The ocean is calling for our help – are we really going to put down the seashell? It’s directly responsible for keeping us humans alive, so it is a bit odd that we’re not doing everything we possibly can to keep it safe.
In fairness, much of this inaction comes down to a lack of knowledge and understanding. For instance, did you know that the ocean generates at least 50 per cent of the oxygen we rely on to breathe?
It’s also an important source of food and creates millions of jobs around the world. Without it, we’d struggle to eat, breathe, and live. And yet there are still countless ways humans are destroying it.
Here, we’ve put together the biggest challenges our ocean is currently facing, and more importantly, what we can do to fix them. It’s not enough to just keep our head above water anymore – let’s start floating with joy.
Did you know that at least 14 million tonnes of plastic end up in the ocean each year? This harmful substance is injuring and killing fish, seabirds, and marine mammals.
Best case, they suffer from lacerations and infections; worst case, they mistake it for prey and fill their stomachs with plastic that eventually kills them. It’s a truly awful thought, but this is our reality, and we cannot keep ignoring it.
Solution: Stop single-use plastic! Say ‘no’ to disposable cutlery, invest in a reusable coffee mug and water bottle, and only buy products from companies that avoid excessive plastic packaging. At Oceans, our toilet paper is made from sustainably-sourced materials and is completely plastic-free, making it easier for you to reduce your single-use plastic consumption.
If we can do it, you can.
Problem: Noise pollution
Many humans don’t realise just how much noise is produced by shipping activities, seismic surveys, and offshore wind farms – because it doesn’t impact us. For marine mammals, however, this racket can be incredibly disturbing and even life-threatening.
It can prevent the likes of whales and dolphins from communicating, finding food, and mating – all of which are actions fundamental to their survival.
Solution: Any powerful solution to this problem must come from the people at the top; those directly involved. While the average Joe and Joanna will unlikely have the power to redesign propellers and design quieter technology, becoming an advocate and raising awareness will play a crucial role in resolution.
Problem: Climate change
Ah, those two words we’re beginning to see more and more of across UK media. We already know that climate change is destroying the planet, but let’s look at what it’s doing to the ocean specifically.
Excessive heat and increasing global temperatures are melting ice, destroying marine life, creating ocean acidification, and causing sea levels to rise. In layman’s terms, it’s creating irreversible damage across our planet’s coastlines.
Solution: Reduce, recycle, reuse. Turn the lights off when you’re not in the room. Take shorter showers. Drive less and walk more. All those tips and tricks we’re constantly bombarded with that may seem insignificant in the grand scheme of things… actually have the power to change the world. Especially when all 7.88 billion of us do it.
Problem: Seafood consumption
Let’s put it bluntly: If you eat seafood, such as tuna, prawns, salmon, or lobster, you are contributing to the destruction of our ocean. But you don’t eat whales or dolphins *shudder*, of course not, so that’s a little bit better, right?
Unfortunately not. Millions of marine species – the types you wouldn’t find on a supermarket shelf – are killed each year because they get tangled in the equipment designed to catch the fish you do eat.
Additionally, nets, traps, and fishing lines can sometimes fall off or get left behind by fishing vessels, causing our precious sea creatures to suffer the same fate.
Solution: There are several ways you can support the harmful effects of overfishing. One powerful way would be to stop eating seafood completely or at least try and reduce your seafood consumption. You should only buy MSC certified sustainable seafood, and spark discussion with others to encourage them to do the same.
The ocean is everybody’s responsibility
We should all be ‘doing our bit’ to protect the ocean, whether that be by raising awareness of ocean pollution or making simple lifestyle changes. By doing this, you’ll likely find that not only are you bettering the quality of life for marine animals, but also for yourself and your family.
It’s never been more important that we come together and work as a team to prevent further destruction to our ocean. It’s in everyone’s best interest!