World Oceans Day was celebrated around the world yesterday.
It’s an important event to observe each year, because the ocean provides us with oxygen, food, medicine, recreation, peace of mind, regulates our climate, and drives our global ecosystems.
On World Oceans Day, we are reminded of the role the ocean plays in our lives and how we can do our part to protect it for our future generations to come.
Each year on June 8 we should try to make small changes to our lifestyles so that we can improve the health of our ocean. Here are some ideas:
1. Consider your carbon footprint and reduce energy consumption
Reduce the effects global warming on the ocean by leaving the car at home when you can and being conscious of your energy use at home and work. A few things you can do to get started today include switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs, unplug appliances when they are not in use, and choose appliances such as refrigerators which have high energy saving ratings.
2. Make safe, sustainable seafood choices
Global fish populations are rapidly being depleted due to high demand, loss of suitable habitat, and unsustainable fishing practices. When shopping or dining out, help reduce the demand for overexploited species by choosing seafood which is sustainably harvested or comes from healthy stocks. When shopping for canned tuna, look for “pole and line” or “FAD-free” certification which shows it has been sustainably caught
3. Use fewer plastic products
Plastics that end up as ocean debris contribute to habitat destruction and entangle and kill tens of thousands of marine animals each year. To limit your impact, carry a reusable water bottle, store food in re-usable containers, bring your own cloth bag or other reusable bag when shopping, and recycle as much as possible.
4. Help take care of the beach
Whether you enjoy diving, surfing, or relaxing on the beach, always clean up after yourself. Explore and appreciate the ocean without interfering with wildlife or removing rocks and coral. Go even further by encouraging others to respect the marine environment or by participating in local beach clean-ups.
5. Don’t buy items that exploit marine life
Certain products contribute to the harming of fragile coral reefs and marine populations. Avoid purchasing items such as coral jewellery, tortoiseshell hair accessories (made from hawksbill turtles), and shark products.
6. Support organisations working to protect the ocean
Many institutes and organizations are fighting to protect ocean habitats and marine wildlife, such as Te Ipukarea Society. Consider giving financial support or volunteering for hands-on work or assisting in advocacy.
7. Influence change in your community
Research the ocean policies of government before you vote or contact your local representatives to let them know you support marine conservation projects. Encourage local food vendors to only use sustainable seafood, and speak up about your concerns if you spot a threatened species on the menu or being caught at sea.
8. Travel the ocean responsibly
Practice responsible boating, kayaking, vaka padding, and other recreational activities on the water. Never throw anything overboard, and be aware of marine life in the waters around you. If you’re set on taking a cruise for your next vacation, do some research to find the most eco-friendly option.
9. Educate yourself about oceans and marine life
All life on Earth is connected to the ocean and its inhabitants. The more you learn about the issues facing this vital system, the more you’ll want to help ensure its health, then share that knowledge to educate and inspire others.
- Te Ipukarea Society