3 Ways to Vote the Ocean Everyday
Story by Olivia Angus
Photo by KindHumans and Changing Tides Foundation
Voting for the Ocean isn’t something that happens once every four or even two years. It happens every day. We vote for the ocean with our wallets, our actions, and even with our words.
Voting With Our Wallets
Every purchase we make sends a message to brands. With those purchases we can either support the ocean or harm the ocean. Plastic is an obvious one. Every time we purchase a single-use plastic item, we’re supporting a throw-away culture. We send a message to companies that it’s okay to produce items that are used only for minutes but pollute our ocean for a lifetime.
Every year (besides this one) the Ocean Conservancy hosts an International Coastal CleanUp Day. Millions of people across the global head to the coasts and pick up the trash along the beaches. They tally all the items and send the data in. The top ten items found in these clean-ups are single-use plastics and most are related to food.
So, where you can, vote for reusable options and refuse the single-use plastics. When ordering takeout, choose items that are wrapped in paper or foil, like burritos or sandwiches. Let the restaurant know that you don’t need plastic utensils and extra sauce packets.
Voting With Our Actions
When looking at large-scale problems like climate change or plastic pollution, it’s easy to think, “what can one person do?” But starting with small actions can lead to larger ones and can influence those around you.
Every action we take to reduce our carbon footprint is a vote for the ocean. Things like eating less meat, driving less, cooking more meals at home, washing your clothes in cold water, or even starting a garden are all ways to reduce your carbon footprint. And as an added bonus, these actions also save you money! Who doesn’t want to protect our ocean while saving money?
Voting With Our Words
Language is a powerful tool we often take for granted. Using our words we can write or call our representatives to tell them we want action on plastic pollution. Using our words we can write letters to the editor in our local newspapers to talk about how ocean acidification due to climate change not only harms our ocean but destroys coastal economies. Using our words we can talk about the sorrow we feel knowing that many of the surf spots we loved as a child could be gone by the time our grand kids are ready to hit the waves.
Being an ocean activist and a mom, I vote the ocean every day so that my kids (and hopefully grand kids) will be able to experience the majesty of the ocean in all its glory. And my hope is that you will too.
About Olivia Angus
Olivia Angus (aka Olivia for the Ocean) is a medical device engineer and clean water activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. She started OliviafortheOcean.com to show people easy ways to reduce their plastic footprint.