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How to live consciously to help protect the oceans

A Daily Guide to Protect Our Oceans

Our oceans are in harm’s way. The amount of plastic floating at sea will soon outnumber the amount of fish, coral reefs are dying, climate change is causing waters to warm and sea levels to rise, the ocean is becoming more acidic, and pesticides and factory runoff are poisoning marine wildlife. If we don’t all do our part to make small changes to protect our oceans, it will spell disastrous consequences in a matter of years.

While reversing the damage we’ve caused to the ocean seems like an enormous problem to tackle, we can make a difference by each doing our small part every day. Through quick fixes at home, participation with larger organizations, and lifestyle changes, we can collectively make a positive impact on our oceans and our planet.

Easy Lifestyle Changes You Can Make

When you’re heading out for the day, whether to go to the office or run some errands around town, there are sustainable choices that you can easily make. Here are some reminders of how to live consciously on a daily basis.

Shop Sustainably

  • We’re responsible for around 17.6 billion pounds of plastic leaking into the ocean each year, so avoid using plastic bags or buying anything in plastic packaging. For example, instead of shampoo and soap bottles, buy bar versions of these products.
  • Shop locally to reduce fuel usage for delivery as well as conserve packaging
  • Look for organic products that have been grown without the use of pesticides
  • Buy meat and fish sparingly as both come from industries that are harming the environment and oceans
  • Check that the products you are buying are made from sustainable materials
  • Shop for secondhand and vintage clothing and household goods
  • Buy from companies doing good for the environment. From vegan sneakers to an ocean ring, you can support conservation and spark conversation by wearing sustainable products.

Avoid Single Use Plastic

Ask restaurants that use plastic products like straws and take out containers if they can make the switch to more sustainable plastic-free options. Set a good example by bringing your own food containers and a metal or paper straw whenever you are getting takeout. Carry a reusable water bottle wherever you go so that you are not tempted to buy a plastic bottle.

Audit Your Transportation Methods

In 2019, transportation was responsible for 29% of greenhouse gas expenditure in the United States. Here are some more energy efficient methods of transportation than driving alone or flying.

  • Biking
  • Walking
  • Carpooling
  • Driving an electric or hybrid car
  • Public transportation
  • Sailing

How to Help the Oceans from Home

Some of the easiest changes you can make are able to be done without even leaving your house. Start with these simple fixes today and you’ll reduce your bills and your carbon footprint at the same time.

Conserve Water

  • Fix leaks immediately
  • Take shorter showers
  • Turn off tap while brushing your teeth
  • Insulate your pipes
  • Make sure your laundry load is full before washing
  • Wash dishes in an energy efficient dishwasher rather than by hand

Recycle and Compost

Think carefully about what you are throwing away -- is it recyclable? If yes, then toss it in the recycling bin instead of the garbage. Purchase a composter to avoid food waste. You can then use the compost to fertilize your garden with rich nutrients.

Use Non-Toxic Household Cleaning Products

Many household cleaners are filled with toxic chemicals that end up going down the drain or into a landfill. A lot of this waste and runoff eventually ends up in our waterways, killing vegetation and marine wildlife. Instead of traditional household cleaners, look for non-toxic, eco-friendly alternatives that are better for your health and that of the ocean.

Reduce Your Energy Usage

  • Turn off the lights when you are not in a room
  • Use lamps instead of harsh overhead lights
  • Install solar panels on your house
  • Turn off your heating at night
  • Replace regular light bulbs with LED or CFL bulbs
  • Wash your clothes in cold water
  • Double glaze your windows
  • Hang dry your laundry
  • Invest in smart appliances, like a smart thermostat

Other Ways to Help the Ocean

Beyond small lifestyle choices, be sure to make your voice heard by volunteering in the community and participating in conversations about climate change and ocean conservation.

Clean Up the Beach

Whenever you are at the beach, take a reusable bag with you to use to temporarily hold any trash that you see while you are walking. As a step further, you can see if there are any beach clean ups happening soon in the area. If not, consider organizing one yourself, either with friends or with other members of the community. Make it a weekly or monthly event to help keep your beach clean from plastic and other trash on an ongoing basis.

Purchase Carbon Offsets

While there are many ways to reduce your carbon footprint, it is very difficult to have a carbon footprint of zero without purchasing carbon offsets. Carbon offsets are achieved by doing something for the planet that absorbs some of the carbon emissions that you have created through consumption and lifestyle choices. The best and easiest method of offsetting your carbon emissions is to plant trees as they naturally absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.

Let Your Voice Be Heard

Finally, don’t be quiet about the issues that matter to you. Here are some ways to stand up for what you believe in and help preserve our beautiful oceans.

  • Stay up-to-date on the issues by doing regular research
  • Sign up for newsletters from ocean conservation organizations like Oceana and Sea Shepherd. This way, you can easily find opportunities to help out, donate, and volunteer.
  • Participate in forums, both virtual and in-person about climate change and ocean conservation
  • Vote in local and national elections
  • Either before and after elections, send an email or letter to lawmakers letting them know that you support or don’t support their policies
  • Attend town meetings when the topics involve the environment
  • Post on social media about the issues
  • Host a fundraiser in your community to raise money for ocean conservation

Article by: Alexis Morgenstern, Content Writer at Wildlife Collections


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