Happy World Oceans Day!
We’ve just had a beautiful weekend exploring the coast around our fave local beach, Yellowcraig. We discovered the Hanging Rocks near there -a first for all of us, even my husband who’s lived in East Lothian for 35 years. We spotted heron; eider ducks and crabs; and my daughters splashed in the waves.
Idyllic. Bordered by the North Sea, our East Lothian boasts stunning beaches – but even the lovely, blue flagged Yellowcraig still has litter. Every minute, a rubbish truck of plastic enters the ocean. UK supermarkets are still pumping out single use plastic, 59 billion pieces of packaging, or 2000 pieces per household every year.
June 8 is World Ocean’s Day. It’s a timely reminder that we all need to do our little bit to help, wherever we live.
We reap the ocean’s benefits even if we lack a sea view. The ocean’s plants provide us with more oxygen than all the world’s rainforests (70% to 28% of oxygen produced). So, roughly every other breath we take is from the ocean. In the technical terms described to me by an environmental expert, “We’re all stuffed without the ocean”.
The ocean helps cool our climate – and if we can manage to limit climate change to 1.5 degrees by 2030, then we’ll hopefully manage to keep our tropical reefs. It’s going to take all of us a concerted effort for our kids, and their kids, to find Nemo. Or save some of our iconic species like Puffins. Puffins love to munch on sandeels, lining their bills with the tasty morsels to take back to their pufflings in the burrow. Climate change and the warming of waters are already pushing sandeels past their peak populations when the Puffins are breeding, when they need them the most.
So what can you & I do? Looking after the ocean is about more than beach cleans and litter, as important as they are. It’s what we can do every day:
Try to buy unpackaged where you can. Recycling alone is not going to solve the problem.
Choose to refuse, or reuse: think straws, reusable coffee cups, containers and water bottles. Some 150 plastic bottles litter each mile of UK beaches. You can also refill your household cleaning products or shampoo.
Cut your carbon emissions: even ensuring your tyres are properly inflated helps. Or rethink the car altogether and use public transport. Switching to renewable energy is easier than ever and can even save you money on your bills.
Stop depletion of fish stocks: Ask if your seafood is Marine Stewardship Certified or otherwise sustainable? Even farmed fish aren’t guaranteed OK – check where that fish food is coming from.
Follow us on social media @dolilthings, or sign up to our enews, where we offer practical ways for lower impact living in bite size chunks.
Take a pledge at Love the Ocean http://lovetheocean.eu and see what difference you can make.
And enjoy your next trip to our beautiful coastline, wherever that may be, knowing you’re part of a bigger picture, all of us doing what we can.