It’s more important than ever to understand that we can take action for our oceans right from our computers and phones in our very living rooms. No matter our age, experience, or geographical location, together we can be the voices for all the incredible creatures that call our oceans home. Read on for 7 ways you can get involved in marine conservation right now while stuck at home.
1. JOIN THE COMMUNITY
There is power in numbers. Just ask Project Aware, who was able rally more than 135,000 shark lovers around the world to sign the petition which earned international protections for more than 18 species of sharks and rays at CITIES in 2018. Every vote, signature, and voice counts, when you are fighting for an ecosystem that covers more than 71% of this planet we ironically call earth. The first step in becoming an ocean ambassador is joining the community; it’s as easy as clicking a link. Find an organization that aligns with your passion, and sign up for their email list to stay up to date on events, petitions, research, volunteer opportunities, and news updates.
When you care deeply about something, learn as much as you can about it and spread that passion and knowledge in your everyday interactions. You don’t have to be a marine biologist to teach others about the ocean. Immerse yourself in podcasts, articles, webinars, documentaries, and online courses in your favorite subjects. Take an online course with an instructor, who has extensive hand-on experience shaping ocean ambassadors on a daily basis. The next time someone asks you why they can’t touch that turtle, or why their sunscreen is poisonous to the reef, you can give them an informative answer that will make a positive impact for our oceans.
Whether you are an artist, accountant, graphic designer, lawyer, teacher, or just a passionate ocean lover, each one of us can contribute something to the many organizations working tirelessly for our oceans, be it our time or our money. Whatever your passion may be: megafauna, macro, corals, mammals, sharks, etc., organizations need your talents more than ever right now to help their cause. From fundraising to sharing social media posts, every idea and contribution can make a difference, inspire others, and create awareness.
We are constantly inundated with negativity in the media, but if we want to preserve our beautiful seas and all it’s incredible inhabitants we have to inspire hope. Scientists and conservationists are doing some inspiring things around the world, but they are just not popping up in our news feeds. As a community, we need to get creative. When news is released about another bleaching event on the Great Barrier Reef, everyone assumes the reef is dead. This isn’t true, the reef is just sick and needs our help. We can inspire others by sharing coral restoration projects, as well as on-going research findings about resilient coral species and recovery rates, for example. To share positive stories, we need to receive positive stories.
As citizens and consumers, we have more power than we realize, especially when we voice our opinions on an online public platform. Tell your local representatives that you support ocean conservation, and research candidates’ ocean policies before you vote. Praise restaurants and stores for serving sustainable seafood and selling locally made products. Call out companies for exploiting natural resources, dumping trash, selling endangered species, and using unsustainable practices. Remember government officials need our approval to stay in power and companies need our support to stay in business. They will listen when enough of us speak out.
With all the online recipes and cooking tutorials, now is as good a time as any to challenge yourself to eat lower on the food chain. Reducing fish and meat consumption drastically reduces our carbon footprint. By switching to just one plant-based meal per day for a year, is the equivalent of subtracting 3,000 miles of driving pollution from the air. Not only do the destructive practices of commercial fishing and industrial livestock wreck havoc on the animals, but also the surrounding environment. Fertilizers, chemicals, pharmaceuticals, and genetically modified organisms are making their way into the marine ecosystems creating massive dead zones. Whether it’s just breakfast, or Meat-free Monday, todays plant-based chefs are so talented you won’t even know the meal is vegetarian!
Share your pictures, experiences, and stories with others. The beauty of the ocean moved you to read this article and take action, that same beauty can inspire others to take action too. It just takes one person telling their story, sharing their passion, spreading love for the creatures under the blue, to create a ripple effect. The more people that love the ocean and appreciate the ocean, the more people that will be moved to protect it from the threats it faces. You don’t need to work in the ocean or even live by it to help preserve it. There are thousands of people around the world doing amazing things to that started from one idea or one connection. It can all start from your computer.