6 Simple Ways to Help Save Our Oceans
The ocean has always been my happy place. There’s no doubt it has an incredible, even mystical way, of re-energizing our soul after a long winter or after making it through a big life change. I mean, who doesn’t love that instant sun and salt water therapy?
The heartbreaking reality, however, is that our oceans are dying at an accelerating rate due to pollution and climate change. In fact, MIT researchers are linking past mass die-offs of marine life to the accumulation of carbon in the sea, which, at this rate, could cause mass extinction of the oceans within decades. I know, it’s a scary thought.
Simply put, there’s so much at stake, and the next ten years is critical to the sea’s survival.
For World Oceans Day on June 8th, join the millions of people waking up and making small changes that can create the biggest difference. Here are 6 simple things you can do to help save our oceans.
1. Join the reusable revolution
It’s easy to live less with plastic — it’s all about training your brain to be more aware and actively incorporating reusable items into your everyday routine. For starters, say no to the Big 4: plastic bottles, plastic bags, plastic drinking straws and coffee cups. These items are especially harder to recycle and often discarded, which may end up in our oceans. The good news is, there’s no shortage of cool and innovative new brands that are helping to solve the single-use plastic issue. Brands like FinalStraw offer “the world’s first collapsible, reusable straw” (plus, you can carry it around in a keychain!), while EcoVessel creates award-winning hydration bottles and drinkware to help replace those wasteful, single-use plastic bottles. I know I can’t live without my EcoVessel Surf Glass Bottle — so classy yet practical.
2. Host clothing swaps or shop vintage
One of the easiest ways — and in my opinion, most fun — to reduce your carbon footprint is to avoid “fast fashion” stores at all cost by participating in clothing swaps with friends or shopping for used or vintage clothing. If you want something a bit newer, find ethical fashion brands through helpful resources, like DoneGood’s Chrome extension. Fast fashion clothing stores produce clothes en masse, but little did we know that the microplastics from their cheap polyester material end up polluting the ocean and harming our marine animal friends. Microplastics represent up to 85% of the plastic pollution found on shorelines around the world! I say it’s time we ditch H&M and Forever 21.
3. Buy reef-friendly, natural sunscreens
In 2015, it was estimated that around 14,000 tons of chemical sunscreen are ending up in the coral reefs and causing irreversible damage. If you’ve ever seen the documentary Chasing Coral, you’ll know the massive impact this has on the planet. For your next vacation, be sure to pack natural sunscreens that do not contain oxybenzone, butylparaben, octinoxate and 4MBC — the main chemical culprits that are toxic to coral health. Green Beaver and Goddess Garden offer great coral reef safe and biodegradable natural sunscreens with UVA/UVB protection. Badger Balm’s Unscented Sunscreen contains all-natural moisturizing ingredients like sunflower oil, beeswax, seabuckthorn and Vitamin E, plus it’s water- and sweat-resistant — perfect for the more sporty ocean lover.
4. Eat safe, sustainable seafood
ICYMI, the world is quickly running out of fish. But, if we’re smart about what we eat, we can still enjoy its nutritional benefits and deliciousness without destroying our oceans. Be aware and educate yourself on sustainable fish farming and ethical labor practices (hint: avoid shrimp). Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch app is a great start and can help you weed through all the good and bad fish. In sum: bluefin tuna is the worst and be weary of mislabeling on cod, red snapper, albacore, Pacific halibut and king salmon.
5. Support brands fighting against ocean pollution
How we choose to spend our dollars is the most powerful force for change. Not only are we directly supporting brands with an ethical mission, but we’re also sending an indirect message to the ‘Big Guys’, telling them to follow suit. Research and support brands and businesses that support global movements like 1% for the Planet, whose goal is to increase the amount of global dollars from businesses and individuals to help protect the planet through smart donations to environmental organizations. Finding companies that are also Certified B Corp can help those socially-conscious shoppers.
6. Join ocean-focused organizations, learn more and keep sharing
The good news is there are many organizations and publications out there fighting to restore the ocean’s health. Oceana offers a multitude of ways you can help, from providing monetary support for ongoing campaigns to simply signing up for email updates and getting action alerts as a ‘Wavemaker’. Other organizations committed to change, where you can donate or find ways to volunteer, include The Coral Reef Alliance, The Ocean Foundation and Clean Ocean Action. National Geographic has also shifted its focus to educating the public on ocean pollution with its incredibly impactful imagery and content.
It’ll be an ongoing, uphill battle to reverse the devastation to our oceans. But we created it; now we have to fix it. For something that gives us so much joy and magic, it’s the very least we can do.