Earth Day 2024: 12 Ways to Protect the Planet’s Oceans

Celebrated annually on April 22nd, Earth Day 2024 brings conservationists together to think up new ways to look after our beautiful planet. It is also a day to reflect on the damage that has been and is being done to the world and to celebrate the leaps we have made over the past years, too. Here at SSI, we would like to invite you to join us in celebrating Earth Day 2024 and explore ways that we can protect the oceans that we adore so much.

The history of Earth Day

Earth Day 2024 marks a significant moment in the environmental movement’s history. The idea for Earth Day was first proposed by Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin, USA, inspired by witnessing the 1969 oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Concerned by the growing environmental degradation and inspired by the student anti-war movement, Nelson envisioned a day dedicated to educating the public about environmental issues and advocating for environmental protection.

The inaugural Earth Day took place on April 22, 1970. Millions of Americans, from all walks of life, took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to participate in rallies, teach-ins, and clean-up activities. The event tapped into the growing public consciousness about pollution, wildlife extinction, and the need for sustainable practices. Earth Day 1970 was a powerful demonstration of grassroots activism, with people coming together to demand environmental reforms and policies.

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The success of the first Earth Day was monumental. It led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the passage of landmark environmental legislation like the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act, and Endangered Species Act. Internationally, Earth Day inspired the formation of environmental organizations and movements across the globe.

Over the years, Earth Day has evolved into a global event:

Over 190 countries participate in activities that range from tree planting and recycling initiatives to climate change awareness campaigns. 

Each Earth Day serves as a reminder of our collective responsibility to protect our planet and promote sustainability. It is a day to reflect on our impact on the Earth and to renew our commitment to environmental stewardship for future generations.

Top 12 ways to protect the ocean this Earth Day 2024.

There are many ways that you can get involved in Earth Day 2024 and help reduce the damage that is done to planet Earth. Here are a few to get you started:

1. Reduce Plastic Use.

Opt for reusable alternatives to single-use plastics such as water bottles, bags, and straws. You can also visit refill stations for many of your household needs like shampoo, rice, and soap. 

Microbeads are another plastic that should be avoided where possible. They are tiny plastic particles commonly found in cosmetics and personal care items that end up in the ocean and harm marine life.

Finally, properly recycling your plastics will reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in the ocean. Make sure to check the packaging to make sure it is recyclable and use the correct recycling bins.

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2. Participate in Coastal Clean-Ups.

Joining or organizing coastal clean-up events in your area is a great way to celebrate Earth Day 2024. Removing trash and debris from beaches and shorelines can make a huge difference when done regularly! Make it a habit to pick up litter whenever you visit the beach or coastal areas, too. Every little bit helps.

3. Support Sustainable Seafood.

If you do not want to ditch eating seafood altogether, look for seafood products that are certified by organizations like the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) to ensure they come from sustainable fisheries or farms. 

Good seafood guides online will show you if the fish you choose to eat is sustainably caught or not. There are over 20 WWF seafood guides for different countries worldwide, the UK Marine Conservation Society Good Fish Guide and an Australia and New Zealand Best Fish Guide.

To go a step further, choose locally caught or farmed seafood that is in season to reduce the environmental impact of transportation and farming practices, and reduce overfishing by avoiding eating species that are overfished or endangered. 

4. Reduce Carbon Footprint.

If you can, use public transportation, carpool, bike, or walk to reduce carbon emissions that contribute to ocean acidification and climate change. Opt for renewable energy sources like solar and wind power at home if you can, to reduce fossil fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

You can also improve energy efficiency in your home by insulating properly, using energy-efficient appliances, and turning off lights and electronics when not in use. All of these are simple changes you can make to celebrate Earth Day 2024 and help protect our planet.

5. Conserve Water.

Reduce water consumption at home by fixing leaks, using water-saving appliances and fixtures, and practicing water conservation habits. Properly disposing of household chemicals, paints, and other pollutants will also help by preventing them from entering the ocean through runoff.

6. Respect Marine Life.

Always observe marine wildlife from a safe distance to avoid causing stress or harm to animals, when scuba diving or even on dry land. Refrain from feeding marine animals as it can disrupt their natural behaviors and diet, and practice responsible boating and fishing to avoid harming marine life and their habitats.

7. Support Marine Conservation Organizations.

A great way to help the world’s oceans and seas is to support organizations dedicated to ocean conservation through donations or volunteer work, and share information about ocean conservation issues with friends, family, and community to raise awareness and inspire action.

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8. Educate Yourself and Others.

Education is a powerful tool in conservation. Read up about the importance of oceans, marine ecosystems, and the threats they face, and participate in or support educational programs and initiatives that promote ocean conservation and sustainability.

9. Advocate for Policy Changes.

Advocate for stronger environmental laws and policies that protect the ocean and marine life and reach out to your government about environmental actions you wish them to take. Stay informed about policy issues related to ocean conservation and participate in public hearings, comment periods, and advocacy campaigns.

10. Reduce Chemical Pollution

An easy way to make a change for Earth Day 2024 is to choose eco-friendly and biodegradable cleaning products to reduce chemical pollution that can harm marine life. As well as that, you can use organic and natural alternatives to chemical pesticides and fertilizers in your yard to prevent runoff into rivers and oceans.

11. Support Marine Protected Areas

Advocate for the creation and support of marine protected areas (MPAs) to conserve and restore marine ecosystems. Visiting existing MPAs through responsible tourism and recreational activities can also help bring money and awareness to them.

12. Foster a Connection with the Ocean

And the best way to help the ocean? …Foster a personal connection with the world’s oceans and seas, through activities like swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, and freediving. The more time we spend in the water, the more we will see the damage being done, but also the good that is being done to protect the waters. This helps us to gain more knowledge and experience, which are our biggest tools in conservation.

By taking these simple actions, you can make a positive contribution to ocean conservation this Earth Day 2024. Every effort, no matter how small, makes a difference!Have you joined the SSI Blue Oceans movement yet?

This inspiring community will help you to become an eco-conscious diver and make a positive impact on ocean conservation.