Happy Earth Day - Oceana USA
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2009-04-22 00:00:00

Happy Earth Day

Happy Earth Day, everyone!We live on a blue planet. And as you know, one of the oldest mantras of the environmental movement is “Reduce, reuse, recycle,” so I figure today is as good as any to do just that, and bring you one of our perennial favorite lists: 10 ways to S-A-V-E O-C-E-A-N-S. The oceans seem to be getting more attention than usual this Earth Day, starting with Oprah, whose show today will highlight ocean pollution. (Plus, Google’s Earth Day logo this year includes coral reefs.) And check out Grist’s fun secret history of Earth Day. Anyway, here they are, our 10 ways to SAVE OCEANS:START NOW. JOIN OCEANA.More than 300,000 members and e-activists in over 150 countries have already joined Oceana – the largest international organization focused 100 percent on ocean conservation. Become a WaveMaker here.ASK YOUR GROCER TO POST WARNING SIGNS.Oceana is working to get the FDA mercury advice posted at grocery store seafood counters and tuna aisles so that consumers will have the information they need to make informed decisions. Tell your grocer to get onboard.VOTE RESPONSIBLY.Electing the right public officials is essential to good ocean policy. Do your research and make an informed decision. Exercise your right to vote and stay involved after Election Day. If you have concerns or questions, contact your representative. Take action here.EAT SUSTAINABLE SEAFOOD.Global fisheries are on the verge of collapse. According to the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), three quarters of the world’s fisheries are now overexploited, fully exploited, significantly depleted or recovering from overexploitation. Ask your favorite seafood restaurant or fish market to buy from sustainable fisheries and only eat sustainably caught seafood. Download our pocket seafood guide here.OPT OUT OF SHARK FIN SOUP.Estimates of the total number of sharks killed each year for their fins range from 26 to 73 million per year. Increasing demand for shark fin soup is now placing even greater pressure on shark fisheries. Just say no to this so-called delicacy.CONSERVE ENERGY AND REDUCE YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT.Carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is making our oceans more acidic. One consequence could be the loss of corals on a global scale, as their calcium skeletons are weakened by the increasing acidity of the water. There are many simple ways you can reduce your energy use. Ride a bike, walk or use public transportation. Use high efficiency appliances in your home. Turn off appliances when they aren’t in use. Turn up your thermostat a few degrees in the summer and down a few degrees in the winter. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs in your house. For more information, see our climate page.ELIMINATE PLASTIC WASTE.Plastic debris in the ocean degrades marine habitats and contributes to the deaths of many marine animals. Because floating plastic often resembles food to many marine birds, sea turtles and marine mammals, they can choke or starve because their digestive systems get blocked when they eat it. Help prevent these unnecessary deaths—use cloth grocery bags and reusable water bottles.AVOID PRODUCTS THAT HARM THE OCEANS.Avoid products produced through unsustainable or environmentally harmful methods. For example, avoid cosmetics containing shark squalene and jewelry made of coral. These products are directly linked to unsustainable fishing methods and the destruction of entire ecosystems.NIX LITTER ON BEACHES.Much of the plastic and debris found in the ocean has its beginnings in beach litter. As beach crowds increase, so does the amount of trash left behind. Don’t let your day at the beach contribute to the destruction of our oceans. Bring a trash bag with you for your garbage and volunteer for beach clean-ups.SPREAD THE WORD.Tell people what’s going on with the world’s oceans and what they can do to make a difference. Spread the word.