The Earth Day movement is growing – but the climate crisis has never affected the oceans more. From warmer oceans, to crazy weather disasters to changes in animal migrations, grave changes are happening around the world. We’ve seen the negative impacts of pollution and temperature in just the last few years in Hawaii, which is why we clean reefs every weekend we can, as well as volunteering for organizations that care for wildlife. I share my photos in large part to help people see the beauty and awe we experience when we are in the ocean – because people protect what they love. But all that is at risk right now because of how we humans are treating our planet. It’s not just something for politicians to deal with – it’s important that everyone take action to help! And there is a silver lining – Only One says “The scientific community has outlined that we can buoy biodiversity by protecting 30% of the ocean and land by 2030, providing ecosystems the critical space they need to recover ” We have a long way to go, but its not too late!
As you know ‘Alohi Kai is here for team ocean, but we are all interconnected – land, weather, oceans. Our behavior on land – plastic usage, poor land and soil management, over consumption of fast fashion products – affects the ocean and all people on earth (for example, land pollution flows into the sea that causes an ecosystem collapse). Our behavior in the ocean – deep sea drilling, over fishing and destructive fishing practices, pollution – affects us on land (for example, loss of fish stocks and apex predators destroys communities that rely on fishing). Clearly this is an oversimplification but you see the point – we are all connected, and at the end of the day all our children will be bearing the burden of what we have wrought. The good news is there are so many ways everyone can help!
So lets celebrate Earth Month – the month-long extension of Earth Day since 1970 in the US. By 1990 it was a global movement with over 200 million people participating! And yet we are so far from achieving the possible. While it would only take protecting 30% of the ocean to turn things around, we currently only have 3% protected.
So tell your politicians this is important to you. Raise awareness with your friends and families. Get involved with organizations doing the work. And in the mean time, think about what else you can do this month (and all months)? As I always say, small actions do help. This is about a mindset shift rather than a radical overnight change over night; small things add up to big change. Below is a list of some ideas, choose a few you can handle and go from there. The greatest changes start with awareness, so read through and spread the word.
- Go paperless with bills – switch to online billing
- Wash your clothes on cold instead of hot
- Air dry your clothes
- Use reusable rags to clean your home – those handy wipes are synthetic
- Get indoor plants that clean the air at home
- Look at repairing instead of buying something new
- Turn off appliances automatically
- Consider solar and electric cars
- Turn off the faucet off while brushing your teeth or washing dishes
- Purchase in bulk where possible – reduce packaging
- Shop the bulk bins at grocery stores to get only what you need – waste less
- Buy refillable products – hand soap, dish soap, laundry detergent
- Buy tablet instead of liquid soaps to cut back on plastics
- Try tablet toothpaste too!
- Eat what’s in season. Think about the carbon footprint of out-of-season produce
- Go Slow – buy fewer things that last longer, and only things you love!
REUSE & RECYCLE
- Use old wine bottles as water bottles/carafes in the fridge.
- Reuse takeout containers to gift home made baked goods to others
- Swap plastic and styrofoam products for reusables where possible: plates, cups, water bottles, straws, utensils, food containers
- Bring reusable produce bags or skip the bag completely when buying produce at the market
- Use reusable rags – the handy ‘wipes’ both clog drains and are not biodegradable
- Upcycle old favorite jeans into shorts, or make old shirts into a quilt (lots of companies will do this for you!)
- Circular fashion! Give or trade your old clothes to companies like For Days – they do the hard part of up-cycling for you
- Educate yourself on your local recycling practices – Did you know that recycling bins “contaminated” with pieces of trash are often just thrown out?
- Give vintage clothing a try 🙂 and create a style of your own
- Buy items made from upcycled and sustainable materials – we love companies like Rareform (bags made from old billboards)
- Buy items made with recycled materials – at ‘Alohi Kai we use reclaimed sterling silver for fabrication
- Use refillable cleaners with reusable glass bottles to both reduce your plastic and carbon footprint – have a look at Blueland and Cleancult
- Select eco-friendly cleaning products
- Choose to shop with companies that match your values. For example, we love Patagonia. They created yulex, a non-petroleum neoprene and shared how to make it with the world. They also operate a circular clothing program! You can trade in or purchase from their Worn Wear program.
- RESEARCH the companies you purchase from – greenwashing is a big bad thing
- Walk, ride a bike or join a carpool.
- Go for a swim in the ocean or walk in the park instead of a drive
- Shop at farmers markets! Low carbon footprint and more money goes to support those all-important farmers
- Meatless days – make a plant-based meal (or two) a week
- Grow your own produce- or some of it! Try it from lemon seeds, tomato seeds, strawberries, even bottoms of celery and garlic cloves
- Pack your own lunch instead of purchasing prepackaged meals.
- Start composting your kitchen scraps and choosing compostable products
- Support environmentally friendly policies and politicians – they only know you like what they do when you tell them
- Volunteer! Help clean up parks, oceans, streets.
- Do it on your own – clean up and report the clean ups to local charities that track it (This helps them stay operational)
- Raise awareness with your friends and family – this is important work, if you do nothing else, raise awareness