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Top 5 Tips for Living with a lighter footprint on the  Earth

Saving the planet is a daunting task, trust us, we know. However it can be broken down into much more manageable tasks that don't make it so scary. Tasks that EVERYONE can get involved in. So, how can YOU make a difference? How can you reduce YOUR impact? Well, here's how!

1. Eat less meat (particularly beef) and dairy

What can you do? A vegetarian diet uses about half the CO2 of a meat-eater’s diet. It can also be better for your health (if you don’t just resort to eating chips!) But red meat uses 28 times more land and 11 times more water than pork or chicken, so maybe start with cutting out beef. Going dairy- free will also knock off about another quarter of your remaining CO2 output from food.

How does this relate to marine conservation? Less CO2 in the atmosphere, means less CO2 for the oceans to absorb, which means less sea temperature rise and ocean acidification for the corals.
What are we doing about it? Our camp is entirely meat free, although we occasionally have small fish line-caught locally.

2. Actively think about the plastic you use, and reduce as much as possible – there’s no such thing as ‘away’

What can you do? You know the deal for the main ones – use a reusable bag for shopping, take a reusable mug for hot takeaway drinks, use a reusable water bottle when out and about, refuse/take your own bamboo/metal straw, but it’s the remembering to do it right? Think about what will happen to that plastic once you throw it ‘away’ and it will help. Reduce, reuse, recyle (as a last resort).

How does this relate to marine conservation? So many marine animals are found dead having choked on plastic in their throats, stomachs clogged with plastic so they can’t eat, or tangled in plastic ropes/nets and drowned. And don’t even get me started on that video of pulling a plastic straw out of a turtle’s nose! Or the microplastics that absorb all the other toxins we’re pumping into the oceans and enter the foodchain at the lowest level (plankton) but build up and up.

What are we doing about it? We’re trying to go without using plastic bags this week (used for everything here!) and take a Tupperware to put groceries etc. in when we go shopping.

3. Fly less/take public transport/cycle more

What can you do? I still can’t get over the statistic I found that only 8% of the global population fly, so if you have flown for work, to see loved ones or for a holiday, appreciate your privilege. And maybe try and take one less flight this year, holiday within your country (surely there’s some beauty spot you’ve not been to yet), or take one less car journey, like planning your car trips out so you kill two birds with one stone.

How does this relate to marine conservation? Same as eating less meat, less climate change is better for the oceans! Lots of fish are already migrating away from their usual territories because of ocean temperature changes.

What are we doing about it? Unfortunately it wasn’t possible to take safe train/bus/other public transport to Mafia Island (yes I did look!) but we don’t use a car when we’re here, and it is possible to offset your flights (although this is controversial and a bit tricky to do right).

4. Source your electricity from renewable sources

What can you do? It is surprisingly quick and easy to switch your electricity supplier (in the UK anyway) to one from 100% renewable sources, and such a simple but effective thing to do! There are plenty of smaller companies out there as well with great customer service. Being more energy efficient helps too (and your bills).

How does this relate to marine conservation? Again, mitigating climate change leads to less impact on our oceans. Calcium carbonate, which makes up a large proportion of all corals and shells, dissolves in conditions which are too acidic!

What are we doing about it? We’re planning on repairing our solar panels to get them back up and running our albeit limited electricity use (fan, lights at night and charging laptops/phones).

5. Get involved!

What can you do? Find something you care about and do something about it! The best thing you can do is talk to your friends about your favourite topic/issue. If you don’t have one yet, there are plenty of charities, NGOs, good causes, problems big and small that need solving; so sign a petition or two, sign up to a mailing list for more information, go to a local meeting/protest, write to your MP/elected representative (find out who they are first!) and hold them accountable.

How does this relate to marine conservation? Be an ocean champion! But lots of things that happen on land end up in the ocean in one way or another, so it all helps!

What are we doing about it? Follow us to find out more!

By Joanna Read - Tanzania Assistant Research Officer

Frontier runs conservationdevelopmentteaching and adventure travel projects in over 50 countries worldwide - so join us and explore the world!

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