I’m Talking Rubbish

Conversations With My Sister_I'm Talking RUbbish_Crescent Head
Posted by on January 26, 2014

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 Have you heard about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

This is the name given to the collection of rubbish which is slowly being carried by the currents of the North Pacific Gyre. The whole of Australia could fit into its sweeping currents which are no longer home to Organic Matter rich in Biological Nutrients but now carries the results of 60 odd years of irresponsibly disposed of plastics and other artificial trash. After leaving our shores and being battered around by the elements, boats and wildlife, this garbage is broken down into tiny pieces (not able to biodegrade) and descends deep into the water column.

This time last year our family was on holiday at Crescent Head on the Mid North Coast of  NSW,
enjoying a couple of weeks in my Husband’s Parents’ caravan. For 30 odd years they have secured the same site at the Caravan Park and now their Grandchildren are building up childhood memories doing the same activities their parents did all those years ago. That’s what makes it great – simple, old school fun with no television!

Conversations With My Sister_I'm Talking Rubbish_peppermint mag

Summer 2012 – The most inspiring issue I’ve read so far

One of my favourite pastimes (all year round but particularly on holidays when I have more ‘down’ time) is enjoying relaxing, undisturbed time reading my favourite magazine – Peppermint. This magazine stands for Style, Sustainability and Substance inspiring me to live simply and shop with a conscience. Each issue I read teaches me something new and inspires me on my journey of Conscious Living.

Things couldn’t be better. My Baby Girl was asleep and my Little Man was off riding his bike, climbing trees or catching whatever he could down at the creek with a bucket and a piece of dry bread. Before I knew it, I was completely engrossed in a story about Tim Silverwood and his quest against plastic.



Have you heard about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

I hadn’t heard of it before reading the article.

There I sat enjoying the uninterrupted view of miles of golden sand, listening to the waves crashing onto the beach with children and adults alike, enjoying many activities in the wonderful fresh sea air. As I read through the article I had an overwhelming feeling of sadness and perhaps guilt. It was brought to my attention that all the plastics we consume/purchase and take for granted in our every day lives, in fact, have the potential to cause damage to the innocent beings in nature whose quality of life rely on an effective eco system. As one species (humans) flourishes, another (our living environment) struggles for quality of life every day.

Later that afternoon I sat down with my Little Man and read him the article. As he is only four and a half years old I picked out paragraphs which I felt gave him the general run down of the situation. We talked about how plastics we use everyday make their way into the water through us not picking up after ourselves or by the weather tossing it about and carrying it there. I read out a paragraph which talked about a turtle found dead at Ballina, NSW last year with 317 pieces of plastic in it’s stomach. I touched on the current, The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which has tonnes and tonnes of rubbish in it that all the sea animals have had to adapt to sharing with their ocean. The conversation moved onto talking about the millions of birds, turtles, whales, dolphins, seals, penguins snacking on plastic and playing in amongst it which inevitably leads to them getting injured or dying.

Other facts I kept to myself during my Conversation with my Little Man are:

  • It is estimated the U.S. use 500 plastic bags and in Australia the number is estimated at 350. Those numbers are used per person, per year – what on earth does our household do with 350 plastic bags after I unpack the shopping?
  • We can’t just scoop up the ‘soup’ which makes up the ‘Garbage Patch’ due to the importance of the marine life surviving in its currents.
  • There are five major Gyres which contain plastic pollution, so far we¬† have managed to infect every corner of the ocean with plastic.
  • 40,000 pieces of plastics have been collected in Antarctic waters.

If that isn’t horrendous enough I have also learnt that plastic is now very much a part of the marine food chain and every piece of wild seafood we eat may have been exposed to the plastics and the toxic chemicals some of the decomposing plastics have leached. The same toxins we try diligently to avoid in our family’s everyday living? Scientists are concerned this exposure to synthetic chemicals is effecting both human and marine species biology.

We are the people we have been waiting for! – Tim Silverwood

Now that this information has been brought to the forefront of my mind, how can our household take a stand and make a change?

My imediate thoughts are Reduce, Reuse, Recycle, or Upcycle. This needs to become our everyday, rather than constantly adding to both landfill and the ever growing pollution hazards which are developing both in the ocean and on land?

What DO we do with all those shopping bags we collect every year?

I’d love you to follow me this year as we commit to changing these habits and move our family towards having a more positive impact. I’m going to need your help!!!

– Shea

Action we can take – Right Now!



Last week…Have You Named Your Year?

conversationswithmysister/Take 3 For The Sea

Next week…Our Five Year Old Environmentalist





6 Responses to I’m Talking Rubbish

  1. eileen divall

    Well said and disturbingly true. Hard to avoid those plastics but I will try harder. Thanks for the reminder.

    • Shea

      With this blog Eileen I hope to encourage action and gather a collection of ideas we can all use in our everyday – watch this space!

  2. Oma

    Well I guess this is still about toilet training but on a much bigger scale ūüôā xx

    • Shea

      Exactly!! I am quite proud one of my first successful missions has been to minimise our contribution of disposable nappies – ‘plastic waste’! Having our Baby Girl toilet trained by 17 months drastically cut down the number of nappies we used. Phew…..

  3. Barns

    Love this new direction Shea – I’m looking forward to more of your “musings”

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