The world’s oceans offer us a wealth of diverse treasures both above, on and below the water. Taking this for granted to survive alone is unfortunately no longer enough, so great thought and responsibility has to come from us in caring for our seas. The statistics uncovered can be shocking, but this is the only way to build true awareness.
– Already, the Earth’s reefs have declined by an unbelievable 40% worldwide, and a large proportion of those remaining are not in good condition. Coral reefs house a quarter of the ocean’s fish, so this is severe data.
– Coral reefs live only in clean, clear water, and our pollution is making it difficult for them to survive. Also, rising sea temperatures hurt the coral, making them more vulnerable to bleaching, which drains their colour and causes them to die.
– Furthermore, warmer sea temperatures are causing species to migrate to cooler areas, a transition which many creatures do not survive.
– Additionally, we release Carbon dioxide and power plant emissions into the air. The ocean absorbs 30% of Carbon dioxide emissions, causing it to become more acidic which leads to malfunctions in fish and coral growth, and power plant emissions release toxic mercury into the air which settles in the ocean. This mercury is slowly being absorbed by sea creatures, which means that eventually sea life could be harmful to eat. This would be serious as it currently amounts to a large majority of human-kind’s diet.
One area of debris is so bad, it has landed the title ‘the Great Pacific Garbage Patch’. This ‘dump’ is situated in the North Pacific Ocean, and is actually made up of smaller patches of tiny pieces of plastic, so small they’re often not visible to the human eye, but are no less harmful to the wildlife around them. There is a lot of speculation as to the size of this ‘patch’, many reports suggesting it is as big as Texas! Although it’s difficult to be sure, we know it is extensive and must stop growing – indeed, any size is too big and unacceptable.
The ocean provides us with endless opportunities and excitement, discovery and relaxation, food and jobs, and most importantly, over half of the oxygen we breathe (due to oceanic plants). Surely, the very least we can do is give a little something back?
Here are few simple ways in which we can help our ocean to restore and thrive-
+ Use less disposable plastic products:
Often, disposable plastic products end up in the ocean, and this is a major cause for the destruction of wildlife, such as entangling and killing marine life. This also happens with abandoned fishing equipment- known as ‘ghost fishing’, when sea-life gets tangled in disused nets. Also, sea-life is in danger of eating micro-plastics, for example sea turtles often mistake them for jellyfish which are their favourite food, and some other species feed them to their young thinking they’re eggs, which then ruptures the young’s internal organs or causes them to starve to death from lack of nutrients.
Therefore, an easy way to help prevent this is by reusing bags – perhaps buy a sustainable ‘Bag for Life’ for shopping and recycle when possible. Use non-disposable water-bottles: buy a funky colour, have the size and shape you wish, protect the oceans, and even protect yourself – it’s much healthier not to drink from thin, disposable plastic!
+ Be tidy at the beach:
When you leave the beach, simply taking all of your rubbish with you/disposing of it can make a huge difference to the environment. If you’re feeling really environmental, perhaps carry out your ‘good deed of the day’ by tidying up the rubbish of someone less eco-friendly, who didn’t bother.
Support charities and organisations – get involved:
A little goes a long way. Perhaps give back to the ocean by donating to a conservation charity of your choice, or get involved with some volunteering. Look out for events such as ‘pick-up-parties’ in which you can help the environment by cleaning up the beach, but also just enjoy a day out by the sea, meeting some new people, having a chat and doing a good deed. Some time and effort is the most precious gift you can contribute:
+ Try to avoid chemical-based sun cream:
The chemicals in such sun creams can damage the ocean in a variety of ways, one of the main ones being that it elicits a virus in algae which causes it to explode. This may not seem like a big deal, but in reality, algae is a vital part of the ocean. For example, without algae, coral cannot survive.
Jersey Kids All Natural Sunscreen, SPF 30 is safe for the whole family, including babies, as it is both skin and ocean friendly, using only natural products like jojoba and shea butter, as well as zinc oxide to make it sun-safe.
Sunology Natural Sunscreen For Body, SPF 50 is another favourite. It is eco-friendly and not just skin friendly but skin helpful! It contains ingredients which aid skin-health and don’t block pores.
And perhaps look to buy more eco-friendly products: Just a little research before purchasing products can ensure you are being environmentally friendly
+ Avoid buying items that exploit marine life:
These include coral jewellery, tortoise shell products such as hair slides, starfish ornaments, and notably shark products which can be found in cosmetics like lipsticks, leather goods, and even in pet food! So, read the labels, and choose from the huge range of products which do not include these.
+ Enjoy the ocean life with your eyes and camera only:
When swimming, snorkelling or diving, try not to disturb ocean life, as this can affect it in negative ways. Also, do not take any part of the ocean home, but leave it in its natural environment- ‘take photos not mementos!’
This is a task that we must all get involved in to make a difference and keep the ocean healthy, so that everyone can continue to enjoy it. The future of the oceans is now in our hands.