Humans seem to have an appetite for destruction, and we are consuming our planet’s resources at an alarming rate. From our appetite for fish to the rise of plastic in our everyday lives, we are devastating our beautiful oceans.
According to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations, 80 percent of the world’s fish stocks for which assessment information is available are considered fully exploited or overexploited. Further, researchers predict that the oceans could collapse as soon as 2048, largely due to human actions.
Not only are we depleting our oceans of fish, we are also trashing the oceans with plastic too. Plastic is not biodegradable, it exists on the planet for thousands of years.
Every piece of plastic ever created still exists on earth today, and much of that plastic waste ends up in our oceans, where 700 animal species are threatened with extinction as a result. It is estimated 8.8 million TONS of plastic enter our oceans every year – and that number is only growing.
UN Secretary-General, António Guterres recently spoke to this mounting issue at the opening of the United Nations’ Ocean Conference in New York where he warned presidents, ministers, diplomats and environmental activists from nearly 200 countries about the range of factors impacting our oceans. He also called on countries to work together to help protect the world’s oceans, noting that plastic garbage could outweigh fish by 2050 if nothing is done.
In his speech, Guterres said that our oceans are, “now under threat as never before: pollution, overfishing, and the effects of climate change are severely damaging the health of our oceans.”
Guterres also went on to note that, “We have unleashed a plague of plastic upon the ocean that is defiling nature in so many tragic ways. It is inexcusable that humanity tips the equivalent of a large garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute of every day.”
At the end of the Ocean Conference, a Call for Action will be made, including Sustainable Development Goal 14, which includes: preventing and significantly cutting marine pollution by 2025; minimizing and addressing the impacts of ocean acidification; and conserving at least 10 percent of coastal and marine areas by 2020.
But you don’t need to wait for that! You can take action to save our oceans today with two simple swaps.
Choose to leave fish off of your plate and instead check out these awesome vegan seafood recipes and spend your money on plant-based foods and keep our seas healthy and alive for future generations.
Additionally, many citizens, companies, and organizations alike have been joining in on the fight to curb the use of plastic. Supermarkets are permanently banning plastic bags, cities are planning bans on plastic straws, and citizens are coming up with innovative ways to refuse plastic. This is a simple action you can take up too! Check out One Green Planet’s #CrushPlastic campaign for ideas to decrease your personal plastic use.
As Captain Paul Watson once said, “If the oceans die, we die.” So let’s start taking action today!
Lead image source: UN Geneva/Flickr