Keep the Oceans Alive
Your health and the health of everyone you know is at risk.
Our oceans are in trouble. Garbage and pollution are threatening our increasingly fragile marine ecosystems, harming marine life and posing multiple threats to the health of land animals, including humans.
The 5 Gyres Institute notes that as little as 5-10% of the plastics we currently produce are recycled or reused. Those that are not recovered end up in landfills, are incinerated or are lost to the environment through leakage into watersheds and eventually, the ocean.
This may not seem like a big deal at first, but as they point out, “In the ocean, sunlight and waves cause floating plastics to break into increasingly smaller particles, but they never completely disappear or biodegrade. Plastic particles act as sponges for waterborne contaminants such as pesticides.”
In other words, while plastics may not be the only thing polluting our oceans, they are making the effects of other toxic contaminants even worse, multiplying the problems.
How Does the Health of the Ocean Affect You?
Even if you live nowhere near the ocean, your life depends on healthy marine ecosystems. Obviously, contamination of our seas is an issue for the fishing industry and for those who eat fish and seafood caught in the oceans.
It’s so much more than that, though.
Live Science writes, “Healthy oceans provide vital ecosystem services including primary production: the photosynthetic conversion of energy to organic substances by phytoplankton and other organisms. Such habitats also provide coastal protection, waste remediation and recreation. Ocean-sourced nutraceuticals, biofuels, drugs and industrial products fuel economies and lead to medical breakthroughs.”
Huh? Let’s break that down.
“Photosynthetic conversion of energy to organic substances”. Basically, what that means is that plants like phytoplankton absorb carbon dioxide and sunlight and turn it into oxygen. You know, that stuff we breathe.
“Coastal protection”. This is about making sure that the land doesn’t literally crumble into the sea. A healthy ocean includes things like coral reefs and mangrove forests, which protect against regular erosion and major events like tsunamis and provide habitat for many plant and animal species.
“Waste remediation”. This is about neutralizing contamination. Marine ecosystems can take in a certain amount of toxins and neutralize them (in the same way our bodies can), but when that toxic influx gets out of hand, either because of everyday pollution or catastrophes like oil spills, it can’t handle the load and the ecosystem suffers.
Plankton for Your Health and the Health of the Oceans
Marine phytoplankton are the base of the ocean ecosystem. They feed many of the animals in the sea, either directly or indirectly. When the ocean suffers, so do the plankton.
According to the World Wildlife Foundation, “From the food we eat to the air we breathe, plankton help produce and sustain all life on Earth. But increasing greenhouse gas emissions and the acidification of our oceans pose a huge threat to these vital creatures, leading to dire consequences for life in the water and on land.”
In addition to the oxygen they make (and that we breathe), phytoplankton also absorb carbon emissions that are responsible for climate change and other environmental problems.
The massive increase in emissions is making the ocean more acidic and causing a decline in marine phytoplankton growth. Because of the important role that marine phytoplankton play in the marine ecosystem, this will affect all marine life, as well as life on land.
There are many causes of ocean pollution. Love To Know notes that “Human activity is destroying our oceans and the life that they contain. While some pollution occurs directly in or at the edge of the ocean from ships and coastal communities, a majority of it comes from land and air pollution that may occur miles and miles away. The biggest causes of ocean pollution include:
- Oil spills and leaks
- Agricultural runoff and pesticides
- Industrial waste
- Trash dumping, especially plastic
- Air pollution and acid rain
- Sewage and sludge”
It Starts with You
So what can you do to keep our oceans and the plants and animals that depend upon them, alive? There are a number of ways that you can help, from small changes you make at home to calling for larger changes in your community and country.
Here are some easy ways to help our oceans:
- skipping the straw
- using reusable bags, water bottles and food containers
- going #foamfree
- reducing the number of plastic packages you buy
- boycotting products that contain plastic microbeads (this may include certain liquid soaps, toothpastes, sunscreens and exfoliating scrubs)
- recycling the plastics you do use
- refraining from littering
- buying a bottle of Oceans Alive this week (a portion of sales from September 11th to 17th, 2017 will be donated to 5 Gyres to support the International Coastal Cleanup)
Ultimately, we need to dramatically reduce our waste and landfill use, limit the use of pesticides even more than we already are, ensure proper sewage treatment, work towards more options for renewable and environmentally friendly energy sources so that we can cut down on off-shore drilling, and make many other equally important global changes.
It’s important that we stay focused and dedicated to these issues so that we can encourage others to do that same and we can influence our world leaders to ensure these issues get tackled.
Protecting our oceans means protecting ourselves. You may feel that one person can’t make an enormous difference, but as more and more of us commit to these goals, our combined efforts will ensure success.
Consider what you can do to keep our oceans alive and thriving, and start doing it today.
How Helping Yourself Can Help the Oceans
In honor of the International Coastal Cleanup on September 16th, 2017, Activation Products will be donating a portion of this week’s Oceans Alive Marine Phytoplankton sales to the 5 Gyres Institute.
5 Gyres is leading the effort to research aquatic plastic pollution and to find solutions for regaining a plastic-free ocean. Their mission is to empower action against the global health crisis of plastic pollution through science, art, education and adventure.
P.S. From Sept. 11-17, 2017, share an original photo with your Oceans Alive in it on any of our social media platforms, using the hashtag #KeepTheOceansAlive, and we’ll donate an extra $50 to 5 Gyres!
To learn more about marine phytoplankton and your health:
Top 10 Benefits of Phytoplankton
Oceans Alive Marine Phytoplankton: Secret Superfood?
Superoxide Dismutase: Super Antioxidant?
Sea Minerals and Marine Phytoplankton
Phytoplankton Supplements Compared
The Dangers of Marine Phytoplankton Supplements