Reduce your CO2 footprint
Reduce your personal impact on climate change and the ocean. The largest emitters of greenhouse gasses are transport, factory farming, and the energy sector. It is therefore in these areas that you can make the biggest difference.
Some simple ideas that are easy to do.
- Leave the car at home and carpool or take public transport.
- Travel nearer to home.
- Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator.
- Insulate your house.
- Use as much green energy as possible.
- Put on an extra sweater instead of turning the heating up.
- Buy local and seasonal produce.
- Eat less meat and fish.
Think about your own health, the environment and animal welfare if you eat animals from the sea.
Fish stocks are collapsing all around the world as a result of high demand and unsustainable fishing practices to supply that demand. Apart from fish for the table, fish is also used for fishmeal for cattle feed, fertiliser and fish oil for capsules. Many unsustainable fishing practices also destroy marine habitats and ecosystems.
If you eat fish, choose sustainably by taking a fish guide with you to the store. Many organizations have their own fish guides directed at the fish sold in their countries. Some examples are the fish guides by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Blue Ocean Institute, WWF and Greenpeace. Unfortunately, in many cases the fish that many people like the most will have the lowest score and will be in the red column. As a guideline, it can be said that fish lower in the food chain are more sustainable than predatory fish.
Even better is to reduce the number of times and the amount of fish that you eat, or consider not eating fish anymore at all. Internationally acclaimed scientists such as Daniel Pauly and David Takayoshi Suzuki have set this trend.
Do you want to eat less or no fish, but still want to enjoy the taste of the sea? There are now many fish replacers on the market available from health food stores and Asian supermarkets. Even better, if you buy the delicious fish replacers from Veggie Deluxe (for Belgium only), you will be supporting the Sea First Foundation too. A part of all sales of fish replacers goes to the Sea First Foundation.
As so much fish is processed into feed for livestock, and as factory farming of livestock has such a negative impact on the ocean, one good way to reduce your impact on the ocean is to eat less meat. Along with fish replacers, there are now several good quality meat replacers on the market. These are widely available in supermarkets and health food stores. EVA vzw (in Dutch only) has a great selection of all sorts of vegetarian foods, as well as information about health and recipes.
Use as little plastic products as possible
It is almost impossible to think about life without plastic. Plastic is everywhere. You only need to look around to see how many products are made from plastic.
Unfortunately plastic has severe disadvantages. Plastic is made from fossil fuels, a non-renewable resource. With the exception of bio-plastics, plastic is not bio-degradable. If plastics are simply dumped they cause immense damage to the environment and to animals. Wherever they are dumped they end up in the sea and ultimately are carried by wind and currents to one of the five plastic soups. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the best known.
Once at sea plastic kills all sorts of animals like dolphins and sea turtles who get entangled in plastic bags, nets or other plastic materials. As the plastic breaks down into ever smaller pieces it drifts along just like plankton and gets eaten by animals. They get sick and die, or are eaten by larger animals. Plastic ultimately works its way up the food chain.
If you buy a plastic product, try to use it as often as possible, and when you need to dispose of it, make sure that it can be recycled. Bring a bag – preferably not a plastic bag – when you go shopping instead of accepting or asking for one in the shop.
Avoid products that contribute to the degradation of the marine environment
Some jewellery is still made from coral, and hair clips from sea turtle shells. Some cosmetic and health products still use shark or whale products. Souvenirs also often use parts of sea animals, and shells are often available at tourist markets.
Be an environmentally responsible pet owner
Do you have a pet? Then check that their prepared food does not contain marine animals – fish is often used in dry food for dogs and cats. Avoid cat food that contains tuna or salmon. Avoid flushing cat urine down the toilet as it contains substances that are damaging for the aquatic environment. If you have an aquarium, avoid wild caught salt water fish. Never release aquarium fish or plants into rivers or the sea. They usually do not belong there and may become ‘invasive species’ that push out the local species.