by Tyler Koke
There’s no denying the majesty of the ocean. Entire cultures have been built around it, greek gods dedicated to it, and countless stories written about it. Deep blue rolling swells and crashing waves create a sense of wonder in all people lucky enough to witness them. The ocean is vast, incomprehensible, and beautiful. Very few people who’ve experienced it would say it’s not worth protecting. But it’s hard to protect something so large. Looking out over the endless expanse of waves and asking “How can I possibly protect all of this?” can make someone feel hopeless.
So many of the things affecting our ocean seem out of our control: plastic pollutants, climate change, overfishing, the list goes on. Many people have become jaded with the idea of protecting the environment. Jaded over politicians who seemingly don’t care. Jaded with corporations who continually dump millions of tons of pollution into our oceans every year. Jaded over the people who toss their cigarette butts out of their car windows. What can one person really do? The answer is everything.
Change has to start somewhere. Every great movement starts with a small group of dedicated people. It’s worth noting the environmental movement has much more than a small group. Millions of people worldwide are concerned about human impact on the environment and are taking steps to help make a difference. Just because change isn’t immediately visible when someone picks up a plastic straw and recycles it doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. When people set a positive example in their community, others follow their example. It creates a domino effect. People begin to care and take action themselves. Pretty soon that one recycled straw turns into thousands. Dedicated groups of individuals like those here at the Surfrider Foundation can make all the difference in the world when it comes to protecting our oceans.
This is a call to action. Here are a few ways you can help protect our oceans:
Volunteering with an environmental protection organization such as the Surfrider Foundation is a great way to get started protecting the ocean. Volunteer organizations are a great way touch base with like-minded people, learn more about environmental protection, and take physical steps to help prevent pollution.
Going green means using renewable resources, conserving energy, ditching plastic products, etc. No one expects you to install solar panels on your roof (although that would be great), but buying a reusable water bottle and turning off the lights could be a great lifestyle change for the environment and your wallet.
Pick up the phone or write an email expressing your views on environmental policies and your concerns. Thousands of calls and flooded inboxes are hard for lawmakers to ignore.
Your vote is your voice. This one seems obvious, but a surprising amount of people fail to show up and vote every year. Make sure you educated yourself on ballot propositions and vote for policies which you feel will best help our environment. Every vote counts.
Even if it’s only the change you found under your washing machine, every piece of funding helps organization like Surfrider Foundation make a difference. All funds are directed toward projects and campaigns which aim to protect and restore our oceans.
When we band together and take action, we can’t be ignored. It took millions of people to pollute the ocean, and it will take millions of people to clean it. It’s an ambitious project, but it’s a necessary one. With time, effort, and numbers, the human race is capable of restoring the ocean to its former glory.