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8 Ways to Save our Seas... and Cash

Our oceans are in serious trouble right now - climate change is taking its toll, and marine pollution is reaching unprecedented levels. Sea levels are rising, oceans are increasing in acidity - putting people and wildlife at serious risk of illness and even death. Urgent action is needed and it starts with us. Now WAIT, you may be thinking you don’t have the time or money to save our planet, but what if we had simple solutions to tackle both of these challenges. Look no further for tips to save the seas and cash!

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1. Please, no more plastic!

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By 2050, there will be more plastic by weight in the ocean than there will be fish! Because plastic doesn't biodegrade it stays around clogging up our natural environment on land and at sea - this causes serious harm to humans and wildlife.

So if you prefer to eat fish for dinner rather than a plastic bag, we suggest you take action by reducing your plastic usage! How about buying a cheap reusable water bottle over the one you end up throwing away, taking a reusable straw around with you and rejecting one-use plastic straws, or taking your own reusable bags for shopping instead of the in-store plastic ones? By using reusable products, you keep our oceans clean and save yourself from buying plastic products again and again and again...

2. Seriously, shop for seafood sensibly.

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Overfishing is having a huge impact on fish populations around the world; 70% are experiencing drastic losses in numbers and are bordering on the brink of extinction. In order to combat this, we need to choose seafood that is caught using non-destructive methods.

It’s a complete myth that eating sustainably needs to be expensive, in fact, it could save you money! When buying seafood, make sure to look out for certification of sustainability logos on the label before buying. Try and visit your local markets to buy seafood that is caught locally and on a smaller scale- this is likely to be cheaper. Also, try and explore new food choices! You might discover a new favourite food, plus you’ll be reducing pressure on popular species such as cod and salmon.

3. Watch your watts!

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Believe it or not, that lamp you left on at home today is contributing to the massive destruction of our oceans. The energy used to light your lamp, and all your electrical appliances, is produced by the burning of fossil fuels which is a significant contributor to ocean acidification.

Why not take two seconds (literally) to unplug your appliances once you are done using them? Or how about investing in some candles and having a nice meal with your housemates by candlelight rather than with the lights on? This is going to save you pennies and the planet!

4. Litter less, we beg you!

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Wherever you live, that gum wrapper you dropped on the sidewalk makes its way to our oceans and ends up harming the marine life! Get into the habit of keeping a small bag or container on you personally or in your car, so you never have any excuse to drop litter if there's no bins around! Try to buy items with less packaging in order to reduce waste levels. If you’re lucky enough to live by a beach or coastal area, make an effort to find out if there are any beach clean-ups happening, or organise your own one with your friends! So, okay, for this tip you might not be saving cash, but c’mon let’s be real, no one likes a litterer!

5. Turn trash into treasure.

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If you look carefully at the amount of waste you create in a week, from food packaging to throwing away old clothes, it’s probably a lot more than you need to! The items that you waste, particularly plastic, end up polluting our environment. So before throwing them out, consider other ways you can use it. For example, why not turn that jar into a cool container for jewellery rather than throwing it away? Or get creative and cut up that old t-shirt and turn it into a cool cushion cover! Save money from buying new things by revamping your old ones!

6. Exercise, not emissions!

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Emissions from motorised vehicles are one of the greatest contributors to atmospheric pollution, which increases the acidity of oceans. Wherever possible, try and walk or bike to where you need to go. If it’s not possible, why not arrange a car-share with your friends or colleagues? That way you can take 1 car instead of 3 or 4, plus you’ll have a much more fun trip and save yourself money on petrol and parking! Public transport is also a great way to save yourself the expense of taking a car every day, so why not invest in a monthly pass and help lower pollution at the same time.

7. Live for the local.

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Wondering why that avocado you bought was absurdly expensive? It was likely imported from somewhere far away, so the costs to transport it are included in the price. Transporting food means that there are increased carbon emissions which contribute to the pollution of our oceans. To combat this and to save yourself money, make an effort to attend local markets and purchase from there instead. Food will be fresh, in season and cheaper!

8. Support our seas!

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There are so many amazing organisations that exist to keep our oceans clean and healthy, and supporting them doesn't need to cost the world (no pun intended!). Why not take that money you would spend on a coffee and donate it to an ocean organisation instead? It doesn’t need to be a lot, every little helps! There are also tons of free events taking place that you could attend, or show support online by signing a petition. Feel good, for FREE!

So you see, saving our seas is simple and can save you money. Go on, what are you waiting for?

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The author of this post is Katharine Baxter, a Climate and Environment Voices of Youth Blogger for UNICEF.

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