June 8th was World Ocean Day. Yes, there is almost a “Day” for everything these days, but this one is a very important to one. Muhammad Ali said ” Rivers, ponds, lakes and streams – they all have different names, but they all contain water. Just as religions do – they all contain truths. “ And this couldn’t be more true today. Everything we do, everything we are, is water. We need it to survive. It is the one necessity in life. And we need to take care and protect it.
I grew up very far away from the sea. Actually, the first time I stepped into the ocean I was 16, and I was in Costa Rica, far from my home. I didn’t even know what salt water was. It was a huge difference to the lakes and rivers I was used too ( que TLC ) Even now, in Munich, I live over 500 kilometers away from the Mediterranean Sea, over 800 kilometers from the North Sea, and over 1000 kilometers away from the Atlantic Ocean. Yet, this subject is one that involves every single person on this earth, large and small, from all walks of life, and all areas of the world. We should all be concerning ourselves with water. Because water is life.
I recently spend 16 days in May and June on the Île de Ré, an island on the west coast of France. A place that I have learned to love over the years. Almost a second, or third … home. This was my 10th time visiting and I miss it more and more every time I have to leave. I literally cry while driving over the bridge that takes me back to main land Europe. I was lucky enough to share and show this place to new and old friends this June, and I hope they found it as wonderful as I do.
This place is pure, and gorgeous, and moves slow. But like so many places we love, it also needs protection. During my time there I was at the beach almost every day and was surprised to find it very clean, with little amounts of garbage. Most of the locals, whether it be surfers, fishermen or retirees produce little waste, and what they do produce, they make sure it is recycled or disposed of properly. Even the public beaches here do not have garbage bins. That way, people are forced to bring home with them what they brought, instead of leaving it around where is overflows the garbage bins in these natural places. However, when the tourists arrive for the weekend, I noticed such a difference in how they treated this place. After going for walks along the beach approximately every day, I found that other than fishing nets or ropes, all the waste I found was from us beach goers. And what I can assume, without pointing fingers, is that it is mostly from those on “vacation.” Why is that when we are away from home, or not in our regular routine we pick up such bad habits ? I think it is because we are lazy. And this is probably the worst excuse in the book. I think that this is what makes or breaks people. How they behave while away from home. Do they treat others as they would like to be treated ? Do they buy all their groceries with endless plastic bags and packaging? Do they treat the place they are visiting as if it was their home ? Do they pick up after themselves ? Do they take the time to watch where and how they are moving ? Some of us do, some of us don’t. And this needs to change. If not for humanity, then for our water sources. I have a feeling that in the near future water is going to be a large problem for our warming planet, and I hope and pray that everything we are doing today will prevent it from becoming a catastrophical issue.
What can you do to help ? Using these tips not only at home but on vacation this summer and in the future will help a lot. So will taking time. Take time to clean up after yourself, and make conscious choices in what you buy and throw away. Participate in local clean ups near waterways, parks, natural areas or wherever you find it is needed. A small good deed goes a long way. Also trying to lower your ecological footprint in your daily live is a huge help. Try taking this test or another similar one, to determine what areas you can improve on. And last but not least, treat everyone and everything with kindness. Animal, human, plant, and water. We are all stronger when we work together as one :)
Now that I have bummed you out, sorry about that, I will lift you back up again, with images from this gorgeous place next to the sea. During this visit we had a bit of every weather and every temperature. Wind, rain, sun, and storm! For any of you that are interested in visiting this island, I highly recommend it. I will be there again in September for this GETAWAY to the SEA, with my lovely friend Julia and would love to share it with you all.
Take care folks, and Happy Canada Day today all the millions of fellow Canadians worldwide!