Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton
Its good to finally make a start on this journey although I do wish this sense of urgency had hit me earlier. Having finally woken up to this crisis I have started to do something about it. They have been very small steps so far, first I quietly bought a keep cup for coffee and a now very battered but still very functional klean kanteen for water, then I started to talk openly about our significant dependency on single use plastic.
It was a year in to joining the Royal Outrigger Canoe Club a section of the Royal Canoe Club (the first ever canoe club in the world established in 1866) that my inner activist found its voice. The river was in flood, the flow was high and there had been a copious amount of rain and I saw for apparently the first time the sheer volume of plastic items that were floating in the Thames and adorning its banks. What filter had I previously been using that noticed the beautiful birds on our River but not the rubbish that floated in it? I was angry that our community was ignorant and lazy enough to allow this much rubbish to enter the Thames and I wanted to do something about it.
I emailed our committee to ask them if we could ban the use of single use plastic bottles and as a result I am now the clubs “plastic ambassador”. So far we have provided a refillable metal bottle with the club logo and have organised two river cleans as part of the Surfers Against Sewage Big Spring Beach Clean campaign supported by British Canoeing. There is a lot more work to do and we must take responsibility, particularly as our club happens to be the last defense before the tidal Thames which starts at Teddington!
This next part of the journey is to call on all water-people to build a supportive community along the River Thames. We know and love our river, its ebbs, its flows, where the rubbish collects and when it is likely to be at its peak. Let us be role models for peers, for young people and for doubters! Let us share our experiences both good & bad in this fight and let us be the difference!!
Thanks for joining me!