Since I know myself, the independent myself, with own resources, all I wanted to do was to go and see the world. Travel, travel and travel a bit more. And from the multitude of places where one can go to, I observed a pattern in my case: it had to be somewhere neighboring the sea or the ocean, probably because I grew up with the mountains in my back yard (more or less), so I suppose I’ve always taken them for granted, considered them ‘known-territory’. But the ocean represented something far away, huge, dangerous, mysterious, magical, almost impossible to get to in real life, except for the daytime dreaming during Geography classes where the whole world fitted on a map hanged in front of the blackboard. My home town is Sibiu, so from there to the Atlantic Ocean were more or less 2.600km, not the kind of trip you know how to make happen as a kid in Romania just some years after the communism regime was replaced.
Fast forwarding some years, I did get to the Atlantic Ocean, but, as life always has its own little plan, was not 2.600km away from Sibiu, but instead 7.431 km, on the other side of the Atlantic, the US East coast.
Needless to say I was like a kid receiving the best toy in the world and that I didn’t miss one opportunity to observe it and discover more of its magic. And roughness and power, I might add, cause I suppose accidents happen when your point of comparison is the Black Sea in the summer time :).
This trip turned out to be the very beginning of my appetite for getting to and in the ocean.
Since I was 3 I was going with my parents and my sister on the Black Sea coast. Every summer, loved it. Because it was the sea. But it was not very clean, I remember there were always dead algae and waste on the seashore, so I think I kind of grew up thinking that’s the norm. Always walked the traditional talk ‘clean up your beach space before you set your camp, and take your trash with you when you’re gone’. But never something extra (by this I mean clean up the extras from the beach neighbors).
Until one day, in 2012, when I came across some surreal (but very much reality-illustrators) photographs of Chris Jordan taken in the Midday Atoll, situated some 1.600 km North West from Honolulu, Hawaii, in the North Pacific, showing this tiny island inhabited by albatrosses. Just that they were not happily living in their own exotic paradise, as I would have imagined. Instead, they were dying in alarming numbers, from newborns to chicks and mature birds. Why? Due to their plastic-rich diet which was causing them ingestion, starvation and ultimately death. But from where all that plastic in the middle of nowhere, so far away from land and waste sources?
I was shocked to see those images and couldn’t believe that situation was real. But it was very much real, and since 2009, when the photos were taken, the plastic problem became even more severe, not affecting only the Midway albatross, but also fish, marine mammals and human health.
Being optimistic by nature, and firmly believing that all problems have more than one solution, I started my journey towards a plastic-free life. Challenging and quite frustrating at times, but nevertheless doable, this new lifestyle made me more conscious about the world I am living in, about nature and its resources, about people and their behavior, about the importance of education and information, about the elements of nature, about how curiosity and exploration can change one’s perspective and about how dangerous is to just take things by default, without thinking at the long-term implications of your actions.
Do you think it is possible to live a plastic free-life? Or challenge yourself to be more conscious about the plastic in your everyday life? I would love to hear your thoughts on this 🙂[icon name=”fa-heart” size=”mini” style=”simple” icon_color=”#57c5c7″][/icon], Ioana
‘Be the change you want to see in the world’. Mahatma Gandhi