Written by Amanda Hicks
April 22 is the day to celebrate this beautiful planet, and with three simple steps, you can protect the earth every single day.
Ayana Johnson, PhD, is a marine biologist, policy expert, and co-founder of Urban Ocean Lab, All We Can Save Project, and How to Save a Planet. In her impressive career as a marine biologist, Johnson worked to save our planet, specifically the ocean. Recently on the podcast, Ologies, she talked with host Alie Ward about oceanology or the study of oceans. In this podcast, Johnson speaks about the anatomy of the ocean and ways that civilians can help in protecting the many seas.
Many people may feel that if you cannot take a simple day trip to the beach then there is no way you can help protect the ocean, but Johnson wants to fight this myth by providing ways that any civilian in any city can participate in the fight. Not sugar coating the conversation, Johnson said that with the carbon dioxide levels on land, we have changed the chemistry with the sea, making it hard for fish to smell their home and navigate the ocean. 90% of big fish within the ocean have also become extinct due to overfishing, but she does not want anyone to get discouraged. There is still time to save the ocean.
But what can we in Pittsburgh do? First, sign up to vote. Many conversations have come up within the government on how best to save our planet. With policies like the Green New Deal and its co-partner the Blue New Deal, citizens voting and making their voices heard that saving the planet and fighting climate change are a priority can make the biggest impact.
Secondly, question where your seafood comes from. Unfortunately, 99% of shrimp is unsustainable according to Johnson. South-east Asia’s shrimp has also made headlines as it has come to light that the shrimp caught there has been peeled by slaves. Questioning and researching if the fish you are eating is sustainably obtained will help push for a more eco-friendly fishing market and fight for human rights simultaneously.
Lastly, reduce the number of single use plastic you use. One ton of plastic goes into the ocean every four seconds. Skipping over straws, using reusable water bottles over plastic water bottles, and using reusable bags when shopping are simple steps you can do every day. Some bigger projects like supporting and helping with coastal cleanup to halt the plastic before it even reaches the ocean and forcing governments and corporations to do their part by improving their recycling capacity, changing ways things are manufactured, and making more recyclable plastic can have some of the biggest impacts to help clean the planet.
Though it may seem bleak, there is still time to make changes. If you want to learn more and help in the fight, see the links below.
- Ayana Johnson’s Website: https://www.ayanaelizabeth.com/bio
- To listen to the full podcast: https://open.spotify.com/episode/1vAd1UwIwNMhys3jFbNcrj?si=f5icH9B_RMSUIARA1-6AZQ
- Lastly, to see what the government is currently doing to fight against climate change: https://www.whitehouse.senate.gov/issues/acting-on-climate-change-and-protecting-our-environment