Our first beach clean was an hour and a half out of Yeppoon. We were picked up in four wheel drives by the Surfrider team and transported out into the bush. Four wheel driving is one of my favourite things to do so I was very impressed at the dirt and sand tracks weaving through trees taking us far out of civilisation. The main point of going to this almost private beach was to show us how much rubbish was washing ashore from the ocean rather than from people directly putting it there.
Compared to my friends, I’ve always known a little more about the effects humans have on our environment. I’m not at all a marine biologist, nor could I explain to you scientifically what’s going wrong with the world but only because I feel like I’ve seen it for myself.
Being on and around the ocean was part of my upbringing. My family and I lived onboard a yacht for a few years and I got my SCUBA diving license as fast as I could. I have memories of fishing spots that guaranteed enough catch to feed the family for weeks, memories of ocean floors alive with marine life and clearer waters.
Now, even in New Zealand, it’s common to return home from a fishing trip with not much at all. The dive spots I saw at fourteen don’t seem to be as alive and inhabited now. For me, it’s scary to think that in that short time so much has already changed. I was upset by it all but I’m not anymore because I’ve been introduced to so many people who share similar concerns and are excited about getting our environment back to where it should be!
We cleaned up a beach an hour away from civilisation, unfortunately showing us that the debris are arriving at the beach from the ocean. Plastic really is poison and something we all need to make an effort to reduce the use of. Good news is it can be as simple as saying no thank you when you're faced with the choice of using plastic or not. Don't ever feel like you can't make a difference, we're all making a difference in this world it's just a matter of making sure it's a positive one. Thanks @surfrider and @contiki ✌️?#contikicares
Surfrider Australia couldn’t have inspired me more. They’re not only cleaning up beaches but coming up with new initiatives to get people enthusiastic about not consuming plastic at all.
Recycling is great but it’s not the final answer. We need to actually reduce the amount of plastic we are using and that change starts with us making the right decisions.
Jamie McDell is a singer, songwriter and YouTuber from New Zealand. Jamie was one of nine Contiki Storytellers who travelled to the East Coast of Australia in late 2015 to see first hand the impact plastic pollution is having on our ocean, and the marine life who call it home. Watch the full documentary below…