Updated: Apr 3, 2021
It was the longest night of the year! I would jump on my bed up and down, left and right with the biggest smile my face could produce and I wouldn't be able to stop. The enthusiasm in me about going to the seaside the next morning completely overwhelmed me and I had no control over this invisible force that was doing this with me. These were my happiest times. I was seven.
I have always loved the sea and I have always felt very comfortable in the sea. I can easily say that water is my element. Our days on the coast were the most fun I could imagine as a young human being. I would stay in the water for hours exploring all the marine life I could reach, testing the abilities of my body in the water element, and learning about the sea. I was fascinated by its beauty, richness, and the most extraordinary life forms one could find there! It was my favourite museum, playground, gallery, and time for "making friends" with some weird creatures.
I was a good swimmer, I could hold my breath for quite a while and it was very easy for me to dive. The best fun were the sea cucumbers. They were always there, easy to reach, slimy on the touch, and fun to squeeze! Then, back to the sea bed.
Noble penshells were a challenge. They would sit in the depth where I needed a longer breath and had to level the pressure in my ears more often. I wouldn't always succeed to reach them but as soon as I was able to touch one with the tip of my finger I would "win the game".
Observing all the different fish was like meditation. I would linger in the water with my snorkeling mask and stare at a fish cozy drifting with the sea flow following its every fin move, observing its scales and how the light on its body breaks into tiny different colours... until I started to shiver from the cold that made me leave the water. All this was very natural for me and it did feel like home.
I am all grown up now and the seas are very different. Every day I am reading scary stories and horrifying news about the exploited oceans, dying seas, brutally killed animals, polluted waters... All this because of men's greed and ignorance. It is a very sad time for the oceans and us and sometimes I get lost in this frustration. But then sometimes I try to hold onto Hope that maybe we can still turn this around. I am just one person so I will do what I can and I hope you can consider doing what you can.
So, why should we care about the ocean? Why should we make changes in our lives? Why should I think about this if I live in a country that doesn't have a sea? Why can't we just remain selfish individuals and enjoy our little lives in a world of abundance?
We have all heard about saving whales and the oceans and it is true that our oceans are in serious trouble which puts us and the rest of the world into serious trouble as well. After all, oceans give a home to 80% of life on this planet and support all life, including ours.
What do you think is currently the most dangerous for ocean health? Yes, Climate change! It is warming the oceans, rising the sea levels causing acidification. We know the story. We must reduce greenhouse gases and best reduce meat consumption.
Yes, plastic! We hear about that a lot and it is a big problem! You can help remove plastic from the oceans by supporting organizations that are successfully doing so, like 4Ocean that has been removing large amounts of plastic from oceans for years, or you can get yourself a sustainable Ocean Bottle with which you can remove 11.4kg of plastic from the oceans.
But there is a bigger threat to the oceans that is rarely put on any website - commercial fishing that results in overfishing as well as illegal fishing. In fact, the United Nations Environmental Programme and Food and Agriculture Organization, report that we are running out of fish. We have overfished or overexploited more than 80% of our fish stocks already.
If we do not act right now, science tells us that by 2048 there will be no fish left in the ocean.
Nevertheless, we are all familiar with the term sustainable seafood which by definition means "it has been caught in a way that means there’s plenty more fish in the sea now and in the future". However, according to scientific data, there is no such thing as sustainable fishing. The current situation really is that serious that every fish matters.
So, what can you and I do to help restore healthy oceans? Here are 10 things we can all afford:
3 End fishing subsidies (currently $35 billion per year)
4 Eliminate plastic from your life and use environmentally friendly alternatives
5 Educate yourself on the subject and search for scientific facts and reliable sources
6 Volunteer in cleaning actions in your region or organize one
7 Plant a tree
8 Do smart shopping with a reusable shopping bag and buy less plastic
9 Ride a bike
10 Don't send chemicals into waterways and use non-toxic chemicals instead
Today, you can sign the petition to protect 30% of the oceans by 2030.
Within all this, small steps do make a difference. Any changes in one's lifestyle toward a healthier planet matter. As Sylvia Earl said: "No one can do everything. But everyone can do something."
Further recommendations on this subject:
See the movie Seaspiracy on Netflix - it demonstrates the hard impact of commercial and illegal fishing on the ocean with solid evidence.
The video was provided by the World Ocean Day organization
All other infographics in this article are from NOAA