The concept of ocean conservation has been around for decades. However, it seems to have been side-swept when climate change takes the spotlight in businesses, politics, and schools. It was an eye-opener last night when I attended an InterNations and Oceana event in New York City. I learned that the Earth is one gigantic fish bowl. We live in it and we crap in it.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch has been swirling around for years (http://bit.ly/ayuRCQ). When I first learned about it and the effects it had on marine life as well as the birds that live on Midway Atoll, I became aware of the amount of garbage that I put out each day. I became better at recycling, reducing the amount of daily trash I create, and buying products with little or no packaging. Then I heard about the garbage patch in the Atlantic Ocean (http://bit.ly/chY1Hd) Obviously, I haven’t been doing a good job as an environmentally-conscious consumer. I don’t think it’s feasible to scoop out all of the garbage in the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, especially when industries and individuals dump trash in the waters (whether intentional or not, tons of garbage make its way to the oceans). The most effective way to stop ocean pollution is to stop (or at least reduce) land pollution. I encourage everyone to use less plastic, to recycle, to be aware of where his or her trash is going to end up. But to make a significant headway in the protection of our environment, consumers need to encourage industries to be wiser with their production line and to reduce the amount of trash generated. Policies in favor of ocean conservation and environmental protection need to be enacted.
Oceana is an international science-based organization that focuses on ocean conservation. Their works include the promotion of sustainable fishing, preventing illegal oil dumping, reducing mercury pollution, saving dolphins and other sea creatures (http://na.oceana.org/). From what I could tell, they are doing a fine job so far, but there’s so much more to be done. I believe that the oceans have reached their tipping point, and it is crucial for people to take responsibility in cleaning up the big blue. The oceans can provide food, energy, and drinking water (with the use of desalinization technology http://bit.ly/cKhyzM). If we were to run out of fertile land to grow our food, run out of accessible freshwater to drink and water our plants, it is comforting to know that we can always turn to the oceans for sustenance. If I’m going to live off of my own filth, much like a goldfish in a bowl, I would like the bowl to be as clean as possible.