Earth Day celebrateSince the first Earth Day in 1970, over 192 countries worldwide have joined in the movement to demonstrate support for environmental protection. Being that the ocean accounts for 70 percent of the Earth’s surface, it only makes sense that we use this day to shed light on marine issues locally, as well as globally. It is also important that we celebrate past and current successes in marine conservation. As divers, we see the direct and indirect effects of human influence on the marine environment. This Earth Day lets help the underwater world we enjoy exploring by acting as stewards for the environment. Here is a list of actions we can take to help protect our oceans and the remarkable creatures that inhabit them:


  1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

A mantra everyone should live by. Large amounts of trash end up in the ocean. Plastic, aluminum cans, and fishing debris clutter our beaches, accumulate in the open-ocean, and end up on the seafloor.


  1. Use oil in moderation

From devastating oil spills, to the release of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere, there is a wide array of reasons why we must cut down on our oil usage.


  1. Stop using Styrofoam

With our ocean turing into a sea of plastic it is imperative that we act now. Styrofoam is one of the worst pollutants entering the marine environment. As Styrofoam decomposes it releases toxic chemicals. These chemicals are not only dangerous to ocean inhabitants, but to humans as well.


  1. Choose nontoxic household products

Everyday household products can be extremely dangerous not only to your health, but also to the environment. Items such as non-stick cookware, conventional cleaning supplies, plastic bottles, chemical fertilizers and insecticides, flame-retardants, and air fresheners should be avoided when possible.


  1. Watch your wastewater

Be mindful of where your dirty water ends up. Don’t allow contaminated water to go down storm drains into the ocean.


  1. Follow local fishing and hunting laws and consider your impact on the environment

 It is important to keep up to date with local fishing laws and to follow guidelines to ensure the sustainability of target fisheries. An estimated 345 million fish were caught in the United States in 2011. You make more of an impact than you think.


  1. Eat only Sustainable Seafood or opt out of seafood completely

An estimated 53% of the worlds’ fisheries are fully exploited and 32% are overexploited, depleted, or recovering from depletion. Determine what seafood makes it into your diet by learning about where it comes from. Check out:


  1. Share your knowledge with friends, family, and fellow divers

 Always share what you learn with the people you care about. Word of mouth is a powerful tool.


  1. Boat Responsibly

Keep up with local laws. Make as little of an impact on the environment as possible by disposing of your trash properly, never anchoring on a reef, and keeping up with general maintenance.


  1. Join a local coastal or underwater cleanup

 Stop by your local dive shop and ask to join an underwater clean up. Give back to your community by joining local volunteers in beach a beach clean up.


  1. Support Marine Protected Areas

 Only 2.8% of the world’s ocean is protected. Many of these are either poorly managed or not at all. Not only do we need more protected areas, we need well-designed and properly managed areas in vitally important regions to boost marine ecosystems. Be a part of the effort to create better-supervised, marine protected areas.


  1. Leave marine life where it belongs

Over 11 million reef fish and millions of other reef inhabitants are taken from the world’s reefs each year to meet the demand of aquarium hobbyists in the United States. The aquarium trade seeks the rare and the beautiful, many being endemic and not suitable for aquariums.


  1. Donate your dive to science

Stop by your local dive shop and take part in a REEF survey or Coral Watch dive. Volunteer to be part of a local conservation project with a non-profit organization.


  1. Keep your hands off

During any dive be mindful of where you put your hands. Many marine organisms are fragile and are easily damaged. Remember Project AWARE’s “10 ways a diver can protect the marine environment”. Be a role model for others.


  1. Work to bring moorings to the dive sites you utilize

Anchoring on a reef can be detrimental. Down lines can land on fragile reef inhabitants causing damage to corals, sponges, and other benthic organisms.