them with care. Even today, every person on the planet, including you and I, has been contaminated with PFOA, the chemical DuPont created. If you are able to use organic skincare or cleaning products it will benefit you and the environment.
2. Ditch single-use plastics (and masks)
Take containers with you and go to refill shops so that you don’t need to use single-use plastic bottles or cups. Masks are set to outnumber the amount of jellyfish in the sea so make sure to use a reusable face covering too. A veg box is another great way to cut down on plastics as the packaging is reused and the food is loose.
3.Wash clothes in a microwaste bag
Consider buying a microwaste bag to wash your clothes in as it will catch the microplastics that shed from them when they are washed. These fibres can then be disposed of in the bin instead of going into rivers.
4. Eat less and more sustainable seafood
The Environmental Defence Fund believes that overfishing is the biggest threat to our oceans and the answer is twofold, eat less seafood and make sure that it’s sustainably sourced. Over 60% of fish stocks are fully fished so it’s worth considering giving it up altogether if you can.
Not only that, but sea creatures consume plastic and chemicals that we dump in the sea, especially those higher up the food chain. There is so much mercury in swordfish that the food standards agency have to issue periodic health warnings about it.
5. Use reusable period products and nappies
If you can consider reusable period products and nappies as not only are they full of plastic, but they wash up on beaches too. Single-use nappies, tampons and sanitary towels suck up groundwater and break down into small pieces of plastic that float around the seas. Consider using cloth nappies, period pants and menstrual cups to cut down on plastic if you can.
Read more: How to have an eco-friendly period
6. Try a 2 minute beach clean
If you don’t live by the sea, a 2 minute clean of anywhere will help the oceans. Storms and wet weather washes litter into lakes and rivers so getting rid of any rubbish really makes a difference.
7. Say no to polystyrene
The one thing that can be found in waterways all over the world is polystyrene. It forms part of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and leaches toxic chemicals into the rivers and seas. Avoid it at all costs as it almost never gets recycled and easily blows into the oceans where it gets eaten by wildlife, sometimes killing them.
8. Buy things made from reclaimed plastic
There are many companies that have started making waste plastic either from the ocean or elsewhere into other products. It’s much greener than making things from virgin materials as the fast fashion industry is incredibly wasteful. This reclaimed plastic can be spun onto fibres that can be made into yoga wear like this set from Planet Warrior.
9. Write to your local MP
There are various charities lobbying for the ocean, whether it’s halting the use of supertrawlers or the creation of more conserved marine zones. Whatever angle you take, get in touch with your MP or policy influencer and ask them to support the ocean during parliamentary votes and debates. Remember, they work for you.
10. Dive Against Debris
Project AWARE is a scheme that aids any qualified scuba divers to take rubbish out of the ocean with them. Use the Dive Against Debris survey toolkit to follow the trash-removing protocols and to report your findings.
11. Sign petitions
Oceanic environments around the UK require the strictest possible protections in order to recover from the damage wrought by pollution, fishing and other disturbances. Sign this petition to demand highly protected marine areas (HPMAs) in the UK where marine life can thrive.
Charities and organisations that protect marine areas in the UK:
- The Marine Conversation Society
- Whale and Dolphin Conservation
- Shark Trust
- Living Seas Campaign by the Wildlife Trusts
- RSPB Sealife Guardians
- The Seawatch Foundation
Is there anything that you do to protect the oceans? Share your stories and tips in the comments below.
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