How You Can Protect Our Oceans From Home
The world’s oceans are getting dirtier. It was World Oceans Day this week. Do you do something for the environment and if so what?
In the following blog post we have summarized 3 points how you can protect our oceans from home.
On June 8, the world gathers to celebrate World Oceans Day. An initiative aimed at raising awareness of the role of the oceans in our daily lives. And furthermore promoting individual and collective action to protect and sustainably use marine resources.
World Oceans Day also supports a global movement. Calling on world leaders to establish a network of marine protected areas. To cover 30% of the global oceans by 2030 – a conservation goal known as “30×30.”
1st World Oceans Day: History
As early as 1992, the Canadian government, through its Oceans Institute, proposed the concept for a “World Oceans Day”. It took part of the “Oceans Day at Global Forum – The Blue Planet” event at the Global Forum in Rio de Janeiro. The result in 2008 was, that the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution officially recognising June 8 of each year as World Oceans Day.
Since then, World Oceans Day has evolved into a global celebration that in 2019 included more than 2,000 events in 140 countries.
In 2020, the theme of World Oceans Day is “Innovating for Our Ocean.” The non-profit organization Oceanic Global (a United Nations partner for this year’s World Oceans Day) is hosting the day’s main event. Featuring leading ocean conservationists such as Sylvia Erle and Jean-Michael Cousteau.
The role of the oceans in our daily lives.
We tend to live each day unaware of the impact that our daily actions have on the health of the oceans and marine ecosystems. This tendency can be exacerbated if we live in a city that is far from the coast. As a result, we no longer understand the role of the oceans in our daily lives. We run the risk of unintentionally harming marine ecosystems because we are unaware of our connection to the ocean.
World Oceans Day is the perfect date to remember the critical functions that oceans perform for human survival. Whether we live near the coast or far from it. Marine ecosystems provide fisheries resources that are a source of food and economy. Coral reefs, beaches, and wildlife attract tourism and protect coastal communities from natural disasters by serving as natural barriers from storms and waves. For example, studies have shown that after the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami, the hardest-hit regions lacked healthy coral reefs, while the less affected regions were protected by living coral.
The ocean also serves as a huge “carbon sink,” absorbing nearly half of the atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) produced by humans since the Industrial Revolution in the 15th century. In fact, the ocean absorbs twice the CO2 produced by the United States every day, and phytoplankton (microscopic algae in the water) absorb four times the CO2 of the Amazon rainforest in a year.
The current environmental threats facing marine ecosystems:
Human activities negatively impact all valuable ocean functions. These activities include the following. Increasing demand for fossil fuels leading to excessive emissions of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere (mainly CO2). Destructive fishing practices and overfishing. Chemical and plastic/microplastic pollution. Irresponsible tourism, wildlife trapping and hunting. Coastal development, and mineral and hydrocarbon extraction.
Tips to protect the ocean from home:
After understanding our daily impact on the marine ecosystems, it is normal not knowing where to start taking action. We will often find ourselves wondering, what can I do to help the oceans?
We can all contribute from our homes to help marine ecosystems recover and build resilience. World Oceans Day is the perfect moment to start acting together!
Here are three tips (some simple, some less simple but still important) that you may try to be part of this oceans’ conservation movement:
Reduce your carbon footprint:
Climate change and the excess of atmospheric CO2 are placing several and maybe the most pressing challenges to the oceans.
Reducing your carbon footprint is critical to fighting these challenges. You may do this by reducing the time you spend and the distances travelling in aeroplanes. Or increasing your use of public transportation and bicycles in the city, when possible.
Be a responsible consumer
When possible, buy the seafood certified as coming from sustainable sources that avoid the engagement in destructive fishing practices.
Also, avoiding plastics and microplastics is fundamental to protect marine ecosystems’ resilience. These elements do not degrade, and wildlife may eat them after confusing them with food which may block their stomachs or impede the respiration of other species like corals and mangroves.
Finally, responsible handling of hazardous waste contributes to ocean conservation by identifying the correct way to dispose of batteries, kitchen oil, and medicines, and avoid that they end up in the coast through other waterways.
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Be a responsible tourist:
When travelling to coastal destinations, make sure you do not engage in activities that may harm the marine ecosystems such as buying wildlife or products affecting endangered species such as jewels made of corals. Also, avoiding hitting the coral reefs with your fins when snorkelling or scuba diving is very important, and using a coral-friendly sunscreen is another option that as a small action can make a difference!
Engage beach clean-ups, they are fun, and they help marine ecosystems. It is just as some say, “the more, the merrier”, which is especially true when removing litter from the water.
…that it does not matter if you live close or far from the ocean; your daily actions have an impact on our big and blue marine friend! There are many ways how you can protect our oceans from home!
Happy World Oceans Day!