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The design and construction industry significantly impacts the world’s oceans and the marine life that inhabits them. Large ships, noise pollution, and ocean acidification are just a few of the ways in which this industry harms marine animals, including whales.

The Impact of Shipping Noise

Shipping noise is one of the most significant impacts of the design and construction industry on marine animals. Large ships generate a tremendous amount of noise. It travels through the water and interferes with the ability of marine animals to communicate and navigate. This is particularly problematic for whales, which use sound to communicate with each other and locate food.

The noise generated by large ships can be so loud that whales cannot hear their own calls. It leads to immense confusion and disorientation. This can have devastating consequences, especially for mothers and their calves, who rely on vocal communication to stay together. The impact of shipping noise on whales has been well-documented, as well. There are many studies showing that it can lead to hearing loss, stress, and even death.

The Impact of Ocean Acidification

Another impact of the design and construction industry on marine animals is ocean acidification. Carbon emissions from burning fossil fuels absorb into the ocean, becoming only more acidic. This significantly impacts ocean life, including coral reefs, which are among the most diverse and productive ecosystems in the world.

As the ocean becomes more acidic, coral reefs are damaged, reducing their ability to support marine life. This, in turn, can lead to a decline in the populations of fish and other aquatic animals. That is because they rely on these reefs for food and habitat. This significantly impacts whales, which depend on a healthy ocean ecosystem for their survival.

Impact on Ocean Life

Interior designers and architects can impact whales indirectly through their material and furniture choices. The production and transportation of certain materials and furnishings can contribute to the shipping noise that disturbs whales and disrupts their ability to communicate and navigate. For example, if an interior designer sources materials or furniture from overseas, it often requires shipping long distances using large ships that generate significant noise.

Additionally, certain materials and chemicals used in interior design may negatively affect the environment and the oceans. This is contributing to pollution and climate change that ultimately affect marine life, including whales. As such, interior designers can make conscious choices in sourcing materials and furnishings. All which are sustainably produced and locally sourced to reduce their impact on whales and other marine animals.

Alternatives to Minimize Impact

Interior designers and architects can choose several alternatives to sourcing materials overseas. And that minimizes their impact on ocean life. Here are some ideas:

Source locally: One of the most effective ways to reduce the impact on ocean life is to source materials locally. By choosing local suppliers, designers, and architects can minimize the carbon footprint associated with transportation and support local economies.

Use sustainable materials: Another way to minimize the impact on ocean life is to choose sustainable materials. This includes materials that are responsibly harvested, recycled, or made from renewable resources.

Choose non-toxic materials: Many building materials and finishes contain toxins that can harm marine life. Designers and architects can choose non-toxic materials free of harmful chemicals to help protect the health of our oceans.

Use reclaimed materials: Reclaimed materials, such as salvaged wood or vintage fixtures, can add character to a space while minimizing the environmental impact of new materials.

Design for durability: Choosing durable materials and designing for longevity can reduce the need for frequent renovations or replacements, which can help minimize the impact on ocean life over time.

Advocating for Extra Help

In addition, the industry can reduce its carbon emissions by transitioning to renewable energy sources and implementing energy-efficient practices in design and construction. This can help reduce ocean acidification and protect the health of marine ecosystems.

Finally, the industry can support conservation efforts by donating to organizations protecting whales and other marine animals. These organizations work to reduce the impact of human activities on marine life, And by supporting their efforts, the design and construction industry can help ensure the long-term survival of these animals.


By incorporating these alternatives into their designs and sourcing practices, interior designers and architects can help minimize their impact on ocean life and support sustainable design practices.

The design and construction industry’s impact on marine life is significant and alarming. However, architects, designers, and homeowners can play a vital role in minimizing the industry’s impact on whales and other marine animals. For instance, by reducing shipping noise and carbon emissions, advocating for the transition to renewable energy sources, and supporting conservation efforts. We can help protect our oceans’ health and ensure these magnificent creatures’ long-term survival. It begins with an understanding, and steps in the right direction. 


As an advocate for wildlife conservation and with experience in the design/build industry, Ashley fuses her passions to offer clients and trade professionals the solutions needed to craft homes that allow wildlife to keep theirs, too, because one home no longer needs to be sacrificed for the other. Ashley seeks to empower the well-being of nature and wildlife by reconnecting people and planet in a blissful balance and furthering the fight against natural habitat loss within her industry. Through Wildlifeel at Home, she highlights compassionate choices and teaches readers how to ‘Adopt the Alternative.'

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