Oceans aren’t just beautiful. They’re the lifeblood of the planet. And they’re dying. Choked with plastic, heated by rising temperatures, slowly turning acidic…it’s not good news. But there are people out there trying to help. Here are five of the best ocean charities for you to support
SAS began in 1990 when a group of Cornish surfers got sick of surfing in filthy seas. From its roots as a charity campaigning for improved water quality, Surfers Against Sewage have expanded to include the welfare of all marine life (not just surfers!) in their remit. Right now, they’re at the forefront of Britain’s fight against plastic in the oceans. They regularly organise beach cleans, put out information campaigns, and lobby businesses and the government to drastically cut plastic usage. They’re a big charity now, but they’ve not forgotten their humble beginnings or their grassroots support.
The Marine Conservation Society has been the major line of defence for Britain’s marine wildlife for over thirty years. Like most ocean-focused charities, they’re working hard on reducing our dependence on plastic (check out their website for a ton of tips on how to live a less throwaway lifestyle). They’re extremely passionate about what they do, and are renowned worldwide for their experience, knowledge, and regular successes in their field of marine conservation.
Greenpeace are both famous and infamous all over the world. Known for their daring (and often lawbreaking) activism, they are fearless in their mission to save and protect the world’s wildlife. Whether you love or hate their confrontational style, it can’t be denied that they are brilliant at raising awareness of hard environmental issues. They also get results – Greenpeace have been instrumental in the passing of a number of green laws and in gaining protected status for various animals and habitats. They’re concentrating hard on the oceans at the moment, so now is the time to check them out if you’re passionate about ocean conservation.
4ocean are a charity focused totally on cleaning up plastic in the oceans. 4ocean raises money to pay impoverished fishermen to catch plastic with their nets rather than fish. Instead of selling fish to support themselves, fishermen around the world ‘sell’ the plastic they’ve retrieved to 4ocean (who then use that plastic to create more bracelets to raise more funds). It’s a brilliant, self-sustaining circular scheme which is both supporting local economies and cleaning the oceans. Well worth a look.
Plenty of people are scared of sharks – but do they really deserve to be wiped out? Almost every species of shark in the world is at crisis point, which is a real shame as sharks are among the oldest species still living on the planet. Millions upon millions of sharks are killed every year – some as a result of environmentally harmful practices, and others for their fins (which are used to make sharkfin soup). Bite Back are, as the name suggests, biting back against this trend. Their goal is to force retailers to put conservation before commerce, stopping the overfishing of oceans and saving our precious sharks.