“I went to the year 3,000, not much had changed but we lived underwater” – who knew that scientist worked with Busted on that hit track, subtly trying to get us to pay attention to the rising sea levels way back in 2002!
It’s World Ocean Day on 8 June, if you don’t fancy the realities of living underwater for real, here are a few things to know and easy ways to have a positive impact.
Of course you know the ocean has a lot on its plate – oil spills for starters, the plastic crisis and climate change, a hearty main and industrial fishing as the sweet finisher – but did you know that we’ve studied the surface of Mars in more detail than we have the ocean floor? Just another fascinating illustration of how we often prefer to examine outwardly.
1. Support the good guys
Get behind the organisations working to protect our oceans by listening to what they are saying. Here’s a handful to follow on social media to get you started:
Once you start, it’ll become easier to build on your green lifestyle – a lifestyle that maintains the health of the environment.
3. Use less plastic
The stats on plastic usage, production and pollution are so inconceivable, all you really need to know is that we all need to use less. Then there will be less in the sea. How you can use less plastic everyday:
Use bamboo. Bamboo biodegrades, unlike plastic. You can replace many popular plastic household items with bamboo alternatives such as…
Organic make up pads (bamboo and washable cotton)
Keep a few tote bags on you as habit, don’t get caught out at the shops guiltily saying “oh actually yes please I do need a bag”
Reusable water bottle – make sure to keep it clean
Reusable coffee cup – most takeaway coffee cups are non-recyclable or are made of products which are not widely recyclable
Metal / paper straws – we all know by now that plastic straws = dead turtles
Reusable and refillable deodorant – Wild (brand) for example, provide a monthly subscription in which you get biodegradable refill packets for your refillable roll-on deodorant. What’s more, they plant a tree for every purchase!
Swap your plastic hand soap bottles for refillable dispensers or soap bars
Reusable razor – replace the blade rather than the whole razor to avoid regular plastic waste. They are often made from bamboo or metal and are widely available. Estrid, a sustainable razor company, donates profits to charities all over the world
Choose a tea bag that is plastic free or try loose leaf tea and a tea strainer – plastic free tea bags include PG tips, Yorkshire Tea, Clipper, Lipton, Pukka, Tea Pigs, Twinings (to name a few)
Switch to biodegradable dental floss – such as Wisdom re:new Clean Dental Floss from Superdrug which boasts biodegradable packaging as well as animal-friendly ingredients
Say no to pre-packaged lunches. Make food at home, or go to an independent deli where things are made fresh daily and so they don’t need to use plastic
Get into reusable cling film alternatives
Paper-wrapped presents. Use paper tape or Sellotape Zero Plastic (available from most big retailers) and use simple wrapping paper, made of PAPER, not shiny plastic
Buy in bulk – often results in significantly less packaging
Buy in real life or from online retailers with responsible packaging solutions – not Amazon!
4. Learn about the UN’s Global Ocean Treaty
Right now only 1% of all international waters are protected. Scientists say that we need to protect at least 30% by 2030 to halt their decline and the Global Ocean Treaty is our “once in a lifetime” chance. Sign the petition.
5. Support sustainable fisheries
There’s even more to supporting sustainable fisheries than saving marine life and the livelihoods of fishermen. A recent study calculated that bottom trawling fishing methods could be adding more carbon into our atmosphere than aviation! In other words, by not supporting sustainable fisheries, you are directly putting your future self in harm.
Really simple, really important – make sure that the sea creatures you eat have been sustainably or responsibly sourced. Apart from processed fish e.g. fish cakes or fish fingers, all fish packaging and fresh fish counters must state where and how it’s been caught – if it doesn’t say sustainably or responsibly fished… then leave it on the shelf, future you will say thank you.
6. Talk more
Conversation, education and public awareness are key drivers of marine conservation efforts so it’s fundamental that we keep talking between ourselves. Start by telling someone, one thing you’ve learnt from reading this today.