What Can You Do to Help Keep Our Oceans Healthy?

While environmental threats to our planet can sometimes seem overwhelming, it’s important to keep in mind that each and every person can help in their own way. Don’t underestimate the power you have to make a difference. Our oceans are necessary to sustain life here on earth, and there are many ways you can help keep them healthy and thriving. Consider these 6 ideas to help keep our oceans protected.

Use Less Plastic and Create Less Trash

Disposable products like plastic water bottles can often end up in the ocean, entangling marine life. Try using a reusable water bottle instead. Bring your own reusable canvas bags to the grocery store instead of using their plastic bags. Canvas is stronger and will allow you to carry more at once anyway – it’s a win-win!

Help Keep Your Beaches Clean

When you’re spending time on the beach, make sure to clean up after yourself. Have a little extra time to kill? Take a nice evening walk along the coast and pick up any debris you might see on the way.

Be Conscientious of Your Carbon Footprint

Make yourself aware of your own carbon footprint. Try walking, biking or taking public transportation to work as opposed to driving. Carpooling is also a good option! If you usually take the elevator at work or in your apartment building, consider using the stairs from now on. You’ll get a little extra workout as well!

Make Smart Seafood Choices

With increase in demand and loss of habitat, global fish populations are decreasing. If you’re an avid seafood eater, educate yourself on the most environmentally friendly options. When eating out or picking up seafood from the store, know where the product is coming from.

Influence Change

Look into organizations that support your cause. What can you do to help? Influence change in your community by only shopping for seafood or eating out at restaurants that serve sustainable seafood options. Simply opening up conversation with your peers about your concerns can create a wave of movement as well.

Stay Educated

The more you know, the more you’ll be able to and want to help. Do plenty of research on global threats as well as local. Share your knowledge with your friends and family, and you can truly help spark a change for the better.


Plastic Microbeads: Scrubbing Your Skin, Polluting Your Planet

The next time you reach for that new skin care product, you should probably think again. That fresh face may come with a big price tag. Microbead awareness is about to have its moment, but at the moment, most people aren’t aware that many popular cleaning and skin care products are extremely hazardous, filled with tiny little plastic pieces which pollute the world’s water and may pose significant problems we’re yet to find. Activists, scientists, environmentalists, and public health experts the world over are currently pushing for bans on these deceptively dangerous little balls of plastic. And, so far, their push appears to be working.

What are Plastic Microbeads?

Plastic microbeads are the tiny little spheres of plastics, such as polyethylene and polypropylene, which are found in lots of cleaning produces. Manufacturers sell them to public based on their exfoliating properties; those teeny dots are intended to reach into your pores, scrub out the gunk, and leave your face looking bright and fresh. And, apparently, it works. But there’s a price to pay.

Microbeads and Water

That price is big one. According to a report recently published in Nature, American water habitats are flooded with eight trillion beads every day. Eight. Trillion. Every day. In Lake Ontario, researchers found 1.1 million beads per square mile.  While many of these beads are supposedly caught by water treatment plants, they still make it into the larger world, being sprayed onto crops and eventually trickling into the water system anyways, according to Nature. Then they get eaten by local wildlife. That’s when things get nasty.

Microbeads and Wildlife

Microbeads look like plankton. Plankton is an important source of nutrition for much of the world’s wildlife population. The world’s wildlife, being unaware of what polypropylene is, gobble this plastic caviar by the mouthful. Shrimp and other little creatures eat a particularly large amount of these beads. These animals are, in turn, eaten by larger animals. Which we eat. If we are what we eat, then we get closer every day to become mannequins, it seems. This is a new enough problem that the research is still out, but it can’t be good more massive portions of the American population to be eating polypropylene regularly.  

What’s Being Done

Luckily, environmentalists around North America have been raising the alarm, and lawmakers have been taking notice. In California, lawmakers recently sent a proposal governor Jerry Brown describing a law that would phase out plastic microbeads of a certain size by 2020. In Illinois, the push to get them banned by 2017. A bipartisan bill by Michigan and New Jersey lawmakers is pushing for a 2018 ban. The same thing is happening in Europe.
These laws appear to be receiving popular support. Activists should appreciate the rare ease they are having getting this issue noticed. While the damage being done is serious, and the lawmakers will take a few years to get these bills through, it seems clear that the government is doing the right thing here.