waves crashing on the beach

In our day to day lives, we come in contact with many things that require maintenance.  Think of road construction.  When there is construction on the road you take to work each morning, and it causes you to be late or have to leave your house early, it’s a bit of an inconvenience.   But, as soon as the construction is completed, you have a smoother road to drive on and feel satisfied with your new drive to work.  In recognizing that maintenance is inconvenient but critical, it leads me to ask the question: who is maintaining the health of our oceans?

A Sea of Challenges

We use our oceans for food, travel, and leisure activities 365 days of the year.  So we should do everything in our power to protect it, right? To do this, we need to know exactly what our oceans are up against.


 ⅓ of fish populations have collapsed since 1950.  When populations are fished to the point where they cannot repopulate to the same level in the next year, they are being overfished.  This is creating mass food security issues.  We cannot fight the food crisis using unsustainable fishing tactics.  This is short term thinking.  The oceans must flourish for the human race to continue to benefit.  

Plastic Pollution

Each year, an estimated 8 million tons of plastic end up in our oceans.  This plastic is not just large milk jugs, or single use plastic bottles, it is plastic too small to see with the naked human eye.  Plastic that settles to the bottom of the ocean.  Plastic that floats at the top.  Plastic marine life mistakes as food.  Plastic that you and I are eating after it has worked its way through the food chain.  Microplastics make up a majority of the plastic waste found in the ocean.  They are the most challenging to remove from the water because by definition they are less than 5 mm in size.  


Around 90% of trade between countries is done by ship.  This means that many online orders, made by people like you and me, are traveling back and forth on large shipping vessels more and more frequently to keep up with our consumerist lifestyles.  Not only are the shipping vessels releasing harmful chemicals into the water and air, but they are also disturbing the wildlife beneath them.  Noise and wave disturbances largely impact wildlife wellness.

fish swimming in reef

Solutionists Making Waves

Despite the many challenges faced by our oceans, there are many organizations stepping up to the task.  

For example, companies like 5 Gyers have made it their mission to use science, education, and adventure to fight against the crisis of plastic pollution.  With the #beadfree pledge in 2016 they were able to divert 16 billion microbead from the ocean.  This movement resulted in the Microbeads-Free Water Act of 2015.

To address overfishing, the Global Fishing Watch is working to track large scale fishing to create transparency in developing laws and promoting sustainable fishing that can be managed.  They believe we will be able to manage fisheries to be much more sustainable with this technology.

There are also foundations actively working to support small scale projects.  The Save Our Seas Foundation supports projects that will make a true impact on threatened species and habitats.  

What about solutions for your everyday life? Well, cleaning products used by millions come in plastic bottles and are thrown into the trash.  So, Blueland has engineered a way to sell cleaning products in tablet form.  They send you reusable glass bottles and tablets, all you do is add water.  They are saving their consumers money and saving our oceans from more plastic waste.

Click here to learn about more ocean solutions and get involved!

waves crashing on the beach

What Can You Do to Help?

1. Use reusable shopping bags and water bottles.

There are even reusable produce bags that can be washed in your washing machine.  If you do not like the taste of your tap water or feel that it is unsafe to drink, invest in a water filter.  Many of these attach onto your sink or can fit easily into your fridge.  They will save you money in the long run, and help to limit the amount of plastic heading straight for the ocean.

2. Use sustainable cleaning and grooming products.

Many companies are entering the sustainable market.  You can find shampoo bars, toothpaste tablets, and eco-friendly cosmetics that contain no plastic packaging.  These products are often safer for your health and body as well.

3. Recycle! 

This is one of the most simple actions you can take to help combat waste going directly into landfills and the ocean.  When you use plastic, cardboard, metal, and glass, remember to put it in the recycling if you can.

4. Shop locally.

Not only will you be supporting your local businesses, but you will also help slow the demand for large shipping vessels to travel through our oceans each and every day.