Our oceans are indisputably incredible. Not only home to over 700,000 species, and an epic playground for surfers, swimmers, and beach-goers alike, but they also generate half the oxygen we breathe (we love you too, trees, but today it’s all about the sea). As the largest ecosystem on Earth, the ocean is our planet’s life support. But we all know this super blue giant is in trouble and it’s up to every single one of us to help save it. So just in time for World Oceans Day, here are 5 ways to defend our ocean.
No more plastics.
Plastic is so 1900s. If there’s one thing we’ll risk sounding like a broken record about, this is it. It’s estimated that up to 12 million metric tons of plastic end up in our oceans each year. That’s the equivalent of a truckload of trash every. single. minute. If we don’t take serious action, there will be MORE plastic than fish in our oceans by 2050. Now for the good part: Single-use plastic alternatives are easier to find than ever, plus we like to think they cause an amazing ripple effect (see what we did there?). When someone sees you bringing your reusable coffee mug to your local coffee shop, or busting out your reusable produce bags at the grocery store, they’ll take notice and think about their own plastic choices. Plus, it’s always smart to have a spork on hand for whatever life throws at you (and we just love saying “spork”). So bye, Felicia (forever) to water bottles, grocery bags, plastic straws, Saran Wrap, and forks. The fish will thank you.
Clean up your beaches.
If you see a piece of trash on the beach, pick it up before it makes its way into the waves (and endangers the fish, the reef, and the mermaids). And if you’re looking for something a little more organized, look for local beach cleanups through organizations like Surfrider—or better yet, grab some friends or coworkers and organize your own. And whether you live near the coast or thousands of miles away, remember that all waterways lead to the ocean so every cleanup counts.
Support ocean-friendly organizations.
Surfrider, Greenpeace, the Environmental Defense Fund, Ocean Conservancy—the list goes on, but all these orgs are working hard to make big waves environmentally and a small donation can go a long way. You can also shop brands that are members of 1% for the Planet and feel good knowing that 1% of the proceeds went straight to environmental nonprofits.
And when it comes to buying clothes, look for things like bluesign® approval (which ensures the efficient use of resources like water, energy, and chemicals during dyeing and finishing processes), and companies that use closed-loop processes, which reduce waste and use natural resources to their full potential before they’re discarded. Take Tencel® for example: It’s made from certified sustainable eucalyptus wood pulp, which is processed with nontoxic solvents wherein 99% of the solvents are recovered and recycled to make yarn. The great news is more and more companies are catching onto this idea of circular fashion. Zero waste for the win (and more info on the sustainable materials we use here)!
Check that carbon footprint.
Warmer waters are a real bummer for marine species and coral reefs. Bike to work, take the stairs, bundle up rather than cranking the heater, unplug your devices when they’re not in use, shop locally. All kinds of small changes in your day-to-day life can add up to make a big difference and help prevent the ocean from turning into one giant jacuzzi. Bonus: Lots of states offer credits for making energy efficient improvements to your home (energy-efficient light bulb moment, right?).
Enjoy seafood sustainably.
Overfishing has become commonplace and is hugely disruptive to the balance of marine ecosystems globally. But the U.S. is the third largest seafood consumer in the world, giving us serious power to influence global fisheries. If you’re buying seafood, do it purposefully and don’t hesitate to ask questions about how it was caught. You can also look for Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) labels, which ensure your fish can be traced back to sustainably-managed farms and fisheries. At Toad, we’re big fans of Seafood Watch for shopping guides and even super delicious sustainable recipes. And same goes for meat—if you choose to eat it, do your research to make sure you’re supporting responsible producers and distributors.
Our waters are troubled, but saving them is within our reach!