On Wednesday, the wonderful Caroline Duncan (GOES’s marine biologist) and Dr Stephanie Terreni Brown (co-director of GOES) sat down with our Artistic Director Oli Savage for a super fun and informative chat. (Don’t worry if you missed it, you can catch it here! – insert link).
We all learnt many, many things. But our main take home was that everyone can do their bit to make our oceans cleaner. So, in the spirit of this, here’s our take on three ways to change your lifestyle to make it more ocean-friendly.
1.Eat in a way that reduces your carbon footprint.
A study by Oxford University in 2018 found that ‘avoiding meat and dairy is the biggest way to reduce your impact on earth’ and that giving up beef will reduce your carbon footprint more than stopping driving cars. The results of this study and others which have come to similar results has prompted many environmentally-conscious individuals to shun meat and dairy in favour of a plant-based diet. In Great Britain, for example, the number of vegans quadruped from 2014 to 2018.
Now, we’re not saying you have to go vegan. What people chose to eat or not eat is entirely down to them. However, cutting down on your meat and dairy consumption will have undeniable, positive effects on the cleanliness of our oceans. Not just because decreased consumption of animal products will result in less CO2 emissions. But also because less demand for meat and dairy will result in less livestock – which has a surprising benefit.
Water supplies are not only polluted by agricultural practices, there are also contaminated by the animals themselves. Say, for example, that a farmer is grazing their cows in a field where there is a stream. Well it stands to reason that the cows will at some point walk over to the stream and ‘do their business’, polluting said stream. In other words, less meat and dairy = less animals = less excrement in our water sources. (Sounds like a winner to us!).
2. Think about the water footprint of food.
Dr Stephanie Terreni Brown highlighted a factor during our livestream which we think deserves a bit more attention: when it comes to preserving the health of our oceans, we do not only have to think about our carbon footprint, but our water footprint too!
How do we go about reducing our water footprint then?
Well, there are simple solutions like turning the tap off while you brush your teeth and taking shorter showers. There are, however, other factors you can take into consideration. The production of products such as rice, cotton, and almonds are huge water drains. Therefore, in order to reduce our water footprint we should also consider reducing the consumption of products that have a big water footprint.
3. Think before you bin/flush.
Finally, we want to address our throw-away attitudes. In an era of fast food, fast fashion, and fast cars we’re all very used to having something, discarding it, and moving onto the next one. It’s been well-publicised that this kind of attitude has seriously negative effects on the environment. What’s not often publicised, however, is the specific effects this has on our water sources.
When you put something in the bin, the bin man takes it away and it ends up in landfill. Yes, this is obviously bad for the landscape. But the landfill leachate (or ‘bin juice’) that is created from landfills pollute our rivers and streams, which in turn pollutes our oceans. So, think before you buy something you know has to go to landfill. Do you want to contribute to the creation of even more stinky bin juice?
Another way you can ensure your waste products don’t pollute our water sources is by disposing of unused medicines safely. It’s quite common for us to throw medicines we no longer need down the toilet because it is easy, convenient, and doesn’t make a mess. However, when these pharmaceuticals go through sewage treatment works, they are not filtered out, meaning they end up polluting our oceans. (Sad reacts only please) So, rather than flushing your unused medicines down the toilet, next time take them to your local pharmacy and ask for them to be disposed of safely? Then you can ensure that no lovely ocean creature will be harmed because of your cold.
There we have it. Just a couple of little tips to help you live a more ocean-friendly lifestyle. We hope this blog will help to prompt small lifestyle changes and give you the information necessary to start asking questions about what else we can do to clean up our oceans!
These questions can (probably) all be answered by the wonderful team behind The GOES Foundation and Clean Water Wave. So head on over to their websites if you want to find out more, and stay tuned for even more collaborations between us as we come ever closer to the start of The Fringe!