Today is Earth Day, founded 50 years ago to bring attention to Mother Earth and her needs to survive and thrive. This year, we will be celebrating digitally and virtually versus with each other in person; but, despite the current plight of our planet, we must all remember the Earth is what we all have in common. This Earth Day, we are living with clearer skies but a darker world. We have time to stop and think about our Earth and its healthiness and what we as individuals can do to keep up the positive impacts that the virus has forced us to witness. Each of us has a role. Climate action is the theme for Earth Day 2020, which is very fitting.
Since chiming the celebratory bells for the 2020 New Year, the Earth has had record heat, wildfires, storms, locust and floods, and now we are in the middle of a global pandemic, COVID-19, causing mass chaos to our lives. However, the glimpse of good during these times is not worth ignoring! Whilst us humans are in lock down, our wildlife is freely roaming the streets and our planet is taking a well-deserved break from the pollution, global warning, human usage and overall destruction our lifestyles demand of Mother Earth.
Just look out the window or on social media to see whales frolicking, pandas shagging, birds singing, deer swimming, coral growing and crops flourishing. Something is happening during these dark times. Mother Earth is saying thank you for the time-out.
In Kenya, we saw this magnificent glory and we’re amazed. From our partner’s office window, we could see Mt Kilimanjaro for the first time in 30 years because of the lack of pollution. In China, the air quality index has improved by 1000% from factories closing. In Venice, you can see clear water in the canals. In Australia, seals sleeping on sun-beds on beaches. The glorious fun of nature, a sight to behold.
The flip flop business is an ugly business! It makes up crude oil, cheap labor, and appalling working conditions. That is why we are always trying to raise awareness of such a cheap product and its impact on the Earth. At Ocean Sole, we are dedicated to cleaning our oceans by collecting washed up flip-flops found along the beaches and waterways in Kenya. At the front line of climate change, the ocean, coastlines, and coastal communities are being disproportionately impacted by increasing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions from human activities.
We have recycled over 559 tons of flip-flops that have ended up along the beaches and waterways in Kenya since the social enterprise started in 2006. In 2019, Ocean Sole turned approximately 1 million flip-flops washed ashore into art and functional products. Additionally, Ocean Sole is creating employment for a country that has a 40 percent unemployment rate in non-virus times and now nearly 75%. We work with communities along the coast, our waterways and other toxic areas to up-cycle flip flop pollution.
Our business is all about the community and the environment. From creating upcycled art sculptures to making mattresses for refugees, we are dedicated to helping the environment and hope you will too. Ocean Sole’s vision is rooted in a deep reverence for the next generation – almost every week, another major educational institution embarks on a school trip to our premises. These students leave with a better understanding regarding the plastic waste crisis. In spirit of education, we hope this blog post encourages you to look after our planet.
The beautiful art that Ocean Sole creates portrays an important message about the state of our oceans and is a reminder that when we recognize the ugliness in the world, through action we can make a difference. On this Earth Day, we are determined to help raise awareness on climate change. Interested in ways you can help fight climate change?
Here are our 5 things to start doing to help Mother Earth...
- Get informed. Knowledge is power – learn more about the science behind climate change.
- Hold yourself accountable. Use a carbon calculator to take a personal inventory of your own personal impact on the planet. It may surprise you!
- Limit the use of fossil fuels. The road towards limited fossil fuels includes daily decisions within your reach. Going car-free is one of the most effective actions an individual can take. However, we know that is not suitable for everyone. It is important to take public transportation, walk or bike whenever one can (once this situation is all over!)
- Sharing is caring. If we own less and use more things collectively, the need to produce more things decreases. Save on resources by sharing clothes, donating books, lending and borrowing tools, driving a friend to work, etc. Remember the three R’s – reduce, reuse, recycle. Reducing the amount of stuff, we buy reduces the energy involved in the production of those products. Buy products with less packaging, choose reusable over disposable, maintain and repair products, borrow or rent and donate.
- Shop smarter. Do you know where your dollar is going? Support companies driven by sustainability and committed to transparency throughout the supply chain. Your power as a consumer is impactful. Shop smarter by choosing eco-products that take care of the planet.
Let us know how you will be celebrating Earth Day by tagging us in your photos at @oceansoleafrica. Let’s spread the word and save the planet! ♻️ 🌊 🌎