HOW YOU CAN HELP PROTECT MARINE WILDLIFE
Would you like to help protect marine wildlife but are not sure what you can do? As part or Drawing for the Planet's Kettins Ocean project with Kettins Primary School, Scotland, we have created a list of 10 simple actions you can take to protect our precious oceans. The more people who take positive action to save our seas the greater the impact we can make.
Read our top 10 actions below. We have also created HOW YOU CAN HELP PROTECT MARINE WILDLIFE downloadable PDF (CLICK on image above) so you can spread the word by sharing it - together we are stronger!View Kettins Ocean project and see our online gallery of the children's drawings
TOP 10 ACTIONS
1. VOLUNTEER FOR A BEACH CLEAN-UP
Simple but hugely effective, beach clean-ups are a fun way you can help marine wildlife and our environment.
At Drawing for the Planet we love the concept of volunteering - it's good for those you're helping and good for the soul! So, if you live by or are visiting the coast why not volunteer for a beach clean-up, organize a clean-up yourself with friends and family or simply pick up trash you find and take it to a recycling centre.
BE INSPIRED by our friend Ryan Hickman who founded Ryan’s Recycling and recycle plastic!Here’s Ryan and his friends on San Clemente Beach in California during one of his beach clean-ups. Read about Ryan’s Project 3R
2. USE LESS PLASTIC
The truth about plastic - it kills wildlife! Plastic has also entered our food chain with traces found in seafood - read Earth.com. Fragments of plastic have been discovered at the north and south poles.
Many of the animals drawn by Kettins Primary children like the Dugong become entangled in plastic and drown or eat plastic and suffocate. Seabirds like albatross are known to feed plastic to their chicks. It is estimated by 2050 there will be more plastic in the sea than fish. Be part of the solution not the problem:
- Use tote bags to carry shopping
- Say no to plastic straws and cutlery
- Carry reusable water bottles and coffee cups
- Avoid single use plastics
3. EAT RESPONSIBLY
Eat less fish and make sustainable shopping choices. Eating eco-friendly locally caught fish lessens the demand on species like Pacific Bluefin Tuna. Choosing sustainably caught fish helps avoid bycatch (species unintentionally caught in fishing nets intended for other species) and reduces the threat to species like the North Atlantic Right Whale and Vaquita which is at imminent threat of extinction with around 18 individuals remaining.
Checking food labels and understanding where your food comes from will help you make responsible choices. KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!If you’re in the UK here are some suggestions of sustainable local fish from the Sustainable Food Trust.
4. SAVE WATER
Using less water means less waste-water enters our oceans. It also keeps more water in our environment particularly in our wetlands which are home to 40% of all species, and avoids water shortages, reduces energy consumption and saves money! Here's some water saving tips:
- Don’t run baths – take short showers instead
- Collect water in butts for your garden
- Use dishwater, known as grey water to water plants - don't use grey water on edible plants such as herbs and vegetables
- Only wash clothes when your washing basket is full and wash on cold water cycles to save both water and energy
- Turn off the tap when brushing your teeth
5. SAVE ENERGY
Our over consumption of energy, particularly burning of fossil fuels leads to more carbon dioxide (CO2 ) being released into the atmosphere which causes global warming. CO2 also enters our oceans resulting in ocean acidification. This can cause amongst other things, coral to die.
Coral reefs are home to some of the species drawn by Kettins Primary children, the destruction of which is a threat to their existence. By lowering your carbon foot-print you could help save these animals from extinction. Here are a few energy saving ideas which can also save you money:
- Drive less
- Use public transport
- Fly less
- Wear jumpers rather than switch on heating
- Turn off lights and chargers you're not using!
6. TRAVEL RESPONSIBLY
More of us are thinking about the impact of flying on our environment and taking holidays at home instead. However, if travelling abroad we can lessen our impact on wildlife. Here are some suggestions:
- Use sustainable tourist companies
- Research threats to local wildlife so you can avoid purchasing goods that harm wildlife
- Help support local community eco-activities and continue to support when you return
- Avoid buying marine wildlife souvenirs (read more at The Reef-World Foundation)
- Don’t get too close to wildlife - respect it and enjoy it from a distance
- Whale watch or dive with responsible companies and instructors
- DON’T visit aquariums or dolphinariums – this encourages the capture and captivity of wild animals which can cause them stress, behavioural issues, illness and premature death
- Say NO to swimming with dolphins – it can cause health risks and stress to dolphins (read more at The Humane Society)
- Be aware of sustainable food choices at your destination
- Use reef-safe sun-cream
7. BOAT RESPONSIBLY
Many of us enjoy ocean recreational activities including boating, kayaking and water-skiing. However when we enter the ocean we are its guests and its inhabitants need our respect.Wildlife can be disturbed easily and not only suffer stress but injury and death through vessel strikes. Species at risk of boating accidents include some of those drawn by Kettins Primary children such as dugongs, seals and whales. Read this helpful article of how to boat near marine life at Sailors for the Sea.
8. LEARN ABOUT MARINE WILDLIFE
Learning more about wildlife is not only exciting it also helps us appreciate the unique beauty and importance of each species in its ecosystem, what species are threatened, why, and ways we can take positive action to help them. Remember, humans need wildlife to survive so it is also for our own benefit that wildlife is protected. Here are some suggestions:
- Watch wildlife documentaries like Blue Planet
- Read books or articles about the environment and wildlife
- Follow environmental news organisations such as Mongabay and BBC Wildlife
- Follow marine conservation organisations like Greenpeace, Sea Shepherd and Shark Trust on social media
9. TELL OTHERS
By telling others what you have learned not only can you inspire them to get involved in the conservation of wildlife and the environment but you also become a champion for wildlife and humanity! As well as telling people there are other effective ways you can raise awareness:
- Share conservation organisations posts
- Write posts about and share photographs of your own wildlife experiences
- Sign petitions and share them - signing petitions really can effect change!
Talk to your teacher about starting an environment club - Drawing for the Planet has encountered many inspirational students including Elyse Feenan who spoke at our 2019 Endangered Species Conference about her recycling project which had a huge impact on her school and local community
10. FUNDRAISE FOR MARINE AND OTHER CONSERVATION ORGANISATIONS
In order to help wildlife, conservation organisations need funding and that means they need our help. If you are passionate about saving wildlife, or our oceans you can raise funds for organisations that protect them. Here are some fundraising ideas:
- Research responsible conservation organisations you would like to raise funds for – Drawing for the Planet like our partners Born Free, is an advocate for keeping wildlife in the wild where it belongs and supports other charities that observe this vision
- Organise a school art-sale of children’s wildlife drawings, or bake-sale, or sponsored walk to raise funds – this also helps spreads the word about conservation
- VOLUNTEER - many organisations need volunteers to help with their missions - check their websites for volunteer programmes
SHARK FINNING AND WHY SHARKS ARE IN PERIL
Majestic, beautiful yet greatly misunderstood, with over 500 species in existence, sharks are vitally important to our oceans ecosystems. But did you know around 100 MILLION sharks are killed EVERY YEAR?
Victims of bycatch, where species are unintentionally caught in nets intended for other species, sharks are also hunted for their fins. Fins are cut from live sharks leaving them to die an agonising death. Shark fins are used in Shark Fin soup and other body parts for medicines, particularly in traditional Chinese medicine, despite no scientific evidence shark products can cure diseases. These industries are unsustainable with many shark species now facing extinction. Sharks have existed for 450 million year while modern humans only evolved around 200 thousand years ago. Oceans without sharks is surely an unthinkable prospect for us all?
It’s time to shout out for sharks and raise awareness of their plight by telling others or sharing on social media. Here are some helpful articles that further explain these issues: Discover Wildlife / GreenpeaceBE AWARE - Fish and Chips is one of the UK’s most iconic dishes but if you buy ‘rock salmon’ from the menu you are actually eating spiny dog fish, an endangered shark species.
ABOUT AQUARIUMS AND MARINE ANIMALS
Seeing marine animals in public aquariums or keeping fish in home aquariums is something many people enjoy but did you know this pastime comes with ethical and ecological consequences?
Many animals including fish and marine mammals such as dolphins and orcas lives are shortened in captivity. Often kept in inadequate tanks, they can suffer from stress, behavioural issues or illness. While most freshwater fish are bred in captivity, 95-99% of marine fish sold in the aquarium trade are captured in the wild. Not only can this be harmful to species populations particularly endangered species as well as their ecosystems, destructive practices are often used to capture marine species.
In its helpful article about keeping captive fish the Animal Welfare Institute says:
“The use of toxins like cyanide to capture fish can kill or impair both target and nontarget species, while also killing coral or impairing its ability to provide shelter or food to marine life.”
No matter the pleasure we gain from aquariums is it worth the suffering caused to marine species and the destruction of our oceans?
ABOUT DRAWING FOR THE PLANET
We are a global art and environmental education charity with drawing, one of the oldest forms of communication, at its core. Founded by Artist, Jane Lee McCracken, to share her passions for drawing and wildlife, we partner with international wildlife charity Born Free, conservationists, artists, educators and cultural institutions. Through our art, education, exhibition and conservation fundraising projects we give children, communities and wildlife a voice. Watch our video and visit us at: www.drawingfortheplanet.org
We would love to hear about what activities you do to help save our seas, wildlife and the environment so please share your posts or drawings you create of wildlife by tagging us on our social media platforms below and using the hashtag #dftpnature. We may feature your drawings on our website:
With kind thanks to Kettins Primary children!