RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—As we've been pointing in many ocean stories, anyone who enjoys seafood, fishing, snorkeling, or breathing oxygen (the ocean produces up to 70 percent of the world's O2) needs to be concerned about the endangered state of the world's oceans. But as author and ocean activist Ted Danson points out in the new book Oceana, not only are there lots of options for all of us to help turn the situation around, but also some of the solutions are already under way. Whether you're concerned about climate change, overfishing, or other threats, you can take action. Here are some ways to get started.
To reduce the potential for oil spills by lowering our dependence on offshore oil:
1: Tell President Obama to invest in offshore wind, not offshore oil.
2: Maintain your vehicle appropriately—proper inflation of tires, among other things, can improve efficiency tremendously and help you save gas.
3: Change your car's motor oil every 5,000, rather than 3,000 miles.
4: Shop for and buy petroleum-free cosmetics and personal-care products. Try our natural hairstyle suggestions.
To reduce ocean acidification caused by climate change:
5: Join a group committed to reducing CO2, such as 350.org, 1sky.org, or repoweramerica.org.
6: Replace household appliances that are more than 15 years old, especially refrigerators and washing machines, with EnergyStar-rated appliances. You'll save energy and save money, and by using less energy you'll reduce greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.
7: Eat organic food whenever possible; organic agriculture produces fewer greenhouse gases. Shop at a local farmer's market to find organic food that travels fewer miles, so you conserve on fossil fuel use.
8: Reduce the number of leisure air-travel trips you take. For your next vacation, try a stay-cation or local hiking trip with family or friends.
9: To find out how to reduce your own personal carbon dioxide emissions at home, doing things as simple as changing your lightbulbs and filling the air in your tires, go to RePowerAmerica.org.
To reduce pressure on fisheries and threatened species, and reduce harmful fishing tactics:
10: Take action to protect threatened and endangered sea turtles.
11: Visit/volunteer at a sea turtle hospital, such as the Karen Beasley Center in Topsail Island, North Carolina, to see in person the effects of destructive fishing gear on wildlife.
12: Eat sustainably caught fish, and teach your friends and family about sustainable seafood, too. See our list of the healthiest, safest, food to eat, and visit MontereyBayAquarium.org to find out more.
13: Talk to the managers at the restaurants you frequent and tell them not to serve "red-list" seafood.
14: Don't eat bluefin tuna, and contact sushi restaurants to encourage them to stop serving it.
15: Eat at restaurants that serve sustainable fish. Visit Fish2Fork.com to find them.
16: Be an informed consumer and buy environmentlally friendly fish and seafood. Know what kind of seafood you are eating, where it comes from, and how it was caught.
17: Buy your favorite shellfish from local fishermen. Avoid eating other shellfish unless you have reassurances that they were not fished by industrial trawlers.
Even more great ways to help our endangered oceans: See 10 Surprising Ways to Rescue our Oceans by Maria Rodale.
18: Work a stint as a bycatch observer aboard a fishing vessel.
To help the oceans every day:
19: Join a group that supports the oceans, like Oceana (Oceana.org).
20: Ditch plastic and use reusable bags, bottles, containers, utensils, and even straws. Plastic debris in the oceans degrades marine habitats and contributes to the deaths of many marine animals. Try going completely plastic free to appreciate how much of the plastic in our lives goes unnoticed.
21: Properly dispose of hazardous materials. Motor oil and other hazardous materials often end up washing into coastal areas because they aren't disposed of properly.
22: Grow your lawn and garden organically. When synthetic chemical fertilizers are used in gardening and agriculture, the excess eventually ends up in the ocean. One result is a "dead zone"—an area with very low levels of oxygen in the water. Since all marine life, including fish and shrimp, require oxygen to live, creatures must flee the area or die. Check out our green lawn-care tips and see OrganicGardening.com to learn everything you need to know about growing using organic methods.
23: Pick up litter on beaches and help reduce costal pollution. Much of the plastic and debris found in the ocean are first discarded on the beach. Bring a trash bag with you for your garbage, and organize a beach cleanup party with friends and family or local community members.
24: Don't buy coral jewelry! Coral reefs are critical marine ecosystems, vital to the survival of countless fish species.
25: Share what you've learned. Buy copies of Oceana as gifts for birthdays and holidays this year!
Published on: April 7, 2011