As those of you who follow us on social media might know, we’ve been talking a lot recently about the plastic pollution on the beach following a series of winter storms that struck all over the Christmas period. The photograph above was taken by Chris from the Green&Blue teams’ brother (find him on instagram at temptationfederation), a day or two after Storm Eleanor had wreaked havoc and made accessing the beach really tricky by washing away two of the main bridges.
As well as flooding several businesses (Image above taken by Farscapes photography and shared on facebook) the storm laid bare just how bad the issue with plastic in our oceans has become, the quantity of plastic along the high tide line, and in fact all over the beach, was devastating. Over on our facebook page, lots of people have, admirably, been asking what they can do to help so we thought we’d put together a few suggestions, movements and organisations that you can look to support and get involved with. It really is at crisis point and we can’t ignore the problems and think someone else will sort it out, we all need to take action if we’re going to have any kind of a world to hand over to future generations.
Firstly there are little actions you can take every time you head to the beach. Yes, thinking you need to clean an entire beach is an impossible task for any one person but how about you vow to do a 2 minute beach clean every time you hit the coast? Check out their website and the #2minutebeachclean on social media and see how much of a difference you really can make in 2 minutes, imagine if every beach goer did that! Or you could take 3 for the sea – the message is the same, a little action = a big change if enough people take that action. Or support a campaign group like Surfers against sewage – you don’t have to be a beach goer to appreciate our coast and know that it needs protecting right now, SAS are playing a vital and important role in that conversation and protection and can only do it with support from us. And keep an eye out for organised beach cleans, there’s often lots happening including a big movement this 14th February called ‘Love your beach day’.
As we said, you don’t have to live by the coast, we may sometimes be biased with talk of beach cleans because of where we are based but the streets are as big an issue. Take a bin liner and gloves on your daily walk or commute, encourage the kids to do the same on the school run, if we all realise we mustn’t just walk past it then our streets become a cleaner place, less danger for wildlife, less to blow into natural habitats and green space, all just for a small effort and change in attitude by us.
For real change to happen we need to see laws introduced, penalties increased, mindsets changed. Again we can support this in some small way by making changes in our own worlds. Look out for petitions to Government on things like packaging, like this campaign on Change.org. Change.org petition for less packaging. And again, make some changes to your own routine, carry a reusable coffee cup, pick up litter, try and buy products with less packaging, ask your local retailers whether it’s really necessary to have so much packaging, force them to think, say no to single use straws, try alternatives to cling film, like Beeswax wraps – carry reusable shopping bags. There are so many little things we can all do to help and they don’t have to cost the earth or turn us into full time campaigners, though if you have money and time to throw at it then go support one of those campaign groups we mentioned above.
Finally, there are lots of plastic free movements happening, towns aspiring to go plastic free, lead by dear old Penzance right here in Cornwall. Google plastic free towns and see if you can get involved in starting the movement in your own location.
Hopefully, that gives you a few practical ways to get involved and to be the change you want to see, that we all want to see