GVI diver

Make a Difference

If you’re motivated to make a difference, working in marine life conservation is a rewarding path to choose. Learn more about how you can get involved.

Read time: 3 minutes

By: Petrina Darrah

The vast expanse of the ocean covers 71% of Earth’s surface, holding a staggering 97% of its water. Yet, human activity has left its mark, with the ocean and its vibrant marine life feeling the squeeze from climate change. However, the ocean is far from surrendering, and there’s a host of ways that human involvement can make a genuine and positive difference to marine conservation.

The essence of marine conservation revolves around actions that uphold the vitality of ocean environments and marine creatures. Given that both sea and land creatures rely on these oceans, a proactive stance on marine conservation benefits us all.

Whether you’re a leisurely diver or simply have an affinity for the deep blue, there are numerous avenues for you to contribute. Here, we’ve curated seven starting points, each a potential stepping stone to aid ongoing conservation and protection of our oceans.

Reduce greenhouse gases

Beach - GVI marine conservation

Understanding the mechanisms behind climate change empowers you to minimise your personal contribution. Activities that generate greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, predominantly result from human endeavours. As these gases accumulate in the atmosphere, they trap excessive solar heat, leading to warmer ocean temperatures, rising sea levels, and elevated ocean pH levels. Such changes spell trouble for marine life. By tweaking everyday habits like driving and electricity consumption, you can embark on a journey toward eco-friendliness, reducing your carbon footprint step by step.

Lower plastic use

Diver - GVI marine conservation

A staggering estimate of 24.4 trillion microplastic particles float on the ocean’s surface, adversely impacting marine creatures. Single-use plastics wreak havoc on marine habitats and inhabitants. Marine species like sea turtles can even suffer from “floating syndrome” after ingesting plastic. To counter this, small changes like embracing reusable shopping bags, opting for plastic-free alternatives, and supporting packaging-free stores can significantly reduce your plastic reliance.

Cut down on toxic chemicals

Improper disposal of oils and chemicals introduces pollution into oceans, endangering marine life. Even sunscreens can harm coral reefs when washed off during a swim. Look out for truly environmentally-friendly cleaning products – be mindful of green washing – and conscientiously disposing of toxic substances, like batteries, can contribute to ocean health.

You can also consider switching to more environmentally-friendly cleaning products that break down in the environment – check the back of your packaging for a green certification. These products are just as effective but are less harmful for the environment.

Engage with Dive Against Debris

GVI marine conservation

Project AWARE’s Dive Against Debris initiative empowers you to combat plastic waste. From collecting marine debris during dives to organising clean-up events, you can play a pivotal role in reducing ocean plastic. Your involvement may inspire others to join, creating a formidable community effort to cleanse the oceans.

Support sustainable fisheries

GVI marine conservation

Overfishing poses a threat to fish populations globally. Adopting sustainable fishing practices ensures the responsible use of resources, preventing depletion.

And there are ways that you can get involved too. You could be more selective about the types of fish you buy by using the Marine Stewardship Council’s (MSC’s) list of approved fish as a guide. In this way, you can support and assist in promoting sustainable fisheries.

Watch out for items containing marine life products

GVI marine conservation

When you visit a coastal town you’re likely to see souvenirs made from various forms of marine life. Think of those tortoiseshell hair accessories, coral jewellery and shark tooth necklaces you’ve seen at seaside markets.

You may even find products at your favourite makeup store that contain ingredients taken from certain marine animals – like certain lipsticks or moisturisers which may contain fish scales and animal fat. However tempting that new red lipstick might look, make sure it doesn’t contain marine animal products (most countries indicate this with a bunny logo on the packaging). There are several cruelty-free organisations which certify and list brands that offer cruelty-free products, the three most recognised are the Leaping Bunny, PETA and Choose Cruelty-Free.

Promote marine conservation efforts

GVI marine conservation

Raising awareness about marine conservation plays a pivotal role. By educating others and supporting campaigns, you contribute to a broader understanding of ocean challenges. Initiatives like assisting in community education programs or pursuing marine conservation studies can further amplify your impact.

The realm of marine conservation offers numerous avenues for involvement. Whether through incremental lifestyle changes or active participation in initiatives, every contribution plays a vital role in preserving the health and vitality of our oceans. To delve deeper into marine conservation, consider exploring online courses or immersive environmental internships, nurturing your connection with this critical cause.

Feel like getting out there to do something adventurous and meaningful? Find out more about GVI’s marine conservation project in Fiji, Mexico, Greece or Seychelles.

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