" THE GREATEST THREAT TO OUR PLANET IS THE BELIEF
THAT SOMEONE ELSE WILL SAVE IT. " ~ ROBERT SWAN
An article in support of the Australian Marine Conservation Society.
I strongly believe that real change is cultivated by the individual, and that there's power within these smaller everyday actions that will start to ensue awareness in others. Getting involved can help pull a spotlight onto the governing laws, policies and practises, that are continuing to cause harm to our oceans - with an aim to challenge and surmount the destructive mentalities of our society. The time to end unsustainable exploitation of our oceans is now.
It's becoming more crucial than ever, to start taking action towards preserving and preventing the ongoing degradation on our planets vital life support - our oceans. The fate of this remarkable living, breathing ecosystem is resting fragile in our hands. We need to manifest a growing global awareness, to ensure the oceans are thriving here on planet Earth, for generations to come. We have a privilege and a duty to manage our oceans wisely and with the future in mind.
We are all able to do something to reduce our individual footprint. Here's a few simple ways you can start making changes today, to help protect the oceans - wherever you are - and hopefully incite an on flow of action.
1. Knowledge is Power: Do your research. Read Up. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
All life on Earth is connected to the ocean and its inhabitants. The more you learn about the issues facing this vital system, the more you’ll want to help ensure its health—the better you'll be able to share that knowledge, educating and inspiring others.
We live in an incredibly connected globe, with an endless stream of information right at our finger tips. You don't have to roam far to find a rich source of documentaries, TED talks, independent films, international news, blog posts etc. and yes, you can always subscribe/sign up News & Media distributions lists like at AMCS for weekly nourishment and to keep up to date!
A great place to begin is with environmental organisations like AMCS, OCEANA & WWF - starting with their 'Learn' downloadable info books, 'Knowledge Centre', 'Living Planet Report' and (too busy to read a report? well then, they've even made a summary, and a film for people just like you...too easy)
2. "BYO" Bring Your Own:
The plastic we use will be here long after we've left the planet - from that take away cup, to the plastic straw in a smoothie we end up using for about 10 minutes. Not only does it pollute our water, it's beginning to enter the food chain effecting our own health, it's also a contributing factor to the death of vast populations of marine wildlife. What can we do? Be as 'BYO' and recycle conscious as possible. It's about choosing a coffee shop an extra few steps away because of their recycling initiative, leaving the green bags in your car so you don't forget them 'this time', using cloth bags when shopping, taking your own coffee cup, using reusable or glass drinking bottles.
Recommendations: VOSS water, BKR & 'life essential' products from my incredible friends over at The Clean Coast Collective.
3. Reduce Our Energy Consumption:
Perhaps the gravest threat to our oceans and our planet is a changing climate. Unprecedented levels of Carbon Dioxide are being absorbed by our worlds oceans, which is increasing the acidification, reducing its ability of absorbing fossil fuel emissions, and effectively killing coral and shellfish life - vital components in our food webs. Organisations like Oceana are determined to help end our dependence on fossil fuels (the leading source of carbon pollution on the planet), prevent the expansion of offshore drilling and seismic airgun blasting, and promote the development and implementation of clean energy.
We can participate and registering in global movements, such as Earth Hour, petitioning against harmful actions such as Arctic Off Shore Oil Drilling.
4. Cutting Your Individual Carbon Foot Print:
One of the most important things you can do to protect are oceans is to limit your personal carbon footprint, every conscious action we take is crucial in assisting this global initiative.
I know we all know of a few over-exhorted ways we can reduce our everyday impact; such as public transport, swapping in for a more energy efficient car/bike, making energy efficient household/office choices, buying local, 'reduce, reuse, recycle', enabling power management, and 'no junk mail'. It's time to start making those one off / 'sometimes' decisions into habit. Visit places like the Carbon Fund to find out more everyday changes you can make at home, and hey, why not be 'that-overenthusiatic-guy' to introduce the first recycling initiative into your office space.
5. Make Safe, Sustainable Seafood Choices. Let's End Over Fishing.
Today, overfishing is the status quo, bycatch kills about 63 billion pounds of marine animals every year, and human activity is disrupting the balance of marine ecosystems across the globe. But, it's not just the fish we eat that are affected. Each year, billions of unwanted fish and other animals - like dolphins, marine turtles, seabirds, sharks, and corals - die due to inefficient, illegal, and destructive fishing practices.
Our seafood choiceshave the power to make a difference by reducing the demand on overexploited species, unsustainable farming and fisheries. We may not all feel the beckoning call towards a vegan lifestyle, but we do have the ability to ask questions. Speak up about your concerns!
Ask before you buy - starting a sustainable seafood conversation. Let's become curious about our food while dining out, with waiters, store staff, or at fishmongers - Where does it come from? Is this species overfished? Was it caught/farmed in a sustainable manner? Does it look healthy? Is it a deep sea, slow-growing or long-lived species? What brand am I buying, what are their/their suppliers policies/initiatives/practices? Read labels.
They may not have all the answers, but we're encouraging reflection and action into finding out more about the food they are supplying. Conversations start the ripples of demand and create momentum for sustainable seafood & will hopefully change in the way our fisheries and managed and caught.
AMCS have created 'Australia's Sustainable Seafood Guide' to help you take the first steps on the journey of discovering sustainable seafood. It was developed in response to growing public concern about overfishing and its impact on our oceans and their wildlife. It is designed to help you make informed seafood choices and play a part in swelling the tide for sustainable seafood in Australia.
6. Get Involved! And Join Forces!
There's power in numbers - joining a tribe of a larger organisation can add to the growing force of humans behind this initiate for change. Contribute as an individual, a social group, family, or even consider pulling your workplace team together - who knows, your boss may even just love you that little bit more, for shaking things up, and hauling everyone together for soething new for that monthly 'team-building exercise' , let's at least hope so. ha.
Here's a few recommendations :
1. AMCS // joining their tribe of 'Sea Guardians' with $/time contributions Read More. Put pen to paper and sign a petition, here. As well as events; film nights, art auctions and dive days to raise money. Read More. // 2. Clean Coast Collective //joining up with their 'Trash Tribe' for beach clean up projects along the East Coast of Australia - subscribe to their email to hear about their next one. Read More. 3. WWF// do amazing work to stop the degradation of the planet’s natural environment and to build a future in which humans live in harmony with nature. Add your signature - sign the petition for one of their campaigns - pledge your support for the Great Barrier Reef fisheries management, here. Or take action against coal powers effects, on coral bleaching , asking for investment in clean renewable energy. //
7. Travel the Ocean Responsibly - It's all about Responsible Travel & Responsible Tourism!
'Ecotourists' seek to minimize the carbon footprint of their travel, traveling with climate in mind by planning wisely and choosing consciously.
We live in such a connected world, exploring the corners of the globe isn't such a far fetched dream anymore. So, we need to be making smart, conscious decisions when we're out there travelling as global citizens *all puns intended*.
Check in with yourself and go over travel plans. Is there a better alternative we haven't thought about yet? Is this the best possible method of transport? Is it possible to not hire a car this time? Could a rail pass for this country be a better option? Could we walk there? Does our accommodation have eco-friendly policies in place? Be sure to check out a few options for your tour companies where possible. The key takeaway should be research eco-friendly alternatives - you might even end up seeing and experiencing a whole lot more on your next adventure...yes, you're welcome.
A few final recommendations, and tools:
1. Responsible Travel : The team over at Responsible Travel are doing an amazing job of providing content, information, campaign initiatives etc. I would highly recommend checking out their Travel Guides. Or even having a browse through their 'Holiday Types' to find everything from; Conservation, Sailing, Safaris, Charity, Family Adventures, Culture, Wilderness and everything in-between. From Cuba, to Antartica! Get Dreaming!
2.Ecotourism Australia : (EA) is a not for profit organisation focused on inspiring environmentally sustainable and culturally responsible tourism. They've released an amazing 'Green Travel Guide' as a search engine/database covering all of Aus. Well worth a check when you're on the hunt for activities, and experiences!
Start taking action, and start inspiring those around you.
Photo Via brooklynhawaii.tumblr.com
Further Reading, Links & Credentials:
https://www.marineconservation.org.au | http://www.sustainableseafood.org.au | http://ocean.nationalgeographic.com | http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/oceans/ | http://www.onegreenplanet.org | http://cleancoastcollective.org | http://www.wwf.org.au/ | http://savethesea.org/ | http://www.conserve-energy-future.com/causes-and-effects-of-ocean-pollution.php | http://wwf.panda.org/about_our_earth/blue_planet/problems/problems_fishing/ | https://carbonfund.org