SDG 14, “Life below water”: Millennial guide on how to protect our oceans and seas
This Sustainable Development Goal aims at protecting and finding ways to sustainably use the world’s oceans, seas and marine resources. But why are oceans so crucial to reach a sustainable future? Well, oceans constitute ¾ of the Earth’s surface; not only, they also contain 97 percent of the world’s water and represent 99 percent of the living space on earth by volume. They are, therefore, a huge (literally and metaphorically) part of our lives, as human beings, and it is our duty to protect them and everything living inside them.
Oceans are also the basis for other important SDGs. For example, they provide key natural resources, such as food, medicines and biofuels. They contribute to poverty reduction, by increasing fish catches, which also improves health. They promote gender equality, considering that women do most of the work when it comes to small-scale fisheries. Not only that; the marine environment is also home to an amazing variety of creatures, that range from the smallest of organisms to the biggest animal on Earth. They are also home to one of the most diverse ecosystems on the planet: coral reefs. And last, but not least, they are a great place for tourism and recreation, which help raise income.
Lately, oceans haven been put under a major risk by human pressure and improper marine management has resulted in the destroying of coral reefs, overfishing, water pollution and the killing of marine organisms. We need to intervene now to protect these vulnerable habitats and stop marine debris. Here is what we, as Millennials, can do to give our contribution:
- Much of the waste we produce on land ends up in the oceans; therefore, be considerate of this waste and make an effort to reduce it by recycling and reusing, whenever you can.
- Start taking your own reusable tote when you go grocery shopping and avoid plastic bags.
- If you live in a costal area, you can volunteer for beach cleanups or one of the many centers for rescued marine creatures.
- You definitely have to appreciate the beauty of a beach without impacting its harmony and creatures, so clean up after yourself and don’t throw in the water anything that might disturb the environment.
- You can support the “4Ocean” campaign, by purchasing one of their bracelets made 100% by recycled materials, where every bracelet purchased funds the removal of one pound of trash from the ocean (https://4ocean.com/).
- You can join one of the many WWF’s campaigns related to overfishing (https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/overfishing#).
- You can follow “10 by 2020”, a non-profit organization that brings awareness to SDG 14 through youth-led action (https://www.facebook.com/10by2020/).
As you can see, there are many things that you can do in order to help keep oceans clean and safe. And if you are already involved with any initiative that aims at achieving Goal 14, hurry and join our competition here: https://goo.gl/5LUfP2.
Cover cartoon credit: Sergio Algeri/GYV