Making a Difference – Be a Smart Consumer
Be a smart shopper.
seafood choices that we make have an impact on the environment. Not all
seafood is created equal. There are good - and - bad choices for the ocean.
Good choices from wild fish come from populations that are healthy and
managed in a way to preserve the populations for future generations.
Likewise, sustainable fish farming respects the surrounding environment,
uses water and other resources wisely, and does not interfere with natural,
wild fish populations. Ask grocery stores and restaurants where their
seafood comes from and if it was caught or farmed in a way that protects the
§ Reduce or modify your consumption of seafood. Only 10% of the big-fish
that once dominated the ocean remain today. According to a recent study, if
we don't limit fishing and seafood consumption now, there will be no more
fish in the next 50 years. Over-fished species are rapidly becoming
endangered. Non-targeted species caught as bycatch are also being depleted.
For every pound of shrimp or prawns caught there are about 15 pounds(!) of
bycatch thrown back, dead, into the ocean.
Photo by Don Reynolds
§ Carry a sustainable seafood wallet guide available from Blue Ocean
Institute Guide to Ocean Friendly Seafood or the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
You can download a printable wallet-size Seafood Guide for the Midwest
Region now by
§ Only purchase seafood from retailers that support sustainable seafood,
such as Whole Foods and others that carry the Marine Stewardship Council’s
seal of approval.
§ Patronize restaurants that recognize the need to consume seafood
sustainably. Visit the Chef’s Collaborative for a list of restaurants in
§ Make your voice heard. Complain to the management of restaurants and
retailers selling endangered fish.
For more information, see
§ Check for leaky faucets and repair them.
§ Water your lawn in the morning or evening to reduce evaporation, and water
it only when necessary. Put a trigger nozzle on your outdoor hose; it uses
water more efficiently. It's not necessary to water your driveway. After
all, it won't grow.
§ If you own your home, install a water-saving toilet.
§ If you’re renting, add a water saver bag (a small bag filled with water)
or a brick to your toilet tank. They raise the water level in the tank,
which reduces the amount of water used when you flush.
§ Turn off the water when brushing teeth, shaving, etc. Leaving it running
wastes about a gallon a minute!
§ Run the dishwasher only with a full load.
§ Use the dishwasher’s energy-saving setting to dry dishes; don't use heat
§ Use full wash loads set to cold water to wash your clothes whenever
possible. Some washing machines use 40 or more gallons!
§ If you are building your own home look into adding a gray water system,
ask the contractor what alternative eco-friendly supplies are available.
§ Collect rainwater from your home’s downspouts to use for watering the
§ Cover Pools and Jacuzzis! An average sized pool loses about 1,000 gallons
of water per month to evaporation. A pool cover can cut these losses by 90%!
§ Keep the water heater thermostat no higher than 120°F and make sure it is
well insulated; many utility companies will insulate it free of charge.
§ Move your heater thermostat down two degrees in winter and up two degrees
in the summer.
§ Replace light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs or other energy
efficient light bulbs. Note: Luminescence is the amount of light produced,
watts is the amount of power used, both should be printed on the box. Look
for bulbs with low watts and high luminescence. Example: GE Energy Star.
§ Buy energy efficient appliances.
§ Keep your refrigerator’s temperature set at a medium-cool temperature.
§ Get a free energy audit from your utility company.
§ Use double-pane windows to better insulate your home.
§ Turn off lights when not in use.
§ Turn off your computer, television, etc. when not in use.
§ Clean or replace dirty air conditioner filters as recommended.
§ Don't use electrical appliances for things you can easily do by hand, like
opening cans or mowing small lawns.
§ Keep the tires on your car adequately inflated and drive conservatively to
get the best gas mileage.
§ Keep your wheels properly aligned to save your tires from being replaced
frequently. (It's safer too.)
§ Check your car's air filter monthly and replace frequently for better fuel
§ Buy a fuel-efficient/eco-friendly car.
§ Carpool or use public transit whenever possible.
§ Ride your bike or walk.
§ If you own your own home and live in a sunny area, add solar panels to
your roof. Even though it isn’t as efficient as nuclear power; using solar
power can help decrease dependency on electric power.
§ Make sure your printer paper is 100% post-consumer recycled paper. The
paper industry is the third greatest contributor to global warming
§ Use email instead of snail mail for informal letters.
§ Manage your bills and bank accounts online with paperless statements.
§ Print or copy on both sides of the paper whenever possible.
§ Buy used books or visit your local library.
§ Clean out that closet and give away or donate the things you no longer
§ Recycle everything: newspapers, cell phones, electronics, cans, glass,
aluminum, motor oil, scrap metal, etc.
§ Encourage/insist on recycling in the workplace.
§ Use washable coffee mugs instead of disposable cups.
§ Look to yard sales, thrift stores and antique shops for used household
goods instead of buying new ones. “One man’s trash is another man’s
§ Start a compost pile for leaves and yard debris, or take them to a yard
debris recycler. (Burning them creates air pollution, throwing them away
wastes landfill space.)
§ Left over coffee grounds can be used to increase the soil acidity for
growing plants like tomatoes, chili peppers, and blueberries.