The Top 5 Threats to the Caribbean Ocean and What You Can Do About It

Casa Om is a yoga retreat center situated on the beautiful shores of the Caribbean Ocean. This part of Mexico is famous worldwide for its white sand beaches and water that is a perfect temperature for bathing. But the Caribbean Ocean is currently under threat by a number of factors. Whether you’re planning your Mexican yoga retreat or simply dreaming about it, please be sensitive to these top 5 threats to the Caribbean Ocean and what you can do about them.

Over-fishing. Native species of fish in the Caribbean Ocean are being threatened with extinction by commercial fishing. As certain fish populations are depleted, this endangers the aquatic food chain, threatening species that depend on the others for food. Additionally, many fishing industries use a practice called bottom trawling to pick up low-lying fish, but this damages coral reefs.

beachWhat can you do?  Cut back or eliminate fish consumption to lower demand for the product. In the practice of yoga, it’s recommended that we abstain from eating meat, poultry or fish.  If giving up fish isn’t something you’re ready to do, then be mindful to purchase only sustainable fish and seafood.  Here’s a guide to help you make environmentally conscious choices.

Pollution. Land-base sources of pollution, including agricultural runoff, sewage, deforestation, and oil and chemical spills, wreak havoc on marine life and coral reef ecosystems.  These toxins can disrupt the reproductive cycles of fish, causing even greater problems down the line. Trash dumped on or near coastlines makes its way into the water as well.

What can you do? When visiting the Caribbean, do not leave trash behind. Minimize packaging waste and use

refillable water bottles. If you see someone leave garbage near the beach, pick it up and dispose of it before it makes its way into the water. Re-think your use of bug spray and sunscreen when you enter the water. Even small amounts of the chemicals present in those products can damage marine life.

Tourism. The economies of Mexico and the Caribbean depend on tourism, but too many tourists can damage fragile eco-systems in the region.  For example, tourists may be unaware that certain beach areas are sea turtle nesting and breeding grounds, and by disturbing those areas, the turtles are threatened with extinction.  Even the use of sunscreen in certain beach areas can damage marine life.

What can you do? Respect all signs posted to stay off beach areas that are breeding grounds or fragile areas. Do not pick plants, handle wildlife, leave litter behind you, or do anything that might disrupt the habitat of native flora or fauna. As a traveler, adopt the mindset that you will leave no footprint, and encourage others to do the same.

 Rising Sea Levels. Temperatures are rising globally and ice caps are melting, sending more water into the oceans. In the Caribbean, with so many islands and beaches at sea level, the rising of ocean levels is eating away at shorelines.

What can you do?  Join efforts to stop climate change. Reduce your use of fossil fuels, drive less, and turn down the heat or air conditioning. This is an urgent global problem that cannot be left for future generations to solve.

Coral Mining. Live coral is removed from reefs for use as bricks, road-fill, or cement for new buildings. Corals are also sold as souvenirs to tourists and to exporters who don’t know or don’t care about the longer-term damage done.

What can you do? Do not pull pieces of coral off live reefs or purchase coral in shops.  Coral is a living being and an important part of marine ecosystems. Practice ahimsa, or non-harming, when you are around coral reefs or any other marine life.

It may seem that as individuals, there is not much we can do to help save the Caribbean Ocean. But never underestimate the power of group consciousness! If we all pitch in and do our parts, this beautiful and diverse region of the world will be preserved.

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