Pollution kills millions of marine animals every year, but you can make a difference. Making some small changes at home can prevent more innocent sea creatures from losing their habitats and their lives to human waste. Every year, between 4 to 12 million metric tons of plastic enters the ocean, and that number is only expected to double within the next decade.
Want to make a difference? Follow these five easy tips to start downsizing your carbon footprint, producing less pollution and leading a cleaner, greener life that benefits you and our world’s oceans.
1. Always Make the Eco-Friendly Choice
Cut back on energy consumption to lower your carbon footprint and reduce the effects of climate change on the oceans. You can start small by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or switching to fluorescent light bulbs. To avoid using your heating or AC when it’s not absolutely necessary, layer up some comfy winter clothes or find new ways to stay cool in the summertime.
2. Switch to Sustainable Products
Avoid single-use plastics as much as possible like that 99-cent water bottle or plastic grocery bags. Instead, haul your purchases home in totes and reusable shopping bags. Instead of getting a coffee cup to-go, enjoy your drink in-house from a mug or bring your own thermos to fill up. In a lot of coffee shops, you might even get a discount for bringing your own cup!
3. Take Care of Pets Properly
A lot of choices we make as dog or cat owners can affect marine life. Although it may be a quick fix, never flush kitty litter down the toilet, as doing so causes harmful pathogens to enter the water. If you have an aquarium, make sure that you aren’t buying wild fish that were taken from their ocean habitats. Also, never release pet fish into a natural body of water as this can upset the balance of the natural ecosystem.
4. Only Eat Sustainable Seafood
When you dine out, look for restaurants that serve sustainable seafood. Learning about the most overfised seafood can help you make more eco-friendly alternative decisions. Lobster, cod, halibat, tuna, shrimp and many other common seafood items are often from overexploited fisheries. Ask the restaurant about their sources. Your safest bets are with establishments that have line or diver-caught seafood.
5. Properly Recycle All of Your Waste
Even though you might be able to mix some recyclables together, tossing in something not meant to be included can ruin an entire batch of materials, leading to more waste. Take some time to properly organize your garbage and learn how to recycle to avoid any mistakes.
Play Your Part by Spreading Awareness
Learn as much as you can about our oceans, their greatest threats and ways to help. Volunteer to clean up beaches and contribute your time to spreading awareness and encouraging others to support the cause. Consider joining an organization like Oceana, the largest international advocacy organization dedicated to protecting marine life and restoring the world’s oceans.