Get Ready: World Oceans Day

World Oceans Day is June 8, 2015

Here's how to do something right now. And here's why:

94 percent of life on Earth is marine life, and one-third of the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) comes from coastal areas.

Climate change is causing rising sea temperatures and ocean acidification, destroying coral reefs and redistributing or threatening countless species of marine animals.

Overfishing is depleting fish at an alarming rate (9,000 to 10,000 tons of fish are caught every hour), and unsustainable catch methods affect almost every other type of aquatic life.

Pollution such as plastics, sewage, oil, pesticides, and even filthy air all cause harm to marine life, and toxins work their way up the food chain to humans.

*Source: National Oceanic and Atmosheric Administration, International Programme on the State of the Ocean, and Mother Earth News.

Take action for the ocean

Follow SFIOFF on Twitter to find out about World Oceans Day events that are happening in your area on June 8. But you don't have to wait until June. Here are some things you can do now:

Take the Better Bag Challenge. Every year, more than 8 million tons of plastic trash ends up in our oceans, leaking toxins and choking marine animals. Make the commitment to reduce plastic use by refusing plastic bags, and get involved in spreading the word.

Avoid using products with microbeads: Microbeads are tiny pieces of plastic in facial scrubs and other personal care products. We can hardly see them, but they end up in lakes, oceans, and coastal environments, polluting for a long time and causing harm to marine life. Learn more and find out which products contain microbeads.

Cut down on all plastics. Try to decrease use of bottled water, utensils, and anything that is wrapped in plastic. Much of this waste ends up in the ocean. (Americans alone throw away 35 billion plastic water bottles per year*).

Sign up for a community cleanup group or event in your area. There are plenty of beach cleanup events and groups in the Bay Area, and they're fun! Check out Surfrider Foundation's San Francisco Chapter and Marin Chapter, and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy.

Organize a company volunteer day. Do a team beach cleanup, create artwork for the community, or adopt a beach to make a difference year-round. Find out how on the World Oceans Day website.

Eat seafood that's sustainable. The type of fish you order at a restaurant or buy at the fishmarket is a "vote." The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch site has a great tool for finding the best choices for the ocean. There's a smartphone app, too!

Talk about World Oceans Day on social media. Tell your friends and networks about World Oceans Day and how getting out and volunteering can make a difference in healthy oceans, beach cleanliness, and marine life conservation. Some hashtags to use: #WorldOceansDay, #BetterBagChallenge, #HealthyOceans, #CoastalCleanupDay, #sustainable, #protect, #marine, #environment, #hugabeach, #BanTheBead.

Follow ocean advocacy organizations on Twitter: Besides SFIOFF, here are a few others: @theoceanproject, @WorldOceansDay, @CelebrateOceans, @OurOcean, @Surfrider, @SFSurfrider, and SFIOFF community partner @5Gyres along with all our other sponsors and partners.

More information

Learn more from Ecowatch about a new app from the North Sea Foundation and the Plastic Soup Foundation to help you identify and avoid products that use microbeads.

Read the study that SFIOFF community partner 5 Gyres conducted on the impact of plastics (such as microbeads) in the Great Lakes and other waterways.

Read the complete State of the Ocean report.

Read more about World Oceans Day and its history.

*Americans throw out 35 billion plastic water bottles a year, according to the Plastic Oceans website.