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The ocean, so vast in its existence, covers about 71% of our planet’s surface and is the predominant source of our water supply. Without a doubt, its purpose is indispensable to our presence and survival on Earth, affecting everything from the food chain to the weather. Knowing that its health is threatened by our actions on land can be a hard pill to swallow even making us feel a bit defenseless at times. However, with a few small personal changes we can make a bigger collective change to preserve our oceans and the life within it. In preparation of World Oceans Day (June 8, 2019), here are 5 ways you can help our oceans:
Carbon emissions from the burning of fossil fuels are on the rise due to increased industrialization on a global level. Unfortunately, the ocean absorbs the excess heat making water temperatures hotter, directly affecting everything from coral reef health and fish reproduction patterns to even global weather occurrences. Simple practices like walking and riding instead of driving, turning off lights and unplugging electronics when not in use and even adjusting your thermostat accordingly are all little things we can do to reduce our energy consumption and personal carbon footprints.
The unfortunate truth is that no matter how well we think we’ve disposed of our garbage, there’s a percentage of it that’s guaranteed to end up in the ocean. For this reason we should all strive to commit to more environmentally friendly habits. This includes reducing and/or refusing the use of single-use plastics like straws, reusing where applicable, recycling when available and even composting.
Coral reefs serve a much bigger purpose than being underwater eye candy. They not only contain the most diverse ecosystems on the planet and protect our shorelines from storms and surges, but they also act as the ocean’s filtration system. Corals and sponges consume floating particles which maintains the quality and clarity of the water which is why we need to be mindful of our ocean activities. Consider swapping out your favourite sunscreen for one that’s free of oxybenzone and octinoxate, two chemicals that have been proven to harm reefs. There are more than enough certified reef - safe and budget friendly brands out there for you to make the eco-friendly switch.
There are some amongst us who make saving the environment a way of life. They do so diligently every day often without gratitude or praise. However, we should remember that we all share this planet and should all do our part to help save it. This is why we should make it a priority to donate to our local environmental organizations and charities whenever we can. Volunteer for local clean ups and participate in their fundraising activities because the little work you do today can make a huge impact for tomorrow.
The more you know about the ocean, its importance and its challenges is the more inspired you’ll be to enact change. Conservation also doesn’t need to be an individual endeavour, so spread the knowledge you already have and make education a community effort. For the sake of saving our oceans and our marine neighbours, there really is no such thing as too much information.
The ocean is the key to life and our daily choices play a major role in the sustainability of this life source. With that said, it should be everyone’s prerogative to help minimize human’s effect on the environment and oceans. Doing your part can be uncomplicated and certainly isn’t limited to these five tips. Remember, every bit counts and helps to keep this beautiful world we call home alive. Let’s love it and keep it in a state where living is a blessing and not a struggle and leave it in good shape that our future generations will be happy to inherit.