A Call to Action: 8 Ways We can Save Our Seas
What a morning! I started on turtle patrol at 6 am and before the sun had even risen and my coffee had a chance to kick in my emotions went from complete devastation to complete elation in matter of minutes.
I saw my first hammerhead shark, something that has been at the top of my bucket list, and it was a baby! But it was dead and bloody on the beach, most likely having suffered at the hands of a fisherman, and my heart sank to a low that left me devoid of energy.
Then I received a call from the patrol and someone had found a turtle hatchling! I was able to help rescue a brand new baby loggerhead turtle who was struggling to hold on as he had clearly used up his first burst of energy that was supposed to get him into the ocean safely. It was amazing!
I think the events of the morning are a good representation of my summer observations here in Atlantic Beach, Florida. And despite the many miracles I have witnessed, I have also seen many heartwrenching examples of the negative impact humans are having on our marine neighbors.
The two other turtles I saw this season were dead, large pregnant mothers whose carapaces (shells) had been torn open most likely a result of being struck by tanker ships. I also saw the head of a shark eerily staring back at me from the beach (see above photo), a gruesome example of the lack of respect our species repeatedly shows toward an intelligent species that has been around for hundreds of millions of years.
Since it is my love and passion for marine life that inspired me to live sustainably in the first place, I feel it is my duty to share some resources and information to help us all be better stewards of our oceans.
1. Educate yourself and your loved ones on the issues surrounding our ocean – Some great resources are Oceana, National Geographic, Conservation International, WiseOceans and Sea Turtle Restoration Project.
2. Choose sustainable seafood – Destructive fishing methods and overfishing are two of the biggest causes of the decline of our oceans health.
4. Do not buy products that exploit marine life – These include shark fins, tortoise shell jewelry, coral decor, and harvested shells, starfish, urchins, etc.
5. Say no to Seaworld and other amusement aquariums – These parks employ abusive methods of capturing the animals as well as poor living conditions. Some films to catch that cover this issue are Blackfish which is in theatres now and The Cove.
6. Get involved – There are so many incredible projects and opportunities out there where you can actually make a difference and have a life changing experience at the same time! Read here about my experience doing marine conservation in the Seychelles and here for a thorough list of activities you can do worldwide! And if you can’t take the time or travel, there are many awesome organizations to support such as Manta Trust, Surfrider Foundation and Shark Savers.
7. Visit a Marine Protected Area – There are many marine parks along the coast of California and Florida where human activities are restricted and as a result marine life flourishes so make sure you take advantage and enjoy seeing these ecosystems thrive as they should.
8. Reduce your footprint on the ocean – Here’s a guide featuring ocean friendly travel tips!
And remember, reducing your consumption, making conscious informed decisions as a consumer and reducing your carbon footprint are all great ways to help our oceans overall! Let’s all strive to be the best stewards of the ocean we can be so our children and the generations to come can enjoy all of the life, nourishment and beauty the marine world has to offer!