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Marine Life & Conservation Blogs

Taking on the Marine Conservation Society’s Plastic Challenge

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We have long been supporters of the Marine Conservation Society, so when we saw that they had created a challenge to give up single use plastic for the month of June, we decided it was a challenge worth attempting. After all – how hard can it be?

So, what is the Marine Conservation Society Plastic Challenge all about? The MCS wanted to raise both awareness and money, by creating #plasticchallenge. Those taking part agreed to give up single use plastic for as long as they possibly could during the month of June. Huge quantities of this single use plastic ends up in our seas, rivers and oceans and ultimately kills and maims marine life all over the world. Many species can easily mistake a plastic bag for a jelly fish, the micro-plastic that has broken down is eaten by fish, or the bigger animals – like basking sharks – might simply scoop it up accidentally. What we do know is that throughout the world, dead marine life is turning up with their stomachs full of plastic, or bands from beer cans wrapped around their torso. The one obvious solution is to dramatically reduce the amount of plastic that we use and then cast away.

Plastic Challenge

We very quickly discovered that we needed to change everything about the way we shopped. We had already stopped using plastic carrier bags many years ago, so this aspect was not a challenge for us, but nearly everything else (apart from beer and wine – phew) was difficult. We do not eat ready-made meals, as Nick is a bit of a wiz in the kitchen, so again, that was already easier for us to adapt – but so much salad and veg is pre-wrapped with plastic trays and covering, that buying from local shops and supermarkets was to prove extremely difficult. Some veg was possible, such as leeks and butternut squash, but the choice was limited. The solution to this was very easy for us, as we have a nearby vegan organic supermarket (Unicorn Grocery) that provides old fashioned paper bags for veg – so there was one problem solved. But what about toilet roll, cereal (so many products have a nice cardboard exterior – with a horrible plastic bag within), frozen food, etc? Nick started making things we would normally buy pre-prepared, like hummus, pasta and pizzas, which takes more time, but is ultimately healthier for us (as well as for the planet). As fruit juice is either in plastic bottles, or has a plastic cap, we had to make our own at home. We now have a traditional milkman to deliver glass bottles of milk.

All the supermarkets we visited were willing to put cheese and meats into a re-usable container that we took with us, although we did get some funny looks! We made more regular visits to local independent shops, such as the pet shop that sells locally made dog treats that Paddy (our golden retriever) could walk in a select himself. This has now become a bit of in issue though, as we get dragged to the pet shop on every visit to the shops! Bathroom products such as toothpaste and shampoo cannot be bought in the usual supermarket deals, but a trip into Manchester centre gave us the chance to pop into Lush, who have an amazing range of eco-friendly products.

Nick 3

A lifestyle on the go makes this challenge even harder. We have to do a fair bit of traveling within the UK and overseas. You cannot just pull over at a motorway service station and buy some sandwiches or snacks as these are all wrapped in plastic (apart from the odd pie), so you have to think ahead.

Doing the Marine Conservation Society Plastic Challenge has been a fantastic experience. We will not stop thinking about this at the end of June, but instead use the experience to continue reducing the amount of single use plastic that we buy and then throw away on a daily basis. Have a go, for a day, week or month for yourselves. It gives you a real understanding of the massive scale of the problem facing us.

If you like what we did, or if this has inspired you in any way, or if you just want to support an excellent charity that strives to protect our marine life – then please donate what you can here.

For more information about the Marine Conservation Society, visit www.mcsuk.org.

www.frogfishphotography.com.

Nick and Caroline (Frogfish Photography) are a married couple of conservation driven underwater photo-journalists and authors. Both have honours degrees from Manchester University, in Environmental Biology and Biology respectively, with Nick being a Fellow of the Royal Photographic Society, a former high school science teacher with a DipEd in Teaching Studies. Caroline has an MSc in Animal Behaviour specializing in Caribbean Ecology. They are multiple award-winning photographers and along with 4 published books, feature regularly in the diving, wildlife and international press They are the Underwater Photography and Deputy Editors at Scubaverse and Dive Travel Adventures. Winners of the Caribbean Tourism Organization Photo-journalist of the Year for a feature on Shark Diving in The Bahamas, and they have been placed in every year they have entered. Nick and Caroline regularly use their free time to visit schools, both in the UK and on their travels, to discuss the important issues of marine conservation, sharks and plastic pollution. They are ambassadors for Sharks4Kids and founders of SeaStraw. They are Dive Ambassadors for The Islands of The Bahamas and are supported by Mares, Paralenz, Nauticam and Olympus. To find out more visit www.frogfishphotography.com

Marine Life & Conservation

Jeff chats to… Staci-lee Sherwood about how light pollution in Florida is harming sea turtle hatchlings (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Staci-lee Sherwood, Founder & Former Director of S.T.A.R.S – Sea Turtle Awareness Rescue Stranding – about Florida’s latest assault on sea turtles and why the global community should be concerned.

You can read more about this issue in a blog written by Staci-lee on Scubaverse here.

Find out more about Staci-lee on Instagram and YouTube @realitycheckswithstacilee


Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.

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Marine Life & Conservation

Jeff chats to… Marine Biologist, Underwater Photographer and Author Paul Naylor (Watch Video)

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In this exclusive Zoom interview, Jeff Goodman, Scubaverse Editor-at-Large, chats to Paul Naylor about his new book Great British Marine Animals (4th Edition). You can read Jeff’s review of the book here.

Paul is a marine biologist and underwater photographer with a passion for showing people what beautiful and fascinating animals live around the British coast, through articles, talks, films, social media and TV, as well as his latest book.

The creatures’ intriguing behaviour and colourful life stories are the particular focus of his still photography and video, both for scientific research and engaging audiences.

Paul works with conservation organisations and the media to raise the profile of our wonderful marine life and the importance of caring for our seas.

Find out more about Paul and his work at www.marinephoto.co.uk


Rather listen to a podcast? Listen to the audio HERE on the new Scubaverse podcast channel at Anchor FM.

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www.thescubaplace.co.uk

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