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#surfstories: kelly slater embarks on a new crusade to save the oceans



Usually, when we hear that something happened ten years ago, we go back in our minds to the nineties, when we actually are about to finish the second decade of the new millennium; before we even notice it will be the year 2030, 2040 and so on… and, if we intend to be honest, everything just seems to be worsening. Maybe, it has taken us too long to realize that the planet relies on us too, that we all conform an elaborate system, event though some people might be against this idea. The year 2050 is just around the corner, and though it’s plausible that by then we have already encountered life in a far away galaxy,  it’s also very likely that the harm we’ll have occasioned to mother Earth will be irreparable. The World Economic Forum estimates that by that year, most of the reefs around the will have disappeared, and that there will be more plastic than fish in the oceans, pound by pound. As a matter of fact, the Pacific Ocean is already covered with huge plastic areas, technically impossible to collect because, once plastic decomposes in water, it breaks into very tiny particles; the sea currents makes this task even harder. According to recent studies, most of this plastic ends up in the stomach of thousands of animals; more than half of the sea turtles die due to this problematic, the situation is even worse for marine birds.

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Albatross with the stomach filled with garbage

According to the report of the aforementioned organization, the worldwide usage of plastic has increased 20 times in the past 50 years, and it is expected to double in the next 20. By 2050 we will be producing three times more plastic than in 2014. This isn’t the sole problem, we not just only produce way too much plastic, but we are a mess when it comes to recycling it or disposing it properly. One third of the world’s plastic escapes any type of treatment or recollection method, and it ends up floating in an ocean somewhere, or littering a beach somehow. What is really troubling is that this issue has been happening for over one hundred years now, and at no point during this period, a real solution has been achieved or proposed. “We need to shift our awareness. It’s not ok to destroy our ocean“, Kelly Slater has always been an engaged activist; the best surfer in history has always used his voice to advocate for  environmental causes, either if it is defending the rhinos in South Africa, fighting against shark finning, or working side by side with the BSO Foundation, helping orangutans all around the world. “Humans are the biggest threat to life on earth as most creatures know it. But they are also the most capable and able to fix the issues we face.

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Kelly Slater for the ‘It’s Not Ok’ campaign

Now Slater has recently joined Outerknown, collaborating with them in the ‘It’s Not Ok’ campaign. Because it’s not ok that all these problems are so evident and no one is ensuring the adequate measurements to solve them. The oceans are, without a doubt, on the fast track to becoming dumpsters, if they aren’t already, and it’s a true shame we have let this happen. That’s why 100% of the ‘It’s Not Ok’ profits will be donated to the non-profit organization Ocean Conservancy, which has been working since 1972 taking care of the ocean, cleaning up beaches and creating federal and state government policies encouraging this much-needed change. Each t-shirt has a market price of 48 dollars (45 euros more or less), and can be ordered in the website of the brand. Campaigns such as this one, built upon good will of heart and positive intentions, help raise awareness and collecting funds, but they will never be effective unless us, as specie, understand that it depends on every single individual to the oceans, because at the point we are in, it’s no longer about protecting them, but about reverting a process that has been going on for decades.

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‘It’s Not Ok’

Right up until today, one of the most ambitious projects focused to reduce the amount of plastic in the oceans comes from the mind of a young Dutch aerospace engineer , Boyan Slat, of whom we have written on previous occasions. His design, The Ocean Cleanup, which has collected 2.2 million dollars in donations, is a passive method for removing marine debris traveling through the ocean currents. “Taking care of the world’s ocean garbage problem is one of the largest environmental challenges mankind faces today“, Slat affirmed on a blog entry. Last year a pilot program took place in the Island of Tsushima in Japan; sadly the results weren’t as expected, partly due to the fact that 92% of the plastic that floats in the ocean is microplastic -small plastic particles in the environment that are generally smaller than 1 mm (0.039 in)- and cannot be caught by this system. Many of Slat’s critics state that the best way of solving this issue is decreasing plastic consumption worldwide, since this would be the only long-term solution. Nonetheless, it’s encouraging to know that there are people around the world genuinely worried about this problematic; we might still be in time to save our oceans, and we better, because it’s inevitable to think that if we end screwing it up, ruining the ocean, life on Earth won’t be the same, unleashing the beginning of our end as specie in this planet.

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