Archive for the ‘Activism’ Category

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Seafood festival

July 28, 2009

The seafood festival in Weymouth last weekend was a very wet affair, at least on the saturday when I was there.

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Despite the weather there was a good turnout, and some crazy fools even swam across the harbour!

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At our stand we were making basking shark pencil pots. Most of the kids seemed to enjoy it but the instructions were a bit complicated for some of the younger ones and that meant it took some of them a while and caused some frustration! A lot were really excited when they saw the pots and it was nice to see the creative streak coming through at such a young age. Almost everyone, including the parents, was surprised to learn we get basking sharks along the coast here, and it was great to see the look on some of the children’s faces when we told them that even with that huge mouth these sharks aren’t man-eaters and don’t even have teeth!

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As well as the crafting for the children we had a lot of information about the ocean, and the problems of pollution in particular. One of the displays that seemed to have the most impact was photographs of balloons and plastic bags as a turtle would view them from underwater. These look uncannily like jellyfish, which are the favourite food of turtles and many other marine animals. The most common cause of death across all turtle species is starvation caused by eating plastic bags that have been mistaken for jellyfish so we are campaigning to reduce the plastic bag waste that is thrown away, ending up in the ocean. Charity balloon releases are another huge problem, because although people see it as raising money for a good cause, they often don’t realise that the vast majority of these balloons end up in the sea causing major hazards for marine life. So I guess the message is hold a raffle instead!

Another display that got a lot of comments was this “souvenir” stand (click to enlarge):

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The packets are all filled with plastic rubbish collected from the local beach. There was so much it could even be put in packets of matching colour! I find it very sad that so many people still think it’s acceptable and normal to leave litter on beaches, or throw waste over the side of a fishing boat, especially when by their very nature beaches are mostly used by children and families.

Luckily there are plenty of people helping to make a difference through beach-cleans, campaigns and fundraising. If you’re feeling inspired why not join your nearest beach clean event? Or look at the Dorset Wildlife Trust and Marine Conservation Society  websites for other ways you can help.

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