Protecting our ‘Blue Planet’
Let us bless the grace of water:
The imagination of the primeval ocean
Where the first forms of life stirred
And emerged to dress the vacant earth
With warm quilts of color.
– Excerpt from John O’Donohue’s “Water Blessing”
For many of us, the expanse of the oceans is out of sight and therefore, out of mind. In the words of Pope Francis, “We have forgotten that we ourselves are dust of the earth (cf. Gen 2:7); our very bodies are made up of her elements, we breathe her air and we receive life and refreshment from her waters.” (Laudato Si’)
About 71% of the Earth’s surface is water-covered, and the oceans hold about 96.5% of all Earth’s water. When astronauts first went into space, they looked back at the Earth with human eyes for the first time, and called our home the ‘Blue Planet’.
Did you know:
- The ocean generates most of the oxygen we breathe, through the phytoplankton, kelp, and algal plankton that live in it
- Our weather patterns are primarily controlled by ocean currents
- 98% of the sun’s radiation that hits the Earth is absorbed by the ocean
- Only 3% of the Earth’s water is fresh, the remaining 97% is salty.
Despite their size and importance to our survival, our oceans are in trouble. Since large-scale production of plastics began, in the 1950’s, our civilisation has produced 8.3 billion tonnes of it. In 2015, a team of researchers estimated that around eight million tonnes of plastic poured into the ocean in 2010.*
There are some simple things we can do to reduce how much single use plastic we consume on a day-to-day basis:
- Bring your own refillable bottle of water. It’s cheaper than buying water and the bottle can be used indefinitely.
- Bring your own shopping bag. Australians use an estimated 5 billion plastic bags a year.
- Pack your lunch in reusable containers or beeswax wraps rather than wrapping it in plastic wrap. Click here to buy yourself a set from Rahamim Ecology Centre.
- Bring your own coffee mug.
- Glass jars are the perfect alternative to plastic containers when it comes to storing dry items in the pantry.
- Consider what you’re purchasing when in the supermarket. Opt for food with minimal packaging. Fruit and vegetables grow their own 100% compostable packaging – and avoiding wrapping them in unnecessary plastic is a better choice.
- Bring your own cutlery for picnics or when out and about.
- Make sure you say ‘no’ to straws when ordering drinks. To learn more about The Last Plastic Straw Project, go here.
- Avoid plastic take away containers by dining in or taking your own Earth-friendly take away containers and asking the restaurant to package your take away for you!
Messages to: Leah Moulden, Rahamim Ecology Centre