20 years at the NMA: 20 ways you can make a difference
11th April 2018
To celebrate our 20th birthday here at the NMA, we’ve decided to put together 20 tips which you can get involved with to help with Ocean conservation. Every eco-friendly choice made, however small it seems, makes a huge difference over time. Read on to learn about some of the simple things you can do straight away to help conserve your Ocean!
- Celebrations are great, but make sure to re-use your wrapping paper and ribbons, or use something a little different like felt! This will save money too.
- Whilst shopping for groceries, keep in mind how much plastic packaging products contain, and take steps purchase goods with recyclable or no packaging with each shop. For example, choose loose fruit and veg without putting them in a plastic bag unless it’s absolutely necessary.
- Make sure to always purchase sustainably sourced fish from supermarkets and restaurants. Take time to to read up on the good fish guide by the Marine Conservation Society to ensure that you’re choosing the right fish from the right places. To help with picking the most sustainable products – keep an eye on the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) logo on the packaging – this will ensure that it’s sustainable.
- Reusable cloth bags, or bags for life, make a huge difference when it comes to reducing single-use plastic. Since the 5p bag charge was introduced, the number of bags used has gone down by more than 80%, and we hope to see this massive reduction continue.
- Try shortening your shower time, even by just a minute at a time. This will not only save water but energy too.
- Have a go at being vegetarian for one day a week. This will not only be healthy for you but also the planet, due to the hazardous ozone-depleting methane produced by cattle and other livestock, for example.
- For every visit to the beach, fill up a bin bag with the litter you find. Beach cleans are a fantastic way to conserve the Ocean and as a feel-good activity that the whole family can take part in! Or, you can head to one of our 20 beach cleans we’ve organised to celebrate our 20th birthday! Check out this link for more information.
- Say no to standby power, and switch off unused appliances at the mains. A microwave uses more energy overall just from displaying the time than it does for microwaving – just from being on standby 99% of the time. This doesn’t just apply to microwaves; televisions, computers and games consoles should also be turned off at the mains to reduce energy consumption
- In the UK, we use 7 million disposable coffee cups every day! Most people aren’t aware that disposable cups will not end up being recycled due to the complicated way they’re produced. The best solution is to purchase your own reusable coffee cup.
- Releasing balloons or lanterns may seem like a symbolic gesture, but unfortunately it’s not unlike littering. What goes up must come down – and the rubber left by balloons harms marine life. Plus, the world’s helium supply is a becoming scarcer, so it’s better to save it for more helpful purposes such as for hospitals.
- Something to plan for the longer term – consider getting an electric car. At the NMA, we’ve got our own electric Renault Zoe powered by Vospers. With no tailpipe, it produces zero greenhouse gas emissions!
- Save money on cling-film, sandwich bags, and foil by keeping your leftovers in a plastic tub instead. Reusing takeaway tubs, for example, is great way to hang onto food without wasting it. Consider taking a tub to a restaurant if you’re prone to leaving leftovers – you’ll thank yourself once you get hungry again!
- Try your best not to slack on recycling, and stay well-read on the ins and outs of your local recycling services. If your recycling facilities seem insufficient to you, ask your council to develop their services.
- Consider purchasing local produce, or better yet, develop a green thumb and grow your own food! This way energy is not wasted on transportation. If you’re new to gardening, herbs are a great way to start, and can be easily grown in pots indoors.
- Think about the way you make your daily commute – public transport is far more environmentally friendly than driving. Or, since the weather is brightening up, why not get active and cycle to school or work?
- Consider holidaying locally to reduce your carbon footprint. Air travel can produce three times more carbon dioxide than per passenger than rail. For those in the UK, we suggest South Devon as a great holiday destination!
- Make the switch from plastic products to biodegradable ones. For example, bamboo toothbrushes are a great alternative to plastic, and are readily available online.
- Tumble driers use an enormous amount of energy, so make sure to hang the washing up outside to dry as much as possible.
- Billions of plastic bottles are disposed of, unrecycled, every year. Drink tap water with a reusable bottle, rather than purchasing bottled water. At our Aquarium café, we sell all our drinks in recyclable cans or glass bottles to reduce plastic waste as much as possible.
- Try your best to stay warm in winter without overusing the central heating. Make sure your house is best equipped to keep in the heat in order to save energy. Heavy curtains are far more insulating than blinds, for example.
Thanks for reading these 20 tips! Here at the NMA we’re continually taking steps to reduce plastic waste and our carbon output, and we’ve already progressed massively over the past 20 years. Hopefully you’ll join us in acting pro-environmentally, even if you’re just doing one tip at a time, so we can all do our bit for the planet.