10 Ways You Can Be Green and Help Our Oceans

This planet’s gracious seas, which cover over 70% of the planet, have been giving and giving some more, while we humans have tried on every color of the rainbow–except green.

Producing over half the world’s oxygen, the ocean helps to regulate climate and weather patterns, not to mention being home to millions of species and a large supply of food for marine life and humans. Flexing its healing muscles, the ocean supplies science with medicinal ingredients to fight cancer, Alzheimer’s, arthritis, heart disease, and on and on.

We count on the ocean for our very existence. And it is counting on us, now more than ever, to protect it.

Here are 10 Ways You Can Be More Green Every Day

1. Reduce your carbon footprint. The ocean absorbs excess heat created by fossil fuels. The warming waters change the behaviors and mating patterns of marine species, bleach coral reefs, cause extreme weather patterns, and speed up sea level rising. So, turn off unnecessary lights, walk or bike to work, and adjust your thermostat.

2. Nix the one-use plastics. Switch to reusable straws, grocery bags, and water bottles. Plastics take hundreds of years to break down. Our one-time use items become permanent trash that makes its way into the ocean and stomachs of all kinds of marine life. (Don’t forget 30A’s line of recycled apparel made from recycled plastic bottles! 30A has already saved more than 2 million bottles from going into landfills and oceans.)

3. Pick up trash on the beach. Whether during a casual beach walk or with a beach cleanup crew, we all need to pitch in. 

4. Eat sustainable seafood. Check out the phone app called Seafood Watch by Monterey Bay Aquarium. It recommends places near you serving seafood that is fished or farmed from a sustainable source, supporting healthy oceans.

5. Steer clear of products that exploit marine life. Jewelry made from shark teeth, coral, or sea turtle shells may seem exotic and fun. But a more ocean friendly souvenir would be a contribution to an ocean conservation organization or adopting a shark or sea turtle for research and protection purposes. 

6. Ditch the toxic household cleaners. The chemicals are washed down the drains during cleaning and end up in the sea, where they harm marine life. Opt for natural cleaning products like vinegar, baking soda, or lemon juice.

7. Volunteer, donate, join and support organizations that work to protect ocean habitats. Here are just a few: 4ocean, Oceana, Project AWARE Foundation, World Wildlife Fund, Ocean Conservancy, and Surfrider Foundation.

8. Always recycle. According to the EPA’s 2015 report, Americans generate more than 260 million tons of trash a year with the current recycle rate being approximately  35%. We have to do better.

9. Educate yourself. Education is power, and power is change. Learn what it takes to be the change the ocean is counting on. “Problems cannot be solved at the same level of awareness that created them.” – Albert Einstein

10. Spread the word. Take that education, and tell everyone you know via social media, marine life adoption gifts, or good ole southern gossip.

A rather famous frog once said, “It’s not easy being green.” Of course, he meant literally, not figuratively. But green is green, and he was right. Protecting our oceans with good green choices takes dedication and conscious daily decision making. Yes, we all can do it!

CHRISTY (CHICK) HUGHES is a freelance writer and a respiratory therapist living in South Walton. She and her husband moved to the beach in 2000.  One sunset…and the couple never looked back. Find her at her blog chickhughes.com.

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