Biodiversity protection

10 everyday things you can do

to protect Southern Resident Killer Whales

  1. Dispose of unused medications at the pharmacy. A lot of the drugs dumped down the drain or flushed in the toilet, end up in our waterways, and are ultimately ingested by fish, birds and marine mammals—and also by you if you eat seafood.

  2. Grow your own food or buy local as much as possible. Sourcing food and goods locally decreases the amount of trans-oceanic and cross-continental shipping required to transfer products from other parts of the world. This reduces harmful noise in the ocean, lowers CO2 emissions, and boosts your local economy!

  3. Choose sustainably caught seafood. It is important to support fisheries that have low by-catch rates and that do not physically damage the environment. Review guidelines for sustainably-caught seafood, such as OceanWise or Seafood Watch. You can also source your seafood right from fishers through community supported fisheries like Skipper Otto, it’s good for you, good for the fishers and good for the environment!

  4. Use re-usable shopping bags. Plastic bags can end up in the ocean, causing detrimental effects on the health of all organisms—from microscopic zooplankton to blue whales. Cloth bags are stronger, last longer, and won’t end up in the mouths of marine life!

  5. Avoid balloons. Balloons are one of the most harmful forms of garbage in the ocean. They are ingested by turtles, whales, seals, sea lions, and many other species. They can cause the animals to choke to death, or they can block the digestive tract, leading to a slow death from starvation.

  6. Choose natural fibre clothing. Fleece and polyester are synthetic materials made from plastic compounds. These materials break down when washed, releasing microscopic pieces of plastic that end up in the oceans and, ultimately, in marine organisms. Companies like Patagonia are conducting extensive research into finding materials to replace fleece in our clothing.

  7. Keep your lawn and garden natural. By choosing not to use pesticides and fertilizers, you can prevent harmful chemicals from entering food chains in freshwater and in the ocean. Toxic chemicals build up in marine life as you move up the food chain. The many negative effects of these toxins on killer whales include immune system suppression and reproductive problems.

  8. Put cigarette butts in the garbage, not on the ground. Some cities even have special cigarette butt disposal bins that you can butt out in! Cigarette butts on the ground often end up in the ocean. They are then ingested by fish and seabirds, causing serious health problems including blocked digestive tracts.

  9. Use your vote and your voice. Let your elected officials know that conservation and protection of the environment is important to you, and let them know how you’d like them to help.

  10. Support and share. Donate your time or money to organizations that are working hard to protect and recover the southern resident killer whale population. Share your knowledge: the more people who know what they can do, the more likely they are to take action and spread the word!