The Ocean has its silent caves, Deep, quiet, and alone; Though there be fury on the waves, Beneath them there is none.
From “The Ocean” by Nathaniel Hawthorne
It can be really hard to make sense of all of the information we get about the environment and the ocean these days. We hear so much in the news and media about the environment and it can be overwhelming and confusing. The truth is that so much of the information out there online is false and it can be really hard to decipher the truth from the tall tales.
There are many conflicting messages. However, scientists have overwhelmingly agreed that the ocean is in trouble. BIG TROUBLE. However, if you care about the earth – and you are reading the article so you must – then here are some very simple no-nonsense steps to doing your part.
1. Sustainable seafood: Eat like an environmentalist
Many species of fish and other marine life are overfished and so many habitats have been destroyed due to pollution and other factors. Though you cannot save every habitat out there, you can do your very small part to help..
It is really important to only eat seafood that is sustainably sourced. Read up and keep up to date on which seafood is sustainable and only eat or purchase those. Check out this site: https://www.seafoodwatch.org/seafood-recommendations
And, here is a quick list of good, sustainable choices:
- Bass (US hooks and lines, farmed)
- Catfish (US)
- Cod: Pacific (AK)
- Crab: King, Snow & Tanner (AK)
- Lobster: Spiny (Mexico)
- Oysters (farmed & Canada)
- Prawn (Canada & US)
- Rockfish (AK, CA, OR & WA)
- Sablefish/Black Cod (AK)
- Salmon (New Zealand)
- Scallops (farmed)
- Shrimp (US farmed)
- Tilapia (Canada, Ecuador, Peru & US)
- Trout: Rainbow (US farmed)
- Tuna: Albacore (trolls, pole and lines)
2. Clean up, clean up, everybody everywhere…
More than just an annoying Barney song, this motto is really perfect when it comes to thinking about the environment. If we all do our very small part to clean up after ourselves, the oceans will surely be cleaner and healthier for everyone.
Want to do more? Find out how you can help your nearest beach community. Lots of beach towns hold local beach cleanups, as well. Consider getting involved.
3. Be Picky about Products: Think before you buy…
Coral jewelry, tortoiseshell hair accessories, and shark products all harm wildlife and there are tons of alternatives. So, stay away from those. Also, be sure to purchase reusable items whenever possible and avoid plastics. Another great way to help the environment is to buy used products. Particularly, look for sustainable fashion choices.
Common Products to Consider Nixing:
- Paper towels
- Plastic utensils
- Tropical hardwoods
- Toys made with PVC
- Alkaline Batteries
- Styrofoam cups
4. B.Y.O. (Bring Your Own ___________)
When we throw things away, they go away from us – our house or our car or our boat – but not away from the world. Plastic straws and bags, snack wrappers, and disposable food containers will take an extraordinary amount of time to break down in the ocean and pose major threats to marine life.
For example, a plastic bottle will take about 450 years to break down. If you use plastic, re-use it as much as possible. Bring your own reusable picnic supplies to your beach trips, in particular,
5. Water Fun: Travel Responsibly
Water sports are a blast and there is nothing wrong with enjoying them in the ocean. Just think about your choices. Practice responsible boating and never, ever throw ANYTHING overboard. Pay attention to local marine life and learn all you can about how to protect them while you are in their habitat.
When considering the ocean’s health and safety, the statistics are scary. Each year, 70 – 75 tons of fish are caught from our world’s oceans. 150 million metric tons of plastic waste currently circulate in the global marine environments. There are 700 marine species that are currently affected by plastic waste.
You may feel helpless in the face of such a big problem. The issue is really overwhelming and certainly daunting. But, there is also a lot to be done to help and many of those things can be done starting right now.