There’s a reason water is the symbol of rebirth. It makes everything seem clearer; it makes sense of the chaos above the surface. What we tend to forget is the peace we find in that whole new world, well…that’s the only world marine life has. And we have been destroying it for years.
If your reaction to that is: “that’s harsh/depressing/insert-terrible-adjective here.” Yes, it is. All of the above and it’s important to understand why it is also scary.
Despite how vast, the ocean is not indestructible and it is crucial for our planet. The majority of the sun’s radiation is absorbed by the ocean which then acts as a massive solar panel, retaining heat that would otherwise be lost after sunset. It helps regulate our temperature and weather patterns, while the currents balance a global climate allowing more land to be habitable. Oh, another major point: more than 50% of the air we breathe is produced by the ocean. This is not even scratching the surface of all the food, transportation, medicine, etc. that the ocean provides and, at the rate we’re going, in nearly 30 years it will be overrun by plastic. Even more so than it already is.
So, what do we do?
While we love to queue for Instagram photos on beautiful beaches, we all play a part in ocean pollution through action or hesitance. Many organizations have active ocean and coastline cleanups (Oceana and 4Oceans are just a few examples), but the problems start on the shore. Therefore, it is our responsibility as humans to aid with ocean conservation at home.
To celebrate World Ocean’s Day (a day we should be celebrating every day, to be honest), let’s start with these simple changes:
–Refuse single-use plastics! I know you probably hear this everywhere and I understand it is tricky to avoid sometimes, but this is the biggest change you can make. Single-use plastics are a matter of convenience, not a necessity (i.e. the plastic bags you put your produce in). Get in the habit of bringing your own grocery totes, water bottle, cutlery, and food containers. Trust me, it’s worth the investment.
–Take care of the beach. Avoid additional pollution by taking seconds out of your beach time to pick up any rubbish you see. Chances are that, too, will wind up in our ocean.
–Educate yourself. There are so many resources out there about ocean conservation. Do your research; watch, listen, read, do whatever you can to get more information and what we can do to protect it. And then guess what I’m going to suggest you do? Yup, you got it—talk about it, damn it.
Now is the time to protect our oceans. Not in 5 years, not in 10 years, and not when it’s too late. Now.
For more information, please check out the following: