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Ocean Currents

News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy

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The Ocean, At a Crossroads

Posted On July 3, 2015 by

fish and corals in the Florida Keys

Photo: NOAA

This post is a collaboration between Sarah Cooley, Ph.D. (Ocean Conservancy), Ryan Kelly, Ph.D., J.D. (U. Washington) and C. Mark Eakin, Ph.D. (NOAA)

Readers of this blog know that ocean acidification is here, today. They also know that states on both coasts and the federal government are working to halt its progress and manage its impacts. But the ocean is heedless of borders. A healthy ocean future will require global action. That is why we have our eyes on December’s Paris climate conference (COP21). Decisions made there will determine whether our children will inherit a changed-but-recognizable ocean that still provides humanity with goods and services, or a damaged ocean lacking many resources we want. There is still time for us to reduce emissions and slow the warming and acidification of our ocean, but we have to act now. That is one of the conclusions we reach in a paper out today in Science.

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Make Your Holiday Greener

Posted On July 2, 2015 by

The Travel Foundation is a non-profit organization that works with the travel industry to integrate sustainable tourism into their business — to protect the environment and create opportunities for local people in tourism destinations. Their annual Make Your Holidays Greener Month, during July, celebrates the locations around the world we love to visit and encourages visitors and the travel industry alike to take part in a cleanup — the Big Holiday Beach Clean.

Earlier this year, a report from the World Wildlife Fund valued the world’s ocean at $24trillion – a figure largely calculated from the value of fishing, shipping and tourism.  Whilst many already view the ocean as priceless, the attempt to put a monetary value on it highlights to businesses around the world the importance of taking action to protect marine ecosystems.

For tourism, the ocean and sea are vastly important.  Many of the holidays we take have beaches and coastlines at their center and these environments are an inherent part of the product marketed by tourism companies to their customers.  As a result, this industry is well placed to mobilize action, particularly on the growing and pervasive threat of marine litter.

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When It Comes to Oil and Fuel Spills, Prevention is the Best Solution

Posted On May 5, 2015 by

Boats in a marina. Credit / iStockphoto

On April 20, 2010, an explosion rocked the Deepwater Horizon oil rig off the coast of Louisiana, killing 11 workers and releasing an estimated 210 million gallons of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico – making Deepwater Horizon the largest marine oil spill in U.S. history. Five years later, scientists are still studying and assessing the short- and long-term effects of the BP oil disaster on the Gulf’s residents, wildlife and environment.

While almost everyone is familiar with the effects of large disasters such as Deepwater Horizon and the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill, many are not as familiar with the effects of smaller, more common spills. Every year Americans spill, throw away or dump out more than 30 times the oil that was spilled in the Exxon Valdez disaster. A single quart of oil can create a two-acre oil slick on the water’s surface – approximately the size of three football fields!

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Keeping a Vessel Shipshape Keeps it Seaworthy

Posted On April 23, 2015 by

One of the basic principles of good boating is ensuring that a vessel is seaworthy. An un-seaworthy vessel threatens passenger safety and also poses an environmental hazard. Neglected or unmaintained vessels are at greater risk of sinking and releasing fuel, oil, sewage and toxic chemicals into the water.

Proper vessel maintenance, repair and operation are critical components to keeping vessels shipshape. In the Good Mate program, vessel maintenance refers to surface cleaning, washing, waxing and other upkeep. Vessel repair is considered sanding, grinding, painting, repairing plastic and hull scrubbing.

Vessel maintenance includes keeping boats in good, safe operating condition, cleaning them regularly, replacing and properly recycling batteries, inspecting emergency flares yearly and regularly inspecting vessels for leaks. Sanding, cleaning, painting and degreasing boats can pose major threats to the water. Particles of dust and paint in the water can block life-giving sunlight and toxic substances from cleaners and anti-fouling compounds can sicken or kill marine life.

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Good Boating Practices Start with Good Mate

Posted On April 8, 2015 by

Spring has sprung – an indicator for millions of water lovers that boating season is fast approaching. While you’re dusting off your vessel for its return to the water, now is also a good time to brush up on good boating practices.

As a boater or marina operator, you’ve seen first hand how a wonderful boating experience can quickly take a bad turn when ocean trash damages a boat or the environment. You know how mishandling a boat can harm ecosystems, wildlife and water quality. Improper, irresponsible or neglectful vessel maintenance and poor refueling, repair and storage habits all present environmental risks. Reducing these risks not only helps preserve clean water and protect the animals that live in it, but also keeps boaters and their families safe – and could even save money.

Fortunately, Ocean Conservancy – working in collaboration with the U.S. Coast Guard, Coast Guard Auxiliary and Brunswick Public Foundation– created Good Mate, a public outreach program aimed at reducing and eliminating marine pollution and environmental degradation. It offers simple, easy-to-follow guidelines for green boating that the boating community can use and share.

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Shop AmazonSmile and Save the Ocean

Posted On November 10, 2014 by

Photo: Barry Gutradt

Smile! Now you can help save the ocean every time you shop online with Amazon.com. It’s easy! All you have to do is designate Ocean Conservancy as your favorite charitable organization and Amazon will donate 0.5% of the price of your purchases to Ocean Conservancy. To get started all you have to do is use this link!

Amazon’s charitable program is called AmazonSmile. It costs you nothing, and it’s just like shopping on Amazon normally, but you get to do a world of good (for the ocean).

When you shop at smile.amazon.com, you’ll find the exact same shopping experience as Amazon.com, with the added bonus that Amazon will donate a portion of the purchase price to your favorite charitable organization.

To shop at AmazonSmile simply go to smile.amazon.com from the web browser on your computer or mobile device. You use the same account on Amazon.com and AmazonSmile. Your shopping cart, Wish List, wedding or baby registry, and other account settings are also the same.

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Vote for Louisiana Cleanup Volunteer to Win Cox Conserves Heroes Award!

Posted On September 3, 2014 by

We are so excited that Benjamin Goliwas, a long-time volunteer who helps coordinate the International Coastal Cleanup in Louisiana, has been selected as a finalist for the Louisiana Cox Conserves Heroes Awards. Ben, who goes by “The Admiral,” has organized cleanups around Louisiana for years, and his hard work was crucial in cleaning up the storm debris from Lake Pontchartrain after Hurricane Katrina in 2004.

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