Ocean Protection: 8 Things You Can Do To Help Protect The Oceans

by André Gonçalves André Gonçalves

ocean protection tips

The oceans need our protection. From finding the causes that worry us the most to moving away from plastic or choosing sustainable food: there are 8 tips we’d like to share with you on how we can protect our oceans. 

The Basic Kit For Ocean Protection Advocates

Are you’re thinking about doing something regarding the ocean problems and committed to helping protect them? That’s cool because that’s why we’re here too. It all starts with 5 simple actions.

1 – Find Your Ocean Purpose

Smoothly hearing the ocean’s call for help is for sure a common feeling among the readers of this piece. And yes, oceans are likely crying salty tears as they need human action and protection. So advice number one is to learn more on oceans and figure out what ocean-related cause ressonates more with you. Is it endangered animals that are dying in coastal areas due to (micro) plastic in their stomachs? Or do you feel more touched by dying reefs due to attached boat anchors and excessive tourism? Or perhaps worries you the most is ocean acidification and its impact on plankton and biodiversity?

Read more books. Listen to more podcasts. Watch more videos and movies. And ultimately, you’ll understand what issue(s) move you the most. Then you can create awareness on these issues within your circles. Inspire your family, your friends. Inspire them so much they’ll inspire their networks too.

2 – Taking Plastic Home: You May Say I’m A Plastic, But I’m Not The Only One

ocean protect pick plastic

Plastic has a huge family. More precisely, it is part of a community of 8300 million tonnes of cumulative production of polymers, synthetic fibers and additives, born between 1950 and 2015. The problem is huge. For instance, what we see as packaging, whales, dolphins or fish perceive as food. So they’re eating it. And you know – humans eat fish, just like some birds do too. So plastic is also coming back to us and spreading to food chains in other ecosystems. So the next time you go to the beach, bring 3 plastic pieces you can find and recycle them. Or if recycling is not available, just take them home – but just take it away from the water, please.

3 – Avoid Plastic Pollution At Its Origin

Again – most plastic comes from packaging. So here’s something we need to act on: plastic packaging. In order to limit your impact, you can carry a reusable-filtering water bottle and avoid buying new ones. You can avoid industrial cookies and cakes (which have, by the way, plenty of non-certified damaging palm oil) by cooking healthier food at home and storing it in your own glass containers.

Buy dried legumes without packaging: they’re healthier, tastier and come with no packaging. Buy clothes with less synthetic fibers that don’t get to the oceans via your washing machine – go for clothes with more resistant and eco-friendly materials. Are there really no better options for your home coffee than plastic capsules? Overall idea: try to take less plastic home and help grow a consumption model that’s not based on disposable packaging.

4 – Choose Your Seafood Wisely (And Sustainably)

ocean protection sustainable fishing

As you might know, global fish stocks are quickly becoming depleted. This is happening as humans demand too much fish (often from the same species), fish unsustainably (using unsustainable techniques that catch smaller fish which are the base of the fish food chain) or destroy their habitats with constructions or boat anchoring and pollution.

So the next time you go shopping or eat out, remember you can choose to reduce the demand for exploited species. You can do so by picking up seafood that’s not endangered and was locally and sustainably fished. Look up for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) labels – they’re the equivalent to the FSC for PEFC for wood and ensure your fish comes from a fishery or farm managed sustainably.

5 – Use Public Transportation And Move To A Carbon-Free Lifestyle

Have you heard about ocean acidification? Simply put, the oceans’ pH is declining due to the excessive absorption of greenhouse gases, leaving them more acidic. This affects the ability of plankton (the food base of marine ecosystems) to renew, corals have a harder time developing their calcareous structures and it interferes with marine life and changes its migrations. So the challenge is to reduce your carbon footprint. Give up your car. Drive less. Eat less meat. Commute to work. Avoid plane trips and use the train instead. Encourage solar panels in your neighborhood. Use cold water to wash your clothes. There’s a lot we can do – by reducing our carbon footprint we’ll be indirectly adding less co2 in the atmosphere and, therefore, not contributing to ocean acidification.

The Advanced Kit For Ocean Protection Advocates

Nice, you’re still here! That means you’re considering taking the game to the next level – we thank you, and so do turtles and plankton. So we have 3 last tips.

6 – Use Your Job To Make A Change

ocean protection surf empowerment

Marine biology helps see how animals are being affected. Geography may help fight erosion by selecting the best places to build water jetties. Knowledge about fishing means knowing what species are endangered and what is the best method and place not to fish them. Art can help raise awareness through movies, paintings or music. Empowering social change through aquatic sports like Onda Verde does with surfing. Ships and cruises sailing in the most sustainable way. Sewage treatments that stop them from harming marine ecosystems.  Cosmetics without microplastics. There’s a lot of activities and areas directly connected to the ocean where people can make a difference and get their hands dirty. Try to make your business or the business you’re working for more sustainable and ocean-friendly.

7 – Help Local And Global Organizations Focused On Ocean Protection

If even you can help protect the ocean through some of the activities mentioned above, the truth is that there are some truly urgent matters and some actions can have a broader, stronger and faster effect than others. That’s why it’s so important if you can join forces with local and/or global organizations (often NGOs) focused on tackling the most imminent and worrying issues regarding ocean protection.

There’s likely a WWF or a Surfrider Foundation office around the corner, together with other local, smaller but maybe more focused on specific issues, organizations, committed to fighting plastic straws or protecting turtles or reefs. Volunteering and helping them out, either with your time and energy or financially speaking, is of huge importance.

8 – Organize A Beach Clean Up Yourself

ocean protection beach clean up

Why not take the lead from time to time? If you’re living close to the ocean why not organize a beach clean up with some friends, family and the community? Find a day when the weather is good and people are available, pick a beach in need where these actions don’t usually take place, use the power of social media platforms to increase your reach and give it a go. Oh and remember: take some pictures to share afterward and encourage others to join you next time or to organize their own cleanup!

Image credits to sea on Shutterstock, pollution on Shutterstock, water on Shutterstock, fish on Shutterstock, plastic on Shutterstock and cups on Shutterstock

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