How to Help Save the Ocean: Three Ways to Prevent Pollution
Oceans help combat climate change by absorbing over 90% of the heat and 30% of the CO2 produced by pollution, according to the Ocean Conservancy. Yet the ocean can absorb less and less of these harmful greenhouse gasses as it heats up—meaning climate change is becoming a real problem. If we don’t take action now to help protect our oceans, the damage to one of our world’s most diverse and mysterious ecosystems and fish populations could become permanent. If you’re on the search for ways to get involved now, we have discovered three actionable ways you can help protect the ocean carbon footprint and prevent pollution.
Ocean pollution facts
The ocean has become increasingly polluted in recent years due to the effects of human activity. It is not only solid waste and plastics that are a concern, but also harmful chemicals and greenhouse gasses as well. Here are five key ocean pollution facts you need to know:
- Wondering how much plastic is in the ocean? Over 150 million metric tons of plastic products are in our waters, with an additional eight million metric tons added each year—the equivalent of a garbage truck full of plastic and waste every minute.
- Plastics pollute our oceans, beach and harm fish life, killing over 100,000 sea turtles and ocean mammals each year, in addition to over one million birds and fish.
- Global sea levels have risen nearly 10 inches since 1900, with two of those inches happening in the past ten years. This is after more than 2,000 years of little to no change in sea level.
- Helping climate change will help our oceans, too. Harmful algal blooms are the result of rising ocean temperature and CO2 carbon footprint concentration, causing dead zones in the aquatic fish ecosystem, and severe illness in the life of humans.
- Ocean acidification, a result of excess CO2, threatens the entire marine food chain: plankton, shellfish, and coral reefs are unable to live in water that is too acidic.
Ocean pollution solutions
If you’re wondering how to help the ocean and marine life, there are many fun and unique ways to find ocean pollution solutions, from raising money for environmental charities to volunteering your time. Discover the organizations that are helping protect and restore the world’s oceans, and make sure you learn three ways you can take part in saving the environment.
1. Support marine conservation projects through volunteer work
If you live near a coastal area, there is likely a marine conservation project underway near you. Even if you live inland, you can always get involved and start a fundraiser to support marine conservation projects, no matter where they are. You can even start a fundraiser for volunteering abroad, to help cover the program fees and your travel expenses.
Here are a few examples of volunteer conservation programs that support marine life:
- Participate in sea turtle conservation in Costa Rica and Guatemala. Help build hatcheries for turtle eggs, ensure nesting habitats remain safe and clean and work with locals to develop sustainable egg protection programs.
- Volunteer at one of the National Marine Sanctuaries, operated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Volunteer duties may include saving beaches with cleaning products, monitoring water quality, and helping to identify whales.
- The Nature Conservancy offers a variety of volunteer opportunities related to marine conservation and environmental protection, internationally and in all 50 states.
- Help with marine conservation in Bali, by building artificial reef structures that provide a sanctuary for aquatic life.
2. Raise money for nonprofits
Raising money for environmental charities can be as simple as telling your story and sharing on social media. This is especially true when crowdfunding for nonprofits, as connecting with your donors and reaching a wide audience are both keys to a successful fundraiser. A couple of fun fundraising ideas for nonprofits include starting a “week without” challenge—collecting donations in lieu of everyday luxuries, talking about sustainable seafood or even like fancy coffee—and hosting a charity yard sale.
There is still much research to be done on marine life, and how best to protect it. Scientists estimate that at least 95% of the ocean has not been explored, and still don’t know the exact number of unique ocean species—though it could be well over one million. Starting a fundraiser for an ocean nonprofit is a great way to help promote marine conservation, and protect the environment in the process.
3. Start a recycling initiative
The more material we reuse and repurpose, such as plastic and other cleaning products, the less waste ends up in landfills and in our oceans. You can help either at home or abroad to promote recycling and help reduce marine pollution. Start a recycling program in your community by working with your local government, or bring recycling bins to your workplace and educate coworkers on what types of material can be recycled.
Another idea is to start a fundraiser to raise money to support new or existing recycling programs in developing countries. Recycling programs are of extra importance in beach and coastal areas, where plastic materials that could be recycled end up as trash in the ocean instead.
Fundraisers to help the ocean
Many people have turned to crowdfunding as a way to make a positive impact and help save the fish and ocean. Take a look at a couple of examples of how others are using fundraising to support marine conservation.
Sailing enthusiast Sam wanted to raise awareness within the sailing community about ocean conservation, so he decided to take a 2,700-mile sailing trip between Africa and the Caribbean. To fund the trip, he started a fundraiser which brought in to.over $37,000. The funds helped cover the cost of his trip and make his vision a reality.
Dawn started a fundraiser to collect donations in support of her 3,000-mile, solo rowing trip across the Atlantic Ocean. The trip was intended to raise awareness about the devastation of plastic causes within our oceans, as well as raise money for the Marine Conservation Society. Dawn raised over $21,000 and became the second-fastest woman to ever complete the route.
You can help ocean conservation efforts today
One of the planet’s most amazing resources is in jeopardy, and we must take action right now to protect our fish, ocean mammals and reduce further damage. Continuing efforts to reduce our impact on this precious marine ecosystem is the responsibility of us all, and there are many ways you can search for help. Start a fundraiser to support your favorite ocean conservation efforts, and see what you can do to preserve our oceans for generations to come.