One of the largest natural resources on earth is also one of its most threatened. Take a moment today – World Oceans Day – to reflect on the myriad services oceans provide us, and how our daily lives in turn affect these waters.
We encourage you to make the Ocean Project’s Seven C’s Pledge to learn how you can contribute to the protection and conservation of ocean resources:
- Commit to Making a Real Difference
- Conserve in My Home
- Challenge Myself Daily
- Consume Consciously
- Connect in My Community
- Communicate My Interests and Concerns
- Celebrate Our Ocean
Since we’re based on Cape Cod, we offer here some relevant tips for preserving the coastal and marine waters of our region:
- Take a walk along your local beach and pick up trash – marine debris is a major threat to the fish, birds and mammals of coastal and marine waters.
- When boating, avoid anchoring, dragging, and propeller wash near submerged aquatic vegetation like eelgrass – these fragile ecosystems are highly productive critical habitat and major engines of carbon sequestration.
- When fishing catch and release, use single barbless hooks (or pinch the barb with pliers) – minimizing injury to and handling time of fish helps maintain healthy stocks.
- When visiting the beach, stay off the dunes and salt marsh grasses – these are critical habitat areas as well as buffers to the erosive action of waves and rising seas.
- When shopping for seafood, ask for sustainably caught fish or join a community supported fishery – many of the world’s fisheries are over-fished and some fish farming methods impair coastal water quality.
- If you have unused prescription or over-the-counter medications, dispose of them properly or seek out a drug take-back initiative in your area – pharmaceuticals released to the environment travel through groundwater and can persist in drinking water supplies or have adverse effects on aquatic life.
- Limit or eliminate use of fertilizers on your yard – nitrates and phosphates from fertilizers get into estuaries via runoff and groundwater, causing algae blooms and low oxygen levels.
- Walk, bike or carpool to work, school and extra-curricular activities as much as possible – oceans are a global carbon sink, but as they reach saturation they are acidifying and putting undue stress on marine life.
- Take a walk along your local beach with Rachel Carson’s “The Edge of the Sea” in tow – it’s one of our favorites!
If you’re from an inland area, ask yourself how your life is tied to the ocean. What products do you use or consume that are from the ocean? How and where do your daily actions affect coastal and marine systems? Take a look at the map – you’re bound to be connected to an ocean somehow!