This year is the first official, UN-sanctioned World Oceans Day. According to the Ocean Project, “The concept for World Oceans Day was proposed in 1992 by the Government of Canada at the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro and it had been unofficially celebrated every year since then.” The world’s oceans are in grave danger, so I hope you’ll all take this opportunity as an excuse to do something good for them today. Here is the Ocean Project’s “Seven C’s for Ocean Conservation”:
Commit to making a real difference
Aim to be carbon neutral by reducing and offsetting your energy consumption. Conserve in your home. Upgrade to Energy Star appliances and compact fluorescent light bulbs.
Rethink what you need, purchase “green” products, and buy locally grown foods and sustainable seafood.
Communicate your interests and concerns
Let your friends, family, colleagues, and the local media know about the impact of climate change on the ocean.
Challenge yourself daily
Walk, bike, carpool, and take public transportation to cut down your coral-reef harming carbon emissions.
Connect in your community
Get active as a volunteer with a local watershed or ocean group.
Celebrate our ocean!
Take part in a World Ocean Day activity near you or plan your own.
The Nature Conservancy also is offering a helpful guide of 10 Ways to Help Save Our Oceans.
1. Reduce your plastic consumption. The most frequently collected items during beach cleanups are made of plastic — think reusable shopping bags, water bottles and utensils.
2. Make informed seafood choices. Keep a copy of the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s seafood guide in your wallet or text Blue Ocean’s FishPhone to help you choose sustainable seafood at the grocery store or a restaurant.
3. Dispose of chemicals properly. Never pour chemicals, pharmaceuticals, oil or paint into the drain or toilets. Check with your county’s household hazardous waste program to properly dispose of or recycle chemicals and keep them out of rivers and oceans.
4. Choose green detergents and household cleaners—or make your own! Besides being better for your own health, these products are safer for the environment since what goes down the drain can end up in our oceans.
5. Get the dirt on your beachside retreat. Before you stay in a hotel on the coast, ask staff what happens to their sewage and swimming pool water, and if they source their restaurant fish from sustainable sources.
6.Find out the source of your food. Buying local, organic food reduces your carbon footprint, supports the local economy and reduces the amount of pesticides and fertilizers that end up not just in your stomach, but as run-off in rivers and oceans, too.
7. Fill your yard with native species. Reducing the amount of grass in your lawn by planting native shrubs and flower beds will provide a better habitat for birds and other wildlife and require far less water and fertilizer, which can seep into the oceans.
8. Keep your beach visit clean. When visiting the beach, stay off fragile sand dunes, take your trash with you and leave plants, birds and wildlife for everyone to enjoy. Find a Conservancy coastal preserve near you.
9. Choose alternatives to coral. Whether shopping for jewelry, household décor or accessories for your fish tank, do your part to leave fragile coral reef habitats untouched by buying products that aren’t made of real coral.
10.Celebrate our oceans. Whether you live inland or on the coast, we are all connected to the ocean; take the time to organize or participate in activities that restore and celebrate the ocean, and help support The Nature Conservancy’s ocean conservation work by visiting http://www.nature.org/initiatives/marine/.
A lot of those tips don’t apply to me, since I don’t buy coral, eat fish, or do any sort of lanscaping or beachside-retreating. I always try to buy green cleaners and local, organic food, but I could and should be a lot better about doing those things. I love the ocean, I love living near(ish) to an ocean, and it’s good to have reminders like this to keep me on track. If you do anything to celebrate World Oceans Day, please let me know in the comments!