With concern for the climate crisis and health of the planet at an all-time high, the Marine Conservation Society suggests resolutions for an ocean and planet-friendly 2022.
Four in 10 people said climate, environment and pollution were a major issue for Britain in a recent poll* – the highest ever score for the topic since it was included in Ipsos MORI’s issues index in October 1988.
Take action to help clean up the ocean
With 62% of respondents in a recent survey saying they were very or extremely concerned about plastic pollution in the UK**, it’s understandable that people want to play their part in fighting it.
The Marine Conservation Society’s beach cleaning programme operates year-round, with beach cleans available to join as a volunteer, or organise for friends, family or colleagues.
Joining a beach clean with the charity also supports the Marine Conservation Society’s campaigning work. Volunteers collect litter and record what they find, feeding into more than 25 years of data.
To make a real difference to the state of the UK’s seas, make a resolution to help clear up the coast with the Marine Conservation Society. Find more details, and a beach clean near you, here.
Looking carefully at where your food comes from and choosing sustainable options, is an impactful way to reduce your impact on the environment.
In Waitrose and Partners’ Food and Drink Report 20021-22 the supermarket identified climatarianism as a trend for 2022.
If you are buying seafood (or meat or dairy), be sure to shop mindfully. Consider how it was caught or farmed and where.
The Good Fish Guide is an easy-to-use resource to search for the most sustainable seafood options; choose seafood rated green on the Guide to minimise your impact on the marine environment and help protect blue carbon stores.
The Guide is downloadable from www.mcsuk.org/goodfishguide, and available offline.
Some low carbon seafood options include:
– UK farmed shellfish such as mussels
– Handline-caught mackerel (from southwest UK)
– Anchovies from northern Spain
Become a citizen scientist
Getting involved in projects which provide data and insight to scientists is a fantastic way to proactively help protect the ocean and planet. Everyone can become a citizen scientist, and the Marine Conservation Society has various different projects to get involved with:
– Big Seaweed Search: seaweed tells scientists a lot about the state of the sea. By learning what species of seaweed can be found where around the UK coast, scientists can better understand things like ocean warming and acidification. Simply download the survey form, head to the coast and identify what seaweed you see.
– Wildlife sightings: amazing wildlife is regularly spotted around the UK, and identifying what animals are coming to our shores really helps scientists understand the impacts of climate change on wildlife. If you see jellyfish or turtles when at the coast, let the Marine Conservation Society know via this sightings page.
– Beach cleaning: the charity’s year-round beach cleaning programme asks volunteers to clear and survey the UK’s beaches of litter. Support by arranging your own beach clean, or find one near you.
What’s more, research has shown that time by the sea brings real benefits for people’s health and wellbeing. Spending more time by the sea, or looking after it, is a resolution that not only supports the fight against the climate crisis, but also supports physical and mental wellbeing.
Explore the Marine Conservation Society’s Our Blue Heart project, and find ways to get involved at the coast on the charity’s website.
Join a community of ocean optimists
By supporting the Marine Conservation Society, members help the charity fight for the future of the ocean.
The charity’s campaigns, supported by members, have had real results on the health of the ocean. Thanks to data gathered by volunteers, and policies campaigned for by members, there’s been a 55% drop in plastic bags on UK beaches since charges were introduced in 2011.
Learn more about becoming a Marine Conservation Society member on the charity’s website.
Dive (or snorkel) in
The Marine Conservation Society’s Seasearch programme works with volunteer divers and snorkellers in UK and Irish seas and offers an exciting way to learn about marine life while playing a part in protecting and restoring the ocean.
Volunteers collect information about habitats, plants and animals underwater, and help track the health of the ocean.
Seasearch offers training at different levels, from absolute beginners to experts so anyone can get started or extend their skills. This training provides the skills to be a biological recorder (Seasearch is not a dive school). Once trained, volunteers can collect records independently or on organized trips.
To learn more about Seasearch, please visit www.seasearch.org.uk
Statement from Captain Paul Watson on his resignation from Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (USA)￼
It is with great relief that as of July 27th, 2022, I have ceased my employment and cut all ties with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society (USA).
Since 1977, when I founded Sea Shepherd nearly a half century ago, I have dedicated my entire life to the aggressive and determined preservation and protection of biodiversity of marine life and our ocean.
Over the last few years, I have been slowly marginalized from the organization that I created in the USA. I was removed from the Board of Directors, my advice ignored, my close associates terminated and directors that supported me were removed. I was reduced to being a paid figurehead, denied the freedom to organize campaigns and the freedom to express the strong opinions that I have held for decades, opinions and campaigns that have shaped what Sea Shepherd has become and continues to be outside the borders of the United States.
As I said in the documentary movie Watson, my role is to rock the boat, to make waves, to provoke people to think about the damage we are collectively inflicting upon diversity and interdependence of life in the ocean.
The current Board seeks to turn our vessels away from confronting illegal poachers that prey on endangered species and instead seeks to turn our fleet into non-controversial research vessels. Research has always been a part of Sea Shepherd efforts, but it has not and should not be our priority. What we have provided is a unique function: a fearless leadership to intervene against poachers on the high seas, to document and to stop illegal acts that would otherwise go unnoticed and unchallenged. Sea Shepherd has always, and must always go where others fear to go, to say the things that must be said and to tackle the obstacles fearlessly and with great resolve.
The new direction that the present Board of Sea Shepherd USA has decided upon is not a path that I can in good conscience support nor participate in. I have not changed my objectives or resolve, and I refuse to change and adopt an approach that diminishes the incredible movement that we have created over the last four and a half decades, a movement that continues to grow outside the borders of the United States.
I remain a director of Sea Shepherd Global, and I remain a supporter of Global ships, officers, and crew. Together with all other national Sea Shepherd entities, with the exception of the USA, I will continue to support our campaigns around the world utilizing our unique philosophy of aggressive non-violence and cooperation with governments and NGOs.
We are Sea Shepherd. We are direct action motivated by imagination, persistence, and courage.
My future lies with the people from around the world who have made and continue to make Sea Shepherd the most influential, passionate, and effective marine conservation movement on this planet.
Captain Paul Watson
Founder – Sea Shepherd Conservation Society Canada (1977)
Founder – Sea Shepherd Conservation Society USA (1981)
Marine Conservation Society’s Great British Beach Clean is back
The Marine Conservation Society’s annual Great British Beach Clean is back, running from 16th – 25th September 2022.
The charity is calling for volunteers across the UK to join them at the coast for a week of beach cleaning and litter surveying.
The Great British Beach Clean, sponsored by Ireland’s number one soup brand, Cully & Sully, is more than just a clean up. Every year volunteers make note of the litter they collect, sharing the data with the Marine Conservation Society’s experts. The charity has used data collected to campaign for carrier bag charges, single-use plastic bans and deposit return schemes.
Last year, volunteers collected over 5 tonnes of litter, with an average of 3.85 items found for every metre of beach surveyed across the UK.
Clare Trotman, Beachwatch Officer at the Marine Conservation Society, said: “We wouldn’t be able to do the work we do at the Marine Conservation Society without the support of our volunteers heading out to the coast to collect vital information on what’s polluting our seas.
“With beach cleans happening across the UK, from remote beaches to busy seaside resorts, there’s so many ways to get involved and support us this year. If you can’t make it to the beach, you can still take part by doing a local litter pick and survey where you live.”
At last year’s Great British Beach Clean, 75% of all litter collected was made from plastic and polystyrene.
From production to disposal, plastic has a direct impact on the ocean’s capacity to combat the climate crisis. Manufacturing plastic contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. Most plastic is produced using fossil fuels, meaning more plastic production results in increased carbon emissions. Plastic is also entering the food chain, from tiny phytoplankton to ocean giants, like whales.
Dr Laura Foster, Head of Clean Seas at the Marine Conservation Society, said: “Pollution, whether it’s big, small or even invisible, is having a hugely negative impact on our ocean and all those who rely on it – including us. Tiny microplastics are being eaten by plankton at the very foundation of ocean ecosystems, animals big and small are being tangled in plastic packaging, turtles are mistaking it for food, and chemical pollution is changing the ocean’s chemistry.
“All of this is an alarming picture of the state of our seas, but each and every volunteer who joins the Great British Beach Clean helps us research the scale of pollution in the UK. This research is vital to stop pollution at source, and we know it works. Cleaner beaches will support a healthy ocean, and a healthy planet.”
Cullen Allen (Aka Cully) from Cully & Sully said: “We’re delighted to be part of the Great British Beach Clean 2022. We’ve supported beach cleans in Ireland for the past 4 years and are excited about extending our commitments to the Great British Beach Clean. We’re excited to take part and get started, and of course spread the word on the importance of keeping our beaches and public spaces clean”.
Join the Marine Conservation Society’s Great British Beach Clean as an organiser, or volunteer, this year. Sign up via the charity’s website: www.mcsuk.org/greatbritishbeachclean.
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