As a Vancouver photographer and rising Instagram star, Jordan Dyck was the perfect choice to represent Canada on last year's annual #contikistorytellers trip; this time venturing to Australia. We knew that she wouldn't just document the experience beautifully, but would also help to educate others - especially in her coastal hometown - on an important environmental issue that affects us all: plastic pollution. An issue that is often overlooked, plastic affects our lives a whole lot more than you would think. Here are some facts on how plastic use is impacting the world today:
- BPA is an industrial chemical that is found in plastics, commonly used in food/beverage containers and plastic water bottles. Potential health effects from BPA exposure include breast and prostate cancer, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and a wide range of developmental problems. Health Canada recently reported that 95 per cent of Canadians have measurable levels of BPA in their blood or urine, with the highest levels found in children.
- In the last decade, we have produced more plastic than in the last 50 years combined.
- Every year, 8 million tonnes of plastic is dumped into the ocean – from un-recycled water bottles, to plastic packages, to plastics bags – devastating the delicate bio marine life that lives under the sea.
- It has been projected that if we don’t act now, by the year 2025 plastic pollution figures could reach up to 250 million tonnes of mismanaged plastic waste, and by 2050 there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish.
We spoke to Jordan after she returned from her Australian adventure, and here’s a look at her experience:
Who are the #contikistorytellers?
The Contiki Storytellers are group of nine millennial influencers, each with a unique audience and skill (some of us were photographers, others vloggers, bloggers or surfers) who shared a collective passion for sustainability. We travelled to Australia’s Eastern Coast with Contiki Cares and the Surfrider Foundation to understand the impact of plastic consumption on our planet. As a group, our aim was to tell the story of plastic pollution to our audiences, and how we (combined with Contiki) are working with Surfrider to encourage people to amplify a global mission to reduce ocean plastics and pollution.
What was the experience like for you?
It was incredible from start to finish. Working side by side with people in similar industries (photography, journalism, social media) was amazing because we were able to cross-promote and help each other share our own stories of the experience. We grew incredibly close over the course of 10 days, and learned a lot both about Australia, and the current state of our oceans. There were too many laughs to count and too many moments shared, to even begin telling you about them.
What did you learn through this experience?
We learned so many different facts regarding ocean pollution, but one that really stuck out to me was a line I read whilst making the documentary. We produce around 500 billion plastic bags each year, and because plastic doesn’t bio-degrade it takes around 1000 years for these to decompose. What does that mean? That every single piece of plastic that has EVER been created is still out there in some shape or form. How insane is that? It’s totally changed my perception of the plastic bag and made me realize that it’s not a small issue. This is life changing, global issue.
What was your favourite part of the trip?
Definitely Coff’s Harbour. The vibe at the Surf Camp and the people that we met there was just out of this world. It’s this tiny little surf town, and we stayed in these beautiful cabins right on the beach. Watching the tide rise and fall with the sunset, drinks in hand – it was pretty remarkable.
Plastic pollution – what should we know/why should we care?
Do you like dolphins? Do you like whales? Penguins? Even birds! Every year, over 1 million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals are killed from eating or getting entangled in plastic floating in the ocean. I love surfing, and I love being in the water – do I want to be sitting on my board, and look down to see tiny little plastic debris floating by? We need to do something to change people’s perception on plastic – our use of plastic is a lot more frightening than we think. Really think about it, how many times a day do you use plastic?
What are some of your recommendations for living a more sustainable life?
- BYOB (bring your own bag). And if you forget? Carry your things home bag-less. Suck it up!
- Re-usable water bottles and coffee mugs – it’s easy! And they come in every colour and style imaginable.
- Buy bulk – try to minimize the amount of plastic packaging your products come with. Be conscious of where your products are coming from.
- Straws! You don’t need them.
- If you do create waste, dispose of it properly.
Want learn more about plastic pollution, and find out how you can do your part? Visit www.contiki.com/storytellers for stats, photos, information and more.