The British nature documentary series, Blue Planet 2, which was produced by the BBC Natural History Unit and narrated by Sir David Attenborough, was 2017’s most watched television programme in the UK. The blockbuster documentary series was sold to more than 30 countries; it not only brought the magnificence of our world’s oceans into an accessible realm in startling, high-definition detail, it also shone a light on their devastating ecological decline. |
In the final episode, Sir David Attenborough enacted a rallying call to arms to remind us that the conservation of our oceans is a truly global responsibility and his compelling words resonated around the world.
“Never before have we had such an awareness of what we are doing to the planet and never before have we had the power to do something about that.”
How Ordinary People Can Become Extraordinary Conservationists
Ocean habitats are declining at an alarming rate, with plastic pollution, fishing and other human encroachment putting countless precious marine species in jeopardy. We all have a part to play in protecting our “blue planet”; it’s surprisingly easy to make some simple changes in order to contribute to a global shift.
• Purchase sustainable fish
With fish populations being rapidly depleted all over the world, making sustainable choices for consumption of seafood is paramount. Ask the questions: Where is this species from? Is it overfished? How was it farmed or caught? Is it a deep-sea (slow growing) species?
• Reduce use of plastic products
Eschewing single-use plastic supermarket bags, avoiding plastic cutlery and straws, and investing in reusable water bottles and coffee cups will reduce the amount of plastic that ends up in the oceans. Plastic waste is one of the major contributors to marine life and habitat destruction.
• Don’t use skin care that contains microbeads
The products of some of the world’s biggest beauty brands are wreaking destruction on our ocean habitats. Microbeads, contained in personal products like body washes, scrubs and toothpastes, are made up of tiny plastic particles that end up in our waterways and oceans. While there has been a push to ban products using microbeads in some countries, there’s no global legislation in place at present.
• Join a beach clean up
As well as taking all personal rubbish away whenever we use a beach, joining an organised community group beach clean can help in the reduction of plastic waste that goes into our oceans. It costs nothing but time to contribute.
• Travel responsibly
For nature lovers, wildlife cruises are the ultimate way to encounter a host of our spectacular marine animals in their natural habitat. However, not all wildlife cruises are created equal and it’s important to choose a responsible operator with a proven commitment to upholding eco-friendly values. It goes without saying that the responsibility extends to participants on wildlife cruises not to throw anything overboard and to be mindful of the delicate nature of the ecosystems.
• Be an influencer
One of the most important ways in which we can all do our part in ocean conservation is not only to be wildlife warriors, but also to become influencers. The more we learn and share about our precious marine life and the threats to its survival, the further the global conservation reach can spread.
“Surely we have a responsibility to care for our blue planet. The future of all life depends on us.”
While we may not all have the audience or the eloquence of Sir David Attenborough, we can all certainly raise a voice in our own little world.
Marissa Ellis-Snow is a freelance nature writer with a special interest in marine species. For nature lovers interested in dedicated wildlife cruises, Marissa recommends the tours organised by Naturetrek, which have brought her unforgettable sightings of a wide range of species in one of the most spectacular regions on Earth.
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