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Fancy sipping a smoothie, long drink, coconut water or any other beverage using a straw? Make sure to make the sustainable choice when doing so. In short, refuse single-use plastic straws and choose a reusable alternative. These decisions are key to making our world a cleaner and better place.

Single-use plastic straws simply do not have a place in our society as they don’t get along with our environment. Although single-use plastic straws amount to only a tiny fraction of plastic pollution in our ocean, their small size and light weight makes them one of the most insidious polluters. Not making their way into the recycling bins, plastic straws cause beach pollution and threaten the life of many marine animals.

We therefore invite you to pick a reusable drinking straw of your preference, always keeping it with you and spreading the word to encourage others to join the movement in reducing and preventing plastic waste that harms our environment.

  • Bamboo: Go back to nature with a natural and reusable bamboo straw. They are not only durable but also beautiful. They often come with a handy cleaning brush to wash them out for years of use. You can find some more tips for cleaning and being nice to your straw here.
  • Silicone: Light and unbreakable, silicone is great for its practicality. Choose a silicone straw made from high quality food grade silicone that will help you save plastic straws from polluting our environment and protect your teeth.
  • Stainless-steel: Prefer a very durable and elegant option? Go with a stainless-steel drinking straw which is stain-free, rustproof, and scratch-proof. You won’t have to worry about metallic aftertaste. If you like fine cutlery, complete your silverware collection by purchasing a set of stainless steel straws. Read more about benefits of going stainless-steel here.
  • Glass: Looking for something classy? Go glassy with a clear lead-free glass straw alternative. The durable straws are shatterproof and are ideal for both hot and cold drinks. Both ends are smooth and round which makes the straw comfortable to use and safe. Choose the style and size that suits your lifestyle.
  • Acrylic: This option may be perfect to use in your tumblers. Go with an innovative, reusable, acrylic straw which can bend like normal straws. From birthday parties to holiday get-togethers, colorful reusable straws from food-safe plastic increase the fun at any gathering.

Apart from these, we invite you to chew on innovative ideas such as edible straws. Check out these Eatapple straws which are made from leftovers of Germany’s apple juice production.

Interested in fighting the war against straws? Be inspired by some examples here.

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Lights out, it’s “Earth Hour”- time

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Every year, Earth Hour inspires millions across seven continents to participate in critical climate and conservation projects. Together, they show their support for projects led by WWF that drive climate policy, raise awareness and encourage to take action among individuals, businesses and governments.

What started as symbolic “lights-out-event” in Sydney over a decade ago, in 2007 to be precise, has grown into the world’s largest grassroots movement for the environment with millions supporting and acting for our planet and nature. A moment has turned into a movement.

This year, on March 24, we want to invite you to join us and the millions of others to celebrate the diversity of life on our precious earth. Start a conversation with your friends and family about what YOU can do to protect our planet from the accelerating climate change and staggering biodiversity loss that threaten our earth. Remember that every action, no matter how small or big, matters. Consider going beyond the one hour this year and commit to create positive impact every month, week, or even better every single day.

Be inspired and get some ideas for driving positive change in your everyday life. For example, start by

You can change the story to be told about our planet in the future – and let’s be honest, we all rather listen to something beautiful that we can continue to think and dream of when the lights are out.

If you are looking for creative and fun ways to celebrate Earth Hour, check out our tips we shared with you for Earth Hour 2017.

You can also watch the official Earth Hour video 2018 or head over to the official Earth Hour website for more ideas on how to get ready for Earth Hour this Saturday, March 24, 8:30pm.

TOGETHER, LET’S CONNECT TO EARTH

#Connect2Earth

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‘Plastic, plastic, plastic’: British diver films sea of rubbish off Bali

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Video posted on YouTube shows water densely strewn with food wrappers, cups and sachets as tropical fish dart in and out

A British diver has captured shocking images of himself swimming through a sea of plastic rubbish off the coast of the Indonesian tourist resort of Bali.

A short video posted by diver Rich Horner on his social media account and on YouTube shows the water densely strewn with plastic waste and yellowing food wrappers, the occasional tropical fish darting through the deluge.

With poor government planning and low levels of awareness about waste and recycling, Indonesia is now the second-largest plastic polluter in the world after China.

Read the full article here.

By  for The Guardian

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If You’re Eating Shellfish, You’re Eating Plastic

Categories: Planet, Recommended Reading, Sea, Waste
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Microscopic marine organisms like these are encountering a growing volume of microplastic pollution. Fibers from synthetic clothes are a major source of microplastic pollution. Dr. Richard Kirby, Supplied 11 September 2017

Sarah Dudas doesn’t mind shucking an oyster or a clam in the name of science.

But sit down with her and a plate of oysters on the half-shell or a bucket of steamed Manila clams, and she’ll probably point out a bivalve’s gonads or remark on its fertility.

And lately, the shellfish biologist is making other unappetizing comments to her dinner party guests—about plastics in those shellfish.

But tracking the origins of tiny plastic particles in a big ocean is new territory. So Dudas turned to Peter Ross, who has studied the effects of ocean pollution on sea life for 30 years.

“We’ve long known that plastic and debris can be a problem for ocean life,” said Ross, director of the Vancouver Aquarium’s Ocean Pollution Research Program.

Read the full article on the research done by Dudas and Ross here.

by  for Oregon Public Broadcasting.

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Company wants to collect, recycle the equivalent of 100% of the packaging it puts out by 2030 Coca-Cola wants to collect and recycle the equivalent of 100% of the packaging it puts out into the world by 2030. Coca-Cola wants to collect and recycle the equivalent of 100% of the packaging it puts out into the world by 2030. PHOTO: ANTHONY DEVLIN/ZUMA PRESS

Company wants to collect, recycle the equivalent of 100% of the packaging it puts out by 2030

Coca-Cola Co., long criticized by environmental advocates for producing billions of plastic bottles that end up in landfills and oceans, said it wants to collect and recycle the equivalent of all the packaging it puts out into the world by 2030.

The goal is part of a sustainability initiative announced by the soda company called “World Without Waste.” Coca-Cola said Friday that its efforts will include investing in more efficient packaging, local recycling programs and consumer education. It declined to say how much it will spend as part of the effort.

Read the full article on Coca-Cola’s commitment here.

By Cara Lombardo for The Wall Street Journal.

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Oceans under greatest threat in history, warns Sir David Attenborough

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The leatherback turtle is the largest turtle on the planet. David Attenborough travels to Trinidad to meet a community trying to save these giants. Photograph: Gavin Thurston

Blue Planet 2 producers say final episode lays bare shocking damage humanity is wreaking in the seas, from climate change to plastic pollution to noise

The world’s oceans are under the greatest threat in history, according to Sir David Attenborough. The seas are a vital part of the global ecosystem, leaving the future of all life on Earth dependent on humanity’s actions, he says.

Attenborough will issue the warning in the final episode of the Blue Planet 2 series, which details the damage being wreaked in seas around the globe by climate change, plastic pollution, overfishing and even noise.

Previous BBC nature series presented by Attenborough have sometimes been criticised for treading too lightly around humanity’s damage to the planet. But the final episode of the latest series is entirely dedicated to the issue.

“For years we thought the oceans were so vast and the inhabitants so infinitely numerous that nothing we could do could have an effect upon them. But now we know that was wrong,” says Attenborough. “It is now clear our actions are having a significant impact on the world’s oceans. [They] are under threat now as never before in human history. Many people believe the oceans have reached a crisis point.”

Read the full article here.

By  for The Guardian.

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Credit: Shutterstock

Whether you are planning a beach holiday to escape the winter that is coming to your part of the world, or whether you live near the beach, it is important to practice mindfulness for the environment. Here are some easy ways to minimise your footprint:

Before you leave

Remember to turn off lights, unplug your electronics and most importantly, turn off air-conditioning before you leave your hotel room or your home to limit energy use. Refill your reusable water bottle to avoid buying plastic bottles, and pack some snacks in reusable containers. If you are staying at a hotel, look for snacks in minimal and environmental friendly packaging.

On the way

Choose an eco-friendly mode of transportation to get to the beach. Go for a stroll if the beach is in walking-distance of your accommodation, ride a bicycle if available, or check for local busses to take you as close to the beach as possible.

At the beach

Apply an organic, mineral-based sunscreen that does not harm people and the ocean – For guidance on purchasing an ocean-safe option, you can find helpful tips here.

If you plan on exploring some coral reefs, read our tips for responsible diving and snorkelling.

Stay hydrated! For many, sipping the water of a coconut is a beach essential. Consider bringing your own reusable straw to reduce plastic waste. There are many different options of reusable straws for you to pick from.

Check if the beach is a smoke-free zone in case you are a smoker. If smoking is not banned, make sure to bring a eco-friendly portable ashtray to keep the beach free from cigarette butts as they contain hazardous substances that are threat to the marine life.

Always take your trash with you, or dispose of it in a designated bin. Pick up litter if you see any in the water or in the sand. You may even want to participate in a beach clean-up initiative or simply dedicate five minutes to collect litter you find near you. Also check our tips for reducing plastic waste on our beaches and in our waters.

For more reading and tips about beach travel, visit our friends at beachmeter.com.

With these simple tips in mind, all you need to do is get your friends or family together for a sunny and relaxing beach day!

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Choosing sustainable seafood

Photo credit: Mike Sutton Brown. Your Shot, National Geographic.


Aquaculture expert Mike Velings asserts in his TED Talk ‘The Case for Fish Farming’ that our oceans serve as the main source of animal protein with over 2.6 billion people dependent upon it every day.


Seafood not only offers a tasty source of omega-3 fatty acids but it is also the highest efficient source of protein, aside from insects. Making sustainable seafood choices is, therefore, the best solution to prevent irreversible damage to our oceans. Here are some tips about how to choose healthy, delicious, ocean-friendly seafood:

 

Sustainable Seafood : Consumer Guide

Seafood Watch Pocket Guide provides consumers with an easy way to check for sustainable seafood choices. © Monterey Bay Aquarium

  • Stay informed

Stay informed. Learn all you can about the latest issues facing our seas and oceans and how you can make a difference. Visit to Marine Conservation Society (MCS) website to learn more about why we must do more to protect these waters, shorelines and the wildlife in their natural habitats. Read more here:

2017 Seafood Watch’s Consumer Guides

Download ‘Back to Basics: Fish Source Guide

 

Sustainable Seafood_Fishmonger

  • Get curious

Always ask your fishmonger detailed questions about where and how it was caught; especially if the labels do not provide this information. These questions will enable you to assess your fishmonger’s knowledge and appreciation about the importance of sustainable and responsible fishing and farming methods. Read more here.

 

Seafood-Watch-app

  • Use the mobile apps

There are organisations and mobile apps to help you find the most sustainable seafood. Check out Seafood Watch, developed by Monterey Bay Aquarium, to get recommendations on choosing the best seafood. The app will also locate businesses that serve sustainable seafood. The app is designed to help you make informed choices when you’re shopping or dining out.

 

MSC Labelling

Look for the blue MSC label on seafood for the best environmental choice in sustainable seafood. © Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) in the UK.

  • Look for a label

Choose sustainable seafood by looking at labelling information for evidence of responsible farming and fishing. Find out the examples of Sustainable Seafood Labels to help you to make the right choice when buying seafood.

 

We must protect out oceans, ensuring that fish stocks are not depleted to a level where future generations are left without this vital and very health source of food and nutrition.

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We often fin right over them on our way to the next coral head, but we can’t ignore the importance of seagrass meadows when it comes to ocean health.

seagrass meadows

If you dive in the tropics, you’re probably quite familiar with coral reefs. You know your hard corals from your soft corals and your parrotfish from your wrasse. Some of you may even know your pleurobranchs from your nudibranchs. But you may not know much about the beautiful stretches of seagrass that you sail over to reach those reefs. In reality, we can’t ignore the importance of seagrass meadows when it comes to ocean health, and we shouldn’t ignore these environments as divers. By Charlie Wiseman. Read more.

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Saving coral reefs one scuba diving centre at a time

Categories: Asia, Non-Profit, Planet, Private Sector, Sea, Water, Wildlife
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I learned to scuba dive at the age of 12 and was a diving instructor by the age of 15 – pretty unusual for a girl growing up in the middle of England!

By Chloë Harvey – Reef-World’s Programmes Manager

My underwater encounters throughout those formative teenage years inspired me to study Marine Biology at university – those, coupled with my natural (and some may say tiresome) desire to learn more about the way things work.

I started off investigating marine biological and ecological functions, but have more recently moved into the area of how the industries and human processes that thrive off marine ecosystem services, impact the sustainability of our ocean planet. scuba greenfins

Tourism is currently one of the largest and fastest growing sectors in the world, generating 10 per cent of global GDP and supporting one in every 11 jobs. The Asia and Pacific region represents the major source of tourists, as well as being the number one destination for tourists worldwide – it’s underwater diving and snorkelling adventures promise vibrant coral reefs, making it a common draw for tourists.

Having lived and worked in many popular tourist destinations across Asia, I have seen first-hand the negative impacts of booming tourism. These impacts are felt socially as well as environmentally, especially by fragile natural ecosystems like coral reefs. scuba greenfins2

In response to these negative impacts I have been working with some of the leading conservation and industry voices in the region, developing a program that supports sustainability within the diving and snorkelling industry. This programme is called Green Fins, a United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and Reef-World Foundation led initiative. Green Fins is effecting measurable and meaningful change in core business practices and is positively influencing the way this industry works. In the below video Jim Toomey (and his cartoon friends) will take you through a fun and enchanting run through of the Green Fins approach.

Service providers are the cornerstone for sustainability and whilst diving and snorkelling activities carry significant environmental risks, if activities are well managed their opportunity to provide environmental awareness and education is enormous. There are good case studies from all over  the world highlighting how operators successfully strike a tourism/education balance. Unfortunately though, this is not commonplace.

Mass tourism often drives unsustainable practices, as businesses prioritise cashing in on the opportunity to make a quick financial gain, without consideration for the longevity of the industry.  Green Fins is working to make the industry partner with government agencies in environmental management, putting business owners in control of protecting their natural asset. The approach involves businesses voluntarily agreeing to adhere to a 15 point environmental code of conduct for diving and snorkelling activities.scuba greenfins3

The end result is a win-win – enhanced business performance and the protection of the underlying natural asset. By systematically eliminating negative environmental impacts, businesses can increase the health of coral reefs and ensure the sustainability of the ecosystem services they provide.

Businesses who are successfully applying Green Fins are also noticing a shift towards a more loyal repeat customer base that make longer stays and are willing to pay more for services. This constitutes the basic building blocks for sustainability within the industry.

The most sustainable choice no longer being a sacrifice, but the one that makes business and professional sense

The marine tourism industry is changing, and those wanting to be ahead of the game need to get on board. The change will result in the most sustainable choice no longer being a sacrifice, but the one that makes business and professional sense. Dive and snorkel industry partners and government agencies in some of the most thriving tourist destinations are using the Green Fins learning and outreach tools to apply best industry practice. Today almost 500 dive and snorkel businesses across Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, Maldives, Philippines and Vietnam are leading the charge and applying Green Fins to support consistent improvement in environmental business practices.scuba greenfins4

In response to the demand, expansion to Singapore, Sri Lanka and Palau is underway, and plans for replication in the Caribbean and Mediterranean are in progress. Education and communication materials are also available in Chinese, Japanese and Korean, to ensure best practice and guidance is widely available to these growing segments of the market.

If Green Fins is available in your area, then sign up for free. If it is not available in your area then consider adopting and applying the code of conduct and guidelines within your business independently by following the dive and snorkel centre handbook.

Joining the Green Fins network means joining the only international sustainable diving and snorkelling programme, recognised by divers and leading authorities as a program which is doing exactly what it says on the tin … Greening the industry’s Fins! 

Find the original article here.

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