Why You Should Support Local Aquariums

Recently I’ve been looking at different ways I can support the environment and help to make sure our coastlines stay beautiful and healthy.  I thought about organizations like Inherit the Earth and Drink Up, but not our Aquariums.  That’s where I went wrong.  Local aquarium are doing so much for our planet and here are a few of the reasons we need to support them.

Conservation Efforts

Photo from the Georgia Aquarium.

Many local aquariums are making an effort to promote conservation and changing our habits as a society to ensure the health of our oceans.  These efforts can span from encouraging people to keep the oceans clean and picking up their trash on the beach to switching from throw away plastic products to reusable products.  The South Carolina Aquarium has began an effort called “Breaking Down Plastic” dealing with the ecological issue of using plastic.  Similarly at the Georgia Aquarium efforts are being made at conservation posts to rescue and recover large marine life that get into the waters of North Florida.  

Saving Sea Life

Photo from the South Carolina Aquarium.

Not only do aquariums house sea life and showcase exhibits for students and tourists alike, but they can save them.  They can save them from an injury, from being caught in bad weather or being overcome by a tragic event like an oil spill.  At the South Carolina Aquarium, they’ve made a home for 200 sea turtles, many of which are endangered.  They created it as a response to growing coastal communities and the threat that comes to animals like these.  They’re also aiding sick or injured sea turtles to recover and eventually be released to their natural habitat.  The Georgia Aquarium has also worked to relocate beluga whales from Russia to help repopulate the species.  

Bring Attention to Real Issues

Photo from the South Carolina Aquarium.

Aquariums have created a space where people can learn about and act on things that are impacting our environment.  Climate change.  Polluted oceans.  Insufficient drinking water.  Sea rise.  All of these things are being dealt with and researched.  The South Carolina Aquarium has even provided material that show how the Charleston area and South Carolina coast will be affected by rising seas.  Many aquariums also push sustainabilty and how we need to make a conscious effort to use sustainable materials.  They’re turning their attention to plastic products, glass products and even fisheries.  The “Good Catch” campaign from the South Carolina Aquarium brings awareness to fisheries and shows coastal communities, like Charleston, why it’s important to choose sustainable seafood over farmed fish.  

Provide Research

Photo from the Georgia Aquarium.

The exhibits and facts that we see in aquariums are not just common knowledge, they are research curated by sea life professionals.  They’ve worked for most of their lives to learn about the oceans and the animals that live in them, and continue to learn about them everyday.  According to NOAA, 95% of our oceans are unexplored and that means we don’t know about all the sea life or environmental changes happening.  Aquariums are working to change that.  The South Carolina Aquarium currently is working on a research study surrounding dolphins on the East Coast and how the health of the ocean is affecting them.  The Georgia Aquarium is doing similar research with loggerhead turtles, dolphins, beluga whales, whale sharks and penguins.  Without these efforts to learn more about them, there is a chance that we could lose these amazing creatures forever.  

Aquariums are doing amazing things for sea creatures and the oceans alike, without them we’d be in the dark about how climate change is affecting them and how humans have a huge impact on their overall wellbeing.  They’re learning more everyday and trying their hardest to protect the things that mean so much to them.  Supporting them is as easy as spending a few dollars, volunteering or even just visiting the aquarium in your spare time.  It doesn’t take much to ensure the safety of our oceans and this is just one way to do so.  

For more ways to help protect our oceans and ensure their safety, check out these simple things you can do to help.