Today is Earth Day 2021 with the theme being “Restore Our Earth“. The focus pays special attention to natural processes, emerging green technologies and innovative thinking. All of which can hopefully restore the world’s ecosystems. As cheesy as it may sound, together we can make a difference. It’s time to Restore Our Earth for multiple reasons, but simply because we live on it.
Earth Day 2021
April 22, Earth Day is an annual day that unites individuals focusing on saving the world. Over the past weekend while on vacation in the Eastern Cape, working towards restoring our earth repeatedly played on my mind. We spent 4 glorious days in a small coastal town called Coffee Bay (also known as Koffiebaai). Situated in the heart of South Africa’s Wild Coast, Coffee Bay is an absolute gem. A unique town spoilt with untouched beaches, free roaming Nguni Cattle and scenic rocky cliffs which present breathtakingly beautiful sights.
As we spent our days cashing in on perfect sunrises and sunsets, enjoying easy walks connecting as a family and playfully frolicking in the ocean surf … one thing was obvious. The perfect, untouched Coffee Bay wasn’t as perfect and untouched as we thought.
Most common pollutants
Time spent at the ocean showed evidence of some of the most common marine pollutants … plastic, plastic and more plastic. The world’s coasts and beaches are polluted by 12 common throw away items that have an eternal lifespan. These items are unable to breakdown and therefore cause harm to both marine life and the ecosystem. Here is a list of the items that are causing devastation to our oceans :-
- Chip packets
- Cigarette lighters
- Cooldrink bottles
- Cooldrink lids
- Fishing light sticks
- Fishing line and nets
- Plastic lollipop sticks
- Plastic straws
- Sweet wrappers
- Water bottles
- Plastic shopping bags
No real surprises really, but this list confirms our choices can indeed make a difference.
The effects of the pandemic
As human activity dropped due to the pandemic, the world benefited in some areas. The ocean saw shipping noise reduced and less movement of people meant less pollution. Behavioral changes in marine life was noticed and people started to understand their impact on the planet. But that being said, as a result of the pandemic we now can add single use PPE masks and gloves to the list. A double-edged sword but hopefully the eye opener we need. Expecting people not to travel and move about is not the solution, as these are the revenue generators that help support and promote wildlife conservation efforts. While we go about living our best lives, mindfulness is key.
What can you do to make a difference?
- Use less water so excess run-off and wastewater will not flow into the ocean.
- Choose non-toxic chemicals and dispose of herbicides, pesticides and cleaning products properly.
- Cut down on what you throw away.
- Choose sustainable seafood.
- Buy less plastic and bring a reusable bag.
- Use fuel efficient vehicles, carpool or ride a bike.
- Choose energy efficient light bulbs and don’t overset your thermostat.
- Follow “catch and release” practices and keep more fish alive.
- Anchor in sandy areas far from coral and sea grasses.
- Respect your habitat.
- You can get involved, volunteer for cleanups at the beach and in your community.
Earth Day is a perfect time to look at your daily routine and find something, no matter how small, that you can change. It all starts with the changes we make in our homes and then having a ripple effect to friends, family, community and to leaders around them.
Investing in reusable and eco-friendly products pays off in the long run, saving you money and helping save the planet. To celebrate Earth Day I’ve teamed up with Jordan Green Clean to giveaway a hamper worth R500. Make sure to enter on Facebook & Instagram.
Did you participate in Earth Day 2021? Let us know what your contribution to Restoring Our Earth will be.