ocean environmental groups

Fifteen Simple Things You Can Do to Help Our Blue Planet on Earth Day

STUDY IN BLUE ORIGINAL

It’s been forty-six years since earthlings celebrated the very first Earth Day. We’ve come a long ways righting the wrongs we’ve inflicted on the earth and sea, but, oh, how far we have to go!

The problems that still lie before us seem almost insurmountable, but we must remember the harm wasn’t caused in one year or one century. I’m confident if each of us does just a little something in his corner of the earth, that earth, sea, and sky can rebound magnificently.

Here are a few things you might consider doing where you live. You don’t have to do them all. Start with one or two. It might feel so good, you’ll want to try a few more:

  1. Visit websites that will open your eyes to the beauty and wonder of the sea.

These are just a few. There are many more worthwhile ones besides these.

The Blue Ocean Institute at www.blueocean.org

Ocean.si.edu

Ocean.nationalgeographic.com

World Wildlife Fund  at worldwildlife.org

Sea Shepherd at www.seashepherd.org

Greenpeace  at greenpeace.org

Ocean Conservancy at www.oceanconservancy.org

Friends of the Earth at foei.org

Global Coral Reef Alliance at www.globalcoral.org

  1. Consider joining an environmental group. You’re familiar with some of the bigger ones. Write a check. You don’t have to give them all your money and end up like a naked Sadhu wandering the forests of India, but it’s not going to hurt to give a little.

  1. Do an impromptu beach clean-up any day of the year. Earth Day shouldn’t be for just one day. Earth is your neighborhood; take pride in it.

  1. Implement your own “Carry on, Carry off” policy when you go to the beach or a park. Assume that if you leave your trash in one of the receptacles, some of it is going to end up in the water where it will do a lot of harm to the local denizens that live there.

  1. Be more conscious of chemicals you use in your home. Many harsh cleaning agents can be substituted with natural ones that break down in the environment with little harm.

  1. Consider curtailing your use of weed killers and strong fertilizers in your garden. They all end up in the sea where they wreak havoc. I’m the first to admit sometimes a potent weed killer is the only way to eliminate a terribly stubborn or invasive plant. But be aware that overdoing it is very, very bad and comes at a terrible price.

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Our Oceans are Burning and Paris is our Best Shot for Putting the Fire Out

The oceans need help, but there is reason for hope.

The oceans need help, but there is reason for hope.

The ocean is on fire, and 170 countries are meeting in Paris between November 30 and December 11 to try and stop it.

… Coral reefs are dying, crippling the food chain for fish who depend on them.

… Our melting Polar caps are already wreaking havoc for polar bears and other wildlife not to mention island and coastal nations whose populations will be devastated in the not too distant future.

… Over-fishing is decimating fish populations with disastrous consequences for nations whose livelihood depends on fishing. In particular is the wanton slaughter of sharks which keep the food chain of the seas in balance.

… Add to these woes habitat loss for a wide variety of marine life, and pollution through garbage and oil spills, and things seem like they can’t get much bleaker, but they can.

… Our oceans are growing more acidic daily. In fact, acidification has become the cancer of our seas, deadly and silent as it grows unchecked.

Acidification occurs naturally in the ocean on a routine basis. What makes it so horrendous is that the PH balance is occurring at an alarming rate. Treehugger.com does a great job explaining the process. When the PH balance of the sea is changed, the skeleton formations of many species of shellfish and other sea life is destroyed. Think of it as osteoporosis for the creatures of the sea.

And why is the PH level dropping? Because the tons of fossil fuel which we’re burning around the world is absorbed by the oceans once it falls from the atmosphere.

Planetearthherald.com warns us that the 30% increase of acidity we’ve seen in our oceans so far is nothing compared to the 150% increase we’re going to witness over the next hundred years. What a legacy to leave our grandchildren and their grandchildren!

If we learned nothing else about the ecosystems of our planet, it’s that everything is interconnected. Alter one part of the equation, and you affect everything else. Global warming, for example, contributes to coral bleaching big time. When coral bleaching occurs, the algae living in their tissue turn white. Though not dead, the coral become so stressed they have a hard time coping, and without a reprieve, they die. Of course, temperature, light, and nutrients affect the health of coral as well.

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Thanksgiving Revisited

Last week I recounted several of the things we have to be grateful for in the ocean and the maritime environment. While some may consider these accomplishments mere footnotes to be buried in a year of frantic activity, I urge you to regard them as important stepping stones to a better future not just for the ocean and the mariners who sail upon them, but for all of us. Why? Because the future of every soul on this planet depends on a healthy ocean and its fragile ecosystems.

With this in mind, I urge you to visit several of the sites below and learn more about the organizations that champion a better ocean. You don’t even have to join them though that would be better. At least by visiting them, you’ll learn a few things you can do to help make Mother Ocean a healthier and safer place for its children and the eight billion children of this planet.

… Greenpeace at www.greenpeace.org uses peaceful protests and communication to expose environmental problems and promote solutions.

… Coral Reef Alliance at http://coral.org/ promotes the health of coral reefs around the globe.

… Cousteau Society at http://www.cousteau.org/ is all about helping people understand and care for seas and rivers worldwide.

… Marine Conservation Institute at http://www.marine-conservation.org targets key ecosystems around the world and advocates for them.

… Wild Oceans at http://wildoceans.org seeks to curb overfishing and restore depleted fish populations. If you’re a weekend fisherman, you owe them a lot.

… SeaKeepers at http://www.seakeepers.org energizes the yachting community to protect the world’s oceans. Their motto is: “Research, Educate, Protect, and Restore.”

… The Ocean Project at http://theoceanproject.org partners with aquariums, zoos, and museums to promote ocean conservation.

… Waterkeeper Alliance at http://waterkeeper.org helps protect rivers, lakes, and coastal waterways worldwide. Like to swim in clean water? Check them out.

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Sea Shepherd takes down poachers; Epic catch a Benchmark in Maritime Conservation

We’ve had terrible news last week with the loss of thirty-three lives aboard the cargo ship El Faro. It was lost off the Bahamas in the middle of  Hurricane Joaquin. On top of that, South Carolina has endured devastating floods that have left thousands homeless. So it’s nice to be able to share some really good news today.

This past week three notorious poachers, all officers aboard the Thunder, were convicted of forgery, pollution, damage to the environment, and recklessness. Captain Luis Alfonso Rubio Cataldo (Chile), Chief Engineer Agustin Dosil Rey (Spain), and Second Mechanic Luis Miguel Perez Fernandez (Spain) received sentences between thirty-two and thirty-six months. In addition, they must pay fifteen million euros, well over sixteen million US dollars.

But none of this would have happened without the courage and persistence of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society. The drama actually unfolded in early January when the Sea Shepherd’s ship, The Bob Barker, captained by Peter Hammarstedt, chased one of six ships, the Thunder, notorious for overfishing, for months. During that time, the crew of the Thunder did everything conceivable short of sinking their own ship to shake the tenacious crew of the Sea Shepherd.

On the hundred and tenth day, they did exactly that, scuttling their ship to destroy possible evidence to be used in court though they would deny it. The Sea Shepherd’s Bob Barker and sister ship Sam Simon, captained by Sid Chakravarty, plucked the wet and unhappy crew from their life rafts and brought them to justice. Several of the toothfish they poached in Antarctic waters became damning evidence.
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Do Some Real Good for the Sea

Does it make you sick to see the oceans becoming sicker and the creatures of the deep more abused and pushed closer to extinction? Want to help right the wrongs you constantly read about? It seems impossible not to pick up a newspaper or magazine without coming across at least one or two environmental groups working hard to fix some problem.

Some are like an uncle we love but rarely see. We know them. We know they do good, but somehow we just never get in touch with them. Some groups are like the new neighbor down the street who we never get around to meet.

We’ll here’s your chance to not only get in touch with that uncle who does a lot of good, or meet that new neighbor but partner with them in a real and lasting way.

Opportunities abound to join environmental groups on the forefront of making a difference. Because the list is so vast, I’m going to concentrate just on maritime organizations. Blame it on the pirate in me!  Aarrrghh!

Before introducing you to them, I want to explain these groups fall primarily into two types. Those that have members who are activists along with those who support them through money or time or by raising awareness of important issues.

The other type of group is made chiefly of activists who literally put their butts on the line. Close to the action, they often place themselves in harm’s way. Those who support them can be thought of as followers or supporters and do so with money.

Of course, some groups are hybrids of the two, but whatever group you are attracted to, I encourage you to learn as much as you can about them before committing time or money to them. All contribute to the ocean and its children in some way. A smaller group doesn’t imply the value of its work is any less noble.

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Uncommon Mariners Not Just For Pirates

KEYS SUNRISE, PELICANS, TARPONS AT ROBBIES JUNE 8 152 #2_ed

 

“Welcome to the World of Pirates, Mariners, and the Eternal Sea.” Like billowing sails on a three-masted schooner, these words greet every visitor to my site. I put them front and center because I want everyone who comes to my page to know exactly what they can expect.

Like my upcoming book, Uncommon Mariners, you’ll find lots of information on pirates, ancient and modern, though my site isn’t just about pirates. It belongs just as much to mariners- those lusty, able-bodied men and women who for years have worked and played and sailed on high seas and in harbors all around the world.

Moreover, my site is also about the sea and the creatures that live there. The drama that plays out in the oceans every day as thousands of species struggle for survival is both riveting and shocking.

As I mention elsewhere on my webpage, I don’t propose to be the final word on any of these topics. Other sites do a fine job keeping you abreast of pirates and threats to mariners and the sea.

When you come to Uncommon Mariners, bring a pirate’s heart, playful and rebellious, but bring an inquisitive and probing mind too.  Do this and I promise you an entertaining, inspiring, and informative voyage.

I want to put a smile on your face with curious facts and amazing stories about mariners and the sea, but I also want to incense and anger you by making you aware of events and trends that are impacting mariners, the ocean, and its creatures in terrible ways.

Because the news isn’t all bad, I want to tell you about key players making a positive difference in mariners lives, the ocean environment, and the fight against piracy. And I want to provide you with links so you can learn more about these issues and act in ways big and small to make a difference. Continue reading →