Seal Rescue Ireland on plastic: How your choices shape our world.
To mark the end of #PlasticFreeJuly, and the start of National #MarineWeek, our friend and ally Jeshua Taucher is sharing his words of insight, foresight and motivation with The Green Room. Jesh is working tirelessly as education and development manager of Seal Rescue Ireland; a registered charity committed to the rescue, rehabilitation and release of (otherwise neglected) sick, injured and orphaned native common and grey seals.
Our choices shape our world
Incredibly, our generation has inherited the challenge of deciding the fate of all species in Earth’s biosphere. The threats affecting these marine mammals represent undeniable local and global issues that are affecting the human population more prominently every day. Our throwaway-culture, built on an infrastructure of single-use plastic, may be humankind’s biggest design failure.
At Seal Rescue Ireland I come face to face with evident environmental concerns.
Our work physically and emotionally connects us with the individuals who bear the consequences of pressing environmental issues including; marine plastics, habitat destruction, depleting biodiversity, unsustainable fishing, deteriorating water quality and the impacts of climate change. As a bioindicator species, seals give us vital insight into the health of our oceans.
The issues are real and we look into the eyes of the individuals affected everyday. Innocent eyes that don't deserve to bear the brunt of our shortcomings.
The NOAA stated that 100,000 marine mammals and 1,000,000 seabirds die every year from entanglement in inorganic marine debris, such as unethically discarded netting. It is too common an occurrence that we treat seals with painful and life-threatening lacerations caused by entanglement in plastic waste.
Image: Luise Ni Dhonnabhain
It is not only entanglement that is taking innocent lives as a direct fallout of convenient consumerism; ingestion of synthetic marine debris is also a growing issue. Karma, a grey seal rescued in 2016 was found with a crisp packed lodged in her bowels. Unfortunately, she didn't make it. If one crisp packet managed to kill Karma, imagine the impact of the other 7 trillion pieces of plastic and innumerable micro-plastics floating around our oceans. Will you listen to the messages these animals are broadcasting?
So, what to do? Will you join me?
We can change! In fact, progressive change is viral. A positive, environmental movement is happening. It’s time to protect the fauna and love the flora; to nurture our untamed beasts, wild lands and far-reaching seas. Let’s take responsibility for our mistakes and pledge to give life back to Mother Earth.
This revolution starts with awareness, education and proactive conservation. Everybody needs to know the problem and to respect their part in the solution, so that we can work together as a collective to heal the injuries we’ve inflicted on Earth, our only home.
Now... what is the problem?
We’re addicted to fossil fuels, aren’t we? It powers our current economy. Our ‘friend’ plastic is synthesised from fossil fuel and we use too much plastic. We use too many toxic chemicals; we care too little for the species we share our home with and too much for convenient and excessive consumerism: Our lives are so busy! But, have we lost the ability to make short-term sacrifices even for long-term gain?
Thankfully, it's not all bad news. We know the solution... and it starts with YOU!
You might feel helpless, “What can I do I’m just one person?”. News break: everybody is just one person; one person intimately connected to a network of 7.6 billion humans, humans that rapidly learn from every action you ever make. So let’s pull our heads from this polluted sand and do what we do best -adapt to survive.
That's me in the middle, moments away from releasing a rehabilitated seal back to the ocean in front of the large crowd of heart-warmed spectators.
Encourage your peers to shame plastic packaging, shun single use bottles, refuse the straw, and avoid unnecessary bags, coffee cups, and polystyrene. Can you make a conscience effort to swap wasteful items for sustainable alternatives? Sustainable means that something supports a system that can be upheld for an infinite period of time, a system our great grandchildren’s children can appreciate inheriting. Fossil fuel is not sustainable, why not consider your choice of transport?
We have the purchasing power! When we forsake unsustainable trade, the industries MUST adapt. Without demand, supply will buckle, gifting power back to sustainable industries. By reading and mindfully considering this article you are influencing the fossil fuel and plastic industries; you are connecting to the cumulative, global population of conservationists. We, the collective human family, are putting increasing pressure on each other to STOP HARMING OUR HOME, our only home, a home which is not ours only.
Over the last decade we have produced more plastic than during the whole of the last century, and its got nowhere to go. This is our problem, so make your choice.
Are you part of the problem, or the SOLUTION?
Our seal release video might put tears in your eyes.
For more information or if you would like to support our charitable efforts to rescue, rehabilitate and release otherwise neglected seals; and help us to inspire all aspiring conservationists, please visit Seal Rescue Ireland where you can ‘adopt’ a rescued baby seal that NEEDS you, or follow us on Facebook and Instagram.
Written by Jeshua Treacher for Grace & Green