5 Tips To Protect The Ocean

One part of environmental activism that is often left out of the conversation is protecting our oceans. The ocean is one of the most important parts of the Earth, and it is in dire need of protection. It is one of the largest absorbers of carbon dioxide on Earth, which is very important with the exponential growth of the number of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. It is also a crucial source of biodiversity and houses life, such as coral, that allows marine life to flourish in this habitat. It is vital that we take steps towards protecting the ocean for these reasons and many more. Here are some things you can do to help protect the ocean!

  1. 1. Consume Less Fish

    Grilled salmon on a plate

    Fishing is one of the most detrimental human activities within the ocean. A lot of fishing is done by bottom trawling, which involves taking a big net and essentially scraping it across the ocean floor. During this process, a lot of ecosystems can be severely damaged, and some animals that aren't meant to be caught can be trapped in these nets (also known as bycatching). In order to combat this, we need to lower the overall demand for fish. This means consuming less fish within our day-to-day lives. There are alternatives to fish meat in grocery stores, and you can even try to replace fish products with vegetables. Veggie sushi is also a great option if you really love sushi!

  2. 2. Buy Local

    Veggies!

    If you really love fish and use it often in your life, a great alternative to buying fish in a grocery store is buying local! Here in Boston, there are many fish markets and local places you can buy fish! Fishing contributes to a lot of the waste and plastic in the oceans. For example, over 640,000 tons of nets and other fishing gear are found in the ocean each year! Local fishermen usually do not have to use as large of nets, and overall, they contribute far less waste into the ocean and in general. So, the next time you want fish, try to see if there is a local alternative!

  3. 3. Dispose of Your Trash Properly

    Trash, outdoors

    A lot of the trash in the ocean is actually not thrown directly into the water. According to the EPA, about 80% of ocean trash originally comes from the land and had traveled through waterways into the ocean. There are large amounts of trash in the ocean, and a very prominent example is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. In order to combat this problem, it is vital that we do not litter and that we dispose of our trash properly. It might be tempting to throw something on the ground if you do not see a trash bin around, but the ocean and its animals will suffer because of it. Please take the time, especially if you live close to waterways, to place your trash in the correct bins!

  4. 4. Use Reef-Safe Sunscreen

    One of the most important parts of the ocean is coral reefs. Coral reefs are the most biodiverse parts of the ocean—and even on the planet! Reefs are so important, but right now they are under attack by things like warming temperatures and increased greenhouse gas emissions. One way that we individually can help reefs is by making sure we’re wearing reef-safe sunscreen! Some of the chemicals in sunscreen can wash off in the water and impact corals because they are very sensitive. Please research what brands of sunscreen you are using in order to help do your part!

  5. 5. Vote!

    One of the most powerful things we can do to protect the ocean is to vote. When you are electing a candidate, make sure to look into their environmental policies and what they want to do to help protect the ocean. It is so important that we elect officials that want to help mitigate environmental disasters. Especially if you live in Boston, the ocean is so important to our lives! Please use the power of your vote to elect people who will continue this fight.

I know all the environmental issues in the world right now can feel overwhelming. I feel hopeless some of the time as well, and I wonder if anything I am doing is actually going to help. However, by continuing to educate ourselves and doing our part, we are doing a lot. Holding ourselves accountable, pushing against the larger industries and corporations, and voting with our dollar is so important!

Please try to incorporate some of these things in your life to help keep our oceans healthy.

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