World Oceans Day 2015

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Wow, it’s been 2 weeks since I last blogged, sorry for the radio silence but you know how it is…

Surfing Putsborough Beach

Heavy lines at Putsborough on a NUSurf trip

Watergate Bay

An almost-tropical day down at Watergate Bay

 

Today is the UN’s World Oceans Day, and this year the theme is ‘Healthy oceans, healthy planet.’

Which reminds me, I went to the Coral Reefs: Secret Cities of the Sea exhibition at the Natural History Museum a couple of months ago, and haven’t mentioned anything about it yet. It was a really interesting and eye-opening exhibition – I had no idea just how much our planet’s ecosystem relies on the conservation of the coral reefs. For example, if the coral reefs were destroyed there would be no barrier to absorb the energy of powerful waves before they hit our shores and, in turn, coastline settlements would be uninhabitable. These populations would then be forced to move inland, putting further pressure on our planet’s already over-stretched resources… you can see how a domino effect would ensue.

Recently there’s been a lot of talk about the dredging which threatens The Great Barrier Reef. The Australian Government is allowing tens of millions of tonnes of seabed to be dredged in World Heritage waters, to make way for 4 mega ports, serviced by up to 7,000 industrial ships crossing the Reef every year. I’ve always wanted to dive The Great Barrier Reef but soon there may not be anything to see. If you think this as upsetting as I do, please sign this petition.

Another thing explained in the exhibition is Microplastics, which have been a hot topic within the environmental debate over the past couple of years. Microplastics formed from the break up of larger plastics is one thing, but we’re increasingly using primary microplastics which are purposefully created on a microscopic size. In the cosmetic industry some companies have replaced natural exfoliating ingredients with microplastics, usually in the form of “microbeads” or “micro-exfoliates.” Facewashes and toothpastes often contain these microbeads which make their way into the water systems, to the seas, and are then digested by sea creatures. This poses a threat to fish, the human beings whose diet is dependent on fish, and therefore, the entire food chain. Scientists are currently uncertain of the effects microplastics could cause… but it’s not looking good.

As a surfer, one of the most important environmental battles for me is the protection of the world’s oceans. Already we are seeing that pollution is making some surf breaks inaccessible and dangerous, such as in the case of Uluwatu in Bali.

At this rate, the reality that I may not be able to surf without fear of catching a water-bourne disease is not far on the horizon…

In fact, I read a BBC article today which made me squirm a little. Scientists are launching an investigation into antibiotic-resistant bacteria, known as “superbugs”, by gathering data from surfers’ rectums. Surfers are being asked to volunteer to provide rectal swabs to help scientists to find out the effects of marine pollution on human health. Maybe I should offer my services… 😛

There are plenty of ways to help the fight for healthy oceans if you want to get involved; I am a member of Surfer’s Against Sewage and my mum is a member of the Marine Conservation Society. Both of which hold regular beach cleans, which are a fun way to make a difference and a great way to meet new, like-minded people.

Still, the ocean is there to enjoy, and it’s going to take some seriously slimy seas to stop me from getting out there in the waves. So, in celebration of our wonderful oceans, here are some of my favourite seaside photos…

BUCS student surf competition

BUCS Student Surf Competition in Newquay ’13

 

Broken surfboard

She’s a cruel mistress…

 

surfing Ilfracombe

The sun setting over Woolacombe

 

surf couple

I love to be by the seaside with this goon…

 

At the end of the day, oceans are the life-blood of the planet. They must be treated with the respect they deserve.

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