5 Things You Can Do to Save the Ocean

We live on a blue planet. At the National Geographic Society we are working with a lot of groups all over the world to learn more about our seas and inspire people to protect them through our Pristine Seas project. The everyday actions of people like you and me can have a big impact. Read below to see how you can help!

Volunteers help to pick up trash both on the shore and in the waves. (Photo by Leon Baker)

Keep Your Beaches Clean

The ocean is too polluted, and that pollution begins on land. Whether you live by the sea and call it your home or only see the coast once a year during vacation, it’s really important to keep our beaches clean. By picking up trash you can help reduce the amount of litter that’s swept into the sea. Go even further by encouraging others to do the same and by organizing your own local beach cleanups.

Even in remote areas of the ocean, pieces of our long-lived and far-reaching plastic trash can be found. (Photo by Enric Sala)

Use Fewer Plastic Products

It’s shocking how much plastic ends up in the ocean—and once it’s there it can be impossible to remove. 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.

Fish reproduce in large numbers and can be a strong and reliable source of food for humans, but only if they’re managed in a way that keeps their populations healthy and their roles in their ecosystems intact. (Photo by Enric Sala)

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’s both healthful and sustainable.

The people of Pitcairn Island, the final resting place of the famed 18th-century H.M.S. Bounty, have voted to designate their seas as a vast marine protected area, a move recently approved by the British government. (Photo by Enric Sala)

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.

A Pacific green sea turtle navigates the French Frigate Shoals water. (Photo by Bates Littlehales_
Sea turtles and other marine creatures are more than simply entertaining. Their fascinating anatomy and behavior have intrigued scientists in countless fields and inspired artists in boundless endeavors. (Photo by Bates Littlehales)

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.

See the Full List of 10 Things You Can Do to Save the Ocean

Explore the Pristine Seas Project


  1. Sandra Blackford
    October 6, 2015, 11:17 pm

    I love the ocean, but I would love to see al lot us work together to keep our beaches free of trash so our grandchildren can also enjoy it.

  2. Beatrice Ihle
    October 5, 2015, 12:03 pm

    All countries need to agree not to use plastic bags and set up recycling center that are easy to get to or have trucks that go around and pick up recycle bins on weekly bases.

  3. Beatrice Ihle
    October 5, 2015, 11:58 am

    We need to stop using plastic bags and items made of plastic. Also to make it easier to recycle.

  4. Sheila G. Ebey
    October 1, 2015, 10:03 pm

    I’ve always worried about turtles, etc., getting trapped or caught in the plastic 6 pack rings and others. It’s been many years gone by that I have taken scissors and cut each ring…..

  5. Tim Faltermeier
    Munich, Germany
    June 16, 2015, 12:56 pm

    Hi Team,

    I´m very interessted about your projects, especially about PRISTINE SEAS. Could you send me more info? Is it possible to support you? At least with some monthly money?

    best regards