It’s only one straw…………said 9 million people!!

Plastic pollution Bali…..

12.7 million tonnes of plastic waste ends up in our oceans every year.

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It is a frightening statistic, but even more frightening, is the fact that one million seabirds and just over 100,000  marine animals including whales, turtles, dolphins and sea lions die each year from plastic pollution and that statistic is steadily climbing.

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Something heartbreakingly difficult to witness yet which is a common sight in Bali, is to see the beaches and surrounding oceans littered with plastics.

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Lazy grubby tourists are some of the worst offenders yet without a plan or the infrastructure in place to deal with this ever growing problem, Bali and its very fragile ecosystem will suffocate under plastic waste.

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Drowning under plastic waste!  We should be so ashamed……

Paradise is being lost under a mountain of rubbish with single use plastics – the most used yet least recycled product on the planet – the biggest contributor.

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It is a sad fact but nearly all of the ‘not so fantastic plastic’ ever created still exists today in some form or another even though some of it was produced almost 70 years ago.

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I hate to preach but I love my oceans and my planet and both are under extreme pressure and totally dependent on us to cut down on our use of plastics.  

There are hundreds of ways to start, some extreme and some not so extreme, but taking even the smallest of steps will lead to a cleaner environment.  Things as simple as:

  • Refusing a plastic straw.
  • Refusing single use plastic bags and utilising reusable bags.
  • Making compost – great for your garden and it reduces landfill. 
  • Avoiding extra plastic packaging on fruit and vegetables and take your own bags for bulk items.
  • Purchasing a reusable water bottle and keep-cup.
  • Sorting your recyclables into glass/plastic/metal/paper.
  • And my absolute favourite……buying and donating pre-loved clothing. 

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Australians alone use 1 billion disposable coffee cups per year with around 2,700,000 paper cups being thrown out every day…..

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You can also be a kinder and more responsible traveller:    

  • DON’T LITTER…….anywhere on the earth!
  • Take your keep-cup and reusable water bottle, your eco-friendly or reusable stainless straw, your bamboo or stainless spork.  They take up little to no room in your luggage.
  • Take reusable bags.
  • Reduce your waste by simply refusing the tiny toiletries in hotel rooms – always take your own.

The state of the planet is our fault entirely and although at times the scale of the challenges our planet and oceans face seem overwhelming and distressing, I truly believe we can all make a difference.   

The oceans and planet don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste to perfection and shaming everyone else.  What they need is 9 million people doing their imperfect best in recycling and cutting down on their use of plastics. 

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Protecting our oceans and planet is everyone’s responsibility. 

  • Be educated and informed.
  • Be political but use your voice constructively.
  • Volunteer for your planet through your local community – clean up days, growing native trees, regenerating bush land and sand dunes, becoming part of a food rescue charity and……
  • refuse that single use plastic straw.

The planet and our oceans will thank you 🙂 

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‘Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  Its not’  –  The Lorax, Dr Seuss.

Footnote – photos of plastic pollution taken at Jimbaran, Kuta and Seminyak in Bali 2020.

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Since drafting this post, South Australia has once again made history by becoming the first state in Australia to ban single use plastics.

Now I love this very progressive and beautiful state and I am so proud (and privileged) to call South Australia home.  SA has always led the way with a proactive approach to introducing laws to protect the environment.  It was the first state in the nation to establish ‘the container deposit scheme’ way back in 1977 and it is also the state which banned the use of plastic bags as far back as 2009.

 

New beginnings…….

We are deep in the good vibes of summer.  Summer is never coy in Australia and this summer has been no exception with a band of unrelenting heat-waves which set temperatures soaring to record numbers.  Now I have no hunger for coquettish summers but I can tell you, the blistering furnace of heat during the last couple of weeks really did knock many, including myself, for six.

For me, summer is usually filled with consistent swells and the clean lines of traditional boards, sunshine, mangos and cherries (my favorite spoils of the season), frangipani flower and skies which are bleached a paler shade of blue.  This year however, Australia really did have its day in the sun as everything seemed to melt  beneath our feet.

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See!  I told you it was hot!!

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Once again my jumpers, jeans and wetsuits were all traded for a lightness of season and as I packed up my wetsuits I realised, the next time these steamers see the light of day it will be in a very different ocean, in a very different state…….

2018 was a mix of the confounding and the brilliance in its yield of absolute unknowability.  People entered my life, returning in the various forms they have now morphed in to, I was challenged and equally inspired and I lived a living which teaches you a little of everything and anything.  And now in 2019, what is it I predict. Well, absolutely nothing as I do not etch my year to stone but mindfully intend to keep doing my best with what I have when I have it.

2019 has also bought with it a major move and it seems through choice or circumstance, any steadfast fixture in your life will change.  It’s a difficult process as sometimes you go back to a place you have once been, even if ever so briefly, to find the place you are returning to has changed……. but not as much as you have.

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Zoe, lovely and ever helpful on packing days…….

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Two shipping containers!  Really!!

Throughout my life, I have often come and gone with ease by not making any great attachment.  Leaving can be difficult for different reasons but there is a part of me that likes to go just the same.  Moving on drives my curiosity and my sense of wonderment.  It always spurs me forward even though I have no surety of what awaits.  Perhaps though, I am content with the idea of everything passing for a later return just as the waning of this summer.  It’s end also being the promise of its return.

When I initially knew of this move, my immediate thoughts went to my ocean.  I believed I would die, just a little, but of course I knew I would not.  To think like that is deeply impractical and it does no one any good.  Do I wish I could have stayed in Newcastle forever?  Perhaps!  But that was not to be so I will hold my time of Newy up to the light like a beautiful piece of sea glass and stay a little longer with all of the good of which there has been plenty.

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I am not one easily seduced but for me, there is always the seduction of an ocean and I can find that anywhere I live but leaving this time also meant leaving a job which I have loved.  A place of work and volunteering that offered a strange and unique gift.

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I read somewhere years ago to ‘find your tribe’ and in circumstances most fortunate for me, I had that wonderful gift for just on three years.  I never really understood the analogy of a tribe until my days meshed with some generous and epically wonderful folk and days became joyful beyond any expectation this girl had.  And work, which is never work when you are doing something you absolutely love, wormed its way into becoming a passion.

In a Newcastle suburb, an open and profound offering of friendship, kindness, a sense of belonging and respect took hold and my time there, so deeply appreciated has left an indelible mark upon my heart.  Humanity, in its blessed munificence, is a strange thing but perhaps these are the journeys we are meant to take when we dare to find the courage to do so.

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This was a difficult goodbye (oh heart, what is this feeling) but there is only so much time you can spend grieving that which is gone.  You can however, hold to a city or to a place or to a time and even to some folk who live there.  Nothing is impossible.

As I drove out of Newcastle for the last time, headed on a road that would lead me through the outback before reaching my final destination, I rested my head against the driver’s window when stopped at the lights.  I tried to take in a little more of the place before the traffic lights changed and the city and my time there rushed away.

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I thought of all the things I loved about living in Newcastle and New South Wales, some people, about the incredible experiences and opportunities afforded me but most of all I thought of how truly fortunate I had been and how truly fortunate I still was……..

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I gave fair warning to all pedestrians of Newcastle…..x

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Over the coming weeks it will no doubt be a chaotic time with little more than a moment to spare, the unpacking of literally hundreds of boxes – for all my perfectionism I still prefer my life lived with a little imperfection of organised clutter and lopsidedness, antiquated books and beautiful vintage china – trying to make the house a home as 5 years of rental neglect has not been kind to it nor the garden, finding my feet (and my place) and allowing those curious textures of everyday life to appear.

I will also share the road trip, countless moments I do not want to lose because the soil was so breathtakingly red and indescribable and the outback so remotely beautiful it almost broke my heart.   There are other snippets too such as the beast of a lizard which damaged my car, the roo’s bigger than I have ever seen and the hundreds of feral goats on the side of the road from Cobar to Broken Hill which never once startled as the occasional road-train hurtled by.  All moments dichromatic but no less wonderful……

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I never set out to have a blog and since those early days of 2014 I have shared much in the warmth and generosity of the countless places I have visited and the unselfish respite this beautifully wondrous world of ours offers.  So my blog will continue on as I do.  Ever evolving, ever moving, ever resilient and always ever grateful.

Here’s cheers to new beginnings and what they bring……..xx

Footnote:  Incredible ‘melting ice-cream truck’ sculpture created by Glue Society and installed in Sydney 🙂