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        What You Can Do to Combat the Plastic Pollution Crisis

        Plastic pollution poses many environmental, human health, and animal welfare issues. While plastic products offer us convenience at cheap prices, the long term consequences are proving to be expensive, toxic, and have placed humans in a difficult position environmentally.


        It is important to understand a problem before lending solutions to address it. The problem with plastic pollution spans over a variety of levels, from business, to healthcare, to politics. Luckily, awareness about the plastic crisis occurring has steadily been rising. More than ever, consumers and environmental advocates have been speaking out about concerns regarding plastic pollution.

        Here, you will find some essential and effective ways that you, too, can combat the global plastic crisis.


        1. Educate Others

         Those around you may not be aware of the seriousness regarding plastic pollution. It is also likely that you forget the seriousness from time to time as well. Regardless, one of the best ways to combat any problem is via awareness.

         It may help to show visuals of plastic pollution, or share statistics that showcase the importance of the issue. For example, it is estimated that roughly 8 million pieces of plastics enter the oceans each day. This number derives from the 320 million tonnes of plastic waste generated each year. Of this, 50% are single use plastic items, with a 9% recycle rate.

         Statistics and new findings help to keep ourselves up to date and focused on the importance of ending plastic waste. It also helps others to generate a better perspective about just how much plastic is wasted each year.


        1. Get Involved

         Lend your time to organizations, volunteer opportunities, and community events that are dedicated to reducing plastic waste. There are so many organizations out there who are providing resources for education opportunities, or who bring political awareness to important environmental issues.

         Volunteering to lead or help create beach or park clean ups in your area is an excellent and effective way to spot-clean areas that may provide an easy pathway for plastics to enter waterways. It also is a great way to bring your friends or family along and share the experience with them.


        If politics are more your style, becoming involved as a citizen speaker or advocate under political parties or environmental lobbyists might be a great option for you.

         Donating to environmental relief funds or ocean conservation groups is another effective and useful way to combat plastic pollution.


        1. Cut Your Plastic Consumption

         It should be noted that while plastic consumption and pollution is an incredibly difficult challenge, and the brunt of the blame should not be placed on consumers alone, there is a great impact we can personally have.

         Plastics are an industrial and capitalistic feature. Plastics are cheap, durable, and can be used in countless ways, which is what makes companies choose plastics in the making of their products over other materials.

         If you look around your home, grocery store, or restaurant, plastic is everywhere. It has become so meshed within our society, that it is no wonder how overlooked plastic pollution remained for so many years.

         However, the awareness is rising. Consumers have very powerful market power. Since the environmental movement, we have already seen advancements in plastic free alternatives; metal straws, biodegradable serve ware, reusable bags, and more. These options reached the market solely due to public awareness, concern, and demand for greater environmental options.

         Now, more than ever, consumers must cut their consumption of plastic. With the now wide and growing plastic alternatives, cutting plastic consumption where you can will be vital to controlling the plastic pandemic.



         Switching to a bamboo toothbrush, refusing to buy plastic water bottles, or buying from plastic free makeup companies are all ways to do this. Be creative, do your research, and experiment with ways that you can reduce your plastic consumption.

         Because, the most sustainable plastic, is the one that is never purchased or used in the first place.

        Ocean Biodiversity: What it is and why it is important

        Ocean Biodiversity: What it is and why it is important


        You may have heard the term ‘biodiversity’ before, but may not totally understand the true definition of what it is and why it’s important. Biodiversity is a shortened term of the words biological and diversity that incorporates and serves the connections and relationships between all living things. That includes, plants, animals, microorganisms, fungi, etc.

         What many may not know, is that the biodiversity of a place, area, or ecosystem can actually be measured. It entails creating inventories of all plants, animals, and other species within a given area. This process is known as creating a Biodiversity Index; which can then be analyzed to find out what level of biodiversity is present. While this process can be time consuming, it’s an incredibly useful tool in getting a better understanding of an area and what species have a potential risk of being harmed by climate change, development, and natural disasters, just to name a few.

         Oceans around the world have some of the highest biodiversity of all ecosystems on earth. From marine mammals, plant species, fish, bacterias and other living organisms, the oceans are absolutely blooming with life. Typically, the more species an area has, where all are working together in a united ecosystem, the higher the level of biodiversity. A high level of biodiversity is essential to the functioning and continuation of life all over the planet. However, that biodiversity is threatened, and must be protected now more than ever.

        We continue our lives every day without realizing how many incredible functions are occurring in the natural world around us. Biodiversity is arguably one of the most important environmental factors to protect as populations grow, development and sprawl continues, and climate change poses many threats we can not totally be prepared for. If we imagine biodiversity around the world collapsing entirely, it would be the end for human life, and all life as we know it.

        Biodiversity, especially associated with earth's oceans, is a system all on its own. However, the balance of biodiversity is rather delicate. Biodiversity can be reduced through habitat destruction, species extinction, temperature and climate disturbances, among other factors.

        Pollution in the form of industrial chemicals, animal waste, and global greenhouse gases are also able to impact biodiversity of an area. While the oceans are large, the damage done to biodiversity occurs closer to shore, and starts a domino effect of impact over time, further out into the seas. Biodiversity is a delicate balance, a dance so to speak, between all species. It does not take much to throw the balance off entirely.

        You may be wondering how biodiversity, and the potential lack of it, can affect human life. The oceans seem distant, and almost as if they have little to no connection to what occurs on land and in our daily lives. You may even be wondering if we can live without healthy oceans. However, we are much more connected to the oceans as land creatures than you may realize. And, no, life for humans without healthy, functioning oceans, is just impossible.

        Firstly, economies around the world depend on the oceans. From tourism to fishing industries, the oceans support large amounts of money that enter countries around the world annually. Most people eat harvested seafood, which is a regulated industry. Although it is not the most sustainable industry, without monitoring the biodiversity of a fishing area, it becomes very easy to overfish a certain species. Ultimately, this can lead to threatening various fish species, and places stress upon the ecosystem from which they are harvested.


        Tourism is directly linked to biodiverse oceans. Biodiversity allows for the vibrant fish, coral, and marine plant species that many travel to see and experience. Recreational activities like swimming, diving, snorkeling, etc. all rely on pristine environments to keep attracting visitors, and ultimately, funds into various economies.

        One of the most essential ways the ocean protects human life is through climate stabilization. Oceans are responsible for producing one out of every two breaths we take. The oxygen produced would not be possible without biodiverse and balanced ecosystems at work. In addition, the ocean helps to equilibrate global temperatures, which means climate change can be mitigated by supporting healthy oceans.

        In summary, biodiversity is a combination of the variety of animal species, plants, bacterias, and more, working together in harmony to support each other, and ultimately, life as we know it. Oceans are crucial needs for healthy human life, and for other life that we share the planet with. Biodiversity is still being studied, and scientists are discovering new connections and functions of biodiversity every year. It is essential that oceans be protected, and its biodiverse ecosystems be preserved for economic, health, and intrinsically valued reasons.

        How Does Ocean Plastic Pollution Affect Sea Turtles?

        How Does Ocean Plastic Pollution Affect Sea Turtles?


        As it turns out, plastic is not so fantastic, especially for marine wildlife. Plastic pollution, which was once an issue that posed little threat, has evolved into a massive environmental undertaking. It is estimated that there are 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic material circulating in the ocean. Of that mass, 269,000 tons float on the surface, while some four billion plastic microfibers per square kilometer litter the deep sea.

        Some species of marine life are struggling more than others to live in ecosystems filled with plastic; sea turtles being one of the more vulnerable and sensitive species. Sea turtles are very mobile creatures, with vast migration patterns, specific mating behavior, and delicate lifestyles, making them more susceptible to environmental stressors.

        Nearly all sea turtle species are considered endangered. This means that their populations are continuing to decline. Factors like climate change, being subjected to fishing bycatch, hunting and poaching, are all responsible for their decline. Plastic pollution, however, is their latest and possibly greatest threat.


        Sea turtles are affected by plastic pollution in 3 main ways.

        1. Ingestion

        Plastic debris such as plastic bags appear very familiar to sea turtles. Ocean current pushes plastic bags, causing them to sway and appear much like jellyfish, which are a staple in the diet of sea turtles.

        Things such as plastic fishing line or netting are easily mistaken for seaweed, another main food item for sea turtles. Sea turtles are unable to digest plastic materials, and often will fill their stomachs up with plastics, causing them to feel full, and eventually they will perish due to starvation. Research conducted by the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and the University of the Sunshine Coast (USC) found that a turtle had a 22% chance of dying if it ate just one piece of plastic.

        1. Entanglement

        If sea turtles do not consume plastic debris, they are still at risk of becoming entangled in old fishing equipment and netting. Entanglement often leads to death, as sea turtles need to reach the ocean surface occasionally to breath. If they become entangled and submerged under water, they will die of suffocation.

        When this is not the case, sea turtles, even those who manage to free themselves from entanglement, are likely to suffer some sort of injury. The injuries place them in a more vulnerable position, often attracting predators. Injuries also affect their ability to reproduce, and could cause them to die due to infections or non-survivable injuries.

        1. Habitat Destruction

        Sea turtles utilize various habitats for resting, hunting for food, and reproducing. Plastic pollution, however, creates an environment that may block out sunlight, which inhibits plant growth in habitats where sea turtles may usually collect food. This, along with other environmental stressors, may cause sea turtles to venture further away from their usual territories, making them a target for predators.

        Plastic pollution also creates a dangerous environment for them to thrive, as many plastics have hard edges, and litter the ocean floor, where they enjoy spending time.



        In conclusion, sea turtles are valuable marine species who are sensitive to environmental changes. The three main ways they are affected by marine plastic pollution is through ingestion, entanglement, and habitat destruction. Sea turtles are incredible creatures, with vast migration patterns, and are one of the most adored marine species. They have many threats, including poaching, climate change, and now, plastic pollution. To protect sea turtles, supporting organizations dedicated to ocean conservation is a great way to start!