Five Ocean Actions to Build a Big Blue Future

Even the smallest of changes can have long-lasting, ripple-like effects.

Easy, Ocean-Friendly Actions

It can be easy to feel disheartened by the problems our ocean faces and overwhelmed by the commitment required of most proposed solutions. For many, “saving our ocean” feels like an intangible impossibility—a problem with no straightforward solution.   
However, not every meaningful action needs to be a significant financial investment or stark lifestyle change. Check out these five simple actions you can take to help protect our ocean!

1. Choose Sustainable Seafood Every Time

 

MSC logo with text Pop Quiz: What type of products feature the MSC blue fish label? If you guessed canned seafood, you’d be right! Pet food? Also correct! In addition, the MSC blue fish label can be found at select fresh fish counters, in partner restaurants, like East-coast based Sushi Maki, and fish-oil supplements.  

Every time you choose the product featuring our blue fish label, you are investing in generations of sustainable fishing, heartier fish populations, and a healthy future for our ocean. 

2. Reduce Ocean Plastic Pollution

According to our friends at Shedd Aquarium in Chicago, the average U.S. citizen throws away 270 pounds of plastic, 79% of which “...ends up in landfills or litters our environment.” This problem is made worse by the increasing presence of single-use plastics, a class of items that NOAA states, “...are designed to be thrown out, like water bottles or take out containers. These are used and discarded quickly. If this waste isn’t properly disposed of or managed, it can end up in the ocean.” 

A small but important step you can take to reduce the number of microplastics that may harm our ocean is to replace single-use plastics with reusable alternatives.  

Some great starter items include this travel bamboo utensil pack from Happy Earth Apparel, or these colorful, patterned reusable totes from United by Blue; as a bonus, the tote folds up into a small square for easy storage! 

3. Decrease Your Carbon Footprint

You may have seen the term “carbon footprint” tossed around in environmental circles, but what does that mean, and how does it impact the health of our ocean?  

According to the Global Footprint Network, a science-based international nonprofit dedicated to ending limiting ecological strain, the term ‘carbon footprint’ is, “...often used as shorthand for the amount of carbon (usually in tonnes) being emitted by an activity or organization.”  

Your individual carbon footprint is the sum of carbon-emitting actions you complete within a measured period (a great way to determine your baseline is to use an ecological footprint calculator). Carbon emissions play a large role in climate change which, in turn, affects oceans and marine life. Impacts of climate change include, but are not limited to, shifts in temperature, water acidification, deoxygenation, and changes in ocean currents. 

These changes to our shared waters guarantee changes to fish stocks and long-term implications for the fishing industry. A great and simple way to help offset these changes is to decrease your individual carbon footprint and advocate for those around you to do the same. 

What are some ways to reduce your carbon footprint?  

Opt to take public transportation, carpool, or ride your bike to work, even if it’s only one day a week to start. Participate in ‘meatless Mondays’, or choose to incorporate wild-caught seafood for a protein source with a lower carbon footprint at least two times a week. Make sure to turn off all lights and unplug appliances, when and where possible.  

4. Invest in Ocean-Friendly Products

 

Even the most innocent of purchases can have long-lasting, negative impacts on our ocean; for example, do you know if the chemicals in your sunscreen are toxic to coral reefs and other marine life? Have you considered where that souvenir shell you purchased to commemorate your beach vacation was sourced from?  

Do the research and buy ocean-friendly products, including reef-safe sunscreen and biodegradable glitter (perhaps to help us celebrate our Big Blue Future?)

 

5. Keep Our Coasts Clean

If you live in a coastal community, you can make a direct and immediate impact on the ocean’s health. When it’s safe to go back outside again, consider connecting with a local environmental group and participating in a coastal cleanup. In the meantime, take a solo ‘trash walk’ along the coastline, a nearby trail, or a local park; set an attainable goal, say, five pieces of waste per walk.

 

 

Make a Commitment to Healthier Oceans

 

At the MSC, we know that it takes a series of small steps to build our big, blue future. Where will your journey begin? Discover where you can find MSC certified sustainable seafood options.

Show us the small—or big—ocean actions you're committing to taking this month! Share your #BigBlueFuture with us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

 

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