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Kids' Guide to Ocean and Marine Wildlife Conservation

Written By: Peter Whiting

Dolphins leap gracefully out of the ocean beneath the setting sun. Baby sea turtles run across the sand to the water. Seals glide playfully through the water. The ocean is one of our most incredible resources, and it's home to thousands of incredible creatures. But it's in danger. We can work together to save the oceans and help protect marine wildlife, but it requires a big commitment to making changes and educating others about the importance of these changes.

Ocean Conservation

The ocean covers more than 70% of Earth's surface and produces around half of the oxygen we breathe. It also absorbs about half of the carbon dioxide we create. The ocean plays a role in regulating the climate and keeping it relatively steady year after year. The ocean is also an incredible source of food as well as ingredients for medicines and beauty products. Unfortunately, every year, sewage, trash, plastic, oil spills, pesticides, and global warming harm the ocean, the incredible creatures that live in it, and our own health.

  • Marine wildlife is facing a loss of habitat caused by storms, pollution, and overfishing.
  • Far too much of the trash we throw away ends up in the ocean. Currently, there's a floating "garbage island" gathering in the Pacific Ocean.
  • When they're floating in the sea, plastic bags look like jellyfish, so animals like sea turtles try to eat them, which can lead to internal bleeding and death.
  • Soda rings can get caught around marine wildlife.
  • Boats can hit animals, chase away their prey, or carry people who catch these animals. Overfishing is damaging to the ocean's food chain.
  • Building hotels and resorts on the coast and bringing people to the beaches where sea turtles nest makes it so they have nowhere safe to lay their eggs.
  • Oil spills destroy habitats, kill marine wildlife, and pollute the water.
  • Pesticides from farms can get into the water supply and kill animals and plant life.

Marine Wildlife Conservation

When we think of the ocean, we might think of animals like sea turtles, dolphins, whales, and manta rays. But if people don't do something, future kids might not think of as many animals, because those animals might not be around anymore. Dozens of different animal species in our oceans are endangered, from the Atlantic sturgeon to the blue whale to the loggerhead sea turtle. Not only is it important to save these endangered species because it's good for the environment, but for all we know, plants or creatures from the ocean might help us to find new life-saving medicines. The good news is that you can help to reverse the damage being done to the oceans, or at least keep it from getting worse, by:

  • Learning about the ocean, its vastness, and the amazing creatures that live in it. The more you learn about it, the better you'll understand its importance and find your own personal reasons to protect it.
  • Replacing single-use plastic water bottles and straws with eco-friendly reusable ones. Not only are they better for the environment, but they'll keep your water colder, too!
  • Asking your parents to buy and use reusable bags instead of plastic bags when you go to the grocery store
  • Joining an ocean or beach cleanup crew near your home or when you go on vacation to the coast
  • Writing to government officials about creating marine protected areas. These are like national parks, but they're in the ocean and specifically designed to protect marine animals.
  • Becoming an activist, someone who fights to protect the ocean by changing laws and encouraging people to make changes that can positively impact the planet's oceans
  • Becoming a marine biologist, a scientist who studies the ocean, including the plants and animals that live in it

Further Reading

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