6 Ways to Give Back to the Ocean

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“With every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you’re connected to the sea. No matter where on Earth you live.” –Sylvia Earle.

This month, we’re gearing up to celebrate Earth Day on April 22. Earth Day is a day to appreciate all that this planet gives us and raise awareness of the need to protect it and give back. Which, of course, has us thinking about the ocean and how we can help protect it.

We owe the ocean everything; it fills us with wonder, enchants us with beauty, and sustains all life on Earth. The greatest gift you can give to the sea is conservation. Here are six things you can do to help protect the ocean this Earth Day and beyond.

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Practice Responsible Recreation

Whether you are surfing, diving, or just enjoying a day at the beach, be accountable. Take only photographs, leave nothing but bubbles, collect any ocean debris and trash you see, and always respect marine life (no touching or harming of the animals).

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Decrease your Carbon Footprint

Cut carbon and help climate change effects on the ocean. Become mindful of energy consumption by: going solar, switching to a fuel effective car, walking more, buying locally, and switching to fluorescent light bulbs. Also, don’t forget to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

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Reduce Plastic Use

Plastic is polluting the world’s oceans at an unprecedented rate. There are currently about 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean, with 8 million pieces being contributed yearly. Help do your part by substituting plastics for reusable items. Carry reusable grocery totes, lunch ware, water-bottles and avoid buying plastic packaged products.

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Make Sustainable Seafood Choices

Global fish populations are dwindling significantly due to destructive over-fishing, bycatch, irresponsible fishing practices, and loss of habitat. Bluefin tuna are fast approaching the Endangered Species Llist, while approximately 100 million sharks suffer each year from wasteful finning customs used for delicacies like shark fin soup. You can make wise sustainable seafood choices that support healthy oceans by blacklisting certain species from your meals. Check out the Worldwide Sustainable Seafood Guide for a list in your region.

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Get Involved

Get involved with organizations and institutions working to make a difference in ocean conservation. Offer to volunteer in research, cleanups, or ocean movements. Get active by signing petitions, voting, and supporting legislators and laws that protect the ocean and the environment. You can also help by donating to your favorite ocean foundation such as Project AWARE.

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Get Educated about the Ocean

Read and learn as much as you can about the ocean and how your actions have an impact, so that you can make informed decisions and inspire others. Go diving and witness the magic of the ocean firsthand.

The article was originally published by PADI.com