Hey everyone! Did you know that June 8th is World Oceans Day? While you may not be able to enjoy the oceans this World Oceans Day, there are plenty of things you can do from home to help support efforts to clean up our oceans and protect marine life.
Fish Are Friends, Not Food
A lot of us are cooking at home these days and what we eat matters. Here’s the thing, overfishing and by-catches (unintentional catches) are seriously disrupting marine life. Each year we jeopardize fish species and ocean ecosystems. Here are some pretty mind-blowing stats to give you an idea of what’s going on out there:
- 80% of global fish stocks are “fully to overexploited, depleted or in a state of collapse”.
- If we keep this up, stocks of every wild -caught seafood will collapse by 2048.
- Every year, 300 000 whales and dolphins become fatally entangled in fishing gear.
- About 250 000 sea turtles are accidentally injured or killed by fishermen, every year.
- Every year, 400 000 animals like sharks, stingrays, and seals are victims of by-catch.
Instead of contributing to this cruelty, try some vegan seafood alternatives found in your grocery store—shop safely!
Eat Less Meat
Sadly, it’s not just ocean fishing and fish farms contributing to ocean pollution. All animal agriculture contributes to ocean pollution. One of the biggest contributors is run-off from factory farms getting into our waterways and eventually our oceans. This is causing ‘dead zones’ where there is literally no marine life any longer because the area has become toxic. Here’s how you can help:
- Eat more plants – more produce and plant life production removes carbon from the air and requires less dangerous chemicals in crop production.
- Eat less meat – eating less meat means less factory farming overtime which reduces animal and fertilizer run-off and reduces global warming caused by farming emissions.
Cut Down on Plastic!
Avoid Using Plastic Bottles
Say no to plastic bottles! Around 500 billion plastic are sold every year, which makes 20 000 bottles per second. In fact, just in the U.S., 1 500 plastic bottles are used every second! My favorite brand is Klean Kanteen. I have been using their bottles for years and have nothing but good things to say about them. They are Carbon Neutral Certified , Certified B Corp and 1% for the planet.
Klean Kanteen Stainless Steel Bottles
Make your Soda At Home
Make your own soda at home (buying soda bottles is not good for our environment). Did you know you can buy your own carbonator? Cool, right? Simply fizz up your drink of choice and flavor with natural sweeteners! You’ll also be avoiding the chemicals used in traditional pop.
When you must throw something away, consider this:
Choose a product that uses recyclable materials for their packaging: cardboard cartons, cans, or glass bottles. If you can’t avoid plastic, remember to find a place to recycle it responsibly.
Say NO to disposable coffee cups when you visit a café.
You may think they are eco-friendly as the exterior is made of cardboard, though the interior is lined with plastic, which unfortunately makes them un-recyclable. Did you know 2.5 billion coffee cups are used by just the British each year, and only 0.25% of them are recycled? The best way to solve this problem is buy purchasing a reusable cup.
KeepKup 12oz Reusable Coffee Cup.
Steer clear of coffee pods, which are made of a plastic main shell and an aluminum top, which recycling centers are usually unable to separate. Compostable coffee pods are an excellent alternative.
Don’t Accept Plastic Utensils/Cutlery.
It’s so easy to simply bring some from home! Here’s an example of a portable silverware set that you can purchase.
Spork 3 in 1 Utensils
You must’ve seen the viral video of scientists removing a plastic straw from a turtle, but if not, check it out here:. As you can see, our daily habits CAN affect the ocean. To avoid this from happening, either drink directly from the glass or use compostable/metal straws.
Use Reusable Bags
Plastic bags are out. When grocery shopping, take some reusable bags with you. Reusable produce bags are great too though you can always toss your produce directly in the cart if you don’t have them on hand.
Simple Ecology Organic Cotton Bags
The absolute best way to save water is by eating less meat! Here are some stats to show you what we mean:
- The production of just 1 steak requires 4650L of water!
- 1 beef burger requieres 2500L of water.
- Meanwhile, a soy burger requires just 158L of this precious resource.
We all need clean water to survive, including marine life, and you can do a ton to conserve it from home! Here are some simple, but super effective ways to help:
- Remember to turn off the faucet when you don’t need to rinse! This goes for any time you use a sink – it applies to brushing your teeth and showers as well!
- Collect rainwater.
- Try to wash larger quantities of clothes altogether, and if you’re not in a rush, try hanging them to dry! This is better for the planet and the clothes.
Did you know that washing synthetic clothes contribute to major micro-plastic pollution? These tiny particles are filtered into the drain and end up in the ocean. There’s an estimated amount of 15-50 TRILLION micro-plastics in our oceans right now! If marine animals consume this stuff, it can be harmful or even fatal to them. So, what do we do about this? Put your synthetic clothes in GuppyFriend bags, and then toss them in the laundry.
GuppyFriend Washing Bags
Food Doesn’t Belong in the Ocean
Likely, a number of us are trying our hand at new cooking or baking recipes. We also probably have leftovers. Did you know over 1.6 billion tons of food waste winds up in our oceans every year!? We can help prevent this by:
- Only buying what we need
- Storing leftovers in reusable containers
- Buying local
- Composting our food waste
The Big R: Recycle!
You probably saw this one coming. With everyone inside, we’ve had a lot of time to clean out our closets and other respective spaces. This generates a lot of trash. The sad truth is around 14 billion pounds of trash is dumped in the world’s oceans every year. Much of it can be recycled. When you are ready to throw something out ask yourself some questions first:
- Can I repurpose this item?
- Can this item be recycled?
- Where and how do I recycle this item? – This one is especially important. Some items have different recycling rules. Do your research and keep it out of the ocean.
Use Environmentally Friendly Cleaning Products
When stuck indoors cleaning helps pass the time. Remember what Finding Nemo taught us though—all drains lead to the ocean. So, consider using eco-friendly cleaning products. Instead of bleach and harmful chemicals try:
- White Vinegar – Used to kill germs and bacteria
- Baking Soda – Eliminates odors and works as a gentle scouring powder
- Borax – Removes dirt, eliminates odors, and acts as an antifungal and disinfectant
- Hydrogen Peroxide – A non-toxic bleach, stain remover, and disinfectant
- Club Soda – Use as a stain remover and polisher
- Lemon Juice – Works as a non-toxic bleach, grease-cutter, and stain remover that smells super fresh!
- Cornmeal – Absorbs carpet spills!
- Olive oil – Try it as a furniture polisher, ya know for the house parties you will throw in the COVID free future!
- Try an alternative diaper brand like Bambino Mio. Just in the U.S., 27.4 billion diapers are used every. single. year.
Be an Ocean-Friendly Pet Owner
Our furry friends have been great company during this time, but we have to be mindful how even they can create ocean waste. Dogs and cats, in the US alone, produce around 10 million tons of waste each year which can end up in our waterways. You can be an eco-friendly pet owner by:
- Using biodegradable waste bags
- Using eco-friendly cat litter
Support Ocean Friendly Organizations
The fight to save our oceans may seem a little overwhelming, but thankfully we are not in this alone! There a numerous organizations and nonprofits all around the world that are making a daily effort to combat ocean pollution and climate change. Even while stuck at home, you can support these groups by:
- Donating financially.
- Volunteering to help clean up our beaches once we are able to go outside again!
- Seeing if these organizations offer any sort of internship programs. Here are two of our favorites:
- Pacific Whale Foundation
- Environmental Working Group
One of the easiest things you can do to help our oceans is simply educating yourself. This can be done virtually anywhere! Inside, outside, under the sea…well that one may be a bit tough. But you get the idea. 🙂 Educate yourself by:
Ordering books on marine life:
Watching YouTube videos and documentaries about our oceans:
Reading articles on climate change:
“When it Comes to Water, You Have to Think Global,” NASA https://climate.nasa.gov/news/2977/when-it-comes-to-water-you-have-to-think-global/
“Ocean and Climate Change,” The Ocean Foundation https://oceanfdn.org/ocean-and-climate-change/
“How climate change relates to oceans,” WWF https://www.worldwildlife.org/stories/how-climate-change-relates-to-oceans
Surfing conservation websites:
Conservation International https://www.conservation.org/priorities/the-surf-conservation-partnership
Surfrider Foundation https://www.surfrider.org/
Following conservation organizations on Instagram and other social media platforms:
There are numerous resources at your fingertips!
Finally, take some time this World Oceans Day and educate others. Thanks to the Internet we are able to connect with people despite social distancing. So, use these resources. Post links to social media, share videos, discuss this topic during your next Zoom Happy Hour, even share this post. Be a voice of change! Our world is fighting for its life right now, let’s help it thrive! Stay in, stay safe, and change the world!