The ocean needs our care as much as we need the ocean to survive.
As I shared in my most recent article 1km swim in the sea, a few days ago swimming was forbidden in Marseille, France, where my parents live, due to pollution.
Today swimming is still banned on most beaches for the same reason. This saddens me deeply but rather than crying in defeat I decided to write this article.
I know many of us care, but I often hear this question: ‘What can I do?’
I write this because I believe that if many of us make changes we can still have a positive impact. I am hopeful. I believe in us.
If you are reading this, I trust that like me, you love the sea.
Here I share with you a few simple tips to take care of the sea.
Land-based sources are recognized as the main cause (up to 80% of total marine debris) of marine plastic pollution. The other 20% is attributed to commercial fishing.
- Limit your single use plastic consumption
Buy a reusable water bottle so you can refill it rather than buying water bottles. Imagine how many bottles a year one person can buy otherwise. Imagine if everyone had a reusable water bottle. It makes a difference.
Opt for whole foods instead of processed packaged foods . Not only will you be reducing the amount of packaging, which is often not able to be recycled, these foods cause oxidation within your body- leading to lots of health conditions including dementia and cancer.
Instead opt for whole foods- ideally locally sourced and organic. I am aware this is not always financially viable but we can all try our best, whatever that looks like. For nuts, rice and beans, find a local shop that sells them loose so you can use your own reusable bags.
Remember your reusables, bags when grocery shopping, tupperware for eating out like at festivals/food trucks and for leftovers when eating in restaurants; a reusable coffee cup for hot drinks, this may sound like a considerable effort, but think of all the plastic we could save if we all do this. I have gotten in the habit of keeping these items in a bag so it’s easy to remember them when I am going out 🙂
A few years ago I completed a self imposed challenge of not using any single use plastic for just one little week. I decided to write a blog article about it. I share it with you in case you can get some inspiration from it. 1 Week No Single Use Plastic.
Here I share with you a picture I took on the Caribbean Coast of Guatemala the last time I went there in March this year. Most of the coast looks like this or worse.
In remote places where there is no trash collection or recycling, the only possible solution is to stop consuming plastic.
Be aware of what you wear on your skin, anything you wear will be washed off into the sea, so avoid putting things on your skin that contain chemicals (ie: traditional sunscreen, deodorant, fragrance etc)
Wear eco friendly sunscreen (mineral based) when going in the sea. Common ingredients like oxybenzone, octinoxate, nano titanium dioxide, and nano zinc oxide can harm coral reefs and sea creatures and have been linked to cancer for humans. Wearing a hat and sunglasses is a great way to keep your face covered and a good old parasol can help protect you from the sun if you’re there for the day.
Pick up trash, get in the habit of bringing a bag to pick up plastic when you go to the beach.
While picking up trash on the beach does not solve the problem at the source, it will still help marine life that may otherwise consume the plastics, especially as their break down to smaller pieces. September 17 is the International Coastal Cleanup day – participate in the global event by cleaning up your local shoreline, or check out their website for a map or community cleanups. Link for the International Coastal Cleanup.
If you want to learn more about plastic pollution, my dear sister and Florida Sea Grant agent Carolyn Kovacs will be giving a virtual presentation “Talk Trash and Take Action” on Thursday, September 15 at 7 pm EST and Friday, September 16 at 12 pm EST. Some of the information is more relevant to the local communities in Florida, but most of it applies world-wide. The event will take place on Zoom: https://ufl.zoom.us/j/97471371986
Reducing your consumption of sea animals is another way to care for the sea. Especially tinned fish. Big boats use gigantic nets that catch whatever is in their vicinity. Bycatch affects dolphins, seals, sharks and even whales.
Here I share with you a few very useful articles:
And a video you may find insightful and encouraging to stop buying plastic:
There are many more things we can all do but here are just a few.
Thank you for reading, and for caring.
Love and blessings to all beings everywhere, from the depths of the oceans to the heights of the sky ❤ May all our actions contribute to the wellbeing of all creatures wherever they may be.