I have been staring at the screen of my laptop for hours and hours on end before I finally put my mind to it and started writing this post.
Some of you might be thinking I was battling procrastination because I did not know what to say but that couldn’t be further from the truth; I had so much to say that my mind could not pick a starting point or even begin to section out what to include. At last I thought the best place to begin is always the beginning.
I was lucky to meet both Erin Smith and Katie Carnelley the day before their weekly beach clean up. As the conversation continued into different directions I found myself asking multiple questions in relation to Ocean Sole and what it is they actually do. Perhaps I had an angel on my shoulder that particular day because at the end of our meeting, I was invited to one of Ocean Soles weekly beach clean ups the following morning.
Now… I’ll be honest, prior to this I had rarely taken part in any beach clean ups. Beach clean ups were things I had only briefly heard or read about but I had never persoanlly gotten involved in one.
When I tell you it was my lucky day - believe me - it was my lucky day.
But before I continue, I am letting you know that this next paragraph requires a space of honesty and I am almost certain you can relate to it. I have always seen various posts on Instagram or headlines on the News relating to the various problems our environment is facing. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe SnapChat has a whole section dedicated to creating environmental awareness. Even Though I’m not the biggest socialite on the planet nor do I tune into the News everyday, I have seen what is wrong with the environment and the stress our planet is under such as deforestation, global warming, water scarcity, endangered animals or plastic oceans to name a few. However, I guess I had been subject to the message “Save Our Environment”, “Think and Go Green” or “Conserve Our Oceans” for so long that my brain kind of... diluted the message and with that in mind, the urgency of the message began to fade.
When I got the beach clean up that Ocean Sole had created and I actually stood face to face with the amount of debris that is washed up everyday on the beach from the oceans as opposed to an advert - I was shooketh!.
The environment has been in such a bad state for so long and naturally various organisations and individuals do their best to expose the greater public to that information, however, in the midst of all that, the importance of the message somehow begins to dissolve and get lost. In other words, one tends to become immune to it. The environmental crisis isn’t something a lot of people can feel or even fathom and so, it becomes a challenge to truly grasp the severity of the situation.
The beach clean up gave me the experience of being able to not only see the problem but suddenly the problem became tangible. When I first arrived at the beach I remember thinking “The ocean is beautiful, what a lovely view”. But shortly after having a hands on experience with picking up flip flops, plastic and other forms of rubbish I began to think that that statement couldn't be further from the truth. I began to realise the beach is but a reflection of the ocean because whatever is on the beach, likely got washed up from the ocean to create beautiful Flip flop art work from that.
And then I began to think further!
Imagine all the rubbish we’re missing? Imagine all the items daily killing, suffocating and drowning marine life that does not get washed up on the beach and taken away by Ocean Sole?
After having such an awakening experience from that day forward, I decided that I really wanted to help Ocean Sole in any way that I could, especially since they focus not only on the environment but also on the betterment of communities within Kenya. I learned that Ocean Sole helps reduce the unemployment rate through providing people with jobs. I also learned that Ocean Sole is a social enterprise meaning, all the money they gain from sales and donations goes right back into the community.
Looking back, I can say that had I not gone to the beach clean up hosted by Ocean Sole, I may not have gotten a crystal clear understanding of the stress our planet is under. It gave me a light bulb moment which triggered a deeper understanding of why it is important to take part in community clean ups and donate to environmental organisations.
The truth is, when you help organisations like Ocean Sole, you do the planet justice but at the same time, you do yourself a favour.
I’ll finish with this: When the ocean empties, the forests disappear and the temperature keeps rising causing the entire ecosystem to collapse… where are you going to live? Better yet, where will your kids live and their kids?!
Your family tree will not keep growing without a planet to plant its roots.
Checkout our other blog on “Supporting Recycled Art” to know more about our flipflop reycling process.