June 8th is World Oceans Day
It is estimated that 8 million metric tons of trash enter our oceans every year and, as a planet, we use over 500 million plastic straws every day. It’s a massive worldwide problem, and today, June 8th 2019, is the day we mark our commitment to make change for the better. Today is World Oceans Day and here are 7 things you can do, big and small, to help support our oceans.
1. Take the 4 R’s pledge and say no to single use plastic
Refuse – Say no to single use plastic whenever possible
Reuse – Purchase reusable straws and containers, bottles and bags for every day use.
Reduce – your carbon footprint. Choose grocery items not individually wrapped (ie: don’t buy single serve snacks, but larger family packs and package in reusable containers). If it comes in plastic, try not to buy it, or forego the wrapping (ie: shopping bags) altogether.
Recycle – If you do have plastic, please make sure you put it out for recycling!
In honor or World Oceans Day take the pledge today at the Plastic Pollution Coalition.
2. Eliminate single-use plastic wherever possible
Say no to single-use plastic straws in restaurants and cafes. Spread the word by downloading these printable “Please serve straws upon request” cards and handing them out everywhere you see plastic straws being used. The more awareness we can bring to the cause, the greater our chance of success. Hey, if companies like Starbucks can do it, then there is no reason why we cannot either.
You can download the cards here
Another way to eliminate single-use plastic straws is to carry your own reusable silicone or metal straws in your purse or car in case you are about and about and in need of a straw. I carry these stainless steel straws in my purse for when the urge for a frappuccino hits me or for the occasional soda at our local restaurant.
There are so many alternatives, and you are not limited to steel or silicone. Bamboo, paper, glass and even hay straws are available for purchase. You can check out some pretty cool options over at Strawless Ocean.
3. Spread the word about ditching plastic straws
Find out more how you can help become part of the strawless planet revolution:
4. Volunteer at an ocean or beach clean up event
Here are two great resources for volunteering at a local beach or ocean clean up, or how you can start your own!
International coastal cleanup is Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019. You can start planning now to host your first clean up!
5. Make a purchase for a worthy cause
Did you know there are companies making jewelry with the trash they collect and recycle? 4Ocean does. And with every bracelet that is purchased, one pound of trash is pulled out of the oceans.
For every bracelet sold, 4Ocean removes one pound of trash. If you don’t live near a beach or ocean, like myself, participating in a beach or ocean clean up isn’t a viable option on any given day of the week.
I recently purchased the leatherback sea turtle bracelet and am loving it! Each month they create a different bracelet, so you can do multiple donations and receive a different bracelet every month, either to keep for yourself or give to a friend. Even the packaging is environmentally friendly, shipped in an envelope made from recycled paper.
Kudos to 4ocean!
Shop for your bracelet here
6. Virtually adopt an endangered species
Many conservancies and organizations are vying for your donations to help support their non-profit. How do you choose between them all?
Well, the first rule is always to donate to charities or non-profits where you have a deep and personal connection. If you’ve traveled to the Galapagos Islands or The Arctic and seen the sea turtles or polar bears, you may have developed a close affinity with either or both of the creatures. How can you help?
A symbolic virtual adoption.
Any donation to a non-profit is a worthy donation, however, sometimes you like to know exactly where your money is going. Organizations such as The Galapagos Conservancy or Polar Bears International have developed programs where your donation is set up like a virtual adoption. The money you give is earmarked specifically to help conservation efforts for a specific species. Whether it be the Polar Bear in the Arctic or a blue-footed booby bird or sea turtle in the Galapagos, you can symbolically adopt one of these endangered animals and directly aid in their conservation efforts.
7. Go on an expedition cruise
Yes, this may seem completely counter-intuitive.
Why take a cruise on a ship which contributes to global warming, pollution and is threatening the very environment we are trying to save? The fact of the matter is, many of the companies operating expeditions to remote and threatened areas such as Antarctica, the Arctic and The Galapagos Islands must adhere to extremely stringent protocols when sailing in these areas.
In addition, companies like Lindblad Expeditions, Silversea, Quark Expeditions and Hurtigruten are among the cleanest and greenest vessels afloat. They are committed to building environmental sustainability in their fleet – building new ships operating on LNG (liquified natural gas) or battery powered hybrid propulsion. These ships also have their own on-board water filtration and recycling programs, and are endeavoring to move to a completely plastic free environment on board, some are already there.
Other ships are being built with a dynamic positioning systems which eliminate the need for anchors that could potentially harm the coral and undersea life. The advancements being made are endless. As new technology develops, you can expect newer and more innovative ships to grace our seas. In honor of World Oceans Day, Lindblad Expeditions recently announced they are a carbon neutral company. Big news, and the perfect reason why you shouldn’t hold back from taking that dream trip you have always wanted to take. Here is the CEO, Sven Lindblad’s announcement:
A little goes a long way
For as little effort as it takes to make a negative impact on the environment, so too is the effort small to make a positive impact. Whether it is saying “no” to that straw with your soda, bringing your own bags to the grocery store or picking up that empty plastic water bottle and throwing it into the recycling. These small changes are zero effort on your part and, when you think about, each of those actions greatly eliminates the likelihood they will end up in our oceans.
The next time you reach for a straw, think twice about it and just say “NO”.
’til next time
Explore. Discover. Learn
P.S. If you are in the market for an expedition cruise, be sure to download my polar expedition cruise guide to help you make a informed choice on your cruising options.