When you feel like that, just remember that famous Edmund Burke quote: "Nobody made a greater mistake than he who did nothing because he could do only a little." - So here are some ideas, things you can do today (and hopefully everyday) to make a difference ....and info on our exciting, newly born project "Take Ten"
By the way.....this is not one of those crazy "bunny hugger" things that environmentalists do that can just be brushed aside. it's a real concern for us and should be for you too. Our little girl, born just last year in November has an interesting time ahead of her. Current forecasts predict that by the time she is our age, the oceans will have more trash than fish, which isn't difficult considering all forecasts are that by then, global fish stocks would have totally collapsed. This is not a scenario we want to even contemplate but something we are heading towards at a rate of knots. We see the changes already, ask any fisherman what they used to catch and what they catch now? Think about all the shells you collected from the beach when you were kids, where are these shells now? Gone! Our oceans have for years been seen as a impossibly big place, so full of "resources" that we cant possibly make an impact, we are fast learning how wrong we are. It's going to start with changing attitudes to the ocean as an endless bounty of food and an endless home for our trash and here is how you can make a difference!
What can you do for World Oceans Day?
The Take Ten Challenge
This is a brand new little initiative and still in it's fledgling phase, the mission is simple, we want to remove 1 Million (yes 1 000 000) bits of trash off our Ballito & Salt Rock beaches in a single year. And it's easy, all we need is 2000 people to remove 10 bits of plastic, fishing line or other trash when you visit the beach just once a week for a year. Many hands make light work. Inspirited by the Aussies with their "Take 3" project (thanks guys), we thought (especially seen as we can't beat them at cricket) we would up the ante and Take 10. To get involved, 1) Visit the Take Ten Website www.take-ten.org for more info 2) Take your ten pieces each time you're at the beach 3) spread the word and share photos using the #KZNTakeTen. 4) We have a lot more we want to achieve with this project, but 1 million less bits of trash is a good start.
....and by the way, it's not just the big bits of trash, you may look at the beach and think, it's clean. Nope, look closer. It's the small tiny pieces that do the most damage, look closely, you'll find little plastic straws, bits of Styrofoam, bottle lids, bits of fishing line, this is the stuff you could fit into your pocket and also the stuff that kills the most.
We also believe that litter is just a symptom of the bigger problem, the way we perceive our oceans as somewhere that is exempt from the rules and empathy we apply to land.
What else can you do?
- Avoid plastics where you can, especially things like Styrofoam packaging, straws, ear buds that get flushed down the toilet. Remember, there is no real "away" when you throw something away, it always goes somewhere. The "away" bit doesn't really exist. Do we really need our fruit in a Styrofoam tub, covered in plastic and then an extra bit of cling wrap for good measure?
- Share your love for our oceans and beaches. In the end we only conserve what we love and we only love what we understand and have been taught.
- Learn more about the issues and what you can do, watch documentaries on the oceans, Google things, understanding the real problems and moral dilemma we have on our hands really helps.
- Do not eat fish, if you must, keep it to a minimum, you are not eating a farmed animal like cows and chicken, fish are wildlife. It is not only fish but also fishing methods that are causing huge destruction of our coastal resources. All the illegal fishing you hear about, well it ends up on our plates. Check the side of your tuna can next time, it all comes from the same place. Global fish stocks are plummeting, the numbers are bleak....we're eating it, every can of tuna, every meal at Cape Town Fish Market....it's all coming out of our oceans by the ton. Never mind the by-catch impacts. Every time you buy, you're helping fund this.
- Fish and marine life in general are overlooked from an animal cruelty perspective, fish have long memories, they feel pain and they have complex social systems. Treat fish and marine animals with the same respect you would treat birds or other animals on land. We are not promoting veganism. Just saying, we should apply the same levels of empathy for marine life as we do for land animals. Think of fish as the birds of the sea. We should be treating our beaches like nature reserves instead of rubbish bins and free supermarkets.
- You may think that you're only catching one crayfish for lunch or just taking a few mussels, but in reality you are one of thousands and thousands of people taking off this small stretch of coastline every year. Ask any fisherman what it was like 20 years ago and you will understand what we have lost and what our children will loose if we do not stem our own greed. Explore more, take less.
- Most important bit, get in the water, put on a mask and snorkel, once you see the living world down there, it's a lot tougher to ignore.