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Natural Awakenings Northwest Florida

Saving Our Oceans

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June 8 is World Ocean Day, a time to inspire action and celebrate the incredible splendor of the ocean and all of its wondrous life-forms. There is a growing movement that calls for the protection and management of 30 per- cent of the world’s lands, fresh waters and oceans by 2030. Scientists believe that this is the critical mass needed to stem biodiversity loss and climate change fac- ing our planet.

Covering 71 percent of Earth, the glob- al ocean is the largest ecosystem on the planet, performing vital regulatory functions that influence weather and climate systems, impacting even those living far inland. This invaluable life source is in a dire state due to the damage humans have inflicted and continue to impose. 

Every year, 17.6 billion pounds of plastic pollution enter marine environments. As we spew growing levels of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, the ocean absorbs about 30 percent of it, causing seawater to become more acidic, to the detriment of sea life. Fertilizer runoff causes coastal algae to bloom, diminishing the oxygen in the water and causing massive fish kills that impact the natural food chain. Overfishing has ravaged certain species. And as global warming heats the ocean, glaciers melt, sea levels rise and ocean acidification intensifies. 

There is much we can do to protect the ocean and encourage the sustainable use of marine resources.

• Purchase organic food and support regenerative organic agriculture.

• Choose plastic-free products.

• Reuse and recycle when ever possible.

• Organize beach, riverbank and land cleanups.

• Avoid products that harm the ocean, such as cosmetics derived from shark cartilage or jewelry made of seashells.

• Use microfiber absorbers to wash synthetic clothing. 

• Write to legislators, pressing them to support policies that protect the ocean and marine wildlife.

• Bike to work, turn the lights out when leaving a room and keep the thermostat low. 

• Buy sustainably caught, wildseafood. 

• Leave nothing behind after a day at the beach or a picnic on the bay, making sure to dispose of all garbage.

• Spread the word about ocean pollution and let others know how they can help.

• Support reform of fishery management, focusing on practices that conserve ecosystems, while also sustaining livelihoods and ensuring food security. 

• Join an ocean conservation group to strive for change with like-minded people. 

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