Today, we want to discuss ways you can help save the whales! We know this can be a heavy topic, but it is really important and with your help, we can make a whale-sized difference! With that, let’s discuss the ways in which we can all help save the whales.
Did You Know?
Before we jump into our list, here are some interesting and important facts to put things in perspective. There are 13 ‘great whale species.’ They are the largest animals on Earth and are found in every ocean. Some whales weigh up to 200 tons (that’s about two-and-a-half times as heavy as The Space Shuttle!) and stretch up to 100 feet long—almost as long as a professional basketball court! Despite these impressive facts, seven of the 13 species are classified as endangered or vulnerable—thousands are hunted each year. The greatest threats to whales are ocean pollution, global warming, and humans. But there is good news: we can change this!
Waves of Change
Use less plastic right now! Studies suggest our oceans contain around 150 million tons of plastic! The sad truth is a lot of the plastic we use does not get recycled. One of the biggest differences we can make is using less plastic in our daily lives and demanding less plastic in our packaging and shipping materials.
We also need to watch out for microplastics. These little plastic beads leached from clothing and ‘biodegradable plastic’ can be dangerous to all marine life. Marine life mistake microplastics for food, and sadly, microplastics can be harmful and even fatal to their health.
Some of the easiest ways to #BreakFreeFromPlastic include ditching straws or using metal, stainless steel, glass, or bamboo. Next, consider bringing your own bags to the grocery store. Plastic bags are estimated to kill over 100,000 birds, turtles, and marine mammals each year. Finally, consider ditching single use plastics. Instead, try bringing your own containers and reusable utensils to work, school, and even restaurants.
Donate & Protect
You can ‘adopt’ a whale (and other marine life) through the Pacific Whale Foundation. Doing so, helps support research, education, and programs that work to protect all marine animals and oceans.
Remember All Drains Lead To The Ocean
It’s important to remember we coexist with our animal friends. That means our choices can impact the ecosystems these animals rely on. Considering this, it is crucial to use products that will not harm marine life and the oceans they call home. Switching to eco-friendly bath, beauty, and cleaning products is a great way to protect our oceans and marine life. For lists of eco-friendly products, check out Leaping Bunny, The Environmental Working Group, and MADE SAFE.
PCBs (Polychlorinated biphenyls) are a group of manmade chemicals. They are oily liquids or solids and are resistant to extreme temperature and pressure. PCBs tend to be found in high concentration in the ocean and they are harmful to orcas and other marine mammals. PCBs can get trapped in the fatty tissue of marine creatures. Again, if this marine life is consumed by other animals, those other animals are now exposed to PCBs. Avoiding these, and other harmful chemicals greatly help protect our oceans and marine life.
Prevent Marine Debris
Trash (beyond plastic such as Styrofoam, landfill run-off, clothing, food waste, etc.) in the ocean, is now a major threat to whales (and all marine life). It is crucial to dispose of things correctly. For example, electronics should be disposed of differently than clothing. Food differently from furniture. It is a little extra work, but it goes a long way and has a lasting impact. We have to remember how each ecosystem is connected. When our oceans are polluted with waste, marine life consumes that waste, and animals who then consume marine life are infected with that ocean pollution. If we make it a priority to clean up these ecosystems, oceans, marine life, animals, and humans benefit. Everything is interconnected—leave the ocean cleaner than you found it.
Fish Are Friends Not Food
It’s true, one of the best ways we can help all animals, including whales and marine life, is to keep them off our plates. However, if you are going to consume seafood, opt for sustainable sources.
● Buy local—local seafood is often caught using less damaging fishing practices than commercially caught seafood.
● Ask the grocery store or restaurant how their fish is caught. Choose fish that are pole and line caught or farmed sustainably and avoid methods such as bottom trawling, ghost fishing, longlines, and poison/explosives.
● Use Seafood Watch as a resource to see what species to avoid and which are good alternatives.
● Check for the Blue Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) tag to ensure your fish is coming from a sustainable fishery, which have strict rules for certification and periodically test fish for accuracy.
Education is one of the best forms of protection against malpractice we have. The more educated we become on a topic, the more likely we are to care about that topic. It is crucial to educate yourself and others on how our choices impact every sentient creature, every ecosystem, and every industry. We have an immense power in what we consume, purchase, and dispose of. Therefore, educating ourselves and each other on the optimal choices for humans, animals, and the planet is a huge step towards positive change. A great place to start is by sharing this post!
The Whales Thank You!
These are some ways we can all help the whales, marine life, and our oceans this National Whale Day and beyond. Making little changes today make lasting changes tomorrow. Thank you for taking the time to read this and educate yourself. We would love it if you would share this information. We are all in this fight together!