Think Blue to Go Green
When we’re 600 miles from the nearest body of saltwater, it may not be clear how we impact our oceans. But this distance is negligible when 71% of our planet is covered by water. The Arkansas River, located behind the Oklahoma Aquarium, is just one of several Oklahoma waterways that connects to the Mississippi River which eventually pours into the Gulf of Mexico. That means trash in our local rivers will also litter the ocean.
Whether you live on the coast or in a landlocked state, everything we do has some impact on our environment. This is why it is important to consider how our choices in our everyday lives may cause harm to our aquatic ecosystems. We are committed to thinking blue to go green, and we hope you will join us in making more sustainable choices for our blue planet. Make sure to look throughout the Oklahoma Aquarium for our "Think Blue to Go Green" logo along with conservation information and tips.
Recycle, Reduce, Reuse!
Since the 1950s, humans have produced 8.3 billion tons of plastic; of that total, 300 million tons were produced in the last 13 years, and 50% of all plastic ever produced are single-use plastics. Single-use plastics are plastic products that are only used once before they are discarded. Some common single-use plastics are grocery bags, plastic cutlery, to-go cups, straws, and packaging plastics.
By switching to reusable materials rather than single-use plastics, we can slow down the rate at which our oceans are becoming polluted, which is a major problem today. As of right now, an 80,000-ton island of plastic floats in the Pacific Ocean. This plastic pollution threatens our wildlife, human health and safety, and the global economy. These problems are further complicated by the fact that plastic does not biodegrade. Rather, it breaks down into unmanageably small pieces that will remain in the ocean and landfills for hundreds or thousands of years. Thankfully, we can prevent these problems from worsening by making smart, sustainable choices now.
Everyday choices we can make to improve the health of our oceans:
BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag): Opt for reusable bags when you shop. Many stores even offer discounts for customers who bring their own bags!
Forget Flimsy Forks: Carry reusable silverware, water bottles, and coffee mugs. They are sturdier and much less likely to cause harm to our oceans. Plus, many coffee shops offer discounts for bringing your own mug.
Big Things Come in Plastic-less Packages: Cut down on plastic waste by purchasing items with minimal packaging, especially plastic packaging. Some grocery stores even offer refill stations for glass milk bottles and reusable water jugs.
Clothes the Loop: Keep clothes from ending up in the dumpster by participating in clothing swaps, donating to charity, or utilizing thrift shops and consignment stores. Much of our clothing actually contains microfibers with plastic and they can end up in the ocean if we don’t keep our clothes in circulation.
Get Goaling: Part of making any lifestyle change is setting a realistic goal. One way to start making more sustainable choices is to count the number of plastics you use daily and swap them for eco-friendly products. National Geographic’s Planet or Plastic Pledge is a great tool for getting started. Take the pledge today.
Local Conservation and Sustainability Efforts for Tulsa Natives
Protecting our oceans starts right here in the middle of Oklahoma! Keeping our streams, rivers, lakes, and even our storm drains clean and clear will help prevent worsening pollution in our oceans. Thankfully, there are many places in and around Tulsa that help locals get involved in sustainability and conservation efforts.
Sustainable Tulsa: Learn about sustainable businesses and hear from Tulsa’s leaders in sustainability. Through Sustainable Tulsa’s Scor3card program, your business will receive guidance to become more eco-friendly.
The Metropolitan Environmental Trust (the M.e.t.): The M.e.t. implements environmental programs and services to promote awareness and compliance with regulations and educate the public about environmentally responsible practices. Additionally, the M.e.t. provides recycling locations for Bixby, Broken Arrow, Claremore, Collinsville, Coweta, Glenpool, Sand Springs, and all areas in and immediately outside of Tulsa.
Tulsa Young Professionals (TYPROS): TYPROS seeks to recruit and retain young professional talent in Tulsa. One of the many groups within TYPROS is the Sustainability Crew, which hosts events to promote sustainability, lobbies in support of environmental regulations, increases access to recycling, and educates Tulsa natives about sustainable living.
Blue Thumb: Blue Thumb Oklahoma is a citizen science project directed at protecting local streams from pollution. Blue Thumb trains participants to monitor water quality in local creeks and streams and educates our community about the importance of clean waters.