Plastic can’t take all the rap for the jeopardized health of our oceans. There are many factors that need to be considered when addressing the state of the seas. Yesterday for World Wildlife Day 2019, Newsweek published this article that covers 15 major threats to our oceans’ well being, some of which may come as a surprise.

It’s safe to say that when most of us think of an unhealthy ocean, we picture ugly, floating garbage. What we may not consider are that beautiful oceans can be unhealthy, too. Pristine beaches bring travelers from all over the world and negatively impact delicate coastal regions. Such developments have a severe impact on the shallow waters of our oceans, where coral reefs house a large percentage of oceanic species. Though we may be just trying to get some rest and relaxation, unknowingly we could be agitating an entire ecosystem. Newsweek suggests traveling locally or consulting The International Ecotourism Society for more eco-friendly destinations.

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We may also not consider the harm that commercial shipping causes to our oceans. The tremendous tankers that travel the seas require tons of fuel and often leak hazardous chemicals into our waters. When considering the magnitude of these vessels, even the smallest leak could be potent enough to be deadly. On more rare occasions, the ships are known to crash into larger species, like whales, and disrupt their migrational routes. Experts recommend resisting the urge to buy products from overseas and shop locally to reduce the use of commercial shipping.

Being conscious of your involvement in restoring the ocean back to good health requires a broad horizon. Though it is not an easy task, so long as we are aware of these threats we can adjust our sails and stick to a course toward a sustainable future.

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