Sustainability made simple

8 Things You Can Do to Save the Ocean

Ocean Fish
Photo: CC0 / Pixabay / Joakant

The oceans are the source of all life on this planet, and they are hugely important to our climate and our survival. But they are under threat from pollution, over-fishing, and climate change. Here are eight easy things you can do to help save the ocean.

1. Save Water – Save the Ocean

This seems so simple – but all the water we use on land will eventually return to the sea, including any pollutants that we haven’t filtered out. As such, the first step to keeping the oceans clean is simply to reduce the amount of water you use. Water purification requires energy too, so saving water has a dual benefit.

Save the Ocean
Save water, save the ocean! (Photo: CC0 / Unsplash / Matt Hardy)

2. Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

Of course, this will be close to the top of any list of tips for saving the planet. Energy consumption powered by fossil fuels is changing our climate in many ways. But carbon dioxide is also making our oceans more acidic, which negatively impacts coral growth and fish reproduction, among many other things. You can help save the ocean just by turning some lights off or taking the bike instead of your car.

3. Consume Less Plastic

Waste plastic can end up in the ocean, where it won’t break down for millions of years. Larger pieces of plastic can entangle and kill marine wildlife, or enter their food chain, with long-term consequences. And we now think that the microplastics which end up in our water by – for example – washing synthetic clothes or using certain cosmetic products can also be harmful to marine life. So: Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

4. Eat Sustainably to Save the Ocean

It’s not always easy to combine a sustainable lifestyle with eating fish and seafood. (Photo: CC0 / Unsplash / Jeremy Stewart)

Although progress is being made, the way we use our oceans’ stocks of fish and seafood is still deeply unsustainable. However, there are a number of things you can do to reduce your consumption’s impact on global marine wildlife. Be mindful of what you purchase and choose sustainable species. In doing so, you don’t automatically have to avoid aquaculture or farmed fish – these options are sometimes produced more ethically than deep-sea fishing.

5. Dispose of Dangerous Waste Properly

Less than ten percent of than 700 million gallons of waste oil which pollute the oceans every year comes from actual oil spills – most comes from everyday human activity. You can personally help save the ocean just by disposing of used motor oil properly. Other everyday products which you should take care to keep out of our groundwater, and ultimately the sea, include cat litter and garden fertilizer – and even conventional cosmetics. Only use what you need!

Oil Spill
Oil spills are horrific disasters – but even small amounts of oil can cause long-term damage. (Photo: CC0 / Pixabay / C. Morrison)

6. Help to Keep Waterways and Beaches Clean

A lot of the waste that ends up in the oceans doesn’t have to travel far. By keeping our beaches and waterways clean when we visit them, we can all help to save the ocean, even if it is just one piece of trash at a time. You can take further action by participating in an organized coastal clean-up.

7. Support Local and International Marine Protection Organizations

There are lots of environmental charities and other organizations that are helping to save the oceans. Ocean Conservancy organizes the largest collaborative marine clean-up action in North America, mentioned above. Blue Frontier is a grassroots (or ‘seaweed’) advocacy group for political action on marine protection. And the major international organization Greenpeace is campaigning to turn millions of square miles of ocean into sanctuaries for wildlife.

Beach Clean Up
A beach clean-up can be a great way to help save the ocean and keep your world beautiful. (Photo: CC0 / Unsplash / Brian Yurasits)

8. Take Action to Save the Ocean – And Tell a Friend!

As with any important issue: If you want to see the change, you have to be the change. So inform yourself, get active, and get other people involved too! We can only save the oceans – and the planet – together.

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