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June 8, 2017

5 Things we Can Do Right Now to Protect our Seas.

June 8th is World Oceans Day—a day to celebrate our beautiful, life-sustaining seas and recommit to protecting them.

On Monday, United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres cited a new study warning that by 2050, plastics could be more plentiful than fish in the world’s oceans. These plastics hurt and oftentimes kill sea life, and ultimately end up in our food.

Around the globe, events like beach-cleanups, documentaries about the ocean, and educational events are being hosted.

But if we can’t get to one of these events, there’s still a lot we can do to take care of our oceans and keep plastic from taking over. Here are five simple ways to celebrate our oceans, today and every day:

  1. Don’t use straws. Yep, they’re convenient and make drinking feel extra fancy. But too many of them end up in our oceans. Avoid buying plastic straws and refuse them when you dine out. If you love straws, consider investing in reusable, stainless steel ones.
  2. Bring reusable bags to the grocery store, including produce bags. It’s so easy to grab those plastic produce bags. But I finally bought a set of reusable, mesh produce bags, and I love them.
  3. Bulk up. Buy food like nuts, pasta, cereal, and rice from the bulk section of your grocery store, using reusable bags like these.
  4. Make sure the toothpaste, soap, and cosmetics you buy don’t contain microbeads using this cool, free app. It allows you to scan the barcode of a personal care or cosmetic item you’re considering purchasing to see if it contains microbeads, which are in many personal care items and don’t biodegrade but instead get ingested or absorbed by animals. (Note: I tried the app out, and many of the products in my home were not recognized as being in the system. Try this list of products if you have the same problem.)
  5. Advocate for your workplace to stop using plastic cutlery in its cafeteria or lunchroom. Does your workplace use plastic utensils? Yep, they’re convenient, but in the long run, it’s less expensive and better for the environment to invest in reusable cutlery, or to have people bring their own from home.

Some of these action steps are slightly inconvenient, or cost a little bit of money to get started. But our oceans, which produce oxygen for us to breathe, help keep our climate stable, and provide food and water, deserve at least that from us, don’t you think?

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Author: Lynn Shattuck
Image: Twitter
Editor: Nicole Cameron

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