While it’s absolutely true that large organizations and governments need to do more, and we should continue to apply pressure on them to do so, this kind of narrative can send an implicit message to the individual that their actions are too small and insignificant to make a real difference.
This is far from the truth. Not only are there a host of things that individuals can do to reduce their impact on the oceans, but social studies have shown that individual behavior change can have a social ripple effect, creating and enforcing social norms at a second and third remove from the subject.
There are many things that individuals can do to help protect the oceans and ensure their long-term health. Some steps that you can take include:
- Take direct action. Pick up some litter from the beach, do your recycling, or eat a vegetarian meal instead of seafood. Even better - register the action on Beach Action to build influence and earn rewards in $BEACH which can then be spent on Beach Shop when it launches in Q1 next year.
- Reduce your use of single-use plastics: Single-use plastics, such as straws and plastic bags, contribute significantly to ocean pollution. Try to reduce your use of these items by using reusable alternatives, such as reusable water bottles and shopping bags. Beach Collective Partner Ocean Bottle are a good place to start.
- Support organizations that work on ocean conservation: Donating time or money to organizations that focus on ocean conservation can help to support their efforts to protect the oceans and the wildlife that lives there. The Beach Collective will be selling CSR packages on Beach Shop in Q1 next year. For as little as $100 you can sponsor a beach clean in Kakuma Refugee Camp or in Cebu, Philippines and receive a personalized video thanking you and your family/company/team. Get in touch with email@example.com if you would like to organize one.
- Educate yourself and others, particularly children: Learn about the issues facing the oceans and share this knowledge with others. This can help to raise awareness about the importance of ocean conservation and encourage more people to take action. For example, Beach Collective partner Sounds of the Ocean create beautiful music, films and live events which can inspire people to reconnect with the oceans.
- Reduce your carbon footprint: The burning of fossil fuels releases greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, contributing to climate change and the warming of the oceans, and threatening coral reefs. By reducing your carbon footprint, you can help to mitigate these negative impacts. Small changes which have a surprisingly large impact include, only boiling the kettle with the amount of water you need, cutting down on red meat, buying seasonal food (which hasn’t been airfreighted), avoiding a flight by taking the train, or switching your home to renewable energy.
- Eat less seafood: There are many organizations which certify sustainable seafood, but recent controversy has shown that even these organizations sometimes promote seafood which is far from sustainable. If you are going to eat fish then look for seafood that is certified by organizations such as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), or check the species using the Good Fish Guide. Farmed bivalves like mussels, clams and oysters can actually store carbon in their shells so make for particularly sustainable options. However, the only real way to guarantee you are eating sustainably is to cut out fish altogether.
- Use a sustainable currency: when you pay with £s or $s you give a % to Visa or Mastercard or Amex, not to mention additional fees to Amazon or Shopify. When you pay using $BEACH, the emissions of a transaction are lower than the emissions of card payments and the fees (which are lower too) are spent on Clean Oceans and Blue Carbon initiatives around the world.
By taking these and other steps, individuals can play a role in protecting the oceans and ensuring their long-term health, while inspiring others to do likewise.
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