Dive travel writer
As the oceans continue to be threatened by plastic pollution and climate change, now is the time to step up and make your own positive changes at home. (Shutterstock/katatonia82)
The inspiring Indonesian Youth Marine Debris Summit was held in Jakarta in August, reminding us all of the need to reduce Indonesia’s marine waste problem.
As the oceans continue to be threatened by plastic pollution and climate change, now is the time to step up and make your own positive changes at home. It’s easy and all about making good consumer choices, plus reducing your contribution to climate change.
Read on for eight simple steps you can take to help save the oceans.
Why is plastic waste a problem?
With around 100 million tons of plastic dumped in the oceans so far, according to the United Nations, the impacts on marine life are clearly visible.
Whales washed ashore with plastics in their stomachs is becoming increasingly common and marine life entanglement in plastic waste is a regular occurrence.
It is estimated there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050 if we continue at this current pollution rate. Furthermore, a team of researchers in the US and Australia, led by Jenna Jambeck at the University of Georgia, has analyzed plastic waste in the world’s oceans and found that China and Indonesia account for more than one-third of plastic debris in global waters.
Not only could this have far-reaching impacts on both human health and marine life, but it could also impact valuable marine tourism. Luxury resorts and world-class diving destinations such as Indonesia are reliant upon healthy ocean ecosystems to thrive.
Choose seafood with care
If you eat fish or other seafood, it’s important you choose seafood products that have been caught sustainably and without harming other marine life.
Many commercial fishing methods overfish their target species, threatening the long-term survival of fishery and the health of the oceans. Some fisheries also catch unwanted marine life that is then discarded dead back into the oceans. This is called “bycatch” and includes species such as dolphins, sharks, turtles and unwanted fish.
Indonesian seafood is under threat as fisheries put pressure on fish populations and marine environments. By choosing sustainable seafood you will be supporting well-managed fisheries and ensuring you contribute to healthy oceans for the future.
Top tip: Use World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Indonesia’s seafood guide to choosing sustainable seafood products.
Ditch the car whenever you can
Make a commitment to walking and biking (or using public transportation) whenever you can. Not only will it keep you fit, but you’ll also be reducing carbon emissions that contribute to climate change.
If you really need to use a car, why not try car-sharing with a colleague?
Top tip: Hop on your bike to reduce your carbon footprint and get fit at the same time.
Eat less meat
We’re not suggesting you go vegan unless you want to but having a meat-free night cuts your carbon footprint and helps keep oceans healthy.
Cattle have the highest greenhouse gas emissions and the meat industry is thought to contribute to global warming considerably. As an industry, it requires vast amounts of water, fertilizers and land, all of which can contribute to dry watercourses, polluted oceans and the loss of forests.
Top tip: Try a weekly meat-free night to cut your carbon emissions.
Get to know your local markets
If you’re looking for an easy way to reduce your carbon footprint and food miles, eat locally and seasonally at your local markets. Not only is it better for you, but you’ll also be cutting carbon emissions from food transportation and supporting local growers.
Top tip: Shop at your local markets to reduce food miles and support local, organic growers.
Offset carbon from your travel
It’s easy to offset the carbon released from your travels and make a difference to climate change and protecting marine life as you travel. Some airlines offer the opportunity to offset the carbon from your flight at the time of booking. Alternatively, you can find a variety of carbon offsetting schemes online.
Top tip: The UN Carbon Offset platform has a variety of carbon-offsetting projects you can support.
Make a change to LED
Everyone knows to turn off the lights to reduce electricity use – it’s common sense. Did you know a switch to LED lightbulbs will reduce your electricity use even more?
Top tip: Switch to LED bulbs at home. These energy-saving bulbs can last over 50,000 hours.
Another top tip is to shower before bedtime. There is less fossil fuel electricity generation after 9 p.m. in many places.
Say goodbye to plastic and embrace the motto ‘Reduce, Reuse, Recycle’
Are you ready to take the next steps after waving goodbye to single-use plastic bags? Make sure you avoid plastic items whenever you can and challenge yourself to replace each of your plastic products with a non-plastic alternative when it runs out.
Top tip: Swap your regular products for plastic-free alternatives. A quick search online will reveal a variety of companies creating plastic-free toiletries and household products.
Make sure you’re also repairing and reusing items whenever you can. You’ll cut your use of precious resources by making the most of what you already have and reduce climate change to boot.
Check your investments
This takes a little more time but don’t be put off. It’s well worth checking your pension or any other investments are not involved in fossil fuel/high-emission activities. If they are, do the Earth a favor by investing in environmentally friendly initiatives.
It’s as easy as that to make a positive change.
Top tip: Check that your investments are not involved in high-emission activities. (kes)
8 simple steps you can take to save the oceans (LiveAboard.com/File)
This article was written by Kathryn, a diver and writer with LiveAboard.com.
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the official stance of The Jakarta Post.