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Even The Small Changes You Make Can Contribute To Overall Ocean Conservation

By Peter Stevens

There seems to be a lot of discussion in the political arena over whether or not global warming and climate change are real. The vast majority of the population looks at the melting icecaps and rising sea temperatures and sees a problem. Others dismiss the signs as the rantings of liberal alarmists. What should not be argued however is how vital the oceans are to human survival, which makes ocean conservation the responsibility of everyone.

If you are one of the people who respects the environment and is concerned about any negative impact you could have on it, there are some simple things you can do. Teaching your children that walking and biking are viable modes of transportation and that they don't emit noxious fumes into the atmosphere is a beginning. You can turn out lights when you leave a room and turn the thermostat down when you leave the house.

Our love of convenience has made plastic so common we forget how harmful it can be to the environment. Dumping it into the oceans destroys marine life and contributes to trash islands. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch was created out of trash gathering where currents and winds come together. The Atlantic has its own trash island in the Sargasso Sea. You can do your part by recycling, reusing water bottles, and opting for cloth shopping bags instead of plastic.

Beaches are amazing wonders of nature. People love to visit them and sometimes leave their trash behind like calling cards. You should teach your children to pick up everything around them when they leave a beach. They need to understand that, when diving, snorkeling, and swimming, it is not acceptable to collect coral and underwater rocks for souvenirs.

Eating fish, as an alternative to red meat, is fine. The problem comes when diners order exotic or rare species from a restaurant menu or buy them in seafood markets. Sustainable seafood should be the only acceptable item on a dinner menu or behind the counter. Coral necklaces, shark's teeth, and tortoiseshell hair clamps are common tourist souvenirs, but when you purchase them, you are contributing to the exploitation of marine life.

Pet owners need to read labels and choose sustainable seafood for pet diets. If you have an indoor cat, never flush the litter. The pathogens can get into water sources and harm marine life. When choosing fish for a tank, avoid wild saltwater fish, and never dump aquarium contents into the ocean.

Education is key when it comes to informing the younger generation about the importance of conservation. You are teaching by example when your children see you researching how your political representatives vote on these important issues. Children will notice if you choose to frequent only restaurants that offer sustainable seafood on their menus.

We may not be able to destroy the earth, but we can destroy our ability to inhabit it. Plenty of damage has already been done. It is up to each individual to prevent further harm.

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