- Christina McCann
Celebrating Our Oceans
World Ocean Day was on June 8th this year!
To mark these special days we got the lowdown from Jack, the Chairman at Surfriders CT to ask him about the current state of our Oceans. Jack was born in Connecticut and grew up in California. Having always lived near to a beach growing up he considered the ocean as his backyard.
"The Surfrider Foundation's mission is to protect our oceans, waves and beaches for everyone. We have over 80 local chapters in the United States; my state of Connecticut has one chapter and we have about 120 members and I'm the volunteer Chair."
"In my lifetime plastic usage and subsequent pollution has literally exploded. It is simply out of control and I decided to do something about it"
"As consumers, we wield enormous power and your choices matter. Single use plastic is a killer (of marine life) and plastic recycling largely a myth. The one thing you can do is purchase a reusable water bottle and forgo plastic bottled anything"
"All of the small actions are critically important as they scale up ... And remember, plastic anywhere is plastic everywhere"
"We cannot clean our way out of this mess - we have to turn off the plastic tap"
Jack is involved in the beach clean ups that Surfriders carry out and he's said that one takeaway from conducting them is that the amount of pollution in the oceans, about 70%, is quite literally impossible to reach and remove.
Surfriders is a grassroots activists network. Before COVID, Surfriders in Connecticut would typically conduct a beach clean-up once a month, averaging well over 100lbs of rubbish removed on each occasion.
Q: What one change would you like to see people make which could make a huge difference to our oceans and seas?
"The choices we make as individuals have massive global implications and to achieve ocean health, all of the small actions are critically important as they scale up. As consumers, we wield enormous power and your choices matter. Single use disposable plastic is a killer and plastic recycling is largely a myth. The one thing you can do is to purchase a reusable water bottle and forgo plastic bottled anything. And always remember, plastic anywhere is plastic everywhere."
Q: What is an important success story you've had in recent years?
"Surfrider is a grassroots activist network. All of our local events (like beach cleanups) tie into a campaign (like a vote banning single use disposable bags). These campaigns can be at the local, state or federal level but they all share a common trait; if you want to facilitate change, legislation is critically important and you are never too small to make that happen. Keep in mind Einstein's words "nothing happens until something happens." Here in Connecticut, Surfrider has worked extremely hard and with great success on local town and city bans on single use plastic disposable bags. These local bans had a huge influence at the state level, and sure enough, we were able to pass a state law banning single use plastic disposable bags."
Q: What 'One Change' have you made in recent years which you deem most significant?
"I'm beginning to see a real effort to address the devastating environmental global issues and working towards making our world a cleaner, greener and safer place. I don't know if there is one single change you can point to but carbon neutral emissions, renewable energy sources and energy saving measures are becoming a more common and accepted goal. Refusing and reducing are getting traction as consumer behaviors. A new awareness about toxic materials and a push for sustainability and closed loop economies gives me inspiration. Hopefully all of these things become the new normal for the next generation."
Surfriders Foundation Connecticut
A mention for Cooley Peninsula clean-up which happens every two weeks over the summer. They are always looking for more volunteers! Find more information HERE.
Flossie and the Beach Cleaners is a brilliant charity initiative with a mission of making Irish beaches a cleaner space for both ocean life and people. Find more information HERE.
We hope you have a wonderful June & enjoy getting to the Coast - and don't forget to pick up some rubbish while you're there if you see it! GreenFridays4Future