As surfers, we love our big blue playground, the ocean, and we believe that if we want everyone to protect it they must also fall in love after all “people protect what they love”- Jacques-Yves Cousteau. . The oceans are not just constant sources of joy and entertainment, but they are also one the most important ecosystems on our planet and play a vital role in all of our daily lives. Every single human being can make small (or if you choose, big) and easy changes in our daily lives to protect our wild and magnificent blue friend.
In case you didn’t already know here is a little reminder on the importance of the oceans:
- Oceans provide 70% of the oxygen that we breathe. The marine plants which live below the surface help to convert Co2 to oxygen
- Oceans can store up to 50 times more carbon dioxide than the atmosphere. Our big blue friend absorbs 25% of the emissions that humans produce each year
- Oceans are an important source of food for humans, hosting 80% of the world’s biodiversity
Since the ocean gives us oxygen and adventures whilst taking our emissions we owe it to our friend to help preserve its natural beauty and wonder.
Here are ways to protect the ocean
1. Reduce your plastic consumption
Plastics that end up in the ocean contribute to the destruction of marine habitats and cause unnecessary death to marine animals. We have all seen heartbreaking images of marine animals being killed by plastic but what we don’t see as clearly is how when the plastic breaks down. The microplastic destroys the coral reefers, poisons animals, and results in polluted waters.
Simple ways to reduce plastic:
When doing your food shop buy unpackaged fruit and vegetables
- When doing your food shop buy unpackaged fruit and vegetables
- Choose loose tea leaves and a strainer instead of buying tea bags (the flavour is also so much better!)
- When sending post or wrapping presents use sticky paper tape as opposed to Sellotape
- Get soap bars and shampoo bars instead of buying bottles or soap dispensers
- Get a funky reusable coffee cup/ straw/ bottles
- Try making your own hummus instead of buying tubs of plastic tubs
Basically, just try to avoid single-use plastic as much as you can!
2. Make your next meal plant-based.
I’m not saying that you have to go vegetarian or vegan right now (although if you want to go for it) but just increase how many plant-based meals you consume or check out new plant-based recipes. No matter what cuisine you prefer, I guarantee you there are delicious plant recipes in there. IF you REALLY can’t find one call me… I’ll help you find some.
- The fish population is rapidly decreasing due to the overfishing which is occurring ocean wide.
- Overfishing doesn’t just remove a certain family of fish, it then creates an imbalance in the marine ecosystem which has a knock-on effect on the whole system.
- Bycatch is another big concern (when unplanned sea life is caught and killed whilst fishing). Around 50 million sharks and 300,000 dolphins are killed yearly due to bycatch.
When you do decide to eat seafood, make sure to check how it was sourced. Look out for signs which show that it came from a wild fishery that practices sustainable fishing. Check out the guide from Seafood Watch (Consumer guides | Recommendations | Seafood Watch) to help make sustainable choices when choosing which seafood to opt for.
3. Respect the beach
Think of visiting the beach like you would a friend’s house. If you make a mess, clean it up, if you bring something down take it home with you. Don’t be the guest that hosts dread having over.
- Anything that you take to the beach if not taken away will end up in the water harming marine life.
- Take extra care when leaving to make sure that you have collected all of the things you brought
- Be extra careful to pick up bottle caps and rings as these small items can have devastating impacts on the aqua life
- Go a step further and volunteer for a beach clean up
4. Think of what you’re putting down the drains.
What goes down the sink, toilet, shower, or bath drain ends up in the ocean eventually. Don’t put tampons, nappies, or condoms down the toilet, let’s keep it natural yeah?
- Opt for natural cleaning products such as Neat, Live in the Light. Cheeky Panda, Ecover, Kinn
- Choose natural shower and bath products such as: Dr Organic, Faith in Nature, eco denta, Salt of the Earth
5. Use reef-safe sunblock!
I hope that we are all blocking up when you head out to the beach (whilst respecting the beach and also respecting the power of the sun) but again, what we put onto our skin will wash off when we jump into the waves. The chemicals used in mainstream sun cream are extremely harmful to coral reefs. oxybenzone and octinoxate, two of the most common ingredients can result in DNA damage and bleaching to the coral which results in growth defects and ultimately is fatal to the coral. So be sun safe but also be sun cream wise 😊
6. Cut your emissions
The marine ecosystem is very fragile when it comes to rising temperatures so as the climate warms so do our oceans. The rise of temperatures has a devastating impact on the biodiversity of our oceans, and as with all systems, a change to part of the chain will have a knock-on effect on the rest of the ecosystem. Take coral reefs for example. They cover less than 0.1% of the ocean, yet more than 25% of marine species depend on them to survive. If the water temperature continues to rise at its current rate, by 2050 the oceans will be too warm for coral reefs. Think about what impact that will have on the marine life that depends on them….
- Cycle or use public transport wherever possible
- Turn off your lights, unplug your computers, and don’t have chargers continuously plugged into the walls
- When you use your washing machine or dishwasher (if you have them) fill it to the maximum capacity before turning it on.
- Line dry clothes as opposed to using a dryer
7. Fall in love with the ocean!
Make memories on the beach with loved ones and friends and enjoy playing in the waves. The more that we can show everyone how fantastic this giant playground is, the more we can inspire everyone to do their part to protect it.