7 Ways To Celebrate World Oceans Day 2021
STORY: Priyanka Elhence
04 June 2021
With 90% of big fish populations exploited, fully exploited, or depleted, and 50% of coral reefs destroyed, we are damaging the oceans faster than they can rebuild themselves. Unfortunately, all life on Earth is connected to the ocean in some form or another, be it for food, weather or even transportation. World Oceans Day has been celebrated on 8th June since 1992 as a way to celebrate and observe this critical connection to the sea. Celebrating World Oceans Day is important to raise awareness about the crucial role the ocean plays in our lives; inform people of the impact of human actions and also how they can sustainably help protect the ocean and its marine resources.
This year's theme is The Ocean: Life and Livelihoods and these are 7 simple ways you can help save the oceans:
1. Reduce your energy consumption and lower your carbon footprint
Reduce the effects of climate change on the ocean by being more energy conscious both at home and work. For instance, try to car pool or take public transport if you aren’t able to walk or cycle to work; take the stairs instead of the elevator as far as possible; switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs; and power off devices that aren’t in use. Another sustainable way to reduce your carbon footprint is by supporting clean alternative energy solutions and innovations where possible.
2. Minimise your plastic usage
Plastics that end up as ocean debris – especially single use plastics such as straws, bags and plastic water bottles - contribute to habitat destruction and entangle and kill thousands of marine animals each year. Reduce your plastic consumption by using reusable water bottles; non-disposable food containers and cutlery; bring your own cloth tote or other reusable bag when shopping; recycle and upcycle as much as possible.
3. Be ocean-friendly if you have fur kids
Be responsible and think about seafood sustainability when choosing a diet for your pet. Pet food labels are usually detailed enough to help make informed choices. Likewise, flushing cat litter is not acceptable, as it can contain pathogens that can be harmful to marine life. Finally, for those with fish, avoid having wild-caught saltwater fish in your aquarium; and never release any aquarium fish into the ocean or other bodies of water, as it can introduce potentially harmful non-native species to the existing ecosystem.
4. Travel the ocean responsibly
Whether you’re kayaking or dragon boating, be responsible – don’t litter or throw anything overboard, and be aware of marine life in the waters around you. While travelling is still not possible, many are opting for cruises for a short break. If possible, remember that regardless of ship size, try to avoid ports where you have to take a tender boat in to shore. Each time a cruise ship has to spend the day away from port, it must drop its anchor, causing damage to the coral and other ocean systems.
5. Do not stand on coral
Coral reefs are important ecosystems, which are rapidly being destroyed by irresponsible tourism and people standing on coral. A coral reef is alive and made up of hundreds of tiny animals called coral polyps, which stand together to form a coral colony. The polyps have a symbiotic relationship with algae that live within the coral, and through photosynthesis, algae provide the coral with nutrients and it is these algae that give coral their colour. While coral comes in many different colours, dead coral is stark white.
6. Make safe, sustainable seafood choices
If the Nextflix-trending #Seaspiracy is anything to go by, the most helpful way to save the oceans would be by not eating any seafood. However, if that is not possible, help reduce the demand for overexploited species by choosing seafood that is sustainable. Unfortunately, too many global fish populations are rapidly being depleted due to demand, loss of habitat, and unsustainable fishing practices.
7. Take care of your beach
Whether you enjoy diving, surfing, or relaxing on the beach, always clean up after yourself. Explore and appreciate the ocean without interfering with wildlife or removing rocks, shells and coral. Go even further by encouraging others to respect the marine environment or by participating in local beach clean ups. Keep lights off at night on turtle nesting beaches, and support sustainable development initiatives and organisations.