As part of our morning sunrise livestream series, we recently had the pleasure of chatting with Bondi local Costa Georgiadis, Landscape Architect, Environmental Educator, Gold Logie award winner and host of the ABC’s Gardening Australia about his love for Bondi. Our conversation focussed on how we can move to a more sustainable way of living and how we can protect the beautiful coastal marine environment we live in with ocean love.
Why it’s critical to understand how our costal ecosystem works!
“We are fortunate to live in an area with one of the most stunning strips of nature and there’s so much to appreciate.”
I love to see the connections between the soil, the moisture, how water works in the landscape and our connection to it as people. You only have to look at the relationship that first nation peoples have had scientifically with the landscape for tens of thousands of years and that helps put into context what these landscapes are about.
In the city, when it comes to seaweed for example, people are thinking its smells rank it and so get rid of it but it’s part of the eco system. When that seaweed starts to break down, the flies lay eggs in it; the eggs become maggots and the tide comes in take it out and then it feeds the fish.
It’s all part of the local eco system and when it comes to carbon sequestration, the ocean is sucking down more carbon. The importance of the ocean is crucial – off the coast here, we have incredible seaweed forests for example. If you watch Australia’s Ocean Odyssey you’ll learn about the kelp and seaweed forests of our eastern seaboard of Australia and they’re critical and as a result of that series there was the inaugural Seaweed Festival in April this year.
It makes people realise that although we can’t see what’s happening under the water, it is critical to our survival. Even the changing currents. When the current changes that talks to the air and it either says yes you can rain or no, you’re can’t rain as there’s no moisture – so ocean love is really important.
What are some of the ways people can help protect our marine environment & live more sustainably?
1.Daily removal of litter and plastic from our beaches
We have so many single use pieces of plastic
There are so many direct prescriptive ways we can do something – I’ve become very good friends with Tom Silverwood from Take 3 For The Sea and every time we go near not just the sea, a waterway or a lake just pick up three pieces of litter and plastic and what that then does is makes us realise we have so many single use pieces of plastic!
Then you can start to thread it all together – you can think well who is using these, who keeps dropping these up the street. The other thing we need to remember if you want to think about sustainability is that every landscape drains to the sea ultimately; whether it means that it runs from the mountains and down through the Murray and out through South Australia.
That drop of water that lands in nature in this incredible day to day reality. Everything is hanging on to that water – the rainforest canopy slows the water, the mulch slows the water but it all ends up in the sea eventually and with it comes all this single use plastic. So by taking 3 for the sea you can start to take responsibility.
2. Stop using single-use plastic!
Be responsible Me!
My friend Justin took it to the next level and started responsible cafes because they would do a beach cleanup every Sunday after people had been to the beach. They don’t care and drop stuff and we’d clean it all up and cleaning it up it just like swiping someone’s backside -you’re not teaching anybody anything.
So what responsible cafes is all about is documenting all that and saying who and which outlet is responsible for all the straws, which outlet is responsible for the plastic sushi fish soy sauce, so you go back to the outlets and ask how can we change this?
And if you think about that context it doesn’t have to be responsible cafes it’s responsible me. So what am I bringing into my life? Am I buying these consistently recyclable things and recycling is just a step, it’s not the end game.
You really should be thinking “can I use things that are reusable, can I use things that are refillable, can I eliminate plastic, can I buy things in reusable bags so that it doesn’t have to be put into a single use recyclable bag?” It’s great that some supermarket plastic can be recycled but we need to stop those behaviors.
3. Individual responsibility is everything
Buy from the innovative activist-entrepreneurs
Another great initiative that you may have seen recently is Zero Co’s 24-hour harbour clean up when diver Dean Cropp collected plastic waste from the harbour floor that will be turned into multi-use refillable containers for personal care, kitchen cleaning and household cleaning products.
How it works it that they make personal care and home cleaning products like laundry liquid, dish washing detergent, body wash and hand wash and they deliver them direct to Aussie homes minus all the single use plastic. So if you go to www.zeroco.com.au you can buy yourself a starter box and in your box you get a forever bottle made of recycled plastic from the ocean and a you also get a set of refill pouches and you use the refill pouch to fill up the forever bottle.
You send the refill pouch back to them in a postage paid envelope and they clean and refill them and send them back to you over and over again. And every time a customer buys a set of forever bottles, they are funding large scale ocean cleaning activities.
4. Start with the small things but act every day
To make a behavioral change, you’ve just got to start somewhere!
Don’t try and change your family overnight, start with the small things. People say the issues are urgent, we’re facing dramatic climate challenges, we’ve got to act now but acting every day is the biggest resonance and that’s the biggest sound that you can put out. It’s like a sonar because when someone sees me picking up rubbish on the beach they think what’s that person doing and it’s just about sowing seeds of change.
In that sense, I don’t panic about trying to change everything at once, just remember that people are watching you, most importantly children and that’s why I’m really interested and really involved in children and their learning and education.
5. Shaping generational change through our kids.
Let children implement change, they do it naturally.
I look at the nature of people and I see we’ve got kids coming onto the conveyor belt and we’ve got others going off at the other end, so we need to look at where time on these matters is best invested.
For me, I investing a large portion of time on projects here and there and a portion of time in people who are capable of change. I believe in letting kids implement the changes we need because they do it out of their zest for life rather than them having some man begging them to change their life. Your young children and grand kids will do it without much of a push, so it’s a real privilege so for me every day and every opportunity I get to engage and positively craft children’s outlook. It is a blessing so I take it.
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Get involved and find out more information
Zero Co www.zeroco.com.au
Take Three for the sea https://www.take3.org/
Responsible cafes https://responsiblecafes.org/
Taronga Blue https://www.tangaroablue.org/
Manly Seaweed festival https://www.seaweedforestsfestival.com/