Out of all the fundamental resources, we citizens on Earth have, the world’s ocean is arguably the most important. With the big blue covering over 70 percent of our planet’s surface, it is the food source for hundreds of thousands of different species.
Containing around 99 percent of all living species we have on Earth, it is estimated that 2.2 million species call the ocean their home, and about 50 to 80 percent of all life found on Earth is found under the sea.
The ocean is not just home to the ocean plants that provide half of the world’s oxygen, food which about 3.5 billion people rely on as a primary food source, but the ocean is also responsible for boosting our economy.
It is crystal clear to see why the ocean is so important. Sadly, human-created pollution and overfishing are both responsible for harming our world’s greatest resource.
If we carry on like this, it is possible that we will eventually run out of fish and start a domino effect for catastrophe. Just like Dr. Sylvia Earle quotes, now is the time to act and protect the ocean. How can we do this? – Through Ocean Conservation.
“The next five years may be the most important in the next ten thousand for our planet. There are plenty of reasons for hope, yet every day, doors of opportunity close. We know what to do. Now is the time to act.” – Dr. Sylvia Earle
10 Things Divers Can Do to Help Save Our Oceans
By taking some small conservational actions and then multiplying them by like-minded people, we can achieve some big results. Help be the change to save the oceans, with every trip, with every place, and with every dive.
Within this blog, we have put together some tips for people to help save our oceans and how you can start to support ocean preservation today.
1. Demand Plastic-Free Alternatives
The mission of saving our oceans starts with us. The way we live our everyday lives impacts the world we live in. It has been estimated that 17.6 billion pounds of plastic get leaked into the ocean environment every year – this is roughly the same as dumping a garbage truck into our oceans full of plastic, every single minute.
The problem with plastics? They never go away. It is our responsibility to urge companies, large and small to provide us, the consumers, to use plastic-free alternatives. Help to do this by saying no to single-use plastics like straws, water bottles, plastic cutlery, balloons, plastic bags, and plastic take away containers.
2. Be a Responsible Scuba Diver
Buoyancy control is very important when it comes to diving. Most underwater animals and plants are a lot more fragile than they appear. A swipe of a fin, a small touch or even a bump of your camera can destroy hundreds of years of coral growth, harm an animal or cause damage to a plant.
Try to streamline your scuba gear, perfect your techniques and continue your dive training to improve your skills while helping to save marine animals from this sort of harm. In order to avoid contact with the natural environment always be aware of your scuba equipment and your body.
The underwater world is beautiful and to ensure that it is kept that way, keep your eyes open for waste and debris. Waste destroys habitats, kills wildlife and also causes a threat to our health and economy.
Don’t let dives go to waste. With each dive and where possible, always remove or report anything that doesn’t belong in the underwater world. You will already be supporting our mission to help the ocean!
3. Take Only Pictures, Leave Only Bubbles
Try not to purchase items that exploit marine life, instead save marine life. Some products are contributions to the harming of coral reefs and even marine populations. You can help by not purchasing items like shark products, tortoiseshell hair accessories and coral jewelry.
Remember, almost everything found underwater is either alive or is going to be used by a living creature. Anything taken from a dive could potentially contribute to disturbing this fragile balance and could add to the depletion of dive locations for future divers and generations.
4. Be a Role Model in Ocean Preservation
Regardless of your experience level, make sure that you set a good example for everyone who has interaction with the environment – whilst underwater and on land. Influence change within your community and speak to people about the small things we can do and how to protect the ocean.
When diving, do not feed, chase, handle or ride anything. These kinds of actions can cause stress to the animals, interrupt feeding and sometimes mating behaviors. Some animals have been known to show aggressive behavior when provoked. It is so important that we understand and respect our underwater life at all times, follow all local laws and regulations.
5. Help Take Care of the Beach
So many of us love visiting the beach. Whether you go to the beach to surf, relax or scuba dive, we should always make sure we clean up after ourselves. When we get the opportunity to be able to explore and appreciate the world’s ocean we must ensure that we do not interfere with the wildlife, remove any rocks or coral.
Let’s go one further by encouraging other people around us to respect the marine environment. Many dive centers and marine conservational groups hold beach cleanups, show your support by participating in one of these events and really help the ocean!
6. Mind Your Carbon Footprint
We are already starting to see the effects of climate change, which has become a threat that our entire planet faces. Luckily, we are equipped with one of the most effective tools to be able to mitigate and adapt climate change – Nature. Protecting nature today will allow us to leave a better planet for our future generations.
Everyone everywhere can take part in practical, affordable solutions. Why not leave your car at home when you can? Be conscious of the energy you are using at work, or even when you are at home. Try switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs and taking the stairs where you can.
Ocean acidification and global warming are putting the whole ocean and your favorite animals are at risk. A Netflix documentary, Chasing Corals gives us some insight into just how much global warming is affecting our underwater world. It vividly and clearly explains what we stand to lose if we don’t act now and how much we have already lost. Do your part by understanding the effect your carbon footprint has on the planet and look for ways to offset what you cannot reduce and start to save the ocean.
See our recommended ocean documentaries here.
7. Reduce Your Plastics
There are so many small changes you can make in order to help reduce the use of plastic in today’s world. Plastics that become ocean debris results in the cause of death for thousands of marine animals each year. This is usually due to the entanglement and habitat destruction that the plastic can cause over a long period of time.
To give you an example of the impact that this can cause, did you know it can take up to 10 – 20 years for a plastic bag to decompose, and around 400 years for a plastic beverage holder? These are crazy statistics.
Most recently, it has now been confirmed that in the US alone, people use around 500 million straws every single day. And many of these straws end up in our ocean.
How to save the ocean? A strawless ocean starts with you, check out the Lonely Whales campaign to #Stopsucking and limit your impact today by making conscious efforts to help protect the environment.
8. Pick Safe, Sustainable Seafood
Many people don’t take the time to think about where the food they’re eating comes from. Are you one of these people? Fish populations around the globe are rapidly depleting due to high demand, unsustainable fishing practices and loss of habitat.
Help reduce the demand for overexploited species by picking seafood which is both healthful and sustainable next time you are shopping or dining out. Harmful fishing practices damage and pollute our underwater ecosystems, whereas overfishing leads to declines in species.
We each play an important role as a consumer. When buying seafood as part of your meal selection, try to choose sustainably sourced species and to help further, encourage others around you including any restaurants, friends and even shop owners to do the same.
9. Support Organisations Working to Save our Oceans
Many organizations are helping to protect and save our ocean habitats and the marine life within it. Find national organizations and look at the different ways you can help. Donations are often contributed to such organizations as well as volunteering programs with hands-on work.
Many conservational projects offer the option to adopt an animal where your money will make a real-life contribution to the work that is fighting to protect the animal of your choice.
If you are lucky enough to live near the coast, why not team up with a local group and get involved in projects closer to home. Beach cleanups are often hosted by local dive centers directly, but if you don’t have one close to you why not plan your own?!
Planning your own beach clean? Maybe these items could help?:
10. Take Action
The more people learn about our oceans and its inhabitants and how to protect the ocean the more they love being a part of ocean conservation. Issues become more apparent as your passion grows. With this passion comes great responsibility and also the desire to share your knowledge and inspire others.
Investing in marine life and scuba diving books is a great way to learn more about the ocean and everything that lives in it.
Scuba divers are amongst the strongest of the ocean defenders on the planet. Now divers are making a stand. Today’s world allows you to speak out for ocean preservation. So carry on and share those underwater photographs, campaign for change and report environmental damage and together we can help save our oceans.
If you have more tips on how to save the ocean we want to know! Make sure to comment below with your ideas and help us work towards a better world through ocean conservation.