An utter revelation. That’s how some of you described our previous blog about the important role that our oceans play for life on land. But that doesn’t surprise us. Especially as we were just as astounded when we found out. Who would’ve thought that the deep blue sea made life on land possible? Now we know, it’s time to make a difference by protecting our oceans. However, many of us will not have direct access to the ocean. Only 5.3 million people in the UK live in coastal towns, so beach cleans aren’t a solution for all to help. Not to worry, as always, we’ve got a few tricks up our sleeve.
The first step to help protect our oceans
One of the biggest problems that our oceans face is waste. That doesn’t only include a small piece of tissue that flew out of your pocket, but large items being fly-tipped. Last year, the UK saw a little under 1 million fly-tipping incidents occur – and they’re just the ones that were reported. Some go completely unseen.
Of course, we know our Greenredeem members aren’t fly-tipping. But waste has been an issue for many of us over the last year with collections being reduced due to a lack of staff. These unique circumstances have led many people to find alternatives for waste collection. These collections aren’t problematic. But it is important that anyone who collects waste from your home does so legally. That way you can ensure they dispose of it properly. You can find out if your waste carrier has suitable licensing here.
As we emerge through the pandemic, standard services are resuming. However, it is important to remember this information for the next time you have a large clear out or move home. We know it’s not always possible to pop everything in your car and take it to a household waste centre. But a man with a van that you find on Facebook may not be the answer either.
The bare minimum you should do to protect our oceans
Something we can all do to protect our oceans is cleaning up after ourselves – and others. For some strange reason, the nation has an ‘it’s not my rubbish so I’ll leave it there’ mindset. This doesn’t mean heading to the beach, renting a pedalo and gathering as much litter as possible – although that does sound like a fun weekend activity! It can be as little as picking up the litter in your countryside.
While we don’t suggest collecting stray rubbish with bare hands, there’s nothing stopping you from grabbing some gloves or a litter grabber and cleaning up your local area. In fact, there are plenty of litter picking groups out there to get involved with.
Litter plays a big role in reducing the amount of oxygen released by the oceans as well as harming wildlife. Do you remember us talking about the phenomenal work of phytoplankton? Phytoplankton lives on the surface of the ocean, so the more litter floating around the less oxygen they can pump into the atmosphere. Think of the damage the Great Pacific Garbage patch does that’s twice the size of Texas!
The unspoken way to help our oceans
Fishing. More importantly, sustainably sourced fish. It may not seem a direct way to help protect our oceans, but unsustainable fish farms are doing damage to more than the quality of fish produced. It’s estimated that salmon farms can produce the same amount of organic waste as 20,000 people. And up to 50% of salmon in farms die before they land in supermarkets due to disease. Not only that but 38% of mangrove deforestation is caused by shrimp farms.
That doesn’t mean that farmed fish are all bad, and that wild catch is always the answer. Millions of other fish are caught by giant trawlers who drag up sea beds. Largely affecting our beloved algae that help produce oxygen. Of course, unsustainable fishing also affects food chain supplies for other animals like whales and dolphins. These two mammals store large amounts of carbon in their bodies just by living and breathing. If their supply chain is damaged it can be detrimental to their numbers. Industrial fishing and whaling target these animals which are beneficial to our ecosystem.
So, what’s left? The reality is that you need to ensure you’re purchasing certified sustainable fish. Then the argument of farmed or wild doesn’t come into play as the process to get to plate is eco-friendly. Look out for the MSC logo in stores and be wary of purchasing anything that doesn’t have this information available.
The smallest ways you can protect the oceans at home
It’s important that we make protecting our oceans accessible. Making small differences in our everyday lives can add up to big changes. So here are some quick ways to reduce your impact without changing your lifestyle too much:
- Reduce your waste by adopting zero-waste methods at home
- Ensure any waste from your home is responsibly discarded of
- Make sure your fish is sustainably and ethically sourced
Ultimately, the way to help the ocean isn’t by wading into the waters and removing our waste – although that is something that needs to happen. The way to help the ocean is by living an eco-friendly life on land. Similar to how the ocean supplies the oxygen we need for life on land from the bottom of the sea; we can provide the protection it needs from the comfort of our homes.