Help Save the Oceans

  • by: JL Angell
  • target: All Who Care About Preserving the Oceans and its Living Creatures Great and Small

Look at this list from the Sea Turtle Restoration Project to see what more you can do and take the Pledge.

Restoring Oceans. Restoring Hope.

The world's oceans face a mounting crisis of abuse and overuse--but you can help!  Just by taking small, common-sense steps that reduce your impact, you join a growing movement of ocean awareness that's good for the ocean....and good for you.

Share the "50 Ways to Help Save the Ocean" emails on Facebook, just click here: Share on Facebook.

Just say no to swordfish. Most swordfish is caught using surface longlines or drift gillnets that catch and kill thousands of endangered sea turtles each year around the world. Sustainable? No! U.S. Atlantic longliners catch hundreds of sea turtles each year, and despite our protesting, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has given this fishery its "sustainable" eco-label. In the U.S. Pacific, swordfish is still caught with deadly drift gillnets along the California coast, where endangered whales are tangled and killed (click here to take action and Halt the Curtain of Death in California!). And Hawaii's longline swordfish fleet keeps drowning endangered leatherbacks, false killer whales, blue sharks and seabirds on millions of hooks. In other countries, the bycatch and "by-kill" is worse! Toxic mercury contamination in swordfish is so common the FDA advises childbearing women and young children to never eat it. Use the Got Mercury? seafood mercury calculator to learn more.

Help us bring justice to murdering sea turtle poachers in Costa Rica. It is with a sad heart that I write from Costa Rica to share unsettling news and a call to action. This last Friday, Jairo Mora Sandoval, a 26-year-old conservationist working to protect leatherback sea turtles on the Caribbean coast of Costa Rica, was murdered while leading a beach patrol. Tomorrow, I will be co-leading a similar patrol on our cooperative conservation ecotour. This email is typically upbeat and educational, but this week I am asking you all to click here to help us respond to the horrific murder of Jairo Mora Sandoval.

Become a citizen scientist for the ocean. What is "citizen science"? This is the newest frontier for volunteer science research assistants and collective efforts to utilize lots of simple observations by folks like you and I to monitor environmental changes. The world is changing fast - and with new smartphone Apps like iNaturalist you can help document changes to local watersheds, beaches, and the ocean! Turtle Island Restoration Network supports citizen science contributions in our Cocos Island research dive trips, our Costa Rica beach ecotour, and SPAWN's coho salmon monitoring.

Never dump waste into a storm drain. A storm drain along the street diverts excess water into local creeks and wetlands to keep roads from flooding. It is often a direct link to a creek or ocean ecosystem! Never dump oil pet waste, or litter into a storm drain as it will soon pollute everything downstream. Take action - start a community storm drain stenciling project to label local storm drains "No Dumping - Drains to Ocean!" Click here for resources from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Be a voice for the ocean at local public hearings. Getting engaged with local government, whether it's a city planning commission, water board, or parks office, can lead to amazing opportunities to add your voice in support of helping the ocean. Ocean health is threatened when new construction occurs too close to the ocean or waterways that lead to it or when sewage or polluted water enters the ocean. Establishing or supporting parks along the ocean, such as Marine Protected Areas, can bring many conservation benefits to the ocean. Turtle Island Restoration Network is working to strengthen our local Stream Conservation Area ordinance, click here to learn more and take action.

Keep oil off the beach and out of the ocean. You probably know that almost exactly three years ago, the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig exploded, killing 11 people and hundreds of sea turtles, marine mammals, and seabirds during the worst oil spill in US history. But did you know that the combined total of oil spilled into beaches and the ocean from leaky cars, boat bilge discharges, gas stations, and other sources in urban runoff each year are much greater than even the BP oil spill of 2010?  So be sure to practice proper maintenance on your cars and boats, and work in your community for tighter control standards on all other point-sources for accidental petroleum emissions.

And as always, please continue to oppose offshore oil drilling - the consequences of accidents and the impacts of acoustic exploration are horrific to the ocean and its wildlife. 

Save your local sand dunes. Coastal sand dunes serve very important functions as nesting habitat for sea turtles and shorebirds and as physical barriers to protect coastal communities from waves, flooding, and saltwater intrusion. Respect this delicate habitat: stay on hiking trails and never trample dune vegetation; when driving on the beach, stay off of the dunes; leave seaweed and driftwood in place on dunes as they provide food, shelter, and habitat for wildlife; take part in a dune restoration project and work to protect beautiful and essential coastal sand dunes.

Volunteer with an ocean conservation project. Contributing time as a volunteer advances critical conservation efforts and demonstrates to your friends and family your caring commitment to helping save the ocean. Whether you volunteer in-person at a beach cleanup, work remotely to support advocacy, or attend an organized event this Earth Day, every hour volunteering is greatly appreciated by the organizations and efforts you support. Click here for meaningful ways you can volunteer to support the Sea Turtle Restoration Project.

Landscape organically to reduce chemicals and urban runoff into the ocean. Spring has sprung, sending many of us outside to manage and improve landscaping around our homes or apartments. Choosing non-toxic products, avoiding the use of chemical fertilizers, and creating raingardens, swales, or rainwater harvesting systems can help reduce polluted urban runoff that reaches the ocean. Choosing plants for your yard that are native species that grow locally will mean less water and chemicals are needed, naturally! 

Click here to download the Teacher's Guide to Rainwater Harvesting on Campus created by SPAWN, the Salmon Protection And Watershed Network.

Practice conservation when on vacation. Performing volunteer service to support ocean conservation is a great way to spend your Spring Break or part of your next vacation. Whether choosing an organized Ecotourism trip package or simply choosing sustainable seafood and cleaning the beach when on your own, dedicate a portion of your vacation to ocean conservation. For information on our new Costa Rica beach ecotour June 2-8 to assist leatherback and marine debris conservation research, click here.

Buy local to reduce carbon emissions. As the atmospheric carbon (CO2) rises from fossil fuel emissions, the acidity of the ocean also rises and its health is compromised. Choosing to buy locally-sourced goods and services reduces carbon emissions from transportation. Check the label: products made in far-away countries like China depend on burning of even more fossil fuels for their transportation to you.

Make ocean-friendly choices when shopping. Never buy any product that looks like it was made from a sea turtle shell, from shark parts, or from marine life. Even purchasing items constructed from dried corals, seashells, and dried seahorses encourages collection of these creatures from fragile marine ecosystems. If you see restricted items like sea turtle shells, use your camera to document and share where illegal marine-life items are being sold. Then, inform local authorities, local conservation activists, and send us the details too.

Make ocean-friendly choices as a pet owner. Do not flush your cat's litter, because it can contain pathogens that survive wastewater treatment and are harmful to marine life when the effluent reaches the sea. Never stock your aquarium with wild-caught saltwater fish, and never release any aquarium fish into the ocean or other bodies of water; introduced non-native lionfish are now invasive species harmful to Florida's coral reef ecosystem (like in the photo above courtesy of George Cathcart/Marine Photobank). Finally, read your pet's food labels and consider seafood sustainability when making purchases.

Pitch in and clean up litter. Winter and spring rains will wash litter into wildlife habitats and eventually into the ocean where sea turtles, fishes, and marine mammals encounter it and become entangled, poisoned and sometimes killed. Litter from inland and coastal communities is the number one source of marine debris that plagues oceans around the world. Don't live near the ocean? Cleaning up local litter is still important, because plastics and other industrial source materials (such as dyes and petroleum by-products) may have toxic effects on inland ecosystems and aquifers connected to drinking water supplies.

Carpool with friends and co-workers. Reducing personal vehicle emissions helps save the ocean because the excess carbon in our atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels for personal vehicle transportation is raising the acidity of the ocean and disrupting the growth of shellfish and corals. Organize a carpool to work or to social events with friends and use the opportunity to tell them all about your passion for saving endangered sea turtles!

Pass on wild shrimp. All wild shrimp, regardless of its country of origin, is caught using fishing gear called bottom trawling that consists of weighted nets dragged along the ocean floor that catch, ensnare, topple, or drown everything in their path. Juvenile fishes are damaged, corals are bulldozed, and baby sea turtles drowned every day in shrimp trawls.

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