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[TD]
Feeling blue about the fate of the ocean these days? Perhaps you're concerned about climate change, worried about whaling, or overwhelmed with overfishing.

It's true the ocean is facing many threats - but as vast as that big blue expanse may seem, there's plenty you can do to help protect it. And you can start by "living blue."

The New England Aquarium's Live Blue Initiative asks ocean lovers to make a pledge to live blue by making simple changes that can lead to healthier waters.

Their website features a rotating globe that allows you to choose a particular "plot" to preserve with your pledge. It's Google Earth meets online petition.

Ten special areas are highlighted with extra information about the species living there and the ecological importance of the habitat. For example, the Phoenix Islands Protected Area in the middle of the Pacific is home to one of Earth's last intact oceanic coral archipelago ecosystems, making it a spot scientists can study to learn what a healthy reef should look like.

As the globe turns, you can also see where - and why - other people have pledged to live blue. And you start to get the feeling that if we all do a little, it could go a long way toward making a difference.

So how can you live blue? The website offers a number of easy tips:
  • Choose eco-friendly seafood.
  • Buy local and organic produce, coffee, and other household products, or try growing some of your own produce.
  • Drive a fuel-efficient, low-polluting car.
  • Choose to walk, bike, or take public transportation whenever practical.
  • Install energy-saving thermostats in your home.
  • Install energy-efficient light bulbs and appliances.
  • Eliminate lawn pesticides and choose native plants for your garden.
  • Stay well informed and vote with the environment in mind.
  • Use your consumer power - learn about the environmental practices of companies you buy from.
  • Inspire your friends and family to also take action.
Some of these suggestions are more obviously ocean-related than others. But with climate change threatening to alter the chemical composition of the oceans and affect food webs and habitat livability, anything we can do to lessen our carbon footprint is a big step in a blue direction. So dive right in and make a pledge to live blue.

Sarah van Schagen is the Seattle Editor for Grist.org, an environmental news website with a sense of humor.[/TD]
 
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