Things That Can Help Save the Oceans

Medically Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, MS, DO on September 09, 2021
4 min read

More than half the earth’s surface is covered by oceans—71%, to be exact. Humans rely on the oceans for certain foods, jobs, trade, hobbies, and more. Saving the oceans might seem like an impossible task for you to take on alone, but there are many small lifestyle choices you can make to help preserve the oceans.

As companies continue to produce more and more plastic products, the danger of plastic to the marine world becomes very serious. Somehow, around 17.6 billion pounds of plastic makes its way into oceans each year. One of the greatest threats is single-use plastic.

Single-use plastic refers to products like straws, plastic cutlery, water bottles, shopping bags, take-out containers, and other plastic items that you use once and then throw away.

To battle this threat, you can opt for plastic-free alternatives to typical plastic products. For example, you can bring fabric bags to the grocery store, buy a reusable water bottle, or buy reusable metal straws.

When we burn fossil fuels, the ocean absorbs excess heat that is let off into the environment. As a result, the water in the oceans is warming, which has set off a serious chain of events, including bleached coral reefs, displaced fish, and rising sea levels.

You can do your part to reduce your carbon footprint and stop contributing to this phenomenon in a number of ways. When you’re not using electronics, unplug or turn them off. If you live close to work or the grocery store, walk or ride your bike.

Next time you’re buying skin care products or jewelry, do a little digging to find out if what you're buying is directly connected to pollution, the harming of marine life, or unsustainable fishing. Some cosmetics are made with shark squalene, certain pieces of jewelry contain coral or shells from sea turtles, and plenty of souvenirs are made from conchs, nautiluses, and other sea life.

Overfishing is a major problem when it comes to ocean health, especially in coral reefs. If too many fish are taken out of an ecosystem or reef, it negatively affects the rest of the surrounding marine life and can turn coral reefs into empty, algae-covered rocks. To help fight against this, you can choose to eat sustainable seafood.

Do some research online to find out what kinds of fish are sustainable. If you’re at a restaurant or grocery store, look for fish marked as “line caught,” “diver caught,” “sustainably caught,” or “sustainably harvested”.

You can affect change on a wider level by voting smart. Vote for public officials who are dedicated to good ocean policies and will work to protect marine life and the oceans. Once they’re elected, do your best to hold them accountable. Send letters, write emails, and make phone calls on a regular basis to remind them why it’s important to preserve the oceans.

Adopt a “leave no trace” attitude on your next visit to the beach. Much of the trash and plastic that ends up in the ocean starts off as litter, so bring a trash bag with you or find out how to volunteer for local beach cleaning days.

Passion is contagious. When you advocate for the oceans to your friends, family, and others, you do your part in educating them about why the oceans matter. You can sign and share petitions, join advocacy groups on social media, and volunteer locally in groups that work to better the oceans.

Many common, hazardous household products are harmful to the oceans. Motor oil, for example, will make its way into the water if not disposed of properly. This contributes to pollution and damages our oceans’ overall health. Before you dump something hazardous down the drain, do some quick research to find out if there’s a better way of disposing of it.

All water ends up in the oceans! The fertilizer that you use on your lawn does the same as it makes your way down the drain after you water it. True to its purpose, fertilizer in the ocean results in algae blooms that make it hard for nearby marine life to survive. Next time you buy fertilizer, look into safer, organic options.

These are small steps that you can take to save the oceans, but they have big effects. Continue learning more about this serious issue and sharing information with your peers.