5 Ways You Can Help the oceans

REBECCA DANIEL

One person CAN make a difference. Here are some simple steps you can take in your everyday life to make a positive change. 


1. Say no to plastics

Plastics are a massive problem for marine life due to entanglement, ingestion and toxic effects. Many plastics cannot be recycled, so the best solution is to avoid them.

  • Refuse single-use plastics, which include straws, coffee cups, plastic cutlery, plastic bottles, food packaging, plastic bags etc - Anything that is used once and thrown away.

  • You can reduce the use of these items by bringing your own (thermos, Tupperware, stainless steel/glass drinks bottle). Many coffee shops will now offer you a discount for bringing your own cup!

  • Plan your meals and bring your own snacks - this prevents buying things on-the-go which tend to be packaged in plastic.

  • When grocery shopping, opt for un-packaged loose produce (and place these in paper or canvas bags, not plastic ones!). Some whole-food and co-op stores now also allow you to bring your own containers. Farmers markets are also great places to find fresh, unpackaged produce. Always remember your own canvas bags for packing.

2. Eat smart

90% of world fish stocks are fully or over-exploited due to unsustainable fishing practises. Many fishing practises are unselective, and this creates bycatch - unwanted fish and other marine creatures trapped by commercial fishing nets during fishing for a different species. 
There are also problems associated with fish farming, including using fish meal as food (further contributing to overfishing), antibiotics, disease, pollution and invasive species.


  • Choose sustainably caught fish and shellfish, for example line-caught. As a consumer you can put pressure on the fish industry by making smart purchases. Look for the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) Certified Sustainable Seafood logo.

  • See the full list of fish to avoid here.

  • Try doing a vegetarian or vegan day once per week (or more) to reduce your overall consumption of fish and shellfish.

3. Be mindful of your energy consumption

The burning of fossil fuels for lights, heating and transport all contributes to increased carbon emissions. This is leading to ocean warming and acidification.

  • Remember to turn off lights when you leave the room, and switch to energy saving bulbs

  • Don’t leave appliances on standby

  • Only fill the kettle with the required amount of water - no need to fill up to the top!

  • Wrap up to minimise heating use and consider insulating your home

  • Switch to energy efficient appliances - Fridges, Washing Machines, Dishwashers etc

  • Get a smart meter to track your energy usage

  • Walk, cycle or take public transport as much as possible instead of driving

4. Support organisations working to protect the ocean

There are numerous organisations working to help save our oceans, and they all need your help!

  • Donate money or purchase products

  • Volunteer: Participate in a beach clean up. Join this Facebook Group to find one in your local area.

  • Promote their work by sharing on social media and telling your friends and family

5. Be an advocate for the oceans

One of the best ways to help spread positive change is by communicating your passion for the ocean to others. Teaching the younger generation is vital, so tell your little brothers, sisters and cousins!

  • Promote environmental awareness - make people think about their choices

  • Remind others to reduce, re-use, recycle

  • Encourage your friends and family to reduce fish consumption and choose sustainable items

  • Question your school, University or workplace about their energy consumption and waste management practises, push for a positive change!

Photo: Hendrik Speelmans @thirdculturevulture

Photo: Hendrik Speelmans @thirdculturevulture


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