This year’s World Earth Day theme is Restore Our Earth and there are plenty of ways you can get involved.
One part of our Earth that we at Reef HQ Aquarium are extremely passionate about is the Great Barrier Reef. More than just fish and coral, the Reef is home to some of the world’s most loved and iconic animals, including six of the world's seven species of marine turtles, 30 species of whales and dolphins, and is home to one of the world's most important dugong populations.
The health of the Great Barrier Reef is declining due to threats such as marine debris and the consequences of climate change. There are plenty of actions you can take to secure the future of the Great Barrier Reef and to Restore Our Earth.
Believe in the Change and learn what you can do
Helping the environment can be as easy as 1,2,3 or RRC.
1. Reduce your plastic waste
One of the main environmental threats can be seen in plastic waste, a known contributor to climate change. Sunlight and heat cause plastic products to release powerful greenhouse gases, which are toxic to many animals.
Choosing to reuse is a great way to reduce the amount of plastic waste you produce.
- Use a reusable bottle and fill up from a tap, water fountain or water station.
- You can cut down on take away cups by using a reusable coffee mug or cup.
- Take reusable bags with you when shopping or choose to use a paper bag over a plastic-based product if you have left your reusable bag at home.
- Blow bubbles, and not balloons when you can. Balloons and balloon clips impact the environment and wildlife, including the sea bird population. Help protect your feathered friends by choosing bubbles over balloons.
- Use reusable containers, bees wax food wraps or food wrap silicone sheets to keep your food fresh in an environmentally friendly way. If you are using soft plastics to keep your food fresh, be sure to recycle this waste responsibly.
2. Recycle when you can
If reducing your plastic waste isn’t an option, be sure to recycle what you can and dispose of your waste responsibly to avoid the potential of your litter becoming marine debris. There are plenty of ways you can recycle and dispose of your plastic waste responsibly.
- Collect your soft plastics and set them aside to be donated to Redcycle where plastics will go on to be made into a range of new products, such as furniture like the outdoor chair and table sets, used at Reef HQ Aquarium. You can find your nearest Redcycle collection centre by clicking here.
- Check out your local Containers for Change scheme by clicking here and receive 10c per container when dropping off your eligible containers at a collection point or refund facility. When donating your collected cans and containers remember to remove the bottle caps and lids.
- Bottle caps and lids can be donated to Lids for Kids where they will turn your plastic bottle lids into prosthetic limbs for kids using 3D printers.
- Bread tags can also be donated to a good cause. Places like Oz bread tags for wheelchairs will take your donated bread tags to recycle and raise funds to buy wheelchairs for people in need in South Africa.
Want to learn more ways you can recycle your plastic waste?
Visit Terracycle, by clicking here and learn how you can recycle everything from laundry products, dental products, pens and more.
3. Cycle instead of driving
Vehicles not only produce the principal greenhouse gas of carbon dioxide (CO2), but they also produce greenhouse gases such as nitrous oxide and methane. Help reduce your greenhouse gas emissions by choosing to cycle instead of drive.
- Start small by choosing to ride to your favourite café with a friend, or ride to work with a colleague.
- Be the Change
By taking steps to reduce your environmental impacts, you are choosing to do your bit to Restore Our Earth.
Don’t think your impact will be enough? Grab a group of friends and choose to take steps to reduce your environmental impact together. Inspire and motivate each other and keep each other accountable to be the change that combats climate change.
Learn how we made changes to reduce our environmental impact at Reef HQ Aquarium by clicking here, and encourage your local business to do the same.
What other local businesses are doing to help Restore our Earth:
Some of our previous Turtle Hospital or Reef HQ Volunteer supporters are taking steps to restore our Earth and help our Reef.
- The Grand Hotel created an Eco Green Stay package. Guests who select this package choose to not have their room serviced during their stay, decreasing their environmental footprint due to the reduction in energy used to launder daily towels.
- Longboard Bar and Grill reduced their plastic waste by removing plastic straws from their venue and not offering straws to guests or providing a paper straw when requested.
- South32 mine recycled cans and containers through their container for change scheme and donated the proceeds to the Reef HQ Volunteers Association who used their donation to pay for a satellite tag to be placed on a female hawksbill turtle. Researchers will use data from this tracker to understand where the critically endangered hawksbill turtles live and the types of habitats they need, so measures can be put in place to protect the areas they need to survive and thrive. You can follow her journey here.