Us as humans seem to have a sincere lack of acknowledgement and appreciation for our planet and we have developed the habit of ‘out of sight, out of mind’. Throwing our trash away, expecting it to just evaporate into thin air, not really thinking about where it ends up or how it affects the environment. With around 8 million tonnes of plastic entering our precious oceans every year, you have to wonder… where is it all going?
I feel so honoured and stoked to have been chosen by the team at Wild Mob to be a part of their Youth Ambassadors Program, working on a campaign with them to help move marine debris off islands on our stunning Great Barrier Reef and bring focus to mitigating the problem at its source.
Wild Mob is a not-for-profit organisation that gets volunteers to the coalface of environmental conservation. They focus on empowering everyday people to make a real, measurable difference to the world by taking them on adventures to actual conservation sites.
A couple of weeks ago, we took our first steps towards launching our campaign by setting out on a voyage to the beautiful Cumberland Islands on the Great Barrier Reef. It was incredible to spend five days soaking up sun and immersing ourselves in nature on these remote paradises. Surrounded by crystal clear water and white sand, we spent our nights sleeping on the beach in swags or tents, watching stars shoot across a clear sky. These places are un-inhabited and seem completely remote, which is what made it even more surprising and disturbing when we ventured out to one of the beaches on Brampton Island, to find that it was absolutely covered in plastic. Massive piles of plastic bottles, lids, straws, toothbrushes, strings of balloons, oil containers and spray cans littered the beach from the sand dunes to the shoreline. Thousands of tiny brightly coloured micro plastics mixed in with the natural pumice, seaweed and shells along the tidelines. It was overwhelming! We spent the morning walking the beach picking up plastic and trash.
I’ve always been very passionate about the ocean and looking after the planet, but never until this experience did I realise how bad it really was. It’s so easy to just push the thought away when you get a single-use plastic cup or water bottle, the problem seems far away and irrelevant, when in reality it’s so real, so close, and so very bad. On our very own beautiful Great Barrier Reef, a couple hours off Mackay, this was clearly evident.
The campaign I am apart of is set to launch a bit later in the year, when I, along with the other youth ambassadors and the team at Wild Mob will be heading out to retrieve all the rubbish we collected from the islands and bring it back to the mainland to audit. So stay tuned! The results are bound to be shocking!