Written by Missy Almgren, Programs Intern, Texan by Nature
Our earth depends on the ocean to survive. The ocean contains the food we eat, the water we drink, and the air we breathe. It makes up 70% of the surface of our planet and provides 50-70% of the oxygen we breathe. For many, the ocean is the #1 source of protein we consume. Humans, plants, animals and all other living organisms rely on safe, clean oceans. The ocean is the largest ecosystem on earth, which is why it’s vital we take action against the many threats and issues the ocean is facing today.
There are currently many environmental threats towards the ocean such as ocean acidification, plastic pollution, beach destruction, overfishing/destructive fishing, and much more. Each threat continues to grow more and more each day. I have always been a firm believer in giving back to the environment because of how much it gives to us. It’s extremely important we keep our ocean clean and safe from these threats. At Texan by Nature, we recognize the impact that every single person can make. That’s why we’re kicking off our #TxN5WayFriday series, providing weekly insight on being Texan by Nature. Here are five ways to help save the ocean.
1. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint:
The main cause of ocean acidification is from increasing amounts of carbon dioxide entering the ocean. These mass amount of CO2 cause the pH level of the water in the ocean to decrease leading it to become more acidic. As this happens, it becomes harder for marine life such as coral reefs to form. One way to prevent this is by reducing your carbon footprint, meaning being conscious of your energy consumption. Some ways you can do this is by driving less (bike, walk, or carpool!), switch to fluorescent light bulbs, compost your food waste, eat locally and eat low on the food chain. All of these examples release less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, which means less CO2 in the ocean. If you want to find out how you’re doing, you can calculate your carbon footprint here at Carbon Footprint Calculation.
2. Stay Away From Plastic:
More than 8 million tons of plastic enters into the ocean every year. Things like plastic water bottles, plastic bags, food wrappers, and straws are the major types of waste found every day in the ocean. The problem with plastic, unlike other types of waste, is that is doesn’t decompose meaning it can stick around indefinitely. If you haven’t seen the short documentary “STRAWS” by Linda Booker, I highly recommend taking the time to watch it. The documentary discusses the littering of plastic straws in the ocean and how there are several solutions to fix this. To prevent our oceans from becoming plastic waste pools, it’s important to stay away from plastic and use alternatives such as metal straws, reusable grocery bags, reusable water bottles, and storing food in non-disposable containers!
3. Keep Our Beaches Clean:
Whether you enjoy surfing, kayaking, paddle boarding, swimming or just relaxing on the beach, it’s always important to remember to clean up after yourself. Trash and waste from people and their pets are left on beaches every day. This trash has easy access to the ocean from where it’s left, which becomes extremely harmful to marine life as well as human life. Texas coastlines especially have shown to have the most plastic waste compared to states in the nation. This debris poisons the aquatic environment is harmful to wildlife and tourism, as well as ruins the natural beauty of Texas. To prevent beaches from being trashed help remind yourself and others to pick up after your finished, and if you want to go even further, you can help by participating in a local beach clean up near you.
4. Sustainable Seafood Choices:
Although our ocean covers 70% of the area of earth’s surface, the worldwide demand for fish and other seafood is growing rapidly, in fact, it’s growing faster than the ocean can support. Sustainable fish and seafood are able to reproduce quickly and safely to sustain their own population, as well as other sea life populations that depend on them in the food chain. It’s important to find which fish and other seafood make sustainable impacts on the environment. Here is a link to a seafood watch from the Monterey Bay Aquarium website which lists the best choices, alternatives, and fish to avoid.
5. Educate Yourself and Others:
Lastly, educating yourself and others on the situation can be the most helpful and one of the easiest ways to save our oceans. I am always interested in learning more about our environment and ways to help sustain it. Every time I’m introduced to something new and important about the environment I make sure to share it, whether it be by word or by social media. Now I know this may not be everyone’s favorite thing to read up about but think of it this way; We only have one ocean, meaning if we don’t take care of it the ocean will become a plastic waste pool. In about 40 years most seafood will be almost completely wiped out. Knowing this information and sharing it with others can help people understand how serious this threat is and can influence people to make a difference.
Check out other ways to be a conservationist by visiting our blog page.