Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Give Maia and others like her a chance to Find Nemo

One of the few things I regret never learning when I was young was how to swim. I did have the urge to learn it, but the urge never overcame my fear. And to date, I still scold myself for letting my fear win me over. I know it's not too late to learn, but yes I'm still not over that fear up until now. I don't think I will ever get passed that.

So in order to compensate for that, the hubby and I decided to enroll Maia in swimming classes next summer. She will then be old enough to handle the lessons. I'm glad that she never developed any fear of water and that the first time her dad took her swimming she just let out squeals of delight. These days when we'd take her out to swim, she would bravely ask for me to let her go and let her be. She would even pretend as if she really knew how to swim. One time she slipped while she was wading rather excitedly on the pool and I wasn't able to get to her for a few seconds I thought she might get traumatized but no, when I helped her up she was smiling. She just got back on her feet and shooed me away almost instantly. Brave, spirited little girl. She is really a water baby and we just need to reinforce that by teaching her how to navigate her way through the water.

I always think that people who love the water will never really experience the full magnificence of it unless they dive deep into the ocean and see what thrives in it. One of Maia's favorite movies is Finding Nemo. At some point, we thought we'd overdose on it already because it was playing almost the entire day. She just loves seeing Dory and Nemo and Marlin swim. I think she would love it even more if she would get the chance to see Dory, Nemo and all their friends in person. If she ask to someday do that, I would definitely indulge her to it.

Of late however, I wonder if Maia and many other kids like her would still get the privilege of witnessing the beautiful life that exist deep in our seas. Hearing news of coral reef destruction and illegal harvesting and peddling of corals makes me feel sad for the future generations.

But I guess, it's still good that we are given the chance to do something about this. It is still not too late for us to get involved in saving our oceans. If you a mom like me, teach your kids how to properly care for the sea and the creatures that live in it. Make them understand how much they can benefit from this act.

I came across this National Geographic article that list down 10 things you can do to help save the ocean. I will share it here as well because I would also like to bookmark it as a reminder for myself to institute and practice in our household.

1. Mind Your Carbon Footprint and Reduce Energy Consumption
Reduce the effects of climate change on the ocean by leaving the car at home when you can and being conscious of your energy use at home and work. A few things you can do to get started today: Switch to compact fluorescent light bulbs, take the stairs, and bundle up or use a fan to avoid oversetting your thermostat.

2. Make Safe, Sustainable Seafood Choices 
Global fish populations are rapidly being depleted due to demand, loss of habitat, and unsustainable fishing practices. When shopping or dining out, help reduce the demand for overexploited species by choosing seafood that is both healthful and sustainable.

3. Use Fewer Plastic Products 
Plastics that end up as ocean debris contribute to habitat destruction and entangle and kill tens of thousands of marine animals each year. To limit your impact, carry a reusable water bottle, store food in nondisposable containers, bring your own cloth tote or other reusable bag when shopping, and recycle whenever possible.

4. Help Take Care of the Beach
Whether you enjoy diving, surfing, or relaxing on the beach, always clean up after yourself. Explore and appreciate the ocean without interfering with wildlife or removing rocks and coral. Go even further by encouraging others to respect the marine environment or by participating in local beach cleanups.

5. Don't Purchase Items That Exploit Marine Life
Certain products contribute to the harming of fragile coral reefs and marine populations. Avoid purchasing items such as coral jewelry, tortoiseshell hair accessories (made from hawksbill turtles), and shark products.

6. Be an Ocean-Friendly Pet Owner
Read pet food labels and consider seafood sustainability when choosing a diet for your pet. Never flush cat litter, which can contain pathogens harmful to marine life. Avoid stocking your aquarium with wild-caught saltwater fish, and never release any aquarium fish into the ocean or other bodies of water, a practice that can introduce non-native species harmful to the existing ecosystem.

7. Support Organizations Working to Protect the Ocean
Many institutes and organizations are fighting to protect ocean habitats and marine wildlife. Find a national organization and consider giving financial support or volunteering for hands-on work or advocacy. If you live near the coast, join up with a local branch or group and get involved in projects close to home.

8. Influence Change in Your Community
Research the ocean policies of public officials before you vote or contact your local representatives to let them know you support marine conservation projects. Consider patronizing restaurants and grocery stores that offer only sustainable seafood, and speak up about your concerns if you spot a threatened species on the menu or at the seafood counter.

9. Travel the Ocean Responsibly

Practice responsible boating, kayaking, and other recreational activities on the water. Never throw anything overboard, and be aware of marine life in the waters around you. If you’re set on taking a cruise for your next vacation, do some research to find the most eco-friendly option.

10. Educate Yourself About Oceans and Marine Life
All life on Earth is connected to the ocean and its inhabitants. The more you learn about the issues facing this vital system, the more you’ll want to help ensure its health—then share that knowledge to educate and inspire others.

I think these are simple, doable things. My sister tells me that tourism is the number killer of our oceans and I agree with her on that. But then again, I also do not find sense in totally prohibiting tourism. I believe that we all can experience the beauty of the sea and at the same time help preserve it. We just have to be more conscious with how we treat the seas. And we really should give back, you know. After everything the ocean has done for us. Yes, we should give back. And let Maia and her generation experience all that beauty as well.

Save the Philippine Seas!

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