Is it worth continuing to try? .. Coming to terms with the health of the Great Barrier Reef

Do you ever find yourself avoiding environmental reality? For months – years – I had been tuning out to a lot of the updates about the health of the Great Barrier Reef. I always supported the efforts to help it and advocated a sustainable and plastic-free lifestyle, but the facts were sometimes too much to handle and I chose to stay largely in the dark. Then suddenly, recently, while scrolling through Facebook I started coming across the reports that the reef has succumbed to another major bleaching event. This, again, after last year’s major bleaching event which killed two-thirds of the reef’s precious corals. Some authorities have pronounced the reef dead, while others say that is in critical condition. Either way, this second bleaching event is another devastating blow and not a situation that is forecasted to improve.

I have an eighteen-month-old daughter who is just learning to talk. Every morning she takes me by hand to the baby-proofed drawer that holds her swimsuits and pajamas. She points to it and says “beach?” We live in a beachside neighbourhood so a play at the beach is a part of our normal morning routine. This morning, while she took off her sandals to jump into the warm, sparkling, bright-white Australian sand, my heart broke. For decades, environmentalists have been warning us to change our ways, or we will lose our natural wonders. Somehow, I don’t think most people really understood the warning or comprehended what it would really mean – and how it would feel – to lose something as magnificent as the Great Barrier Reef. Will I have to explain what the reef was like to my daughter the way that her teachers will describe the dinosaurs? Is there no possibility of showing it to her in person?

Sitting on our bath towel while my daughter played with shells, I wondered if it is worth continuing in my environmental pursuits. For all our efforts, the reef is dying or maybe has already died. The tropical rainforests of Indonesia and Brazil also continue to be decimated, and the planet continues to warm. Is it worth trying so hard to get my partner to stop bringing home plastic bags? Is it worth posting photos of my plastic free shampoo bars to Instagram in hope of inspiring one or two more people to do the same? Can the meaningful small efforts of those of us who care really make a dent in the overwhelming issues that seem to be snowballing and suffocating our delicate Earth?

I really am not sure of the answer to these questions but despite my haunting sadness, I feel that if we were to stop trying to help, our souls would die along with the reef. I know that for me, at least, the answer is to keep going.

 

Note: for anyone local to the Gold Coast, please support my friend Mollie’s initiative to project the Great Barrier Reef. She is holding a beach cleanup and event to support the reef this Sunday, the 30th of April.

Eat pizza for turtles

Hey guys!

Well after a two year labour of love, we have finally almost finished production on the marine wildlife documentary Rubber Jellyfish. As most of you know, Rubber Jellyfish explores the effects of balloon release ceremonies on the environment and the lengths to which the international balloon industry has gone to mislead consumers about the safety of their products.

In the time that we have been creating this film, we have heard about so many balloon releases that have happened all around the world and some of our friends have even witnessed large groups of people releasing balloons while literally standing on the beach. People clearly aren’t aware that balloons are damaging to the environment, it’s precious wildlife, and even to us (the US product safety commission reports that balloons cause more child fatalities than any other toy).

It’s definitely time for the film to wrap so that we can get this message out into the world!

Click here to RSVP to the Facebook invite
pizza

We hope that you will join us at this fund raising dinner. Tiffany Lee of Australian Seabird Rescue and Turtle Hospital in Ballina will be speaking about the effects of marine debris on Australian sea turtles and other marine species. She will be joined by Dr Marcia Bergamini, a marine wildlife vet from Brazil. Carly will also be speaking about her journey in creating this documentary and will reveal our brand new, professionally constructed trailer!

Tickets are $25 p.p. or $15 for kids. That includes your choice of a small pizza or nachos (FYI Mandala is a vegan restaurant but it is still considered delicious by omnavores). If your kiddo is small enough to not need their own meal, then they are free! Drinks are not included in the ticket price but can be purchased at the venue.
Bring along your spare change – we will be raffling off some awesome items and will also have a wishing well for anyone who wants to make a more sizeable (and tax deductable) offering to the film.

All proceeds will go directly toward finishing costs associated with the project (editing, purchasing stock images, acquiring permission to republish newspaper articles, paying a lawyer to review all of our paper work, and hiring a graphic artist to create a poster).

Carly and her partner have shouldered most of the financial burden so far but now that we are heading into the expensive end of things, we are reaching out the community for support.

Shock horror in the baby food aisle

Shock horror in the baby food aisle – 3 steps for saving money and reducing the carbon footprint of your baby

This post was originally published on 1 Million Women.

I have an eight month old baby but it’s only been in the past two months that I’ve started cruising down the baby aisle of the supermarket. She was breast fed and I used cloth nappies so I really had no reason to be there. It wasn’t until I was ready to start her on solid foods that I started having a look at what the supermarkets had to offer.

I was horrified.

I had no idea that most of the baby food that is available for purchase these days are packaged in single use, plastic squeeze tubes. I assumed that everything was still in glass jars like they were 30 years ago when my brother was a baby. I discovered that you can still buy baby food in jars but the selection is severely limited and the glass section tends to be down low, away from the flashy squeeze tubes at prominent eye level.

I then looked to the other side of the aisle where they keep the nappies and nearly fainted. Huggies Little Swimmers (disposable swim nappies) were selling for $14.99 AU for a twelve pack. Yikes!! That’s $1.25 per nappy and they’re not biodegradable.

 

(Can you hear my screams?)

 

Here are three small things every parent can do to reduce their carbon footprint. As a bonus, all of these strategies are also money savers. How’s that for two birds with one stone?!

1. Invest in a cloth swim nappy.

Cloth nappies and cloth wipes, in general, are awesome but if you aren’t sure about making the switch to full time cloth, a cloth swim nappy is so easy, so convenient, and so economical. You just throw it in the wash with the swimsuits and towels, My daughter has so far never pooped in her swim nappy but should that ever happen, you just have to get the poo into the toilet somehow before washing it (note -for babies exclusively breastfed that haven’t started on solids, you don’t have to do this – the poo is water solluble and can go through the wash). We have a little scrubby brush for doing this with her normal nappies. It sounds disgusting but it’s really not a big deal.

 

2. Simplify your dinners so that your baby can eat what you eat.

When you’re really busy, the thought of making your own baby food can feel like such a chore (seriously – lugging out the food processor can be such a pain in the rear) but if you just aim to cook meals that have things your baby can eat anyway (roast veggies you can mush with a fork, risotto, small pasta pieces, sliced avocado, etc.) it’s not a drama to just make a little extra and then freeze small portions for other times. Or you could even consider baby lead weaning where you skip the mushy ‘baby food’ thing all together. It’s worth a google.

 

3. If you do decide to purchase baby food, go for the glass jars.

At least with the glass jars, you have some options. You can re-use them to store your leftover baby-friendly meals (yes, you can freeze jars), you can up-cycle them into other things like these super cute picture frame magnets which the grandmas in my family are toootally getting at Christmas or to organise like a boss.   And of course, with jars, you always have that option of chucking them into the recycling bin.

 

Kick start your climate action journey

This article was originally published on 1 Million Women

 

THERE’S A MISCONCEPTION OUT THERE THAT GOOD ENVIRONMENTAL STEWARDSHIP HAS TO BE EXPENSIVE.

But in many cases, major corporations are simply greenwashing to add a higher price tag to their products or services. Environmentalism has become a marketing scheme but it doesn’t need to be this way.

One of the simplest ways to work those environmental muscles is to invest five bucks into a good old fashioned library card. I don’t know about you, but for years, I kind of forgot about libraries. When I was a kid we always went to the library. However, as an adult, this habit fell by the wayside. Instead, I’d spend $30 for a book I’d read once and then stash away on a bookshelf where it would collect dust.  As I’ve mentioned before, excessive consumerism is troublesome for three major reasons:

 

1. It increases our carbon footprint

2. It’s costly

3. It creates clutter

 

Image: Shutterstock

Image: Shutterstock

I re-discovered libraries a couple of years ago. While I don’t always go as often as I would like, I am always glad when I do. I always find some obscure, out of print book to borrow that I might not have been able to find in a traditional bookstore.

These kinds of reads are ones that I’m curious about, but really wouldn’t want to buy and keep forever – things like knitting books, cookbooks, inspirational books on really random topics, and novels I can’t imagine I would re-read. I also usually come home with a couple DVDs and magazines, too. Plus most libraries provide free Internet, which makes them a great resource if you don’t want to foot a wi-fi bill at home.

Image: UnsplashI think what I love most about libraries, is that they remind us we don’t actually need to own everything. It really is ok to enjoy something and then let it go again. And that’s not just a lesson in frugality and consumerism; it’s a spiritual lesson as well. Libraries remind us how to share; read a book, return the book, and let someone else have a turn. It’s nice to be a part of a sharing culture, instead of a “me, mine, now” culture.

The tradition of a library bag is another great lesson in sustainability. Libraries don’t supply plastic bags to carry our items home. So they also give us that great gift of reminding us that it really is possible to use our arms to carry things instead of non-biodegradeable single-use plastic bags.

 

Related: The two plastic bag habits by grocery stores that piss me off the most