(BPT) - It’s sometimes easy to get caught up in how vast the ocean is, but we need to be reminded of its importance and vulnerability. The ocean contains up to 80% of life on Earth, and provides an important source of fish protein to more than 3 billion people on our planet. To celebrate National Oceans Month, here are five small actions people can take to make a lasting impact on a healthy ocean and make sure we can enjoy the seafood we love for for years to come:
- Reduce plastic pollution: One major but simple way to prevent plastics from ending up in the ocean is to refuse single-use plastics. Look for ways to make sustainable swaps around the home, like using reusable silicone bags instead of single-use plastic bags to store food, or #cutoutcutlery by opting out of single-use cutlery in food deliveries. For more information and ideas, look to organizations like Shedd Aquarium.
- Choose sustainable seafood: Rely on nonprofit organizations like The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) to make the connection from ocean to plate. For over 20 years, the MSC has been on a mission to end overfishing and help preserve our seas for future generations. The canned tuna we stock in our pantries can encourage ocean-friendly fishing. The fish sticks we cook for our kids can help protect a whole ecosystem. Choosing seafood with the MSC blue fish label is one way to help protect the ocean’s big blue future.
- Find ocean-friendly products: In addition to reducing the amount of plastic we use, shop brands that create with the ocean in mind. Using terms like “ethical,” “sustainable,” and “ocean-friendly” when online shopping will take you to companies like Happy Earth or United by Blue that make everything from apparel and accessories to pet products so every member of the family can have a positive impact on the ocean.
- Use less energy: At home or on the go, committing to a smaller carbon footprint can be done in just a few small steps. Create simple habits at home, like turning off the lights when leaving a room and unplugging electronics when not in use. When heading out, check to see if the destination is within walking or biking distance instead of driving. Walking will support a healthy ocean and your own health.
- Keep learning: The more you know about the ocean and its inhabitants, the more you can do to protect them and encourage others to do the same. From online resources like the Ocean Project, MSC, and the Shedd Aquarium, to museums and exhibits, seek out information that leads to an ocean-friendly future.
Share the small changes you’re making to protect the ocean with your friends and family. The simple acts you take could inspire others to do the same, leading to a community that’s united in conserving our one shared ocean.