5 Things Kids Can Do to Protect the Oceans
World Oceans Day on the 8th June is a wonderful opportunity to educate children about the environment. Not only do oceans provide food and medicine, they also absorb carbon dioxide, produce up to 70% of the oxygen we breathe and regulate the climate.
Oceans face many threats from contamination by plastics and chemicals, as well as from climate change. Much marine life is critically endangered, including coral reefs on the Great Barrier Reef.
Here are five things children can do to help protect the oceans.
1. Cut back on plastic
Plastic waste breaks down and ends up on beaches and shores, posing a major threat to sea animals who ingest it. Kids can make a difference by becoming aware of how damaging plastic is to the environment. This allows them to make conscious decisions to reuse water bottles and choose toys which are produced sustainably.
Children who learn about plastic pollution will carry this knowledge with them for life. Parents can encourage kids to write letters to elected officials and to educate people about the dangers of plastic. Kids can also start a veggie patch to reduce the amount of plastic packaging brought into the home.
2. Research sustainable fishing
According to the Australian Marine Conservation Society, over 75% of global fish stocks are either overfished or at their limit. When oceans are overfished, marine life is unable to replenish itself and fish numbers begin to decline. In addition to depleting stocks of fish, commercial fishing also kills millions of dolphins, turtles, and seabirds each year.
Parents can help kids become educated about sustainable fishing by talking to them about the problem of overfishing and researching together which seafood is caught using eco-friendly methods. This gives children the knowledge to make good choices and helps them develop a sense of responsibility towards the environment.
3. Learn about the ocean
Power is knowledge, and the more kids know about the amazing creatures that live in the ocean, the more inspired they will be to protect the world’s waterways. There are many excellent fiction and non-fiction books about the ocean which will capture children’s imaginations and encourage them to think more deeply about the ocean.
Kids can also watch high-quality documentaries on Youtube for free about sea life and visit aquariums and science events to learn more about the ocean’s role in sustaining life.
4. Participate in clean up days
When young people participate in clean up days, they get to see firsthand the rubbish which flows directly into the ocean through drains and waterways. Seeing this waste for themselves makes the problem real and gives kids a concrete way to help.
Cleaning up the environment is not a one-off event. Children can make a difference by picking up rubbish when they see it and telling their friends about what happens when they litter. In addition to participating in community clean up days, kids can host their own clean up or ask their school to get involved.
5. Support the efforts of others
There are many organisations doing important work to protect the environment, and they need support. Young people can get involved in World Oceans Day by signing their online petition or hosting a celebration. They can sign up to the Global Youth movement on the organisations website and participating in their monthly Youth webinars.
WWF Australia is one of Australia’s most respected conservation organisations that is fighting to put an end to single-use plastic. Kids can get updates on these efforts, browse the websites resources and make donations to support their important work.
Encourage your child to get involved this World Oceans Day.