One thing that many people have become aware of during the challenging events of the last year is that the ocean needs our help. As Sylvia Earle, an American marine biologist, says, “we need to respect the oceans and take care of them like our lives depend on it, because they do!” We rely on the ocean not only for food, but as one of the largest carbon sinks, as a source of protection from storms, as an enormous contributor to global tourism revenue, and as a source of sport, leisure, and adventure for many. Our planet is 70% water, and we need to protect this vital resource if we want a healthy future for future generations.
In honor of World Ocean Day 2021, I wanted to share a few things you can do to appreciate our blue planet.
Attend a Virtual Event
The UN has a list of events from workshops to speaker series to movie screenings:
Offset Your Personal Carbon Footprint
Wilderness Travel offsets all carbon emissions on every land-based trip. You can also offset your personal carbon emissions, which can be done via various different websites (make sure to check that they are verified carbon credits.) Some reputable sources are: Gold Standard, VCS, Climate Action Reserve, and American Carbon Registry. Climate change is contributing to ocean acidification and warming, both of which are harmful for a plethora of marine species. A new way to offset your carbon is through “blue carbon,” which is supporting various restoration efforts including planting seagrasses to protecting mangrove ecosystems. While these methods are in the process of becoming verified, current research shows that they can be around 20-times more efficient than trees at removing carbon from the atmosphere, so keep an eye on this topic!
Support Local Communities Through Sustainable Tourism
Visiting local communities that rely on tourism is one of the most directly beneficial things you can do. Our newest trip, Snorkeling Expedition to Wakatobi, will include an optional extension in North Bali, where you will have an opportunity to plant corals with the North Bali Coral Conservation group. Check out our new snorkeling landing page for inspiration!
Donate to an NGO
Wilderness Travel is proud to support Bye Bye Plastic Bags and Conservation International in Indonesia, among many others that protect our natural environments. A few of our other favorites specifically focused on ocean preservation are Mission Blue (Sylvia Earle’s mission to protect the most prolific areas of the ocean) and the Coral Restoration Foundation (planting coral in the Florida Keys).
Eat Sustainable Seafood
From bycatch to false “sustainably caught” logos on seafood labels to slave labor on fishing boats to shark finning, commercial fishing is wrought with unsustainable and unethical practices. As some people may have seen, a recent documentary on Netflix, Seaspiracy, brought to light many of the horrendous fishing practices all over the world. I don’t believe removing all seafood consumption is the answer, though, as many communities rely on fish for their sole source of protein, and seafood is a healthy option that would help many of us maintain a healthier diet. I believe the answer is to turn to our local fishermen who are using hook and line fishing methods, the sustainable oyster farmers all over the world, and the blossoming seaweed industry. Seaweed and many filter feeders like oysters and mussels purify our water systems, and there are many companies that are farming and harvesting seafood in ways that can be done for generations to come.
Learn more about our Blue Planet!
A few of my favorite ocean education resources that are accessible to anyone, even if you don’t have a background in science.
Blue Planet I & II
The World Beneath by Richard Smith. A great coffee table read!
Reef Life by Callum Roberts. This book is a really cool look at the marine conservation world from the 80’s to today, and lots of wanderlust included!
Tropical Coastal Ecosystems is taught by some of the most renowned coral reef scientists in a very relatable way:
Living Ocean Foundation classes for kids:
—Text by WT Pacific Specialist Sydney Dillon.