Mother Ocean Day, May 12th, is a holiday dedicated to keeping our ocean clean, healthy and balanced. Though there are seven seas (the Arctic, North Atlantic, South Atlantic, North Pacific, South Pacific, Indian, and Southern Oceans), there is only one world ocean. Did you know 71 percent of Earth is comprised of this vast body of water? While the ocean is divided into five different regions (the Atlantic, Pacific, Indian, Arctic and Southern Antarctic), it is still one big mass of water. The ocean is vital to this planet, and Mother Ocean Day honours that. Unfortunately, man does not always show respect to the ocean, or the sea life in it by constantly polluting and overfishing. Here are four ways to save the ocean and sea life this Mother Ocean Day.
The old saying "there are plenty of fish in the sea" is not as credible as it used to be. Due to overfishing, lack of effective management, and our over-consumption habits, there has been a steep decline in wild fish populations. For example, in the past decade, Atlantic populations of halibut and yellowtail flounder have joined the list of species at all-time lows. Also, the breeding population of Pacific bluefin tuna is now at only four percent of its original size and decline will continue if immediate changes in management are not made. There are also other problems with fishing, such as the accidental catches of unwanted species (called bycatch) and habitat damage from fishing gear. Most of these problems can be fixed with proper regulation and better fishing gear, but if change does not happen soon enough, the effects could be devastating.
One thing you can do, as a consumer, is to avoid eating fish that are overfished. Thankfully, the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program helps make that easier by creating free printable consumer guides. These guides are designed to tell you what the best choices are regarding sustainable seafood. They also tell you which seafood to steer clear of altogether. To find sustainable seafood wherever you live or travel to, you can just choose a region on their website and download the printable guide for yourself. When you learn what is considered sustainable in your area, be sure to ask the restaurants you go to if their seafood meets that criteria. Also, if you are buying seafood yourself, look for seafood with Eco-Certifications. This is how you know it was fished sustainably.
Of course, you can also avoid purchasing seafood entirely. Choosing not to eat seafood will create less of a demand for it and help reduce the need for overfishing. Whatever you decide to do, make a conscious, proactive choice for the betterment of our oceans.
Humans have generated more than 8.3 billion metric tons of plastic since large scale plastic production began. Considering only 9 percent of plastic is actually recycled, that's a lot of waste. To make matters worse, this plastic is often found in waterways around the world, polluting the oceans and killing marine life. Plastic straws can get lodged in turtles' noses, plastic bags can be mistaken as jellyfish and eaten for food, microplastics can get lodged in the intestines of marine life and build up over time, etc. Plastic is overall just a nuisance to marine life. That's why it's so important to reduce your plastic consumption as an individual. You can start by making a pledge to cut out single use plastics from your life. Some examples of single use plastic are plastic cutlery, plastic cups, plastic water bottles, plastic plates, plastic straws, plastic wrap, etc. Replace these with reusable items that have a longer life span, such as reusable stainless steel cutlery, reusable cups and plates, reusable water bottles, reusable (glass, bamboo or metal) straws, and reusable beeswax wraps. All these items will help you drastically reduce your trash on a daily basis. You'll be amazed at how much simpler your life gets when you cut single use plastics out!
How can you save the ocean and sea life if you don't know anything about both of them? Doing research on marine life is a great idea, and one amazing resource to look into is Oceana, an international organization focused solely on oceans. They have a whole ocean animal encyclopedia to check out and cover everything from corals and other invertebrates to sharks.
Here are a few facts about the ocean, from National Geographic Kids you may not have known:
Pretty amazing right? The more you know about the ocean, the more you can educate people on why it needs to be saved. Some other ways to learn about the ocean are to read books, watch documentaries, and of course, visit and explore it yourself! If you decide to go scuba diving, make sure you are a professional (or are at least with one). If you encounter any oceans or beaches with a lot of plastic waste on them, organize a beach cleanup!
Believe it or not, your bath products can pollute waterways when they go down the drain. If your bath time products are full of questionable synthetic ingredients, instead of plant-based ingredients, they can actually hurt marine life when you use them in the shower. We recommend giving our bath products a go (we carry an assortment of different brands to choose from – all of which utilize natural ingredients that won't pollute waterways). Some of our favourites include Boreal Forest Soap by Province Apothecary, Rahua Shampoo and Conditioner, Bath Oil for Glowing Radiance by Ila, and Spa Body Scrub for Energizing and Detoxifying by Ila. The Boreal Forest Soap can replace any shower gel, body wash or bar soap you have with questionable ingredients, giving you a good clean without polluting waterways. Rahua shampoo and conditioner will leave your hair feeling amazing without using any harsh chemicals. Ila Bath oil can be used to create a luxurious bathing experience (it smells of rose, tuberose and vetiver). Last but not least, Ila Spa Body Scrub will scrub away dead skin cells, leaving your body rejuvenated and super soft. All these products are crafted with natural ingredients that won't hurt the environment when they're washed down the drain and are biodegradable. You can indulge in them and have a clear conscious. Just make sure to recycle or reuse any of the packaging they come in!
How do you plan on celebrating Mother Ocean Day?
Ariana Palmieri is a green beauty blogger and guest contributor at Petal & Post who strives to live as eco-friendly as possible. In 2015 she started her blog, Greenify-Me, to document her own journey with eco-friendly products, makeup, and the environment. The site features beauty product reviews, natural DIYs, healthy recipes, and more. Her work has also been featured on MindBodyGreen, Motivation Grid, The Penny Hoarder, Antonym Cosmetics, Plant Makeup, Jeannine Morris, Basmati, Beezy Beez, and National Viral.