Our oceans made the news recently. Environmental news doesn’t win the popularity contest for most-reported topic in the media world. This article was buried beneath Vancouver riot updates and other sensational human-interest pieces. After all, reading about human-caused environmental catastrophes does not peak the interest of most intermediately-educated people, who would rather toss their finished bag of doritos into the trash than figure out how to recycle it.
This particular article should have been breaking news. What it states is scary, and shocking, and should be a wake-up call for everyone. It’s so easy to sit back and blame big corporations who, arguably, pollute the most. But we all need to start making changes, and those changes start with our everyday habits. As long as we continue to support large, dirty corporations by using our vehicles and buying new products, we are as much to blame for their pollution as they are.
Our oceans are in trouble. Climate change, pollution and over-fishing are having a huge impact on the health of marine life world-wide. The report warns that damage to marine life will harm its ability to support humans, and that ecosystems such as coral reefs could be lost in a generation.
This is serious stuff. We rely on this planet for survival, yet we continue to live like we don’t need it. And wasting less is not always easy. For instance, if I really want yogurt, there is no way I can buy it without subsequently buying a piece of plastic that will take hundreds of years to decompose.
We as individuals need to start with all of the small, easy changes. Because even that makes a difference. We have come to rely on so many conveniences that are unsustainable, and it’s human nature to be stubborn and lazy. Driving less isn’t hard for many people. I have a bicycle, and I use it to get to work every day. I try really hard to remember to unplug my appliances and stereo equipment when I’m not using them, and watch my hydro bill so I can look for ways to lower it. I try to buy less plastic. It’s as simple as buying the eggs sold in cardboard instead of styrofoam.
Individuals can demand change from the big corporations that feed our consumer appetite, by not using them. We can choose to buy things from companies that are more sustainable in their practices, or to buy less products overall. By driving less, we are boycotting the big oil companies and tar sands, some of the world’s largest polluters. By consuming less resources we are helping to reduce our carbon footprint.
Seeing the consequences of our in-action might be difficult right now, but it won’t be when it’s too late. And when humans are on the brink of extinction, we’ll look back with 20/20 vision, and realize that changing for the better wouldn’t have been that hard after all.
Instead of letting this get us down, we need to use it as motivation to change!