SeaWeek – Sink or Swim

September 1-9 is SeaWeek, a major Australian campaign to focus community awareness, provide information and encourage an appreciation of the sea. We love the ocean at Coastbeat, but not everyone is a surfer – some people don’t even like to swim!

SO WHY SHOULD WE ALL CARE ABOUT SEA WEEK?

In case you haven’t noticed, Australia is a really, really big island. Surrounded by sea. No escape. None. And there is an interaction between ocean and atmosphere that dominates Earth’s energy, water and carbon systems. This means that the sea affects rainfall, storms, tides, winds, temperature, surf, everything. So, the sea affects us all, even those inland.

BUT WHAT ARE WE SUPPOSED TO BE DOING ABOUT IT?

That is a harder question. You can act by supporting the people who have the means and the method to do something. Sea Mercy is an international NGO that enlists the help of yachties the world over as first-responders with food, water, shelter and medical care to catastrophes in marine communities. They have a “prepared to respond” approach in the South Pacific that has reduced first-responder time from 45-60 days following Category 5 Cyclones in Tonga (2014) and Vanuatu (2015), to just 2 days in Fiji (2016). Their goal for 2018 and beyond is to prepare and enable the entire International Yachting Community (individually and as a whole), no matter where they are anchored in the world, to be able to respond within 24-48 hours of a natural disaster with the most needed emergency aid, water and shelter.

THERE IS SOMETHING WE CAN ALL DO

Stop one-use plastic! The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a floating island of plastic. It is currently 1.6 MILLION square kilometres in area, weighing-in at about 79,000 tonnes, fed by every single piece of plastic that is used and left to float away in the world’s waterways. Find out more on the Ocean Cleanup website or in this TED Talk with Captain Charles Moore. As a personal response to SeaWeek, from September 1 to 9, stop using throw-away plastic. This means supermarket bags, drink bottles, fruit bags, freezer bags, zip-lock bags, plastic wrap and loose goods wrapping (nuts, vegetables and such). At the supermarket, choose unpackaged goods where possible, or goods in cardboard, glass or paper. Beeswax wraps are a great alternative to all forms of plastic wrap. The upcoming Spring issue of Coastbeat magazine features artist Claire Mason who is making beautiful beeswax wraps and offers a recipe to make your own.  You can also help by using a refillable water bottle and having your daily beverage in a keep-cup.

Take the challenge and do one thing every day for SeaWeek. Then keep doing it!

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