Love the ocean? I totally do, and it's not just because I'm biased by living right next to the beautiful Pacific. Even if you're far from US shores, you can do your bit to help with global ocean conservation, a growing concern thanks to rising temperatures, huge gyres of floating garbage, overfishing, and so many other challenges.
Pledge to give the ocean a hand today, so future generations can enjoy it tomorrow.
1. Buy sustainable seafood.
Whether you're grilling fish this summer, adding it to rich soups this fall and winter, or steaming it in light spring dishes, make sure the seafood you're consuming is sustainable. The Monterey Bay Aquarium's Seafood Watch program is a fantastic resource for finding out which species are the best for you to eat, and they even have little printable cards you can take to the grocery store or out to restaurants with you!
2. Minimize your trash.
Unfortunately, a lot of garbage ends up in the world's oceans, where it can potentially take hundreds of years to break down. Buildups of plastic garbage in the Pacific Ocean are infamous, and as the garbage slowly breaks up, animals up and down the food chain eat toxic materials that affect their ability to survive and reproduce. Keep your trash out of the ocean by not generating it in the first place -- keep packaging to a minimum, and find creative ways to reuse the things you'd otherwise throw away, like those annoying plastic bread tags.
3. Cut your carbon footprint
Demand for energy, researchers argue, is one of the driving forces behind climate change trends. Consider contacting an electrician to discuss an energy audit for your home and the installation of energy-efficient appliances, leave your car at home if you can, and look into green home renovation options when you're preparing to make big changes to your home. By reducing your energy demands, you'll help cut your bills and support the environment: win-win!
4. Take care of the beach
If you happen to be lucky enough to live next to the ocean, why not give back a few days a year? Participate in a beach cleanup or another beach conservation program--and if you're a pet owner, make sure to collect your animal's poop and dispose of it in a safe location (biodegradeable poop collection bags, please!).
5. Buy ocean-friendly cosmetics, jewelry, and crafts
Stay away from coral, shell products, and other things that exploit the ocean. Instead, explore the wide world of recycled options and ocean-free products, and encourage friends and family to do the same. Look out for squalene, an ingredient commonly made from sharks, even though it can also be derived from olive oil. And keep away from plastic and heavy packaging while you're at it: look for natural, sustainable crafts, and have fun crafting while you're at it!