It's Everyone's Responsibility To Make Ocean Conservation A Priority

By Peter Stevens

Amazingly enough there are still plenty of climate change deniers out there. They act as though the earth has an unlimited capacity for abuse and neglect. Most reasonable people, who understand that icecaps are melting and sea temperatures are rising, know we have a problem. Even many of the naysayers appreciate that if the oceans are compromised, the human race will be in peril. Ocean conservation is in everyone's best interest.

If you are one of the people who respects the environment and is concerned about any negative impact you could have on it, there are some simple things you can do. Teaching your children that walking and biking are viable modes of transportation and that they don't emit noxious fumes into the atmosphere is a beginning. You can turn out lights when you leave a room and turn the thermostat down when you leave the house.

Plastic is such a part of our lives that we don't think about using something else that would work just as well. We now have actual islands in the Pacific and Atlantic consisting of nothing but trash. The convergence of currents and wind has drawn our refuse to areas of the Sargasso Sea and what is known as the Pacific Garbage Patch. Instead of plastic, try using cloth shopping totes, and recycle everything you can.

Beaches are national treasures for every country lucky enough to have them. Many visitors however are careless about how they treat these beautiful stretches of land and water. You can teach your children to leave the beaches the way they found them, to refrain from pulling coral and rocks off the ocean floor, and to become active in community beach cleanup days.

A lot of people love to eat seafood and believe fish is a healthy alternative to red meat. When you order rare and exotic species in restaurants and seafood markets, you are participating in the further destruction of a fragile ecosystem. Refusing to purchase items like shark teeth, tortoiseshell combs, and coral necklaces sends a message to shop owners that it is unacceptable to exploit marine populations.

If you have pets, you need to read the food labels and buy only sustainable seafood products. Flushing litter is bad for your plumbing, no matter what the label says, and even worse for water sources. Litter contains pathogens that harm marine life. If you have an aquarium, you should never purchase wild saltwater fish for it and never dump the contents of a fish tank into open water.

Concerned individuals, who don't know much about conservation, should educate themselves. How your elected officials vote on these issues is a matter of public record. You can teach your children to make informed decisions when it comes to supporting restaurants and seafood markets that will only offer sustainable seafood.

We may not be able to destroy the earth, but we can destroy our ability to inhabit it. Plenty of damage has already been done. It is up to each individual to prevent further harm.

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