Words: Lily Silverton
Back in June we celebrated World Oceans Day; a global, UN endorsed, annual celebration of our planet's most unexplored territory. Launched in 2003, it aims to raise awareness of the importance of the ocean and inspire us to change how we treat it.
Covering more than seventy percent of the planet, and providing more than half the oxygen we breathe and much of the food we eat (not to mention some of the best holidays of our lives), the ocean is essential to the health and survival of all life on Earth.
But it's in real trouble. Fourteen billion lbs. of rubbish is dumped in the ocean every year (most of it plastic), and projections reveal that in thirty years time it will contain more lbs of plastic than fish. Eighty-five percent of the world's ocean fisheries have been categorised as fully exploited or depleted, with dangerous practices such a bottom trawling - an industrial fishing method where a large net with heavy weights is dragged across the seafloor, scooping up everything in its path - are wiping out entire species and inflicting huge damage on the life-supporting seabed and coral.
This isn't some small hazard that is way off in the distant future. We are talking about a real, existential threat that is emerging right now. We need to affect change, and quick.
One brand trying to do so is Davidoff Cool Water (fitting, since the scent was originally inspired by the scent of the ocean). For the past four years they have partnered with the National Geographic Society's Pristine Seas project, an initiative that seeks to find, survey and protect the last wild areas of the ocean. Led by Dr. Enric Sala - a man with possibly the best job title ever: National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence - the project works towards a global goal of protecting 10% of the world's oceans by 2020.
National Geographic and Davidoff's "LoveTheOcean" campaign launched in 2012 and has since supported fourteen Pristine Seas expeditions across the globe, from the Galapagos to Mozambique, and helped protect a total of 1,713,518 sq. kilometres of the ocean.
Every year, from June to September, National they initiate social community projects to help further raise awareness and inspire action. So I travelled to the beautiful Black's Beach near San Diego to accompany actor Scott (son of Clint) Eastwood on a beach clean up. A keen surfer and swimmer, getting involved in LoveTheOcean was a "no brainer", he says.
"I grew up between California and Hawaii, so the ocean is my home. It's a really special place for me. You get in and everything else melts away - when I'm away from it I feel a little lost," he tells me, picking up a battered plastic water bottle from the sand. "It's harder for people that don't live by it to understand that all the plastics and trash get washed straight to the oceans. I see the impact on a daily basis."
Plastics are one of the leading causes of marine environment destruction and death - 1 million seabirds and 100,000 sea mammals are killed by ocean pollution from plastics every year. "The ocean is the giver of life," Scott says. "It's really important that we look at this as a global problem, not something we can ignore. We drink from it, we eat from it - we need to take action." And it's not just big companies and businesses that can impact change. "Every time you chose to not buy bottled water or to pick up a piece of trash, you're casting your vote," says Scott. "Of course big companies and big business need to make better, more positive choices, but we all have the power and we're all a part of this."
"It starts with one. Only one. We're only on this planet for a short time. How are you going to leave it? How are you going to make a difference?"
Join The Fight to Defend Our Oceans
1. Ditch the plastic
Carry a reusable water bottle, store food in non-disposable containers, bring your own cloth tote or other reusable bag when shopping and always remember to recycle when possible!
2. Eat the right fish
Purchase MSC certified seafood to help to protect our marine environment and ensure that seafood can be enjoyed for many years to come.
3. Holiday tips