No One Can Do Everything, But Everyone Can Do Something
How You Can Help
The issues facing our ocean may seem overwhelming. Between pollution, climate change, overfishing, ecosystem destruction, and other problems, what you can do on your own may seem inconsequential.
Below are some actions you can take. But these only scratch the surface; there are so many things we all can and should do. It’s really about changing your mindset. Prioritize nature and nurture your relationship with it.
Remember that it does not matter how close you live to the ocean; your daily actions make an impact. We must lose the disposable lifestyle attitude. Everything ends up somewhere. We must be more aware of how our consumption levels affect the ocean, and the planet as a whole.
If we all start doing something, together we can make a huge difference. Little by little, a little becomes a lot. It is OUR ocean and OUR planet. WE are responsible for respecting it.
Support Organizations Fighting for Our Ocean
Some of my favorites can be found on the Organizations page.
- Donate to Their Cause
- Volunteer Your Time
- Buy Their Products
- Spread Their Message in Person and on Social Media
- Participate in Local Activities like Beach Clean-ups
Spread Awareness About Ocean Issues
- Share what you’re learned with friends, family and neighbors — help to engage others!
- Keep yourself updated with current ocean news and events
- Host a viewing party for documentaries related to ocean issues.
- Use social media to spread awareness about the ocean and its advocates
- Teach your kids about a sustainable lifestyle and making choices with the planet in mind
- Share painful truths as well as success stories. We cannot afford to hide from the truth but we also need to hold onto hope.
- Travel to the ocean and learn more about the wonders it contains
Focus on Reducing and Reusing
- Reducing is the most effective way to prevent new plastic from entering the ocean
- Buy products that can be reused many times
- Bring your own bags, straw, cups or mugs, utensils, and take-away containers
- Refuse single-use plastics when offered – Say no to single use plastics such as straws, plastic cutlery, coffee cups, water bottles, plastic bags, balloons, plastic-wrapped produce and take-out food containers.
- Reuse clothing — go to thrift stores or clothing swaps
Make Sustainable Choices
- Buy local produce and seafood where possible. When you buy local and in season, it saves energy for transport or greenhouses.
- Support small-scale and artisanal farmers, fishers, and ranchers when possible
- Ask restaurants and supermarkets how their fish was imported or caught to ensure that it is sustainably-caught wild seafood from well-managed wild fisheries. (You can find sustainable seafood guides for many regions online)
- Follow local catch-limits when fishing
- Ask yourself: Is this item reusable? Where was it produced? Is it made with recycled materials? Is it sustainable?
- Choose glass jars over plastic containers as a more sustainable alternative
- Purchase clothing made of cotton, a renewable resource which doesn’t include plastics
- Less water means less wastewater and runoff into the ocean
- Use a bowl in the sink when washing produce or dishes; use the waste water to water your plants.
- Keep a pitcher of water in the fridge for when you want a cool drink.
- Turn off the tap when you brush your teeth.
- Wait until you have a full load before using your washing machine or your dishwasher.
- Take a quick shower instead of a bath.
- Use a watering can in the garden instead of a sprinkler or a hose.
- Collect rainwater off your roof. Using rainwater reduces the amount of treated water you use.
- Check regularly for leaks on your internal plumbing
Support Marine Protected Areas
- Learn about existing Marine Protected Areas and any proposed ones
- Visit Marine Protected Areas when possible
- Support the creation of new MPA’s with politicians
- Follow all conservation rules when you’re in a protected area
- Don’t be shy to speak up to those around you to ensure they also follow conservation guidelines
Reduce Pollutants in the Water (and on Land)
- All water is connected. Even if you’re not near the ocean, your runoff ends up there.
- Reduce the use of chemicals in your home and on your property.
- Dispose of toxic household items properly: batteries, kitchen oils, medicines, etc.
- Look at the ingredients in your cleaning products and cosmetics.
- Use non-toxic cleaning products and low phosphate detergents. You can clean your home with baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice. Click Consumer Reports Greener Choices (https://www.greenerchoices.org/) for more information.
- Avoid products (face wash, body scrub, toothpaste) with microbeads. If you’re not sure, click here for products containing microbeads: (https://www.beatthemicrobead.org/product-lists/)
- Use as little fertilizer as possible in your yard; grow plants suited to local conditioans, they won’t need fertilizer
- Buy produce grown without pesticidesa
- Buy in bulk when you can
- Buy products with less packaging
- Bring reusable bags to the store and reusable cups to get coffee
- Bring your own takeaway container when dining out
- Refuse straws, napkins, seasoning packets, and utensils with deliveries
- Never litter; be sure that the waste you generate is disposed of properly
- Compost in your home. You can utilize food waste for gardening
- Donate gently used clothing, furniture, and other household items
- Respect all forms of life on Earth, be it plant or animal
- Plant more trees and grow more plants
- Don’t litter and clean up others’ waste when necessary
- Keep your distance from sea birds, mammals and ocean wildlife
- Tread lightly on coastal habitats
- Don’t remove rocks, seashells, or corals from their environment
- Don’t touch or feed wildlife
Be a Responsible Tourist
- Buy only ocean-friendly souvenirs; avoid shells, marine animals, coral, tortoiseshell or shark products
- Leave no litter or trash on beach visits or in the water. Clean up what others have left
- Make sure that others are also responsible tourists. Don’t be afraid to speak up if the hotel, taxi driver, tour guide, etc. isn’t being eco-friendly
- Be respectful of marine life and habitats: coral reefs, seagrass beds, nesting sea turtle sites, etc.
- Always use coral friendly sunscreen and personal products when entering the water
- When walking on sand dunes or near tidepools, be careful not to trample on fragile plant and animal species or their homes.
- When snorkeling or diving, never touch the reef! Corals and other animals are fragile and easily killed by a grasping hand or careless flipper.
- Never feed or handle marine animals; nor patronize businesses that do.
- Be careful where you anchor and ensure the companies you support are also conscious of the environment. Where permanent mooring lines are provided, use them.
- Don’t throw trash into the water or allow waste fuel or oil to spill.
- Be careful with fishing lines and nets to ensure they aren’t released.
Be a Responsible Pet Owner
- Think about what is in your pet food; make sure it is sustainably sourced
- If purchasing pets for an aquarium, enquire about how the animals were collected. Avoid wild caught marine life – many aquarium items come from fragile ocean ecosystems
- Don’t release unwanted marine pets into the ocean as this may not be their natural habitat
Reduce Carbon Emissions
- Dry laundry on a clothesline, instead of dryer
- Replace old light bulbs and appliances with newer more energy efficient models
- Turn off lights when you leave a room
- Look for alternative energy sources available in your area
- Take the stairs instead of an elevator or escalator
- Replace existing windows with energy efficient models
- Use solar outdoor lighting instead of traditional electricity
- Open the windows instead of using air conditioning
- Unplug electronics when not in use
- Carpool, ride a bike, walk, even if only a few times a week, or use public transportation
- Combine trips in the car
- Use fuel efficient vehicles
- Watch your thermostat settings
- Purchase Carbon Offsets. These offsets support conservation activities that naturally store or remove carbon from the atmosphere.
Influence Change in your Community
- Many of these issues require leadership from governments and businesses. We must demand action from them and hold them accountable.
- Research the ocean politics of government officials before you vote
- Talk to restaurants and grocers to request local or sustainable products
- Directly contact public representatives and lawmakers to discuss these issues
- Urge companies to provide consumers with plastic-free alternatives
- Support adoption of bans on single use plastic in your community
- Speak up, make your priorities known, and apply pressure.
- Stay Informed. Educate yourself and pay attention to what’s happening in your community
Campaign for Government Action on Climate
- Support investment plans that reduce CO2 emissions. Support a transition to a zero carbon economy and eliminate the use of plastic
- Support regulation to protect the ocean, marine life, and marine ecosystems
- Demand increased enforcement of conservation laws on corporations
- Support a global ban on activities that harm the ocean; especially in the unregulated deep sea
- Seek a system that holds corporations accountable for their actions, and responsible for damaged ecosystems
- Insist on an plan to recover the health of the ocean