Here’s Your Guide to Saving the Ocean

We’ve all heard of the problem before, we’ve all seen at least one video about it while scrolling down our Facebook feeds, but which one of us has done anything? And how many of us are actually willing to try? Well, if you’ve clicked on this article, you’re probably pretty interested, so let’s see what we can do.

The oceans are in really bad conditions. According to National Geographic, there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic debris in the ocean—and that article was written in 2015. The plastic is everywhere. It’s in our fish (which get digested by us, obviously), it’s showing up in the sand and it has gathered into a gigantic mass called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which I’m sure you’ve heard of already. Oh, by the way, that patch is now three times the size of France, according to AOL.

Yeah, it’s pretty bad, but don’t feel bad if you feel bad about it. That’s supposed to happen and it’s normal to want to ignore it. The amount of guilt makes us retract, but there’s no rule that says we have to let that guilt control us. So, let’s do this. Here’s your guide to saving the ocean. Oh, and get ready for a link-heavy read, I want to send you off with knowledge and sources.

Let’s start with the basics.

  • Reduce your energy consumption.
  • Use that reusable water bottle that’s stuck in the back of the cupboard.
  • Be mindful of your trash, on and off the beach.
  • Recycle items you might throw out (like glass jars) and start bringing canvas bags to the grocery store.
  • Use a glass straw; yes, they’re real.

All that stuff is great, it helps and it makes us feel better. Listen to me, it is a good effort to helping the ocean, but it’s not the only thing that can be done. One of the best things to do, believe it or not, is to educate yourself. How many ocean organizations can you name? I know when I thought about it I came up with like. . . one. Educating ourselves really does help, it lets us learn about things we normally wouldn’t pay attention to, like overfishing,clean energy options or the fact that the Great Barrier Reef is an inch away from dying. Like it’s dead, it’s really going down, that’s actually happening.

Educating ourselves also means you can get more active. Learning about what’s happening entails the act of doing something about. We’re young and able to make a change, so it would be a waste to let all that knowledge just sit and gather dust in our heads. Maybe saving the world is too big of a thing to do alone, and yes, not all of us live near the beach, but that doesn’t mean our hands are tied. Read up on how your town—how your state—handles trash and recycling, and if it’s bad, see if you can change that. Even placing little flyers about the ocean in the mailboxes of your neighbors can help. Anything helps. The one thing to remember is that the most crucial part of helping is actually doing it.

Also, try reading up on ocean wildlife. When getting a pet, you’re supposed to learn about it, so why not learn about the wildlife you’re trying to save? 

And last but not least, be loud. Don’t let the fire you’re feeling right now die out. We need to save the oceans and people care, they really do. Do you remember that moment? It could have been in school when someone came in to show your class a bunch of cool reptiles, when you went to the zoo or when someone said there was a dolphin in the water at the beach. But do you remember it? The moment when everyone around you just fell silent and watched and learned about these creatures, and you knew everyone was paying attention, that moment? That’s proof that people care. Now just imagine if people realized that the current state of the oceans is hurting the animals. It’s hurting them, and it might someday soon prevent that moment of awe from happening again. What do you think they’d do? Well, I think something amazing would happen. 

WATCH: Our Incredible Ocean: Now Is the Time to Protect It | National Geographic


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