How You Can Help Protect Our Oceans

How You Can Help Protect Our Oceans

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A wholesome ocean means wholesome people. We depend upon the ocean for such basic circumstances of life as local weather regulation, meals, and even oxygen (for every second breath you take, thank the oceans’ plankton), however our misuse of single-use plastics is harming our waterways, killing marine life, and releasing toxic chemicals into the environment.

Brian Yurasits, a self-described “marine scientist-surfer-fisherman hybrid” and the group outreach supervisor on the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, New Hampshire, is hopeful we are able to flip this round. He believes in people’ unbelievable means to adapt, discover options, and use social media as a software for good: “Humans are innately related to nature, and by harming it, we’re solely harming ourselves. Yet I imagine social media helps us visualize the issue and break down apathy.” His Instagram tagline reads, No worries. Nature all the time wins, which he sees as each humbling and comforting.

Despite the plain energy of Mother Nature, our oceans are weak and it’s in our greatest curiosity to maintain them clear and wholesome. Yurasits helped us perceive the depth of the issue in addition to what we are able to do to assist.

plastic litter collected on a beach
All of this plastic litter was collected alongside a small stretch of seashore. Photo by Brian Yurasits

What’s at Stake: Our Lives and Livelihoods

Many folks aren’t conscious of how massive a job the ocean performs in regulating our local weather. “The modifications we’re seeing — intensified hurricanes, rising sea levels, and melting sea ice — are proof of how intently the ocean and local weather are related,” Yurasits says.

What’s extra, 3 billion people depend on seafood as their major supply of protein. They depend upon wholesome oceans for survival.

Yet by means of his expertise on a marine mammal rescue crew, Yurasits has discovered firsthand how environmentally catastrophic seafood will be when it comes from the unsuitable place. “Illegal, unreported, and unregulated fishing plagues our world’s oceans, undermining conservation efforts and pushing species to the brink of extinction, like with shark finning,” he tells us.

To assist shield our oceans and marine life, educate the general public, and bolster conservation messages, Yurasits shares free-to-use ocean pictures by means of Wildlife By Yuri, together with this picture of deserted fishing particles littering a seashore:

abandoned fishing gear on beach
Photo by Brian Yurasits

The concern is just not confined to the open seas. Aquaculture is the fastest-growing meals manufacturing business on this planet. Although half of all seafood we eat comes from farms, as a lot as 20% of it is mislabeled — to not point out that shrimp farming in Asia destroys critical mangrove habitat and pollutes groundwater.

But there are methods you may assist sustainable seafood. First, Yurasits says, “Know the one who caught your fish.” In different phrases, purchase regionally each time attainable. And don’t let a reputation cease you— like within the case of chefs who reframed abundant “dogfish” as “Cape Shark” and efficiently sparked curiosity on this native catch. You may obtain the Seafood Watch app to seek out well-managed fisheries.

Last, make a aware effort to eat decrease on the seafood chain. According to Yurasits, seaweed and bivalves are the gold commonplace: “Oysters assist clear the water they reside in.”

The Most Common Waste within the Oceans

Organizations just like the Ocean Conservancy and Surfriders lead common coastal cleanups to assist cut back plastic air pollution. For the previous, 2017 was the primary 12 months that all top-10 most commonly found items were made of plastic.

What merchandise do you assume is primary?

“Although plastic straws have change into the poster baby within the combat towards single-use plastic, they aren’t essentially the most vital plastic merchandise that folk often come throughout,” Yurasits says.

cigarette butt found during beach cleanup
Cigarette butts are the one most littered plastic merchandise on this planet. Photo by Brian Yurasits

Cigarette butts, which have plastic filters, are the one most littered plastic merchandise on this planet. During their 2018 annual cleanup, the Ocean Conservancy collected over 5.7 million of them. Straws and stirrers got here in at quantity three, with practically 3.7 million.

While the quantity and composition of particles that Yurasits finds throughout his month-to-month cleanups has stayed constant over time, just a few issues have modified. In New England, Yurasits is extra prone to discover fishing gear that has been lost or abandoned at sea.

abandoned fishing gear, ropes, lobster traps
Ghost fishing’ particles. Photo by Brian Yurasits

“‘Ghost fishing’ particles is a serious downside regionally, entangling massive animals and killing commercially precious fish. I do see fewer plastic Solo cups since there are extra rubbish cans on the seashore and I virtually all the time see a conscientious individual selecting up trash as they go.”

The fishing group is turning into extra conscientious too. “They’re particularly taking possession over balloons that blow out to sea and endanger animals.

“But now I see tons of PPE, which I by no means noticed earlier than COVID.”

disposable face mask lying in the grass
Photo by Robin Benzrihem

What You Can Do to Protect Our Oceans

Yurasits is optimistic is as a result of he is aware of there are nonetheless some ways folks can get entangled.

While ocean conservation is a world concern, he recommends focusing your efforts regionally: “I problem you to have a look at clear and sustainable oceans from the angle of your hometown. All rivers result in the oceans, so it’s attainable and vital that everybody is engaged in defending clear waterways.”

Simply selecting up the litter you see when strolling by means of your neighborhood makes a distinction. Littered waste like PPE, cups, cigarette butts, and plastic packaging washes into storm drains, polluting waterways. Plastic litter finally will break down into microplastics, one of the vital prevalent types of plastic pollution in our oceans as we speak.

plastic gloves, bottle, cup, and other trash by side of road
Photo by Jasmin Sessler

Do your residents’ responsibility, irrespective of the place you reside

  • Learn your representatives’ positions on laws that protects our waterways and vote.
  • Get concerned with native nonprofits that do cleanup and group outreach. Yurasits recommends the Surfrider Foundation for coastal residents and the Inland Ocean Coalition for inlanders.
  • Nothing in your space? Start your personal chapter or set up your personal cleanup!

Harness the facility of the digital world

  • “Social media gives us with unprecedented attain,” Yurasits says. “Use your platform to teach kindly and unfold your affect to family and friends.”
  • Get your circle concerned: “It could appear small, however even my very own mother does ocean cleanup. When she shares the expertise with associates, it has a cascading impact.”

Don’t be afraid to ask for assist

You can contact Brian Yurasits on Instagram or at, the place he retains an inspiring weblog. In considered one of our favourite posts, he writes concerning the significance of respecting nature.

Originally printed on November 4, 2020, this text was up to date in January 2022.