Most of the Earth is covered by the ocean. Without this salty expanse, our planet as we know it couldn’t exist. Oceans generate most of the oxygen we breathe. They help feed us. They even regulate our climate.

On World Oceans Day, it’s time to celebrate, and sustain, this indispensable body of water.

“World Oceans Day is the one day that we’ve set aside each year to celebrate everything about the oceans and what we can do to preserve this one globally connected layer of salt water that is the dominant geographic feature of our planet,” said Dr. Alistair Dove, director of research and conservation at Georgia Aquarium.

It’s a day to clean up trash — especially plastic — that could enter the ocean, where it wreaks all manner of havoc on marine life. For instance, it’s not unusual for marine mammals to end up with plastic in their stomachs. Single-use plastic bags blow away from landfills and often end up in the ocean, where they can be mistaken for jellies by animals like sea turtles.

“The ocean’s trying to tell us that there is a problem here and that we need to change our consumer practices,” said Dove.

Individual consumers can help trigger a sea change just by tweaking their shopping habits.

“It’s easy to get dismayed by the size of the problems facing the ocean and think that nothing I as an individual can do can really make a difference, but it’s not true,” said Dove. Small, easy, changes — made by enough people in the world — can have a huge impact on the health of the ocean.

Watch the video to learn more about how you can take action to protect our ocean and help keep debris out of the sea.