June 8th is World Oceans Day, a global celebration to raise awareness of the importance of keeping our oceans clean, healthy, and thriving. Every person can play a part in protecting our oceans — even if you don’t live near the sea!
To support World Oceans Day, many people participate in beach cleanup events, join fundraising commitments, or attend informational forums, but there are plenty of simple ways you can contribute that don’t require much time or effort. Some are ongoing lifestyle changes you can make that will, over time, have a positive impact on ocean environments; while others are one-time actions you can take to support efforts to preserve our oceans.
Read on to see how easily you can make a difference, even if you don’t have a lot of time on your hands.
1. Use Less Plastic
One way to make a positive impact on the environment is to use less plastic. You may have heard about the multiple gargantuan garbage patches that have been found in the ocean — plastic is a major contributor to this type of pollution. When thrown away, plastic eventually breaks down into smaller bits called microplastics which continue to affect the environment for decades.
Single-use plastics such as plastic bags, bottles, straws, and takeout containers are some of the biggest culprits, so avoiding these in your daily life can make an impact. Bring reusable bags to the grocery store, forego the plastic disposable straw when you order a drink, and opt for a reusable water bottle (or tap water) instead of purchasing bottled water. You may even encourage others to avoid plastic, as well!
When you do use plastic, remember to recycle. The more plastic we reuse, the less is tossed into our oceans.
2. Eat Less Seafood and Meat
Seafood’s popularity has led to dangerous overfishing of the world’s seafood stocks. Limiting your intake of seafood and supporting responsible fishing practices can help. When you do purchase seafood, think purposefully about where you buy it from.
Climate change threatens our oceans and marine life, as well — and meat production is the largest contributor to climate change. By eating less meat, you can help to support responsible meat production in our society; which, in turn, will have a positive impact on the overall climate and the marine life affected by climate change. As with seafood, do your research when you do purchase meat, to ensure you are supporting responsible producers and distributors.
3. Support Ocean-Related Causes
Many efforts are already in place to help protect oceans and marine life. Supporting these initiatives with a one-time donation — or with recurring donations — is an easy way to help them continue the important work they do. Don’t feel guilty if you can’t donate time or other resources to help with an ocean-related project. In fact, in many cases a financial donation will go farther towards supporting a nonprofit’s efforts than volunteering your time.
Here are a few examples of ocean-related causes in need of support:
Baja California Waterkeeper Fund
The Waterkeepers of Baja California are a small number of organizations in the Baja peninsula who monitor coastal areas and watersheds. They work with their local communities to clean up beaches, provide public and youth education about the importance of clean water, recycling and environmental awareness, and publish an online swim guide featuring the results of their bi-weekly water quality testing.
These efforts bring public awareness to issues which affect local environmental and economic health, as the tourist and fishing industries are important to the community. The Baja California Waterkeeper Fund needs to raise $500,000 to continue these efforts in the coming year. You can contribute to the fund at the ICF Waterkeeper fund donation page.
Laguna San Ignacio Conservation Alliance
Laguna San Ignacio, located on the Pacific coast of Baja, is a breeding ground for the Pacific gray whale and home to a wide spectrum of marine and coastal life. In addition to being a birthing lagoon for gray whales, the San Ignacio Lagoon is a sanctuary for migratory birds and has been declared a Biosphere Reserve and a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Laguna San Ignacio Conservation Alliance was established to protect this ecosystem, monitor and neutralize threats to its health and safety, and promote sustainable economic development which will benefit the area without hurting the natural environment. If you want to help us raise the funds needed to monitor the lagoon and its whale population, you can donate to ICF’s Laguna San Ignacio Whale Conservation Fund through our website.
The mission of Pelagios Kakunja in Baja California Sur, Mexico, is to restore the local shark population and other open water organisms. Sharks once were abundant in the area, but their numbers have been severely depleted due to illegal fishing activities — made worse by the fact that many people fear sharks. The depletion of sharks significantly harms the natural balance of the local ecosystems off the coast of Mexico.
Pelagios Kakunja aims to protect the sharks through scientific research, studies, highly qualified analysis and public education efforts. Dr. James Ketchum, co-founder of Pelagios Kakunja, explains the organization’s mission in this video to protect sharks and their marine counterparts as well as conserve submarine islands and mountains. You can support Pelagios Kakunja’s conservation efforts through their fund at ICF.
As you celebrate the beauty of our oceans and marine life, you can feel proud that you’re doing your part to help protect our ocean