"No water, no life. No blue, no green." - Sylvia Earle
The 8th June is World Oceans day and while the team at Original Diving are always celebrating everything to do with the ocean, today is a global event dedicated to celebrating all things ocean. Celebrate, honour and protect are the central pillars of this years World Oceans day. Celebrating and honouring the world below the waves is an easy task compared to protecting it. In our bid to uphold the pillars of this year's world ocean day, we are going to celebrate and honour the ocean by sharing the main threats to its safety and ways in which we can all protect it.
As the fragility of the blue world becomes ever more apparent, there are three huge human-related problems that are the main causes of the crisis facing the ocean. Firstly, lets talks about over-fishing. Our ever-increasing appetite for fish is causing a huge problem for all ocean dwellers with a shocking 90% of wild fish stocks fully or over-exploited - no surprise when you consider that people are eating, on average, four times as much fish now as they did in 1950. A 39% decline in marine species has been recorded in the last 40 years and this is causing major issues for the ocean's fragile food chains and ecosystems.
Quite apart from the devastation of losing such incredible ecosystem, we would also lose a tantalising treasure trove of wonder. In order to stop mass areas of the ocean turning into a watery desert, there are a few things we all need to do. The most obvious solution is to dramatically reduce the amount of fish we consume and, when you do choose to have a fish supper, choose sustainably-caught fish. This is even more important when you are travelling and have less control over your meals, so we can connect you with hotels and restaurants that source sustainably-caught fish to give you peace of mind when you're out on your travels. You can also travel to eco-forward destinations, such as Palau. The first country to ban bottom trawling, they have also created the Palau Pledge - a declaration all visitors sign to ensure sustainable tourism. Our blog on 'blue-belt' protected areas is a great place to start if you are interested seeing how countries are creating save-havens in the ocean.
The plastic problem is the latest hot topic on everyone's lips, and for good reason. With 40% of plastic produced in single use containers, 91% of plastic waste not recycled, and nine million tonnes of plastic dumped into the ocean every year, we need to ask the question: Planet or Plastic?
When tackling this plastic issue, preparation is key. For everyday wins, invest in sustainable staples such as a reusable water bottle, coffee cup, canvas shopping bag, metal straw and lunch box to take with you wherever you go. While travelling, try not to use the hotel's mini bottles of shower gel; instead opt to fill reusable bottles before you leave home. For more in-depth inspiration, have a nose through our blog on plastics for some tips reducing the plastic in your life.
Climate change is the biggest threat facing the entire planet, but talking in sea-terms here are some stats for you: 48% of all CO2 produced by humans has been absorbed by the ocean and there has been a 30% increase in ocean acidity since the industrial revolution; yep, it's not good. A rise in sea temperature is causing coral bleaching, while stronger, more frequent storms are disrupting reefs, and that's just a snapshot of the bigger picture.
We work with amazing eco-hotels, who are committed to doing their bit to combat the climate crisis. Guests at Jean-Michel Cousteau Resort can take part in reef walks with their resident Marine Biologist, or help conduct a Reef check or plant coral at the reef farm. Supporting a natural wildlife experience instead of a tourist show will be far more rewarding for you and the ocean. Win-win. At Original Travel we are proud to offset 100% of the carbon footprint generated by the transportation in each of your holidays (both in the air and on the ground) - you can find out more on our Sustainable Tourism page.
Sharing is Caring
Sharing really is caring when it comes to this crisis - the more people who know, the more help we have, so share this blog and join in the celebrations for World Ocean Day. There can be no denying that the issues facing the ocean, and indeed the planet, fundamentally matter to every single one of us, and we have all have a play a part in securing the future of the ocean and its many inhabitants.