How to help the oceans

Good morning MOOCers and readers,

At the end of the MOOC, we thought it would be a good idea to end on a positive note, and hope that by learning more about the oceans, you will join us in wanting to protect them.

At the moment, the future of the oceans is big news. Drilling in the Arctic, mining the seafloor, they are big topics, you can join the debate through a number of organisations, but we can also all make simple changes to our daily lives that have a positive impact on the oceans.

For me the biggest issue is climate change, it has such a varied set of impacts on the oceans, and one that we are still trying to understand. The current levels of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere are 397 parts per million. You can follow the daily readings here. This is higher than at any point over the last 800 000 years, and is still rising. This is not a new issue, it has been well covered by many documentaries and articles. If you are unfamiliar with the science there are a number of ways to learn more, either through MOOCs or films such as “An Inconvenient Truth”, “Thin Ice“, “Chasing Ice” etc.

What we can all do is reduce the amount of carbon we use. This is easy to achieve at home by considering a few key issues:Screen Shot 2015-10-09 at 11.33.05


  1. Travel: can you make the same trip on public transport or by walking – unnecessary car use drives the demand for fuel and can often be cut back. You don’t need to do it every day, and there are times when the car is the best option, but consider car sharing or moving to a more sustainable form of transport where possible.
  2. Heating at home: trying to keep heat in by closing windows and doors, drawing the curtains, wearing more clothes. Try to keep the thermostat at 21° and minimise the amount of heat you need.
  3. Food: we often don’t consider the food miles behind our daily diet. We have grown accustomed to having foods like strawberries and asparagus year round, soft fruits out of season, farmed fish flown in fresh from the tropics. This is a significant contribution to unnecessary transport and something that is so simple to change. The UK has a fantastic range of foods, and a network of farmers markets that bring you local produce, in season that has often travelled less than 20 miles, as opposed to seveScreen Shot 2015-10-09 at 11.33.05ral thousand by plane or by sea. Whilst many see farmers markets as an indulgence, they are not all about expensive organic food, they are about connecting the consumer to the producer, and making use of the changing seasons and the changing food that brings. By cutting out imported fresh foods, you can make a real difference to the amount of carbon dioxide released through food transport. Many regions have weekly markets with a range of local butchers, fishmongers and grocers, and they are always willing to suggest recipes for their produce. Check out your local market and see if you can reduce your food miles.

Here are a few suggestions to get started on eating local:

A guardian article about eating only UK produce for a month

A guide for local eating around the national parks

A link to Hampshire Farmers Markets – a market every week around Hampshire 

A guide to seasonal British Food – recipe suggestions and links to what is in season at the moment

Big Barn Guide to local food

Do you have any other suggestions or links that are useful??

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