Lessons from our #NationalOceanMonth Celebration

In celebration of#NationalOceanMonth, we held a 3-part event which focused on enlightening our audience about the state of our oceans today and what each of us can do to care for the ocean.

Through our film viewing on “A Plastic Ocean” and a talk by WWF-Philippines, we were made aware of the simple things we can do as individuals to prevent the entry of plastics to the ocean. All participants got to design their own The Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf® tumblers with the theme of “marine life” too, facilitated by Ink Scribbler.

During the talk by Dino Calderon, Environmental Education Head for WWF Philippines, he shared a few simple tips on how we can reduce our plastic consumption.

Sharing them here so everyone can follow suit:

  1. Bring a reusable bag
  2. Refuse plastic straws
  3. Buy a bamboo toothbrush
  4. Bring a reusable tumbler/cup for your beverage consumptions
  5. Bring your own cutlery
  6. Bring your own container
  7. Refuse over packaging (i.e. avoid sachets!)
  8. Share the word!

We can also learn a thing or two from the response of Craig Leeson, Director of the film ‘A Plastic Ocean’ when he was asked about what he wanted people to take away from the film:

“It is very important that people not leave the theater feeling we’re all doomed. At an earlier stage, I was completely pessimistic about the future of the planet. That’s why it was extremely important to get someone like Tanya involved. She has children (I don’t) and as a mother she demands bold solutions to big environmental problems – for our youngest generation now and those that follow. In the solutions section, it was important to show technical advancements like Pyrogenesis, which can take the waste and turn it into an inert non-toxic substance and release it back into the environment. But I didn’t want to fill the technology section of the film with that sort of thing because I don’t want people thinking that this is something that other people will solve for them. Each of us is connected to the plastic we use and we’re all responsible for what and how we use it. The biggest message of this film is that everyone, everywhere, was sold a dishonest marketing concept: that we could use plastic, throw it away and it would be gone forever. And what we want everyone to understand is that there is no “away.” Plastic is the most durable material man has ever made and every piece ever produced is still on the planet in some shape or form. Given that we are producing more than 300 million tonnes a year, you can see how that is building up in to a problem that is going to affect our planet, other species and the health of each one of us. If you take plastic water bottles as an obvious example, one of the major problems is that people are using plastic water bottles thinking they are doing themselves a favor, when they are actually damaging their own health. The irony of this is that the water in most of these bottles sold to people is not as good as their own tap water. In fact, a great deal of it comes from their municipal tap system and is bottled by large corporations. And it is done so without taking out the bacteria, the fluoridation or the chlorination. Our argument is – and this was proven in the film by some of the chemistry laboratories – as soon as water or food come into contact with many of these plastics, then they start to leech into the food or liquid they are in contact with. So it is not just that you’ve been sold water at a thousand times what you could get it for free, but you’re also doing yourself harm because these plastics are leeching chemicals into your body. I’m not anti-plastic, I’m anti plastic in the environment. If we manufacture it and use it we must learn how to deal with it properly before it gets in to the environment and starts to wreak havoc.”

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