How to Save The Ocean

&Here’s the list beginning with my thoughts. Hopefully the readers can suggest other ideas and revisions with the goal of this being a central archive for active ways to conserve our oceans.

  1. Start by eating the right fish or not eating fish at all. This is probably the easiest. You yield the greatest power when you make simple decisions at the table. The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch makes this easy with downloadable charts to carry with you for every region in the U.S. With respect to fishing, Conservation Magazine also lists 10 ways to save the ocean. The list is comprised of essays by leading conservationists.
  2. Donate a little money to some good advocacy organizations. Oceana and Marine Conservation Biology Institute are my favorites.
  3. Give a little money to education. Often overlooked but vital, education inspires and those inspired conserve. One option is to go to Donor’s Choose and pick a marine-based project. Another organization is Ocean’s Wide. It’s mission, to introduce students to marine science through technology, empowers them to learn, grow and thrive through experiential education.
  4. Educate yourself. Try a copy of Carl Safina’s Song For a Blue Ocean for both a source of great information and narrative. On the more technical side, Elliot Norse, authors two excellent books, Global Marine Biological Diversity and Marine Conservation Biology. Oceana and MCBI also have several publications free to download.
  5. Stop using both fertilizers and pesticides on your gardens and lawns. Whether you live along the coast or in North Dakota it will all make it eventually to the ocean. Nitrogen and phosphorous from fertilizers is likely responsible for the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zone at the base of the Mississippi River (Reduce plastic consumption which is since plastics are likely to make into the ocean. Seek out foods and items that have reduced or recyclable packaging. The bonus is that you will also be cutting back on your consumption of petroleum products.
  6. Participate in or organize a beach clean up day. Most coastal communities sponsor days through the year to pick up trash at local beaches. If you can’t find one in your community start one.
  7. Unless things significantly change, stay off cruise ships. Reason 1, Reason 2, and Reason 3.

Please post additional ideas, revisions, suggestions in the comments below and I will modify the list.

Dr. M (1606 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.





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8 comments on “How to Save The Ocean
  1. Perhaps one of the easiest things that we can ALL do is to never dump anything into water ways — drains or rivers because whatever we trash into these water ways will eventually end up in the sea/ocean.

  2. #8 Learn to swim, Snorkle and SCUBA, and teach your children and friends as well. Teach them appreciate and not to touch all the pretty creatures — and then get them in the ocean every chance you get. Its easier to be green when you know the potential victims personally.

  3. Regarding the educating yourself, you may also wish to educate others using the knowledge you have about the oceans. Seeing the issues in a different light might help as well and broaden the audiences the message reaches. We attempted to do this in a short film Cinequarium

  4. Some more ideas:

    Actively contact local, state, and national officials regarding the need for maintaining funding for “open space” programs, coastal development restrictions, and wastewater treatment plant upkeep — among other things!. Maryland just barely passed tax increases, part of which will pay for Chesapeake Bay environmental efforts. Whenever there’s budget pressure (and there’s a LOT right now, because real estate transaction collections are down), environmental programs face cuts. Tell the officials that these issues determine your vote.

    Increase penalties on poachers nationally and internationally. Get the State Department to enforce trade sanctions on countries that don’t crack down hard on poachers.

    Advocate funding for “ghost net” tracking and clean-up operations.

    This one’s hard: find ways to influence the animal feed industry to reformulate feeds to reduce the demand for fish meal.

    And while you’re at it, try not to use products with Omega-3 fish oils in them.

  5. Hi, for those of you that have the good fortune of being Canadian, you can sign up to be a part of the TD Canada Trust Great Canadian Shoreline clean-up. The program was started by the Vancouver Aquarium 14 years ago, and has spread to becoming a nation-wide event every September. You can sign up to clean any beaches or shorelines in your region, even becoming a site co-ordinator or data collector.
    The Vancouver Aquarium collects stats of the items found and cleaned-up at every site across the nation, so you can go to http://www.vanaqua.org/cleanup/home.php to learn more information about past clean-ups (for example, this year Canada collected 270,756 Cigarette butts and counting), sign-up to run your own clean-up, or to learn more about how you can help your shorelines year-round.

    Additionally, if you are in Western Canada you can visit http://www.oceanwisecanada.com/ to learn about safe seafood choices near you. “To be sure you’re making the most responsible seafood choices, look for the Ocean Wise symbol on menus at participating restaurants. It’s your assurance that a seafood dish has been guaranteed ocean-friendly by the Vancouver Aquarium. So now you can enjoy a great meal while doing your part to protect our oceans.” As a Vancouver resident, these restaurants have done my homework for me, I can visit them and know that if I would like seafood, the right choices have been made for me – I don’t need to ask them if it farmed vs wild for example. Also, I imagine if your interested in helping to expand this program into your area, you can contact them to get any relevant information.

  6. Nice piece. I especially like the Aquarium’s guide on what fish to buy. Changing our consumption habits is such a great way to personally make a difference. I’ve featured this article today in The Issue, a recently launched Blog Newspaper. Hopefully our readers will take heed of your suggestions.

    Cheers

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