Now more than ever we need to take responsibility for our actions and how they affect the climate and our oceans. It’s easy to think the problem is too big to make a difference but if we all change our behaviors we can turn the tide. Here are eight ways you can affect positive change for our oceans this summer
Use less plastic
Reducing ocean bound plastic is one of our missions at Solgaard. 80% of plastic that ends up in the ocean comes from rivers and that’s why we support groups in The Philippines, Indonesia and Bali to collect and upcycle waste in local communities. Closer to home, your daily habits can help reduce the problem at the source. Always carrying a reusable tote bag for shopping, choosing wooden take out cutlery/containers and taking a reusable coffee cup can all reduce your plastic footprint. It may feel like a small action but if every American carried a reusable water bottle it could save 51 billion plastic bottles from being made a year.
Reduce vehicle pollution
Our climate and oceans are intricately linked and anything we can do to help reduce our impact on climate change will positively affect our oceans too. Carbon dioxide is making sea water more acidic which is destroying coral reefs whose calcium skeletons can’t survive the change. Try your best to use a bike or public transport and take more vacations close to home. If you are in the car, avoid idling and try to maintain a steady speed with less stopping and starting - this uses less fuel, saving on air pollution and money.
Dispose of things properly
Trash from our daily lives doesn’t just disappear when we throw it out. Waste such as rubber tires, plastic and glass bottles have been found as deep as 13,000ft below the Pacific Ocean. Never flush non-degradable products such as diapers or tampons down the toilet and consider using reusable alternatives. Cigarette butts on the floor are often washed into drains and end up in the ocean and helium balloons often land in water and can harm wildlife.
Only eat sustainable seafood and fish
The stark truth is that we are taking more fish and seafood from our oceans than it is able to replenish naturally. Currently 93% of wild fish populations are considered fully-fished or over-fished. If you can afford to choose what to eat it is best to limit seafood to a very occasional treat or to give it up altogether. If you don’t want to give up everything this downloadable guide helps you to pick the most sustainable options and you can take it with you wherever you go.
Be a responsible beach goer
It’s rare to find someone who doesn’t love the beach but not everyone treats it with respect. Take reusable water bottles so you won’t have to throw plastic away, always use a reef-safe sunscreen and carry a spare bag to collect any trash you see as you leave. It’s important not to take coral or rocks as they might be creating habitats and avoid walking on sand dunes as there are often small plants that hold the sand in place.
If you live near the ocean get involved in local beach clean ups and if not organize a clean up of your local river. Educate yourself on the habitats and wildlife in your local area - the more you learn about the oceans the more you will see how all life depends on it and how vital it is to act now. If there are ever local beach closures or contamination, find out how it can be prevented from happening again. World Oceans Day has some great resources on how you can help and spread the word.
Travel the ocean responsibly
The ocean offers us some incredible travel experiences. If you are lucky enough to go sailing make sure you dispose of your waste properly and don’t throw things overboard. When snorkeling or diving never touch the coral reef as they are often very fragile and support a delicate ecosystem. And if you choose a cruise do your research for the greenest companies as ships can cause huge amounts of damage and pollution.
Explore and educate yourself
As Jacques-Yves Cousteau wrote ‘People protect what they love’. Get out and enjoy all the amazing things our oceans provide - take a surfing lesson, visit an aquarium to learn about amazing sea creatures, enjoy a clifftop walk or appreciate the local lakes and rivers if you are far from the coast. Imagine growing up in a world where none of this was available and channel your energy into helping preserve it for the future.