During the School Summer Holidays I took my girls to the beach in Geelong, where I grew up. They love the water and enjoyed hours of splashing about and playing in the sand. I sat watching them intently, soaking in the sounds of the water and the laughs of children and adults alike.
It was pure bliss, and in that moment couldn't help but feel grateful. Grateful for my children, for the iced latte I was joyfully sipping ... and for this beautiful spot. It was in this moment of gratitude, that something caught my eye, something was glistering in the water, it looked so pretty, it was catching the light and shinning. I moved in closer to take a look ... but the pretty thing that was shimmering in the light, wasn't so beautiful after all. I pointed it out to my daughter and asked her to collect it from the water ... she held it up to me ... a piece of plastic. A straw casing from a Prima Juice Drink, it might seem harmless, small and not worth a blog post, but trust me when I say it truly is.
I took the moment to explain to my girls, why it was so important that we collect this rubbish from the water and why it was so important we take our rubbish home with us and dispose of it with care. It's in these moments we need to lead by example and teach our children to respect the earth we stand on. It's in these moments we need to explain and demonstrate what it means to be grateful. To appreciate what we have, and to take care of it so that others may enjoy it too. This land is not ours, we simply enjoy it while we are here. It's just good manners to tread lightly and show respect.
My lesson to my girls didn't end there ... after we had finished our swim, I set them a challenge to pick up as much rubbish as they could. It was interesting to hear their response to this. 'But it's not our rubbish' ... said my 5 year old. 'Do you like coming to the Beach?' I asked her. She replied eagerly, 'I love it!'. 'Well then, we must take care of it, whether it is our rubbish or not, someone has left it behind and we will pick it up'. And with that off she went collecting as much rubbish as she could.
The facts are a scary reality ... one million seabirds and one hundred thousand marine mammals are killed each year from plastic in our oceans. While in the ocean, plastic breaks down into such small segments that plastic from a one litre bottle could end up on every mile of beach throughout the world (ref: www.ecowatch.com).
We can work together to change these statistics by doing the following:
1. Packing a 'Nude Food' (zero packaging) lunch when heading to the beach for the day.
2. Taking rubbish home with us.
3. Choosing Plastic alternatives.
4. Picking up any rubbish we see, regardless of whether 'it's ours' or not.
Let's enjoy the beaches, and tread lightly.
Thanks for reading.