How We Can All Take Action
Being an activist can start with the choices we make day to day. It’s been over 11 years as a gender-based violence activist and my adventures and the state of our planet have made me an climate change activist. Yet really, we should all be activists helping heal and protect people and planet. We are not individuals living in a big world, we are connected beings to every single person and particle part of this earth. Our impact is not ours alone, never has that been more clear than now.
We can talk about saving our planet and working towards equality and protecting human rights, but really we must take action or change will never come. We no longer have the luxury of time or letting the next generation come up with the tough solutions, the time is ours and the time is now. Our lives depend on it.
So what can we do?
From our friends at SeaLegacy 12 Tangible Things We Can Do Today
#TurningTheTide for our world’s oceans happens on a global scale and by individual collective action. Here are twelve tangible ways you can help make a difference.
1. REDUCE YOUR OWN CARBON FOOTPRINT
This is an easy one! We can all reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by turning off the lights when we leave a room (it actually does make a difference!), using energy efficient appliances, turning down the thermostat, carrying out an energy audit for our homes and businesses, shifting to compact fluorescent light bulbs, taking public transit whenever possible, buying fuel efficient vehicles, vacationing close to home, and flying less.
2. OFFSET YOUR CARBON EMISSIONS
You can also neutralize all or part of your greenhouse gas emissions by investing in carbon mitigation projects. The idea is to pay an organization that will tangibly and verifiably curb its own GHG emissions to neutralize yours and make you carbon neutral. The process is known as carbon offsetting. The offsetting is achieved through the purchase of carbon credits. Each credit represents one tonne of carbon dioxide.
3. MIND YOUR SEAFOOD
One of the easiest things you can do to help take pressure off of over exploited fisheries is to learn about which seafood items are “ocean-friendly”. You can download and print a seafood guide from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
4. NO MORE PLASTIC
Let’s be the generation that rejects the unnecessary use of plastic. There are so many avoidable uses of plastic and we need to speak out, write to companies, request stores downsize their packaging, and take every opportunity to avoid single-use plastics.
5. SUPPORT MARINE PROTECTED AREAS
Did you know that barely 5% of our oceans are protected? According to the UN, we need to protect at least 10% by 2020 if we want to maintain our planet’s ecological integrity. Want to see where these Marine Protected Areas exist and where new ones are being proposed? Check out this interactive map by our conservation partner, the Marine Conservation Institute.
6. SHIFT YOUR DIET
The beef industry is one of the main causes of climate change. Just a simple shift from eating less or no beef, to a more vegetarian or low meat diet can have a huge impact on how rapidly our oceans cope with carbon inputs and warming trends.
7. AVOID PALM OIL
Palm oil may be the ultimate icon of globalization – an ingredient directly responsible for some of the world’s most pressing environmental problems that has nonetheless permeated our lives so stealthily we barely noticed. Because palm oil is literally in almost everything we buy, it takes a lot more resolve to educate ourselves. Luckily there are tools out there to help you make informed purchasing decisions – we like the Buycott app which allows you to scan barcodes before buying products to learn about the ethics behind them. Get the app for IOS or Android.
8. SUPPORT A CARBON TAX
Carbon is present in every hydrocarbon fuel (coal, petroleum, and natural gas) and is released as carbon dioxide (CO2) when they are burned. A carbon tax is usually defined as a tax based on greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) generated from burning fuels. It puts a price on each tonne of GHG emitted, sending a price signal that will, over time, elicit a powerful market response across the entire economy, resulting in reduced emissions.
9. USE YOUR INVESTOR POWER
If you are lucky enough to own shares in companies, you have the option of investing in companies whose climate change policies you approve of and you can also divest (sell) shares of companies whose climate change policies you disapprove of, and most importantly, you can use your voice and vote on company policies as a shareholder.
10. BE MINDFUL OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS
Motor oil and other hazardous materials often end up washing into coastal areas because they aren't disposed of properly. This pollutes the water and hurts the overall health of our oceans. Be sure to dispose of hazardous materials in an environmentally-safe way.
11. STICK YOUR HEAD BENEATH “THE THIN BLUE LINE”
From home, you can explore beautiful visual stories by our collective of world-class photographers over on our Maptia channel, The Thin Blue Line. And when you’re out and about, take every opportunity to stick your head under the thin, blue line and spend time in the ocean. You might hear whales singing or see a gathering of bioluminescent creatures. Pay attention, these are our fellow travelers on our journey through space and time.
12. MAKE A DONATION TO SUPPORT OUR WORK
At SeaLegacy, our pioneering expeditions and global campaigns trigger support and funds for sustainable ocean solutions that create healthy and abundant oceans, for us and for the planet. You can make a donation now or choose to give monthly. Every donation makes a difference, directly supporting our ocean conservation missions.
For Gender-Based Violence- Rise, Use Your Voice, and Learn
Silence is the greatest weapon in Gender-Based Violence. 1 in 3 women will experience gender-based violence in the world in their lifetime. Women are often ashamed, scared, or unable to report or tell of what happened to them. This means their perpetrator gets to do it again with no consequence. Creating space and helping someone you might know or supporting organizations that support survivors of violence like V-DAY and International Medical Corps is key.
In areas like Democratic Republic of Congo, the issue is fueled by other global issues such as Conflict Minerals, unfortunately found in most of our electronic items we use daily (tin, tungsten, tantalum, and gold, which are mineral derivatives known as 3TG). Conscious consumerism here is key and doing our best to know that the companies we are buying from are doing their due diligence in not procuring these materials that are one of the largest contributors to violence in the country.
Rising Above-Inspiration from V-DAY and One Billion Rising
Over the years, One Billion Rising campaigns have brought deeper into focus the intersectional issues of poverty, the environment, economic violence and other factors that cause and sustain the continuing violence towards women and girls (cisgender, transgender, and those who hold fluid identities that are subject to gender based violence). One Billion Rising: Solidarity initiatives in 2018 continued to see other movements coming together to address the issue of how climate change and environmental plunder aggravate the situation of women, especially in developing countries and in poor communities around the world. People all over the world joined the Risings to demand and end to violence against women and girls, by looking at policies that pillage, devastate and destroy the environment in the name of “development”. Developmental aggression and global ecological disasters directly related to corporate expansion, capitalist greed, unending extraction, production, over consumption and waste, and how these forces directly affect women and girls, became the primary focus of many Risings. The global climate crisis continues to affect communities around the world, but women and girls suffer the most as a result of long term loss of livelihood, forced migration, trafficking and other climate related conflicts. Indigenous populations everywhere have also suffered gravely – displaced and forced to flee and relocate – making them the world’s first climate refugees.
Rising for Climate Justice and Mother Earth is a call for justice against the aggressive greed and global exploitation of nature and people. It is a call to restore dignity, integrity and respect towards Mother Earth and to all people of the world, particularly women and girls, who have been equally violated by policies and programs that cause environmental degradation.
Men Rising- Stopping Violence Against Women Must Include Men in the Solution
Men Rising is an initiative that grew out of men around the world responding to the call to end violence against women and girls. It recognizes that violence against women can only be addressed by engaging men. Rising events in the last three years involved men and boys on an unprecedented scale – with men committing to doing everything in their power to be part of the solution to end violence. Men organized, gathered, and mobilized other men to:
Join the struggle to end to violence against women and girls
Encourage their peers to stop the abuse and to speak up about the rights of women and girls
Treat women with respect, dignity and equality
Commit to bringing attention to the rights of women
Stand and rise for justice and dignity for all women
Rise against all forms of patriarchy
Fight for social justice for women and girls
Youth from all over the world – rose in the streets, in schools, in communities, on stages, creating some of the most creative and radical artistic risings, including a huge escalating creative resistance presence on social media – utilized for outreach, mobilization and engagement.Rising to end rape and sexual assault on campuses
Rising to end objectification and stereotyping of women and girls
Rising to end domestic violence and parental neglect and abuse
Rising for the right to education
Rising to end commercialization of education
Rising to end slut shaming, bullying and sexism
Rising to end misogyny
Rising to end sexual harassment in public and at schools
Rising to end sex trafficking
Rising to end forced prostitution for education
Rising for women’s reproductive healthcare and rights
Rising for LGBTQIA+ rights
Rising to end poverty that enables exploitation of girls
Rising for the conservation and protection of the environment and the insurance of their future
Rising for jobs for new graduates
Rising for the defense and recognition of human rights
Rising for refugees
Rising to end fascism and tyranny
Rising to defend women human rights defenders
Rising to end economic, sexual and political exploitation
Rising to demand women’s access to open spaces without fear
Rising to shift consciousness among men and boys and on equality