Podcast Ep. 47 OCEAN PLASTIC WARRIOR TIM SILVERWOOD
THIS EPISODE IS BROUGHT TO YOU BY BLUE, A FILM ABOUT OUR OCEANS
EPISODE 47 FEATURES TIM SILVERWOOD
Tim is also one of the "ocean guardians" featured in the documentary, Blue. And you might have seen him on the ABC’s War on Waste. If you have kids, or indeed if you are a kid, you might have seen him at your school, because Tim is a relentless spreader of the word about ocean plastic.
He has given hundreds of talks to schools, communities and businesses because as he says, "Change isn’t going to be easy, but there’s no time to procrastinate or hope someone else is going to fix it…it’s time to do something. YOU are the person you’ve been waiting for."
WHAT WE TALK ABOUT....
The ocean plastic issue. The good news is that uptake of the issue has reached critical mass. Everywhere concerned citizens, companies, NGOs and governments are taking action. This year's WORLD ENVIRONMENT DAY was themed #beatplasticpollution On their website they outline the scope of the problem:
"While plastic has many valuable uses, we have become over reliant on single-use or disposable plastic – with severe environmental consequences. Around the world, 1 million plastic drinking bottles are purchased every minute. Every year we use up to 5 trillion disposable plastic bags. In total, 50 per cent of the plastic we use is single use.
Nearly one third of the plastic packaging we use escapes collection systems, which means that it ends up clogging our city streets and polluting our natural environment. Every year, up to 13 million tons of plastic leak into our oceans, where it smothers coral reefs and threatens vulnerable marine wildlife. The plastic that ends up in the oceans can circle the Earth four times in a single year, and it can persist for up to 1,000 years before it fully disintegrates."
IT'S TIME TO REUSE, REFUSE, RECYCLE AND RETHINK.
Clare's upcoming book RISE & RESIST explores the movement in depth... it's coming out in October. Woot!
Tim is a co-founder TAKE 3 FOR THE SEA The campaign aims to reducing global plastic pollution through education and participation. The entry point is simple - next time you're at the beach, collect up and take 3 pieces of plastic litter away with you, and return them to the waste stream. The #take3forthesea hashtag has been used in 129 countries.
ODD THINGS THAT WASH UP ON THE BEACH. "Enough soggy Nike basketball shoes to outfit every high school team in Alaska are drifting through the Pacific Ocean toward the state after spilling from a container ship off Northern California," reported the Washington Times in February 2003. There was just one hitch... "Nike forgot to tie the laces, so you have to find mates. The effort's worth it, because these Nikes have only been adrift a few months. All 33,000 are wearable." Read the rest of the story here.
Ghost nets are abandoned fishing nets. Nylon used to make them can take up to 600 years to decompose.
STRAWS. Americans use 500 million plastic straws a day...Or do they? This stat has been reported by everyone from National Geographic to the Guardian, but it doesn't come from an academic study. It's an estimate, worked out by a 9-year-old school boy and his mum via a bunch of phone surveys, apparently. Still, imagining, as it does, that your average American uses 2 straws per day, it's not unrealistic is it? Especially when you consider that straws aren't just used in restaurants, fast food joints and bars - they come attached to kids' drinks cartons, you can buy them in supermarkets to play with at home, and many cocktails come with MORE THAN ONE STRAW IN THEM. Madness.
Our girl Harriet Spark is the Sydney 'Stawkle' chick. Follow her in Instagram here.
NURDLES (also known as "mermaid tears") are small plastic pellets about the size of a lentil. Billions are used each year to make nearly all our plastic products but many end up washing up on our shores. Find out more here.
PLASTIC FREE JULY. IT'S NOW! HAVE YOU TAKEN THE PLEDGE YET?
Chris Jordan's famous photographs of birds killed by plastic are unforgettable, and almost unbearably sad. To learn more about how plastic pollution affects birdlife and what's being done to combat it, listen to Episode 3 of this podcast, featuring Dr Jennifer Lavers.
Ocean currents. Tim mentions the NASA satellites that show global surface currents. Check out the extraordinary visuals here.
OUR FRIENDS AT THE ELLEN MACARTHUR FOUNDATION provide detailed data on plastics, the extent of pollution and the opportunities for the CIRCULAR ECONOMY. Download The New Plastics Economy: Rethinking the future of plastics report here.
“IT’S SO DYNAMIC. THE OCEAN IS ALWAYS MOVING. AND OF COURSE, IF PLASTIC IS IN THE OCEAN AND IT FLOATS, IT’S GOING TO MOVE ON THOSE CURRENTS AND IT’S GOING TO START TO GATHER AND CONVERGE IN THESE GYRES” - TIM SILVERWOOD
Dr Mark Browne is the scientist Tim mentions who works on microfibre pollution. If you've read Wardrobe Crisis, you will know all about Mark - Clare interviews him in the book. (If you haven't read it yet, what are you waiting for?)
This interview was recorded live at the Sustainable Living Festival in Melbourne. The next one happens in February 2019.
They say: "BLUE is the story our generation need to hear. The industrialisation that has occurred in the oceans over the last century, mirrors the events that triggered mass extinctions on land. Industrial scale fishing, habitat destruction, species loss and pollution have placed the ocean in peril. The very nature of the sea is being irretrievably altered. BLUE is a provocative journey into the ocean realm, witnessing this critical moment in time when the marine world is on a precipice."
Clare says: "Told through the eyes of seven people working in different ways to raise awareness, it's the story of how our imperilled oceans need our help to thrive. Legendary 82-year-old diver Valerie Taylor details how much more diverse marine life was when she shot to fame in the 1960s. She bears witness to the effects of over-fishing, pollution and climate change on our reefs.
Pro-shark activist Madison Stewart, who at 23 is perhaps Taylor's present-day equivalent, travels to Indonesia to show us how shark fins are harvested, and hears from local fishermen about depleting stocks. Speaking after the premiere screening, Stewart said, 'I don't like the word 'hope'. It suggests we've given up, that we don't have the power to change things. We do. What we need is action.' The film also features conservationists Tim Silverwood and Lucas Handley, parks ranger Phillip Mango, who works in remote Cape York, and sea bird specialist Dr Jennifer Lavers. They all share their perspectives on the marine debris problem." Read full story, and Clare's interview with director Karina Holden in the Sydney Morning Herald.
WHAT THE TRAILER...
A note on our MUSIC: it is by our friend Montaigne, who sang a special acoustic version of "Because I love You" just for us. It's from her album Glorious Heights.
THANK YOU FOR JOINING THE WARDROBE CRISIS CONVERSATION. WE'LL HAVE A NEW EPISODE FOR YOU EVERY WEDNESDAY. CAN YOU HELP US SPREAD THE WORD? WE'D LOVE YOU TO TELL YOUR FRIENDS & LEAVE A REVIEW IN iTUNES.
Until next time,