While oceans may be the poster child for vacations, catching some sun, and relaxing, they are way much more than that! The animals and organisms that live in oceans are vital to human life. Did you know that fifty percent of the world’s oxygen comes from these big blue bodies of water? Not only that but the ocean supplies ingredients that help fight cancer, arthritis, Alzheimer’s, and even heart disease! Is that not cool enough for you? Well, did you know a specific bacteria found in the ocean is used to detect the COVID-19 virus in rapid tests? If that doesn’t convince you why we need to protect the oceans I don’t know what will! 

    Why Do We Celebrate World Oceans Day?

    Roughly 75% percent of the world is made up of oceans, so it’s fair to say they are somewhat crucial to our beautiful planet. Every year on June 8th, we recognize World Ocean Day to remind humans about the impact we have on our oceans and educate individuals on how we can protect these vital bodies of water. Unfortunately, we still have a lot of work to do to help repair and maintain the health of our oceans. 

    Nearly 10% of disposed plastics end up in the ocean, which adds up to 26 tons of waste. These bits of plastic pool together to form “garbage patches” that either block sunlight from getting to organisms, wash up on beaches or sink to the ocean floor, damaging the life that exists there. The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, also known as the Pacific trash vortex, spans from the West Coast of North America all the way to Japan. These patches are mainly made up by tiny bits of plastic, called microplastics, that never fully break down.

    Fish harvesting can also harm the ocean’s environment. Most fish farms use chemicals that contribute to toxic water runoff, which usually ends up going back into the sea. This pollutes marine ecosystems, and can sometimes find its way into local water streams used for human consumption. 

    In addition, certain farming tactics such as trawling, posed a great risk to marine life and habitats. This dangerous fishing practice, pulls a fishnet across the seafloor scooping anything in its path, destroying habitats and ecosystems along the way. This harms important marine filter feeders such as coral, oysters and sponges that form productive marine habitats. 

    How to Save the Ocean

    So, what can you do to help save our oceans? One small habit that can have a significant impact involves reducing your ecological footprint. Take note of items you buy or use that could be swapped out for eco-friendly options and consider supporting companies who implement sustainability initiatives like Open Farm. Learn more about the fish you are eating, where it comes from and how it is sourced. Check your local grocer to find out if they offer sustainably raised fish. Look for eco-labels such as Ocean Wise, which indicate that the seafood you’re purchasing meets specific sustainability requirements. Open Farm has partnered with Ocean Wise to ensure all Open Farm dog food that does include fish is ocean sustainability approved! 

    What is Ocean Wise?

    Ocean Wise is a global organization on a mission to save the ocean! Their main goals are to prevent ocean pollution, overfishing, and climate change through research, education, and conservation projects. Seeing the Ocean Wise seal of approval on seafood products means the food is an ocean-friendly product.

    Celebrating World Ocean Day with Your Dog

    There are tons of ways that you and your pup can celebrate World Ocean Day together! 

    Go to the beach 

    Head to a beach near you and take a moment to appreciate this natural wonder and all the things oceans do for our planet. Consider bringing a few friends and sharing something you learned from this blog post or brainstorm ways you can all implement a sustainable habit that will protect our oceans.  Pick up trash if you see any and make sure it goes into the trashcan or recycling. Encourage others to leave nothing behind when it’s time to go.

    Shop smart 

    Don’t settle for fish that have been caught or farmed in ways that will hurt the environment. Be proactive and do your research to learn more about the food you and your dog consume. Be sure to look for the Ocean Wise label the next time you are purchasing seafood. Consider other alternatives to eating fish as well, such as plant based meats or vegetarian sushi.

    Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

    It’s a tale as old as time. Ask yourself where you can make simple changes to reduce the amount of trash you produce in your life. Consider using reusable shopping and produce bags, switching to metal straws and buying items second-hand. At Open Farm, we don’t just talk the talk; we walk the walk. Learn about the ways we are encouraging sustainability through our dog food packaging recycling program

    Make sure you do your part this World Oceans Day, and encourage your friends, family, and brands you purchase from to do the same. Saving the ocean will take everyone coming together to change the way we consume and dispose of waste. Together, we can create waves of change and make the ocean cleaner and healthier. 

    Written by: Emily Balogh