Oceans Day Mnemonic: DIVE

Eastport Maine photo

In honor of World Oceans Day today, DIVE.

D is for Drink, as in

Drink tap water from a reusable bottle or glass. Those plastic bottles end up in the ocean and require fossil fuels to produce and recycle (that is, when they are recycled rather than ending up in a landfill. The Story of Stuff project’s mini-film on “The Story of Bottled Water” is a great introduction to this topic.

I is for Investigate, as in

When you hear a “scientific” claim that an industrial chemical is safe, don’t just be suspicious or accepting—investigate.

Sustainable fisheries are a good place to use the "I" of this mnemonic—who's making the claim?
Sustainable fisheries are a good place to use the “I” of this mnemonic—who’s making the claim?

According to the Chicago Tribune, The Journal of Children’s Health published a research study in 2002 emphasizing that 7 of 12 blood samples did not contain a fire retardant called deca being used in TVs and electronics.  Those were adult blood samples, taken in 1988, and the journal folded after existing for only two years.

V is for Vote, as in

Vote for candidates who understand the precautionary principle. For example, look to senators who supported the Safe Chemicals bill  S. 847. A competing compromise bill praised by industry, called the “Chemical Safety Improvement Act of 2013,” has now replaced the proposed Safe Chemicals Act. The Environmental Working Group says among the new bill’s faults are that:

  • It would not offer special protections from persistent, bioaccumulative and toxic substances, known as PBTs.
  • It would not protect workers, economically disadvantaged communities or “hot spots.”

See here for Breast Cancer Action’s response to the sudden compromise bill.

Eastport Maine photo
One of my favorite ocean environments—Eastport, Maine.

E is for Eliminate, as in

Eliminate the use of plastics for disposable products. If you have to start somewhere, start here. Plastic wrap? I use it, but only about two boxes per year, compared to perhaps 10 boxes per year ten years ago. Plastic utensils? Skip ’em whenever possible, and seek out the bulk bins at the supermarket. These are drops in the bucket, but if plastic were expensive, imagine how much less plastic would be consumed in unnecessary ways. Oh, wait a minute, it is expensive—just not  showing up in the price of consumer goods, but in the cost of their consequences in health and environment down the road.

An introduction to the issue of plastics in the ocean, and the difficulties of measuring their extent and effect, is here: Trouble Afloat: Ocean Plastics.

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