You’re invited to dive into ocean conservation by joining aquariums and zoos accredited by the Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) in celebrating World Oceans Day on June 8.
“The AZA’s 222 accredited aquariums and zoos are actively engaging millions of people in ocean issues,” said AZA Senior Vice President for Conservation & Education, Dr. Paul Boyle. “Aquariums and zoos provide unmatched views of amazing underwater wildlife and experiences that build connections with nature, inspiring people of all ages to help protect our precious oceans for future generations.”
The National Research Council has reported that most science-based learning happens outside the classroom. AZA-accredited aquariums and zoos are leaders in reaching 182 million people every year with important, science-based information about ocean conservation. Recent public opinion research conducted by AZA’s partner in ocean conservation, The Ocean Project, indicates that the public trusts and looks to aquariums, zoos, and museums to learn more about the issues and ways each person can take personal action to help our ocean.
For a list of World Oceans Day events taking place at AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums, please visit www.worldoceansday.org.
Top 10 Things You Can Do to Help The Oceans:
Visit an AZA-accredited Aquarium or Zoo – Every time you visit your local aquarium or zoo you are helping to support conservation projects locally and worldwide. Ask staff how you can help contribute to conservation. Find the aquarium or zoo near you.
Donate Your Time And Money – Volunteer to help the AZA-accredited aquarium or zoo near you. Participate in a beach clean up or attend a similar ocean-saving event. Your commitment is the most valuable thing you can contribute to help conserve the ocean.
Tell Your Friends! – Educate others about the importance of ocean conservation and what they can do to help. You can start by liking the Association of Zoos and Aquariums on Facebook.
Make Smart Seafood Choices – Seafood species are in trouble. Overfishing, bycatch, habitat damage, and the establishment of fish farms, have created problems for many aquatic species. You can make a difference with your purchasing power by buying seafood harvested sustainably. Learn more with the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch program or Shedd Aquarium’s Right Bite.
Conserve Water – Although many North Americans have easy, regular access to water, it is a scarce resource in many parts of the world and is being used up more quickly than natural processes can replenish it. The less water we use, the less runoff and wastewater will pollute our ocean. Fix leaky faucets, turn off the tap when you brush your teeth, and keep your showers short.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint – The energy we use creates emissions that contribute to global climate change and adverse effects on the ocean, such as acidification, sea level rise and threats to marine mammals like polar bears. Leave your car at home and opt for public transportation, or, where possible, cycle to your destination. Use energy saving light bulbs and turn off the lights when you leave a room. Learn how aquariums and zoos are doing their part.
Keep Your Watershed Clean – A watershed is the area of land where rain and snow-melt drains downhill into rivers and lakes, and eventually to the sea. Trash and chemicals in a watershed flow to the ocean. Help keep your watershed clean. Don’t litter, and dispose of trash properly. Check with your local aquarium or zoo to volunteer to help with clean up efforts at beaches, rivers, lakes, and other watershed areas!
Limit Chemical Usage – Chemicals that find their way into water sources eventually find their way to sea, where they harm animals and damage ocean habitats. Purchase organic produce, limit the use of chemicals in your home activities and make sure you dispose of oil, outdated medicines, and other toxic household products safely.
Ditch Plastic – Plastic products harm marine life and habitats. Keep plastics out of the ocean by using reusable bags at the store and reusable bottles for drinks instead of disposable plastic ones. Be sure to recycle any plastics that you do use.
Oppose The Taiji Drive Fishery – Every year in Taiji, Japan, dolphins are slaughtered by local fishermen. AZA-accredited zoos and aquariums are against this painful, inhumane practice. AZA sponsors a campaign to halt Japan’s annual dolphin drive called Act for Dolphins which was launched by a coalition of zoo and aquarium professionals and scientists seeking to raise awareness and bring an end to the Taiji slaughter.