Protecting the planet for future generations and using our platform as a vehicle for enacting change and discussion is part of our brand DNA. So, to correlate with the launch of our new Made in Australia collection, Haven, we wanted to introduce you to one of our most inspiring Australian muses.
We’ve been following Tarni’s journey for quite some time on Instagram. Her photography inspires wanderlust and a yearning to experience all that Australia has to offer. We also love her passion when it comes to climate change and conservation, so thought we’d invite Tarni to share her knowledge of the changes we can collectively make to create a real difference below…
Tarni, please introduce yourself...
Hi, I’m Tarni. I’m an Environmental Science student, skipper and underwater photographer based on the Sunshine Coast. I’m passionate about our oceans and hope to use photography as a way to highlight environmental issues and inspire others to live a sustainable lifestyle.
What environmental issue are you most concerned about?
I would probably have to say plastic waste. Learning about how plastic not only pollutes our land, but also contributes to greenhouse gas production and global warming, was the turning point for me. I reflected on my lifestyle and what I could do better to live as zero-waste as possible.
Here’s some information below about plastic and the effect it has on our planet.
Effects of plastic on our oceans:
- Plastic waste is one of the most concerning environmental issues, our population continues to consume and produce disposable plastic waste faster than we can deal with it.
- Our single-use and throw-away culture has led people to using plastic without much thinking. The average Australian generates 59kg of single-use plastic waste every single year. We use it to wrap our food for a few hours then throw it away where it can last on this plant for centuries, some up to 400 years.
- What about recycling? Well recycling is a wonderful thing…however recycling glass, metal and plastic is not all equal. Glass and metal can be recycled indefinitely – but plastic cannot. Also, did you know…about 91% of plastic isn’t actually recycled? Crazy! The small percentage of plastic that is recycled, eventually loses its quality and cannot be recycled again, therefore becoming landfill.
- Most of the plastic in the ocean flows down from coastlines. There are more than 1.8 trillion plastic fragments that make up a monstrous garbage patch in the northern Pacific, and there are many garbage patches floating in our ocean.
- Plastic is also finding its way into oceanic food chains and even into the food we eat. About 90% of seabirds have some kind of plastic remains in their stomach, filling them up and leading to starvation, killing up to a million seabirds a year.
- Microplastics have also been found in more than 100 aquatic species, including fish, shrimp, and mussels.
- Similarly, with sea turtles, plastic looks very much like jellyfish so when it is consumed this can become stuck and prevent proper digestion of food, causing a build-up of gas leading to “floating syndrome”.
Plastic production and global warming.
- Not only is plastic polluting our environment, plastic production and incineration itself also produces greenhouse gases and contributes to global warming. Almost all plastic is derived from fossil fuel materials, like oil and gas. The process of extracting and transporting these, then manufacturing and burning plastic, creates billions of tonnes of greenhouse gases. In a year alone, plastic leads to about 850million tonnes of greenhouse gases produced every single year.
What can we do as individuals to make a difference?
Although so much of our planet’s waste is also produced by huge multi-million dollar companies, thankfully there are changes we can all make individually to help this global issue. Here are some simple swaps for commonly used plastic items in your house and lifestyle.
- Plastic bags and food packaging. Even recycled plastic bags will one day be landfill and break down into microplastics. Choose plastic free alternatives, cardboard boxes if going to fruit and veg store, use paper bags, or reusable material bags.
- Plastic containers. Swap for metal container, reuse Tupperware, or glass jars.
- Plastic drink bottles, and takeaway coffee cups/lids. Bring your own reusable water bottle or coffee keep cup. Always have one in your car or bag before you leave the house.
- Plastic cutlery and straws. Reusable cutlery set. Take this to the markets, work or anywhere else you might be eating on the go.
- Plastic food packaging from grocery stores. (e.g. veggies wrapped in plastic, fruit sold in plastic trays, shelf items sold in plastic bags, sauces and spreads in plastic containers). Take cotton mesh produce bags to grocery store instead of using the clear plastic bags they provide for fresh items. Choose food in cardboard boxes, glass jars or metal cans instead of plastic. Purchase food at the local markets and in bulk as often as possible.
- Household items. Plastic hair brush, plastic tooth brushes, shampoo/conditioner bottles Bamboo hairbrush and toothbrush, or even a rechargeable toothbrush with replaceable heads means less plastic waste, shampoo and conditioner bars. You can also purchase some hair products online that you can send back to have refilled straight into the bottle from the warehouse.
- Clothing. Shop responsibly, only buy what you really want. Try clothe swaps, and taking your unwanted items to an op-shop. Shop from brands that follow sustainable practices such as Arnhem.
- Discarded fishing gear: Fishing nets, crab pots, fishing line, ropes, lures, bait bags etc. Practice responsible fishing and remove crab pots that aren’t being used, know your knots to help prevent losing your fishing line and lures, take your old lines and rigs to local fishing stores and fishing line recovery bins to be recycled rather than contributing to landfill.
Some other actions you can take to make a difference:
- Volunteer with local beach clean ups and other conservation groups available in your area. Get your friends and family involved and spread the message.
- Pick up 3 pieces of plastic each time you visit your local beach or river to help prevent these from reaching our oceans.
- Donate to ocean conservation organisations.
- Sign the following petition to ban single use plastics - marineconservation.org.au
If I had one message...
At the end of the day, making even one small change is better than nothing. The most important message I believe is to produce as little waste as possible, to be a conscious consumer and limit purchasing plastic items (especially single-use plastic items) as much as possible. Glass and metal alternatives are fantastic, but if you already have plastic items at home try to use these as long as possible before buying something more sustainable to replace it.
For your daily dose of ocean and nature inspiration follow Tarni on Instagram @tarnijai