“The ocean breathes life into us, making us feel happy and healthy, and that’s something well worth protecting! So let’s get out, feel awesome and then do some good in return!” – Sal Montgomery, Ocean 8 Challenge
World Ocean Day understandably becomes more important each year, providing greater awareness to the ecological concerns our planet’s facing. And yes, it’s no secret that they often don’t make fun reading. But let’s not race to the bottom of the ocean just yet. Rather, race to save it because there are still plenty of simple, sustainable and accessible ways we can take action to revitalise our oceans, and that’s something we cannot lose sight of.
So let’s take heart in the effect collective action can make and celebrate the best ways we can come together for shared change this World Ocean Day.
Speaking with Sal from Ocean8Challenge, she recognises the vital platform this is and even that is something to be buoyed by. She tells us “The swimming community has gown massively which is incredible, not only because more people are getting out and feeling great, but also because this means a bigger voice for our oceans.”
And practically speaking, she continues “A quick beach clean can take just a few minutes, but prevents a lot of ocean-bound rubbish making its way into the water. Super simple, but super effective! Take a bucket and pick up anything that doesn’t belong there. It’ll also help to encourage those around you. They may well get stuck in too!” Leading by example like this can have a huge psychological impact on others and certainly shouldn’t be undervalued.
Of course, leaving our wild spaces how we found them is a responsibility we’re all capable of taking. And there are simple things you can do, like bringing a reusable bottle with you to cut down on ocean plastics. Will Pearson, co-founder of Ocean Bottle helps to stop 1,000 plastic bottles from entering the ocean, while supporting coastal livelihoods.
“World Oceans Day is a wonderful opportunity for everyone to be reminded just how fundamental the ocean is to our existence, no matter how close you are to the ocean or how involved you are with protecting the planet it’s a day to connect and get inspired to take action for the future.”
Grace Smith who founded Dip & Clean, an organisation dedicated to sustainable wild swimming echoes a similar point. But the best part? It’s all love. “One of the best ways for people to grow responsibility towards the ocean is to spend more time in it. So get in, have fun and do it as often as possible, taking a few minutes to pick up any trash you find.”
“Cigarette butts” she adds “are one of the most common and damaging items found on our beaches. And as gross as it is, if you find one, clean it up. I always have a spare garden glove and net bag, ready for a mini-clean up while I’m there.”
Nikki Hawkes uses this action to feed her ambition for greater change, positively affecting larger corporations. “The future of our oceans is totally in our hands. What gives me hope for their future is seeing large companies take responsibility for their part… Innovation from companies like Speedo with their new collection, will help define the new standard of sustainability that we want to see from everyone.”
Speaking with Skylar Grace who’s studying for her Masters in Marine Biology, it’s clear that the actions we can take effectively aren’t necessarily actions which are complicated. “If you’re able, walk, cycle or run to your swim spot. If this isn’t possible use public transport instead of driving to reduce your carbon footprint. And remember, take a keep-cup or reusable flask with you to reduce unnecessary waste from disposable coffee cups.”
Collective action, like this does make a difference. But the common theme that flows through all of these tips is our connection to the ocean. The more we care for it, the more we’ll protect it.