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West Coast Region Education and Outreach: Take Action

There are many little things we can do at home, school, and work to improve our community, the environment, and the waterways on which marine species depend.

No one can make all of these changes overnight. Start small—choose one activity to focus on and conquer it. Once you are feeling comfortable with this change, pick another. If these new habits do not come naturally, try not to get discouraged. It can take weeks, months, or even years to form new habits. Remember, small actions can make a big difference.


Group of people outdoors picking up trash
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Visit volunteer.gov to find local volunteer opportunities.

Be Heard

Tell your elected officials about the marine issues that are most important to you.

Share Your Feedback

Let your favorite brands know how they can reduce their ecological footprint.


Illustration of pills with the heading National Prescription Drug Take Back Day
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Keep Salmon Off Drugs

Instead of flushing old medicines down the toilet, bring them to a drug take-back program.

Pick it Up

If you see litter on the ground, pick it up before it becomes marine debris. Share your findings with researchers by sending a report through the NOAA Marine Debris Tracker app.

Scoop the Poop

Be sure to scoop pet waste before rain washes harmful bacteria into nearby waterways.


Person holding a large fish in a seafood market
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Check Your Plate

Want to know if that fish on your plate is sustainable? Interested in learning about how and who harvested it? Visit FishWatch to learn about seafood choices you can feel good about.

Waste Not, Want Not

Figure out how much food is wasted in your home. Find ways to shop smarter and save money on your grocery bill.


Finger pressing the power button on a power strip
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Flip the Switch

Turn off lights and electronics when not in use and unplug unused electronics. When shopping for new electronics, look for the Energy Star label.

Green Your Cleaning Routine

To keep toxins out of your home and our waterways, make your own household cleaners, purchase ones that are labeled nontoxic, or look for the Safer Choice label.

Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repair, Repurpose, Recycle

While recycling is a key part of the Six R’s, it’s the last step in the process for a reason. To be more sustainable, we should first reduce the amount of waste we produce.

Turn Off the Tap

Turn off the tap whenever possible to save water. Wastewater from sinks, showers, bathtubs, and clothes washers—known as greywater—can be reused for landscape irrigation.

Replace Your Lawn

Replace part of your lawn with native, drought-resistant plants. Add compost to soil and cover topsoil with mulch to improve plant health and reduce stormwater runoff.

Install a Rain Garden

Rain gardens help slow down and filter urban runoff, leaving our waterways cleaner.


Cyclists riding on a street alongside a bus
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Don’t Drip and Drive

If your vehicle is leaking, use cardboard to catch the drips until you can get them fixed. Toss the drip-stained cardboard in the trash, not your recycling bin.

Reduce Your Transportation Footprint

Walk, bike, and take public transportation whenever possible. If you must drive, try to carpool and combine multiple errands into one trip.

Use Commercial Car Washes

Commercial car washes use minimal water and remove pollutants—such as motor oil, antifreeze, and brake pad dust—before their wastewater is discharged.

Last updated by West Coast Regional Office on June 26, 2023