This post first appeared in our weekly Make Waves Mondays email series on June 7, 2021.
This past Sunday, I had the pleasure of spending the day at Tacoma Ocean Fest, meeting other amazing ocean warriors dedicated to protecting our big blue planet. I got to spend the day getting to know Downtown On The Go, catching up with The Ikkatsu Project, and crying laughing with Restyle Clothing Company and The Chayah Movement as the sun came out just as we packed up my tent at the end of the day.
I’m such an introvert, I was down and out for the rest of the night when I got home, but the rain and ‘rona couldn’t stop the nearly 1000 ocean warriors who came out to celebrate the ocean. This was such an incredible event, as always, and I’m already looking forward to 2022!
But the ocean festivities didn’t end there! We got to continue celebrating Ocean Week with World Ocean Day on Tuesday!
This year’s World Ocean Day theme is protecting at least 30% of our blue planet by 2030.
Right now, only 15% of land is protected, and even though oceans cover about 70% of earth’s surface, only about 7% of oceans are protected.
Trees are great and all, but did you know that we actually get up to 80% of our oxygen from the ocean?
Protecting our oceans and lands is critical for our own survival. But it’s important to protect the right areas, and work with the indigenous and local communities that live there. The traditional model of conservation - “fence and fine” - where we simply fence off an area and prosecute anyone who uses it, doesn’t work. Conservation for the sake of conservation doesn’t accomplish our long-term goals.
We need to work with people, use science to back up our decisions, support biodiversity and enhance the lives of communities.
So, this Ocean Week, I’ve put together some of my favorite ways to protect our oceans, today and every day. (Complete with Finding Nemo gifs because...ocean.)
Sign the Protect 30x30 petition!
Our voices amplify together. Let governments and decision-makers worldwide hear our call for stronger protections for our planet.
Pick up 3 pieces of litter.
Search around your local community to see if anyone is doing a trash walk. If not, gather some friends and family to go clean up a beach, park, or even just your neighborhood. All drains lead to the ocean, after all.
Watch a documentary.
My favorite ocean documentary (and really all-time favorite documentary) is Blue the Film. It’s not currently streaming anywhere, but you can rent it on iTunes for $4. And it is so worth the $4.
(If you missed my review of why I don’t recommend Seaspiracy, give it a read, too, before you turn on Netflix.)
Support ocean-friendly restaurants.
Did you know Surfrider has an ocean-friendly restaurant certification program? Restaurants have to meet certain standards, such as no plastic bottles, following proper recycling guidelines, always offering vegetarian and vegan options, and more. Find an ocean-friendly restaurant in your neighborhood to support this week!
Review the recycling guidelines in your city.
If you’re not 100% sure what’s recyclable where you live, google “recycling guidelines [your city].” Because while recycling isn’t the answer to our waste problem, recycling right is a really important piece of it.
And speaking of recycling check out our blog posts on the 5 things you need to know to recycle right and the 5 surprisingly unrecyclable pieces of paper. These two posts are great jumping-off points to make sure you're recycling right no matter where you live!
Choose reef-safe sunscreen.
Traditional sunscreen has a ton of chemicals that are harming our coral reefs the same way rising ocean temperatures are. Learn more about what makes a sunscreen reef-safe and opt for a reef-safe sunscreen the next time you’re out in the sun.
Ask Airbnb to add a “green” filter.
Because how amazing would it be to filter places to stay based on their eco-commitment? Sign the petition here!
Join the Plastic Free EcoChallenge.
Even though it doesn’t start until July, this week is a great time to join the Plastic Free EcoChallenge. Go join our team, A Drop in the Ocean’s EcoWarriors, watch the intro video, and start checking out some of the actions you can take to protect our planet and our oceans.
Switch to a low-flow showerhead.
If you’re like me and don’t understand how anyone can possibly take a 5-minute shower and yet all the water-saving tips say to do just that, switch to a low-flow showerhead instead. Take the same shower you already do, but with less water and zero effort.
Support organizations and people protecting ocean habitats and marine wildlife.
*wink wink* Here at A Drop in the Ocean we donate at least 1% of every purchase to our ocean conservation partner, Vermilion Sea Institute. VSI is on a mission to foster sustainable and enriching relationships between human societies and the ecosystems that support them. Their incredible work has inspired countless community members, local children, and visitors from around the world to protect our seas - myself included.
If you’re on Instagram, here are some of my favorite ocean-centric accounts to follow: Surfrider (find your local chapter, too!), Take 3 for the Sea, Dani Washington, Dr. Jeanette Davis, and Seaside with Emily.
So tell me, friend, how are you celebrating World Ocean Day and Ocean Week? Comment below and share with me!