The oceans need your help! We've been extracting our marine resources in an unsustainable manner. Our planet is showing signs of ecosystem imbalance with toxin buildup everywhere, rapid species extinction, and increasing climate instability triggered by global warming. A recent study published in Science Magazine shows that in about forty years most of our oceans will be depleted. It is not too late, but we have to act now! Start making a difference:
Plastic - "the useful killer"
Over 100,000 marine mammals and a million sea birds die every year as a result of plastic litter. This is a heavy price to pay. Plastic is very useful, yet we should learn to use it wisely. Here are some simple solutions to do your part in cutting down on plastic litter, for example, plastic bags:
- Bring your own reusable bags when you shop. Every plastic bag that we avoid taking from the store helps.
- If you must take plastic bags, take as few as possible and reuse them at home.
- Dispose of the bags properly. Tie a knot in the bag before you throw it into the garbage can. This way, the wind can't catch it, and it will stay in the garbage.
- Spread the word. Try to convince store owners to use paper products- preferably recycled ones.
Find out about the different environmental challenges present in your region. Research online and around your hometown to find organizations that are taking on these issues. Find out what you can do to help. Everyone benefits when we all do our part to protect our own local environment.
When traveling to a nature destination, study the local ecosystems and support environmentally conscious practices, businesses, and food choices. Pollution and trash affect animals and water quality, which in turn hurt us. Eco-tourism is on the rise, and is good for animals and people!
Volunteer to a green organization of your choice. Research and find an organization with whose cause you can sympathize. Even a couple of hours a month will make a difference.
If you don't have time you should consider donating funds to a green organization of your choice. These groups rarely have enough funding. This is a great way to show your support and keep these institutions functioning.
Vote in elections, write to your representatives, and submit testimony to legislative bodies that create laws. Elect representatives who understand environmental challenges and who are in favor of conservation. Every law (or adjustment to one) has to go through a hearing process that allows for public opinion. Network information and ideas with your family, friends, school and community. Help tilt the balance toward mother earth and make a difference.
Salt Water Aquariums
Do not purchase fish taken from the reef. This industry destroys reef habitats worldwide. Always ask the origin of a fish before you make a purchase, and buy only farmed fish. Please let the store know how you feel about the wild caught ones- they belong on the reef.
Seafood collection methods can be unhealthy to sea life, their habitat, and to human health. Common wild seafood-capturing methods often lead to unsustainable harvests and kill a lot of by-catch (turtles, dolphins, etc.). Levels of mercury from run off and dumped pollution are ingested and concentrated in some species, and they have become poisonous (such as swordfish and some tuna). The Monterey Bay Aquarium has a guide of what is sustainably caught and safe to eat (click here).