A Cleaner Ocean for 2019
Looking Toward the Future
If our world were to be more adequately named, it wouldn’t be called “Earth” at all. Considering that our world’s surface is 3/4 water and that our world’s oceans hold 97 percent of that water, it should be called “Ocean”. Not only do our world’s oceans cover the majority of the globe, they also provide the majority of the oxygen that we breathe. From oxygen and food supply, to tourism and entertainment, our world’s oceans provide humans with life. This is why it is so imperative that we all do our part in keeping our oceans and waterways clean. Here’s some tips on how to clean up our oceans in the coming year and beyond.
Mind Your Carbon Footprint & Reduce Your Energy Consumption
One of the key threats facing our oceans today is a process called ocean acidification. As more and more carbon dioxide is being emitted into our Earth’s atmosphere, oceans have come to absorb approximately 30 perfect of these emissions every year. As this process occurs, the water in our oceans becomes more acidic, dropping in pH levels, which leads to a pH imbalance.
So what’s the big deal? A more acidic ocean threatens the development of creatures with calcium carbonate shells. This means that sea creatures like corals, mollusks and other shellfish cannot develop or reproduce properly. Ocean acidification also encourages the growth of other species including algae and some sea grasses. Overgrowth in these species will deplete nutrients for fish to feed on, decreasing population development.
What can we do? To help combat ocean acidification, start by being conscious of your carbon emissions and energy consumption. You can cut your consumption in a variety of simple ways: opt to bike or take the bus to work instead of driving, replace existing lightbulbs with newer, more efficient models or try skipping the dryer and instead dry your clothes on a clothesline. These small, easily attainable behavioral changes can make a huge impact on carbon emissions if performed consistently.
Make Sustainable Seafood Choices
Due to an increase in demand, a loss of habitat and unsustainable fishing practices, our global fish population is in a decline. To continue enjoying the fruits of our sea, consumers must take into consideration how and from where they are getting their seafood. Here at Timoti’s, we recognize that wild-caught seafood tastes better and that supporting local fisheries makes for a stronger community. Why does wild-caught seafood taste better you ask? Wild-caught seafood feeds on a natural diet of smaller fish and algae, meaning that it contains less contamination than farm-raised seafood. Additionally, farm-raised seafood has a higher rate of bacteria, pesticides, artificial coloring, antibiotics and pesticides. However, fish are a great option for a solid source of protein. Fish are rich in vitamins, low in fat and can even help reduce the risk of heart attack according to the Florida Department of Health.
So how can we enjoy our seafood without depleting global fish populations? When consuming seafood, look for third party, certified products with the Marine Stewardship Council Certification of sustainable seafood. If you’re looking to purchase farm-raised seafood, keep your eyes peeled for the Aquaculture Stewardship Council farmed responsibly certification.
Kiss Plastics Goodbye
Currently, it is estimated that at least 8 million pieces of plastic are entering the ocean every day. Additionally, it is estimated that there are 51 trillion microscopic pieces of plastic in our oceans currently…that’s 269,000 tons! When these plastics enter our oceans, fish will consume these toxins. In turn, these fish will be caught and served to consumers. It is unknown what effects consumption of these plastics will have on humans.
You can do your part to reduce the number of these plastics found in our waters by making sure that your plastics are properly disposed of. Currently, approximately 2/3 of plastics entering our oceans are coming from land-based sources, including litter, industry spills, poorly maintained landfill sires and lost materials from shipping containers and fishermen. Reducing your use of single-use plastic products is also key working toward cleaner oceans in 2019.
Electing to use reusable shopping bags, straws, beverage cups and food containers can do a lot to work toward our world’s overall plastic consumptions. If you happen to use disposable plastics, try to reuse them as much as possible and be sure to recycle as much as you can.
Lend a Helping Hand
In addition the abundance of plastics plaguing our oceans, trash accumulates in five ocean garbage patches across the globe. The largest of which is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, located between Hawaii and California. You can help to reduce this pollution is by never littering and by participating in local beach clean-ups. Start out by contacting your local outdoor, diving or water sports shop to help organize your own clean-up event and to help spread the word. Next, select a clean-up site and coordinate with others to secure a time and a date for your event. Finally, have a centralized meeting place for volunteers that allows for efficient disposal of waste.
Reduce Your Use of Toxins
Not only do your seafood consumption decisions affect the health of our oceans, but your consumption of household products do also. For example, avoid using fertilizers as much as possible. Fertilizers (even natural manure) add nutrients to the soil and waters that can enter our oceans. This introduction of additional nutrients spur harmful algae blooms that can negatively affect fish populations. When hitting the grocery store, look for fruits and vegetables that are grown without pesticides. The use of these pesticides can runoff and harm marine life. Additionally, using non-toxic cleaning products can help to protect our world’s oceans.
Never Stop Learning
The most powerful tool that we possess to combat the deterioration of our world’s oceans is simple: our knowledge. By learning about and realizing how our actions make an impact on our world’s oceans, we can learn how to make a more positive impact on our environment. But don’t stop there! The more that you learn, the more you should share with your friends and family so that they can become more aware of the environmental impact of their actions as well. By researching the policies of public officials in your area, you can help to make a measurable, direct change that can help to better protect our oceans. Overall, it comes down to a combination of awareness and willingness to change that will make our ocean conservation efforts successful in the long run.