One of our main aims at Tynemouth Aquarium is to share our own enthusiasm and admiration for the marine world and its incredible inhabitants with you. By helping all of our visitors – whether you’re young or old – learn about the ocean and conservation, we hope to inspire and encourage you to ask questions, explore, and make changes to your own lifestyle (no matter how big or small).
The world’s oceans belong to us all – they’re a limitless source of fun and wonderment, providing us with food, supplying us with energy, controlling our weather, offering a means of transport, and giving us a place to relax in our leisure time. That’s not all, either. These same oceans are responsible for sparking medical advances among scientists, with many new drugs and medicines founded as a result of the ocean’s rich resources.
We get so much from the oceans and yet, sadly, this precious marine environment is in desperate need of our help to safeguard its future. As the human population continues to grow, the ocean’s resources become increasingly stretched. Pollution, litter, overfishing, and habitat destruction are all taking their toll.
But it’s not all bad news. There are many wildlife and conservation bodies (both here in the UK and around the world) that help to conserve the unique natural world. You don’t have to be a part of one of these organisations to make a difference yourself – it’s really easy to switch up your routine and make a positive impact in saving our seas!
Here are just a few ways you can help:
When you’re out and about, wherever you are, it’s important to not litter. Dropping rubbish on the ground is not only harmful to the environment but also to all of the planet’s animals. A plastic bag making its way into the sea can easily be mistaken as a tasty jellyfish by sea turtles. And, many creatures (both in the ocean and on land) can become trapped in pieces of litter, such as plastic drink-can rings and netted-mesh fruit bags.
If you can’t find a bin, always take your litter with you until you can dispose of it responsibly. A study back in 2015 found that there were more than 5.25 trillion pieces of litter in the ocean at that time – and this number will only keep rising unless we all help.
As well as binning your rubbish, it’s really important to recycle as much of your waste as you can. Did you know that about 80% of household waste is actually recyclable?! To find out what you can recycle in your local area, use the Recycle Now website. Also, more and more cities now have recycling facilities, so you can recycle your plastic bottle or newspaper when you’re out and about, rather than using general-waste bins for everything.
Plastic is the key problem when it comes to litter and waste. It can take more than 450 years for plastic to completely decompose – that means all of the plastic that’s ever been created is still on our planet somewhere! You can help by thinking carefully about what you buy. When you’re shopping, opt for things that come in recyclable packaging (or no packaging at all!) rather than non-recyclable plastic film. Reuse your shopping bags or use cloth tote bags, so that you don’t have to buy new plastic carrier bags each time you go shopping.
Some of the seafood you eat might actually be having a really negative impact on the environment. Certain fish species are suffering from over-demand. Look out for the MSC-certified logo on fish packaging, or refer to the Good Fish Guide to ensure that you’re putting sustainable seafood on your plate.
It’s no secret that every living thing needs water to survive. But clean, fresh water is a precious resource that’s in demand around the world. You can easily cut down on your water usage by making small but sensible choices. By all turning off the tap when you’re brushing your teeth, a family of four can save up to 3,600 litres of water a month! Likewise, a bath can use around 318 litres of water, whilst switching to a 5-minute shower uses around just 90 litres of water.
There are plenty of ways you can cut down on your carbon footprint without having to make drastic changes to your lifestyle.
Instead of travelling by car, opt for public transport, cycle, or walk by foot where possible. Remember, if you visit us via public transport, you can save on our admission.
If you can, use renewable energy in your home. Otherwise, it’s easy to swap your lightbulbs for more renewable ones. When you’re shopping, try to buy food that is locally-sourced, fairtrade, and organic. This will prevent you supporting food that is unethically harvested or that has travelled hundreds of miles by sea or air to reach your fridge.
Pets should be for life, but sadly, with many exotic pets in particular, owners underestimate the time, money, and space these creatures require. If you’re thinking of getting a pet fish or sea creature, make sure you visit a shop that only stocks net-caught, cyanide-free fish. You’ll need to be certain that you have enough space and resources to look after them, too – plenty of baby fish look pretty but can soon grow to 10 times the size!
We bet that you, like us, love learning about the wonderful creatures that roam our planet. But it’s important to be respectful of animals and their homes in the wild. Explore the beach, but be careful if you are rockpooling or swimming in the sea – don’t pick up or touch any of the creatures you see. You’re likely to scare them and may seriously hurt them!
Visiting aquariums is also a great learning experience. At Tynemouth Aquarium, we have daily educational talks and feeds with our expert team of aquarists, so you can find out all about the ocean and what’s living in the water’s depths. You can also visit us as part of a school trip or group trip with one of our tailored educational packages.