Happy Earth Day!

April 22, 2017


Today, 22 April 2017, marks the 48th time that people around the world celebrate Earth Day. Since 1970, the effects of climate change have become undeniable, but the environmental news is not all bad. The voices of 1970s environmental grassroots movement were heard, and that public pressure led the USA to pass some of the most powerful legislation anywhere to protect endangered species and their habitat. Given our focus, it’s not surprising that we see the Marine Mammal Protection Act as one of the best examples of grassroots movements leading to real-world conservation gains. Over the last few decades, consumer demand has shifted fisheries practices to the extent that “dolphin-safe tuna” is now the industry standard in North America and Europe. Similar efforts drove the Save the Whales movement, which led to a moratorium on commercial whaling in 1986. We’re not naive, but we are inspired by #OceanOptimism.

After every public lecture we give, people ask how they can help.

People often share feelings of hopelessness and powerlessness in the face of global losses of biodiversity and wilderness. The paradox is that collectively, we hold the power to influence policy, and with every purchase we make, we have the power to influence markets and industrial practices. We cast a vote every time we buy – or choose not to buy – a product. And we are struck by the energy in today’s March For Science events around the world. The people have spoken, and they want policy to be based on reliable evidence. Our tagline, Science for the Sea, tells you that we share that view.

Here are some examples of the power of consumer choice that have inspired us lately. This is not an exhaustive list, and it draws heavily from personal experience. When have you “voted” or made a sustainable choice with your dollar? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.

What are we missing? Please share your Earth Day tips with us.

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