World Wildlife Day 2019 'Life Below Water' : How To Help Our Oceans

March 03, 2019

March 3rd was designated as World Wildlife Day by the UN in 2013 as an opportunity to celebrate and raise awareness of the world's diverse array of fauna and flora. The theme for 2019 is 'Life below water: for people and planet' and is the first year to focus on marine life

Oceans provide us with 50% of the oxygen we breathe and stores 50 times more carbon dioxide than the atmosphere. They regulate the Earth's climate and weather by transporting warm water from the equator to the poles and vice versa. Research states that blue spaces reduce psychological stress and improve our moods, even more than green spaces do. Entering the water can calm us by reducing our heart rate and sending blood to the brain and heart. This is known as the mammalian diving reflex. Almost 200,000 ocean dwelling species have been identified, but this number could in reality be closer to a million. The ocean deserves to be celebrated and protected, for the sake of the marine species that depend on it and the future generations of humans who should benefit from it.

 1. Fish populations are in grave danger of collapse due to high demand and unsustainable fishing. You might already avoid eating fish for this reason, but if not it makes a huge difference to choose sustainable seafood. Sustainable fish are species which are usually small, abundant, low down on the food chain and can repopulate quickly. Sustainable fisheries must monitor populations and minimise their pollution and damage to marine ecosystems. For more information, see The Marine Conservation Society's 'Good Fish Guide'

 2. Reducing your plastic use is an obvious one and has gained significant media attention in the past year. Plastic is responsible for the death of thousands of animals every year through habitat destruction, entanglement and ingestion. The easiest way is to start small by avoiding single use plastic items such as water bottles, straws and carrier bags, before moving on to bigger changes. We have covered this previously in our Plastic Free Tips, Products and Services post here.   

 3. Whenever you're at the beach, whether it a local one or on holiday, help to protect the sea through a 2 Minute Beach Clean. Sadly, there are always bits of rubbish on beaches and if everyone did their part we could make a huge difference! Go one step further by taking part in a local beach clean. Either check out events with Surfers Against Sewage and The Marine Conservation Society, or organise your own!

 4. Be mindful of purchasing items which exploit marine life. For example, perfectly intact shells are usually obtained from live animals (an interesting read on this is Spirals in Time by Helen Scales), and tortoiseshell accessories have been known to come from Hawksbill turtles. If in doubt, research before buying or avoid.  

 5. It's understandable to want to witness marine animals in their habitat and we would not discourage this! However it's important to make sure you choose a reputable tour company who are passionate about marine conservation and supporting local communities. Whatever you do, from boat tours to kayaking or diving, always be respectful of any marine animals that you encounter and take care not to damage their fragile environment.

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