There’s no better feeling than jetting off to somewhere tropical and sunny. You get there and, just steps away, miles of pristine beach stretch before you. Why let anything spoil this? Well, an estimated 80 percent of ocean pollution comes from land. That means, each year, millions of pounds of waste reach the ocean via storm drains, sewers and other waterways that eventually meet the ocean.
Would you believe us if we said you can help save the ocean without living anywhere near a coastline? Believe it or not, you sure can. Today, we’re sharing 10 ways you can help save the ocean at home–no matter where you live!
1. Educate yourself
The more you know about the ocean, the easier it is to help save it and inspire others to do the same. Thankfully, there’s already tons of resources and ways to do this–via conservation websites, documentaries, museums, art exhibits, news outlets and much more. Take advantage of these resources and learn about ways you can get further involved with ocean conservation.
2. Eat sustainable seafood
As picky as it sounds, choosing sustainable seafood is actually pretty simple. When buying seafood at a store or restaurant, be cautious about the type you’re purchasing to help reduce the demand for overexploited (or unsustainable) species. Fish populations around the world are quickly decreasing because of demand and unsustainable fishing practices. Here’s a helpful seafood guide to let you know which species are sustainable.
3. Use less plasticware
Roughly eight million tons of plastic gets dumped into our oceans every year. As a result, more than 60 percent of seabirds and every single sea turtle species have already been exposed to the plastic that’s invading their environment. To help lessen these numbers, instead of using plastic, opt for using reusable or biodegradable products. You can also use these canvas tote bags when you shop, instead of going home with 5+ plastic bags.
4. Recycle as much as possible
There’s a reason why our school teachers and principals made a big deal about recycling while growing up. The way we dispose of materials that can be reused later on, instead of polluting our oceans and beaches, makes a huge impact in the conservation world. So, whenever you’re throwing something away, always double-check to find out if it can be recycled.
5. Reduce your carbon footprint
Our high use of carbon dioxide is making our oceans more acidic every day, which largely effects coral reefs around the world. Carpool to work with your partner or coworkers, ride bikes or walk instead of driving short distances, use eco-friendly home appliances, be cautious of your thermostat temperature during summer and winter months and reduce your overall use of electricity throughout the day. Every little thing can make a huge impact when more people are doing it!
6. Say “Suck it, straws!”
Did you know that just this year, alone, plastic straws made up nearly three percent of recovered trash from the ocean? They’re also the 11th-most found plastic material in the ocean. We don’t know about you, but we’re not about that! All of us at CheapCaribbean, plus over 100 of our resort partners, have all pledged to say “suck it, straws!” and we think you should too!
7. Participate in local elections
We’re sure you’re tired of hearing it already, but every vote counts! Pay closer attention to local polls and support your politicians who support ocean conservation. Be an advocate for the beaches we all love so much and vote to help save them.
8. Don’t buy items that harm marine life in the making of it
Coral jewelry, seashell ornaments and souvenirs may be thoughtful gifts to bring your loved ones home from vacation or to use for decoration, but they’re still harmful to the marine life that depend on those resources. The resistance may be hard sometimes, but the cause is worth it!
9. Volunteer for local clean-ups
Beach clean-ups aren’t the only clean-ups that help save the ocean. In fact, tons of the plastic that reaches our ocean comes from far inland, anyway. The litter you see on the sides of highways, in parks and canals and rivers all end up in the ocean or washed up on our shores at some point. Conservation starts at home, it starts locally. Reach out to local conservation groups and find out how to join their next neighborhood or city clean-up.
10. Keep the conversation open by educating others
You don’t need a degree to tell your friends and family about the very real impact that our toxic waste has on our oceans. One of the most important ways to help save our ocean is through outreach and education. Reach out to local organizations, start your own chapter of a conservation group or simply have conversations to your friends about the issue and together, you can help spread awareness and prompt action.
Ready to get more involved with ocean conservation? Here’s a quick guide to get you started!