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Jen Burns

Sea Shepherd South Australia on-shore volunteer and self-proclaimed tree hugger

A few years ago I joined Sea Shepherd’s South Australian chapter as an on-shore volunteer. I started by participating in their monthly marine debris beach clean ups and found myself looking at my own impact on climate change and the waste produced in my home. I started refusing single-use plastics such as spoons, straws, balloons and plastic bags and purchased cloth produce bags that I use when I buy my fresh fruit and vegetables. If it is in plastic, I choose to go without, and then I research where I could get that product on its own (if possible) or  I work out if I even need it in my life anymore. These actions led me back to visiting  my local farmer’s markets and as a treat, making a trip to the Central Market to buy my staples in bulk boxes.

I have reduced my waste in my home by:

  • purchasing soap nuts for my washing
  • refilling my dish liquid container from a local health food shop
  • recycling even the smallest piece of plastics by collecting them in a soft drink bottle
  • purchasing environmentally friendly toothbrushes and floss (Eco dent for the win for floss!)
  • composting everything (even the dental floss and the hair from my hairbrush)
  • Recycling beauty products at a Terracycle location (see link below- they also take oral care plastics i.e toothpaste tubes)
  • I reduced my purchase of clothing and seek replacements from op shops or swapping clothes with friends
  • Keep cup for my coffee fix

I have since gone on to become an education officer for Sea Shepherd whereby I attend scouts meetings, primary schools and Earth Day events to educate kids about the plight of our oceans and how they can help. The most refreshing part is how children really get it, much more than many adults. So, I give them the tools they need to become little environmental and ocean warriors. It is incredibly rewarding and I remain hopeful.

My biggest action on climate change has been my choice to adopt a plant-based diet. Animal agriculture is the leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions with livestock and their by-products being accounted for at least 32,000 million tons of carbon dioxide (C02) per year, or 51% worldwide. I am an aunty to nine nieces and nephews and I want them to be left with a world that is liveable. We can all take conscious steps into lessening our footprints on this planet.

Some great links that have helped me in my journey have been:

·        www.seashepherd.org.au/marinedebris/

·        www.cowspiracy.com/facts/

·        www.terracycle.com.au/en-AU/about-terracycle/drop_off_locations

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