As surfers we have selfish reasons for wanting clean water and healthy ecosystems. Nobody wants to get sick from surfing or witness massive reef die-offs. Nor do we want to lose precious resources to corporate exploitation or lose beach access to developers. The list goes on and on.
Regardless of your political leanings, there is no doubt our oceans are under siege. Without healthy oceans, the world as we know it ceases to exit.
That may sound alarmist, but our oceans are under assault. Most scientists and experts agree that without a strategic game plan for change, the effects of overfishing, plastic, carbon and toxic chemical pollution (not to mention a plethora of other threats) will have catastrophic effects on our ocean environment. There are no easy solutions to the many risks to the world oceans, but it is easy to think globally and act locally.
With the Championship Tour currently in Fiji -- home to some of the most pristine ocean environments left on the planet -- what better time to shine a spotlight on a campaign directly related to our favorite pastime: riding waves. In honor of World Oceans Day June 8, we've compiled a list of five simple ways to make a difference. Check it out:
1. Don't Trash the Beach
Plastic trash and other non-biodegradable garbage could be the leading threat to our oceans. Reduce and re-use plastic bags. Pick up your trash before it ends up in the ocean. Critters of all types and sizes often mistake plastic for food (which ends up in the food chain) and others get tangled up in it and die. So remember, that fresh ahi poke you're chowing down on probably contains plastic at an elemental level. Yuck. If you haven't heard of the 5 Gyers -- the plastic oceanic islands humans have created -- check it out here.
2. Pressure Drop
Simply stated, keep your vehicle tires properly inflated. This may be the easiest way to make a difference on this list. It trims your carbon footprint by cutting back on fossil fuel consumption and saves gas. Fossil fuels are one of the leading reasons for climate change and ocean acidification, which can alter delicate ocean chemistry and disrupt marine wildlife on a local and global scale.
3. Flip the Switch
Unplug your unused electronics -- computers, kitchen appliances, power cables, video games -- as many continue to draw power even after they're switched off. According to the U.S. Department of Energy's estimates, "phantom" energy accounts for 75 percent of the power consumed by electronics in the average home. If you can't always unplug, use a power strip to safely cut power to gadgets not in use.
4. Keep It Clean
Choose green cleaning products over those with an abundance of toxic chemicals. Many natural, everyday items found in most kitchens -- including baking soda, vinegar and lemons -- do the job just as well as store bought cleaners. Even if you don't live near the coast, nearly everything that goes down your drain can eventually wash into the ocean.
5. Plenty of Fish in the Sea (Or Maybe Not)
By some estimates many of the ocean's large predatory fish populations (Bluefin Tuna, Swordfish, and Mahi Mahi, among others) have been reduced by up to 90 percent since fishing became a large-scale, for-profit industry in the past 100 years. Those species listed above are just a few examples of the same fish that end up on your dinner plate. Help make a positive impact by demanding sustainable seafood at your favorite restaurants and grocery stores.
Source: Smithsonian/National Museum of Natural History