'It is the worst of times but it is the best of times because we still have a chance'
- Sylvia Earle
Tell us a little about yourself. Where you grew up and what inspires you?
I moved to Newcastle when I was 8, having grown up on a property in singleton. I've been going to the beach for as long as I can remember. I really started to be drawn to the ocean when my year 12 geography teacher started introducing the issues of over population and climate change and the impacts that they have on the ocean. Things like plastic pollution, overfishing and the stress that coral reefs are currently under put a massive burden on my soul when I realised that my individual actions had contributed to these mounting issues, so I started to research ways to reduce my impacts on the oceans. I live everyday actively making conscience choices in my shopping, in what I eat, how far I drive, and I opt for reusable options. Organisations that I find really inspiring are take 3 for the sea, Blue the film, 50 reefs, Australian Marine conservation society, Great Barrier Reef Legacy and Sea Shepherd. These organisations set the perfect example of how to live a sustainable life and show everyone simple and easy ways of how to be an ocean activist.
Is the ocean somewhere that you spend a lot of your time?
I spend almost everyday at the beach, especially in whale season. It brings me so much joy to watch these massive cetaceans breaching and playing around off the shore. I have a beautiful blue mctavish mal that I love to ride on smaller days (I don't like big waves) and on days when there's no surf I take my fins and snorkel and explore around the rocks. I am about to start my marine science and geography degree next year so I'm getting a PADI scuba dive qualification soon as well, which will just mean more beach days!!!!
What does spending time by the sea mean to you?
The ocean is my happy place. It calms me to be surrounded by such a diverse world. Every time I am there my passion to protect it grows.
Do you implement sustainable practices into your day-to day life? We want to know how?!
So it's super easy for anyone to live sustainable lives, firstly you just need to slow your pace down and give yourself time to reflect on the impacts your decisions may be having on the planet. I take my reusable insulated 360 degrees water bottle with me everywhere I go (it is completely stainless steel with a bamboo lid, plastic free!!) which stops me from making a thoughtless choice of buying a single plastic bottle of water. I take my reusable coffee cup with, I have a Sea Shepherd keep cup but @potteryfortheplanet make some beautiful reusable cups! I used to just order a takeaway coffee without the lid, thinking that I could recycle my cup but I recently found out that they a lined with a thin layer of plastic. Over a year ago I made a personal choice to go vegetarian, mostly because it is a super easy and healthy way to reduce your carbon footprint but also to stop eating fish. I had two reasons for this- 1 being that fish are starting to become polluted with micro plastics and I don't want that in my body, and 2 because of illegal fishing and the by-catch involved. If you love fish and don't want to stop eating it there are lots of ways to be sustainable, you just need to ask questions like- where was this caught, in what quantity and through what method? Also I take reusable bags with me whenever I go to the shops! Another way I make sustainable choices is buying second hand clothes! Op shops always have a wonderful surprise in them and vintage stores never fail to have something stylish. If I am going to by new clothes however I avoid buying from mass produced brands and opt for smaller, local companies to reduce carbon miles. It's also fun to look at what fabrics are being used in your clothes and what percentage of it is recycled. I just finished my trip driving around Australia in my Toyota hiace, so I'm making my trip as carbon neutral as possible by paying 'one tree planted' to plant the necessary amount of trees for me.
What’s one thing you can’t live without?
My snorkel, mask and fins. Any chance I get I love to observe the underwater world, it's such a magical place to me.
What’s a phrase that means something to you?
The first is from the creator of Take 3 for the sea which is the simple message of 'We need to reduce what we use, recycle what we can and follow the lead of countries who are banning plastic bottles and bags'
And the second quote is by the incredible Sylvia Earle, 'It is the worst of times but it is the best of times because we still have a chance'.
I think that these two phrases go hand in hand. We have made the oceans sick, and when the oceans are sick, we are sick, therefore it is our responsibility to fix this travesty that was have collectively started and protect our planet that gives us life.