It's no secret that our oceans are in trouble. Let's face it, even before the BP megadisaster, the world's oceans were already in trouble, facing overfishing, climate change and pollution. But the oil spill has brought the plight of our oceans front and center.
If I could — if I didn't have kids, and school, and work, and pets, and sick relatives to juggle — I would drop everything and make a beeline down to the Gulf to do whatever I could to help. The reality is that I can't, but that doesn't mean I can't make a difference to the world's oceans.
In fact, I got some great tips from my friend Terra Wellington, a fellow green mom and the author of "The Mom’s Guide to Growing Your Family Green: Saving the Earth Begins at Home". Here are some of the ways she has changed her family's habits to aid wildlife:
Buy Best Choice – Use Seafood Watch and try to stay on the Best Choice list whenever you purchase seafood. You can download and print the pocket guide, use the iPhone app, or bookmark the link on your smartphone.
- Eat less fish – Cut down on meat eating, including fish, and try a semi-vegetarian diet that emphasizes plant proteins and more fruits and veggies. It's healthier for your family and eases the pressure on our animal protein production system.
- Eat sustainable food – Join an organic veggie CSA and/or hit up your local farmers market for fresh fruits and veggies. This helps to reduce chemicals and top soil runoff that ends up in our waterways and oceans.
- Clean your energy – Support cleaner energy by opting for alternative energy from your local utility provider.
- Reduce your utility bill – Take advantage of the rebates and tax incentives available to swap out appliances for less energy-consuming models.
- Buy greener transportation – Opt for walking, biking and public transportation whenever possible. If you do need a car, buy the greenest option you can afford — electric, hybrid or high gas mileage — to use the least amount of oil.
- Stop the landscape chemicals – Green your lawn to reduce your use of chemicals. Use compost, mulch and slow-release or organic fertilizers — all in moderation. And stay away from pesticides and herbicides. Also opt for native plants, which need less water and fertilizing overall.
- Contact your government – Go onto Congress.org and write your state and federal representatives about your ocean-related concerns.
- Give your grocery store feedback – Tell your grocery store what seafood you do and don’t want.
- Talk to your chef – Tell the chef at your favorite restaurant what kind of sustainable seafood you'd like to see on the menu.