What You Can Do

Photo by Nicole Cann

While a lot of the news surrounding cetaceans and marine habitats can often feel negative and hopeless, we wanted to use Tales of Saving Whales to focus on the little things anyone can do to help make a positive change. We have great suggestions from our followers and our Storytellers and there is always a bit more you can do. Remember that while one person can make a difference, no one expects you to be able to do it all. Everyone has different abilities and together we can change the world.

Here are some of the ways that you can make a difference everyday:

Microbeads: Check your personal care products (like shampoo, facewash, and even toothpaste) to see if they have polyethylene or polystyrene in the ingredient list and if they do try using an alternative. Head here for more information on ingredients and products.

Be Whale Wise: As stunning as these animals are we can never forget that when we see them in the water we have entered into their home. Remember to stay at least 200m away from any and all wild cetaceans-this includes when you are on a boat, in the water or with a drone. See Be Whale Wise for full list of guidelines.

Contact Your Local Representative: Wherever you are in the world you have a say! Contact your local MLA, MP, Congressperson or whoever may represent you to let them know what is important to you. Google is your best bet for finding your representative: in BC, in Canada and Congress members.

Sustainable Seafood: Many fishing practices are dangerous and unsustainable. Some of the most dangerous of all are ghost nets because they catch completely indiscriminately. Ghost gear entangles and kills an estimated 136,000 whales, seals, and other marine mammals annually, and likely millions more animals with lower profiles: fish, crustaceans, turtles, and birds. Be sure to check out Ocean Wise (in Canada) and Seafood Watch (in the USA) or SeaChoice for a full list of safe and sustainable options. Check out our Animals in Distress page to see what a distressed or entangled animal looks like and the appropriate numbers to call and actions to take worldwide.

Marine Debris: Properly disposing of your waste is the best way to ensure it stays out of marine environments. Recycling, composting or just properly throwing away garbage at all times will help decrease the amount of debris found in the oceans.  When you are able to do so safely, pick up any litter you may find (near the water or anywhere else) and ensure it is disposed of and cannot be blown away.

Stop Sucking: Canadians use 57 million straws a DAY. Whenever possible, ask for no straw or bring your own! There are lots of reusable straws for sale online and in stores. This one small purchase can have a huge impact on marine environments and our plastic dependence.

Beat Plastic Pollution: Reducing your single use plastic use doesn’t stop with a reusable straw! Bring your own reusable bags, cups, mugs, utensils, chopsticks and even Tupperware when you eat out. Look for other plastic in your life that you can reduce such as toothbrushes, razors, even floss! There are a ton of other options available. Head here for more details and suggestions.

Shoreline Cleanup: One of the best ways to reduce marine debris and make your shores safer and look better! Sign up in Canada.

Report Wildlife Sightings: Sightings networks, often with the help of citizen scientists, collaborate from coast to coast to coast in an effort to track, match, and protect cetaceans in all of the world’s oceans. Help scientists learn more about the mysterious lives of cetaceans by reporting your sightings. Head to our sightings page for a list of networks all of the world you can report to.

Toxic Free Cleaners: Chemical pollution is dangerous but sometimes we don’t even realize we’re contributing to it. Our everyday cleaning products at home may be going right into the ocean and contributing to increasing numbers of toxins in our water. Check this article out for just a few of the many different recipes for DIY environmentally friendly cleaners.

Safe Sunscreen: Always be sun safe including researching and using a safe sunscreen, one that is oxybenzone free.

DIY: there are so many at home projects you can do to reuse or repurpose household items and that not only cuts down on waste but also on shipping and packaging on new items. Google or Pinterest can give you all sorts of great ideas!

Reduce! Along with Reusing, Reducing comes before Recycling! There are so many ways to cut down on your waste. To get an idea of what you might be overusing, take a look at your garbage and recycling before you take it out – do you have multiple small bags or containers that could be bought in a bigger size? Are you buying food and then throwing it away? Take some time to reassess what you are buying versus what you are using to eliminate waste – and save money.

Walk, Bike, Transit or Carpool: If you can, try alternative ways of commuting.  It will reduce your carbon footprint as well as air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.

Fast Fashion: The cost of the fashion industry on the planet is slowly coming to light.  Work on repairing your clothes, buying second hand or save up for a high quality item instead of multiple cheap ones. Hang your laundry to dry, swap clothes with your friends and donate your clothes when you are done with them (make sure they are in decent quality or they will just end up in a landfill)

Love Food, Hate Waste: Over 60% of food waste in Canada is avoidable! Reducing your food waste is another way to help reduce, not only in food production but plastic and cost for you! Keep an eye on what you are throwing out, make meal plans and change your grocery habits to fit what you are actually eating. Check out Love Food, Hate Waste for some great recipes and tips for leftovers or vegetable ends

Share Your Stories: While we love to hear your whale tales, they are also a great way to help share enthusiasm and passion for cetaceans and can help to education others on the troubles they face. The more people willing to change, the more we can help protect these amazing animals.

Photo by Ashley Keegan

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