I've always loved sea creatures, which is why I'm constantly looking for ways to help save the ocean.  Climate change is very real, but people often don't realize the damage that is occurring since it's not happening in front of their own eyes.

I've been scuba diving since I was twelve years old, so I've spent a fair share of time underwater, and have seen changes firsthand. Scientists have declared large sections of the Great Barrier Reef dead, and it is important that we stop any more damage from occurring.  That's why I've put together a list of eight small things you can do to help save the ocean.

1. Educate Yourself

Molly Gottesman

The first step to making environmentally-friendly choices is learning about climate change. Once you are educated about what is happening to the earth, you are much more likely to make conscious choices that are better for you and the planet.

2. Reduce the Use of Disposable Plastic

Did you know that 8 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year? Sea creatures often mistake plastic as food; and if they eat it, we do too.  When using disposable plastic, recycle it and never litter.  Reusable water bottles and containers are the most environmentally-friendly option, and you'll never mix your bottle up with a friend's.

3. Be Mindful of What Chemicals and Cleaning Products You Are Using

Molly Gottesman

When cleaning products are used and go down the drain, they end up in the ocean.  Cleansers with plastic microbeads are especially harmful and there are many alternatives whether store bought or homemade that are better for you and the environment.

4. Don't Purchase Products that Exploit Marine Life

Molly Gottesman

Coral jewelry, products made of turtle shells, and shark cartilage are just a few of the products that exploit marine life.  Taking home an empty seashell is a much better option, just make sure that you know the do's and don't's of collecting. 

#SpoonTip: Seashell collecting is illegal in some places; make sure you know the law before collecting.

5. Conserve Water

dropping ice, water splash, water cup, cup of water, splash, water, ice
Jocelyn Hsu

This one seems pretty obvious, but the water use in the US is pretty excessive.  Even something as simple as turning off the tap while brushing your teeth can make a difference. For more ways to conserve water click here.

6. Participate in a Beach Cleanup

Participating in a beach cleanup is a great reason to spend the day by the water while also doing community service.  There are beach cleanups all over the world, and it is very easy to find one near you.

7. Reduce the Amount of Seafood and Animal Products that You Ea

mackerel, sardine, seafood, fish
Dea Uy

Being a vegan or vegetarian is not a sustainable lifestyle for everyone, however, reducing your consumption of animal products will still make a difference. There are a lot of great alternatives to animal products, and giving them a try can't hurt

8. Make a Donation to a Conservation Organization

Something you can do by simply opening another tab in this browser is to make a donation to a marine conservation organization.  These organizations help to clean up the ocean, protect endangered species, and educate the population about climate change. 

If you do just one of these eight things, you will make a difference in the health of the oceans. Even if you think that something so small couldn't make a difference, it does. So go out, buy a reusable water bottle or eat a vegetarian meal, and you can go to sleep knowing you positively impacted the planet.