10 Ways to Advocate for the Ocean this World Oceans Day and Beyond
World Oceans Day allows us to unite, celebrate, and take action to safeguard the seas—which supply over half of the world’s oxygen, regulate our climate, nourish billions of people, and so much more.
In the last few years alone, World Oceans Day—celebrated June 8 annually—has united over 140 countries, inspired 3,000+ events, and extended critical information to over 1 billion people worldwide.
This year, the UN will highlight the theme “Revitalization: Collective Action for the Ocean.” It’s the first hybrid celebration, where participants can join virtually to discuss the current health of the oceans, why our oceans have reached a “tipping point,” and how we can work together to create a new balance and restore vitality to the seas. You can RSVP for the virtual event here.
Referencing a guide created by our friends at Oceanic Global, here are 10 ways you can take action to help protect and revitalize our shared (blue) planet in your daily life.
1. Stray away from plastics.
Every minute, an estimated two garbage trucks of plastic are dumped into the ocean. By the time you’re finished reading this article, that’s 20 garbage trucks of plastic—and experts estimate that this figure will triple by 2040.
To reduce your own plastic footprint, we recommend starting by doing your best to avoid unnecessary single-use plastics. Don’t worry, we practice what we preach. We’ve already minimized single-use plastics at all of our locations—offering glass cups, bulk shower products, reusable k-cups, and ceramic mugs in our suites, water filtration systems in our hallways, and alternative storage containers in our kitchens.
We encourage you to avoid plastic straws, cups, bottles, bags, balloons, and utensils, as best you can.For example, if you know your favorite restaurant only offers plastic straws and to-go containers, bring your own! You never know, your actions might leave an impact on the restaurant staff to ignite sustainable change in their establishment.
In addition to single-use plastic items, did you know that a massive amount of ocean microplastics come from clothing? A 2020 study conducted at University of Plymouth reveals that, in one year, a single person can release nearly 300 million synthetic microfibers to their water supply through laundry and over 900 million microfibers to the air through daily wear. To combat this, we recommend the following:
- Seek clothing made from natural materials, rather than plastic synthetics. Not only will this reduce the number of microplastics that leach into the water sources during laundry, but it will also free your largest organ–the skin–of synthetic materials. Materials to avoid include nylon, polyester, polyvinyl chloride (PVC), and rayon.
- Use a washing bag during laundry. Using tools like a Guppyfriend bag or Cora Ball will further reduce the number of microplastics and synthetic fibers that enter surrounding water sources.
Another tip: Encourage your favorite companies to explore plastic-free materials. From clothing to linens and to-go containers, avoiding plastic at the corporate level can make a huge impact.
You know you can count on us to source responsible materials—from the chairs you sit on to the cup you drink from. You can find more “blue-minded” companies by looking out for Oceanic Global’s Blue Standard Verification.
2. Reduce your carbon footprint.
The best way to get started on this is to review our previous article, “Want to stop wondering if your individual choices matter for the climate?”
It outlines action items, ranging from adopting a healthy mindset around your individual carbon footprint and its impact to identifying specific areas that will allow you to make the biggest impact.
Our partners at Oceanic Global also recommend:
- Choosing a climate-friendly diet (Find more information on the planetary impact of common foods here)
- Biking, walking, bussing, and carpooling rather than a solo drive
- Seeking renewable energy whenever possible
- Insulating your home for increased efficiency
- Shopping local and secondhand to reduce production and shipping emissions
We’d like you to also remember that our cause-driven loyalty program, MISSION by SH, allows you to offset the climate impact of your stay by using your rewards to support climate offset projects around the world. As of now, it’s the first rewards program of its kind, but we hope it will spark positive change in the industry—and other companies will follow suit.
3. Seek responsible seafood.
We understand that it can be difficult to completely cut seafood out of your diet. We don’t blame you, after all, we serve seafood at our dining outlets. So how can you eat seafood more responsibly? Here are a few tips that we follow when we source seafood ourselves:
- Choose local, seasonal, and well-managed seafood like oysters and other bivalves.
- Opt for smaller fish that are lower on the food chain to reduce pressure on top predators.
- Choose to eat invasive species that threaten native marine biodiversity.
Rest assured that our seafood is always locally and sustainably sourced to ensure we’re minimizing our impact on the blue planet. Check out Oceanic Global’s Responsible Seafood Guide to learn more!
4. Purchase ocean-friendly products.
One easy way to do this is to screen your products in an online “clean product” database, such as the Environmental Working Group (EWG) Skin Deep database. There, you’ll be able to find clean products/alternatives that avoid harmful ingredients, including the ones listed below.
- Microbeads: Polyethylene or polypropylene (you can usually see them with your eye)
- Chemical sunscreen filters: Oxybenzone, octinoxate, octocrylene, homosalate, PABA, parabens, triclosan, and 4-methyl benzylidene camphor
- Siloxanes: Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclopentasiloxane, Cyclopentasiloxane, and Cyclomethicone, which are often found in conditioners and gels
- Parabens: These are hormone disruptors that can be harmful to your own body and have been found in the tissues of marine animals like dolphins, sea otters, and polar bears
- Triclosan: A bacterial agent (found in many soaps and toothpaste) that can harm algae and the hormone levels of marine animals (and humans)
Seeking ocean-friendly products is not only better for the blue planet, it’s better for your own health too!
5. Stay curious.
Well, you’re here, so we know you’re already curious.
If you want to learn more about the state of our oceans and what you can do to help protect them, check out Oceanic Global’s favorite resources:
Be sure to follow @1hotels and @oceanic.global on Instagram to stay up-to-date on new resources and articles related to ocean-climate connection, climate change, and more—like this one.
6. Raise your voice.
Let’s talk about it.
Add your voice to petitions, talk about the ocean-climate connection with your community, spread the word through social media, contact your representatives (local, state, national), let them know this topic is important to you, and find out exactly what they’re doing to safeguard the (blue) planet.
7. Support organizations that share your values.
It’s true that we’re an organization that embodies your values, but we also pay it forward by supporting organizations that embody our values, too.
From our partnerships with organizations like Oceanic Global, the NRDC, Intersectional Environmentalist, The Nature Conservancy, and Foodprint Group to our local architects, landscapers, designers, and purveyors, we understand that supporting each other is one of the best ways to sustain lasting positive change.
If you’re able, we encourage you to support your favorite organizations through monthly donations—or simply by sharing their resources on social media.
You can donate to and explore educational resources from some of our favorite nonprofits using the links below.
8. Encourage your favorite businesses to be ocean-minded.
Corporations and industrial enterprises have the means to drive positive action on a huge scale. That’s exactly why we’re always searching for new ways to mitigate waste, fight climate change, and safeguard the natural world.
What does that look like for us?
- True Zero Waste: Across all of our operations, we’ve developed programs designed to eliminate waste with the help of our partners at the FoodPrint Group. We’re working towards our short-term goal of 70% waste diversion from landfills and incinerators, keeping in mind our long-term target of 90% or greater total waste diversion in accordance with USGBC’s TRUE Zero Waste certification. To accomplish this, we’re creatively minimizing waste from every angle—from sourcing compostable alternatives to plastic to working directly with haulers to ensure our waste does not reach a landfill.
- Certified Carbon Neutrality: The ocean is Earth’s biggest carbon sink, meaning it (or the phytoplankton, algae, bacteria, etc. in it) absorbs about the same amount of carbon as all the plants on land. That’s a huge job, and we want to help. That’s why all of our operating US properties are Certified Carbon Neutral, and we’re working to expand this to a global certification. We do this by minimizing our carbon emissions at each source, while purchasing carbon offsets for the remaining emissions. On top of that, we make it possible for our guests to contribute to carbon offset projects through MISSION by SH.
We hope you’ll encourage your favorite businesses (or your own business!) to take on similar initiatives, like going blue through Oceanic Global’s Blue Standard verification program. As always, we invite you to reach out to us if you have new suggestions or challenges for our brand, as we aim to serve as a platform for change for the hospitality industry and beyond.
9. Join the Oceanic Global solution.
Oceanic Global has volunteer hubs around the world—in the Hamptons, Los Angeles, New York, London, and Barcelona. These hubs are led by passionate volunteers who host events and inspire local action on a global scale.
If you live in one of these areas, we encourage you to join your local hub. Not only is it a great way to advocate for the planet, but it’s also the perfect place to meet like-minded people.
10. Stay grounded in nature.
As humans, we’re more passionate about protecting the things we love and feel connected to.
When you spend more time grounding yourself in nature, you’ll be reminded of why you’re so passionate about protecting the natural world (an added bonus: spending time in nature has been linked to many healing properties for people too!)
Take a mindful nature walk, spend time photographing outside, or take your workout outdoors. One sure way to ground yourself and reconnect with your roots—enjoy a sustainable stay at one of our sanctuaries. With our biophilic designs we bring the outside in—from our daylight-enhancing architecture to our verdant ivy walls. As you make your way through our sanctuaries, you’ll be reminded of the awes of the natural world at every turn—and inspired to do everything you can to protect it.