World Oceans Day: Why Washingtonians Should Care

World Oceans Day: Why Washingtonians Should Care
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World Oceans Day, June 8th, is a global day of ocean celebration and collaboration for a better future. The day is coordinated internationally by The Ocean Project and the World Ocean Network. This year’s theme is “Our Oceans, Our Future,” focusing on encouraging solutions to plastic pollution and preventing marine litter for a healthier ocean and better future.

World Oceans Day is extremely important, as global warming, overfishing, and pollution are severely damaging the world’s oceans. The oceans cover about two-thirds of the surface of the Earth and are the foundations of life. The oceans also generate the majority of the oxygen we breathe, regulate climate and provide food and nutrients. Several companies are promoting ocean health this year, including Whole Foods Market, Seaworld, Aardvark Straws, and Volvo.

However, it doesn’t take a large corporation to contribute to the conservation and preservation of our oceans. We residents of Washington, DC you can make a difference, and all it takes is a few lifestyle tweaks to make an impact over time. Electing the right public officials is crucial to ensuring good ocean policy. Exercise your vote and stay involved, even after Election Day! The representatives that you elect can make a huge difference.

Carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is making our oceans more acidic. By reducing your energy use, you can single handedly take action. Easy ways to reduce your energy use include taking public transportation, walking, riding a bike and turning off appliances when they are not in use. An added bonus is that DC has one of the safest, cleanest and most efficient transportation systems in the world.

Another easy way to help save the oceans is to use reusable products. Did you know that petroleum plastics are designed to last forever? 90% of all the trash floating in the world’s oceans is comprised of plastic. That’s not what we want in our water!

Plastic bags and other non-recyclable items contribute to the deaths of many marine animals. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, roughly 2 percent of plastic bags are recycled in the United States, with the average person using between 350 and 500 bags per year.

Another jarring fact: In the last 25 years, more than 6 million straws and stirrers were picked up during annual beach cleaning events!

So help spread the word. Many people are uninformed about the severity of this problem. The more people who are aware with what’s going on with the world’s oceans, the better.

Happy World Oceans Day!

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