The Importance of Our Oceans & 6 Ways You Can Help

When you choose to purchase sustainably made clothing, you might not think that your small decision is impacting the planet. On the contrary, each step you take toward a more sustainable lifestyle is incredibly important for the health of our planet and the people living on it. We’ve chosen to support Oceana in our philanthropic effort because of the amazing work they do to protect and restore the oceans. Here’s why their work matters. 

We Depend on the Ocean

Oceans cover 71% of the Earth’s surface and are home to 500,000 - 10 million marine species. Both aquatic and semi-aquatic animals, including mammals, depend on the ocean as part of their ecosystem.

While the ocean’s health is critical to the survival of many animals, it’s also incredibly important for human wellbeing. We depend on the ocean for:

  • Air: About 50% of the world’s oxygen is produced by the ocean

  • Medicine: We harvest ingredients for medications for arthritis, cancer, heart disease, and Alzheimer’s disease from the ocean.

  • Food: People eat 29 million tons of fish caught in the ocean each year.

  • Economy: Marine transportation is involved in 76% of all US trade and the ocean provides $282 billion in goods and services each year.

  • Employment: Businesses that depend on the ocean employ 3 million people. 

How A Healthy Ocean Impacts the Planet

Beyond the ways the ocean serves humans and animals alike, it’s also incredibly important for our environment. The ocean stores 50 times more carbon dioxide than the atmosphere, making it a key player in protecting against climate change. Since the ocean covers so much surface area, it’s also responsible for transporting heat, controlling weather patterns, and regulating the climate.

The ocean can store carbon because of the reefs, mangroves, and coastal ecosystems of the ocean. When we destroy or degrade these areas, the carbon is released into the atmosphere. Coastal people also depend on reefs to protect against storm surges. Yet 60% of reefs are threatened due to ocean warming and acidification. 20% are already destroyed.

Overfishing is another important issue, as the removal of too many fish can create an imbalance in the food chain, causing some sea animals to become extinct and others to flourish and become overpopulated. Over one-third of rays, sharks, and chimaeras are at risk of extinction because of overfishing.

How You Can Help

Your everyday choices can make a big impact on the oceans. Here’s what you can do to help fight for the oceans and our environment:

  • Support small businesses that donate to related causes, like Oceana. We will be donating $2 of every sale to Oceana yearly.

  • Buy responsibly sourced fish and limit fish intake.

  • Wear reef-safe sunscreen.

  • Vote for laws that protect the ocean.

  • Contact your local government and ask them what they’re doing to help our oceans.

  • Avoid single-use plastic, as much of it ends up in the ocean - it currently holds 5.25 trillion macro and micro pieces of plastic.