Saving Sea Turtles

I don’t have a Marine Biology degree. Nothing of the sort! I’m a kindergarten teacher! But I am passionate about Saving Sea Turtles. I love sharing that awareness of how important this is. We have all seen the awful pictures of sea turtles tangled in fishing nets, fishing lines, six pack beer rings etc. on social media. Many people scroll down their post feeds and cringe and move on to another post which is less distressing.

So what can I do about turtles, you may ask. A Lot! And it doesn’t take much time or energy to make a difference. If everyone tried to do their little bit, we would finally win the war against total turtle eradication and extinction. I love this quote: “The greatest threat to our planet, is the belief that someone else will save it!” – Robert Swan. Did you know what turtles love to snack on? Jellyfish, yes! A carelessly discarded plastic bag which blows into the ocean floats just like a jellyfish. So the hungry little turtle tries to take a bite and finds he can’t break off a piece and has to keep swallowing till he has ingested the entire bag! Sad, but true.

I run workshops entitled, “Saving Sea Turtles one T.Shirt at a Time” and request participants bring an old favourite t.shirt which they can convert into a turtle saving device. Some think we are going to screen print a logo or something catchy on their shirt. Others wonder how we are going to literally catch a turtle in the t.shirt. I show them how to turn their t.shirt into a reusable shopping bag and they beam with pride when they leave, knowing that each time they use their self-made reusable shopping bag, they are potentially saving a turtle. They know that over a year, just using that single t.shirt shopping bag (which stretches to accommodate twice of what one single use plastic bag can) once weekly, they are keeping 104 plastic bags out of landfill. And potentially saving as many sea turtles! That’s empowering!

T.Shirt bags, upcycled, embellished and so useful!

Boomerang Bags is an Australian idea, which began as a community project to reduce single-use plastic bags and the negative impact on our environment and marine ecology. Volunteers get together and sew reusable fabric shopping bags out of donated fabric. These are then put out to shoppers to “Borrow and Reuse“, for FREE! Little would the initiators have known this simple idea would spread far and wide, with many community projects springing up all over Australia, New Zealand….and spreading to many other parts of the world, where concerned citizens aren’t waiting for legislation to be passed on banning destructive plastic bags, but rather initiating change themselves.

Our Boomerang Bag logo….encourages people to shop local, and to reuse their fabric shopping bag.

I became involved in helping start a Boomerang Bag project here in our small town of Katikati, and before long, Waihi Beach and then Waihi followed suit with their own community projects. How wonderful to see people concerned with the problem, and then becoming their own solution to the problem. I like to call it, “Being part of the Solution to the Problem of Plastic Pollution!” Anyone can start a Boomerang Bag project wherever they are. The Boomerang Bag website provides a step by step guide to beginning your project, patterns for the bags and inspiration to continue!

Boomerang Bags come in all shapes, patterns and colours…..each one individually crafted by hand.

To date, Boomerang Bags Katikati have sewn and distributed nearly 700 fabric bags, over the course of 11 months. Shops have been supportive in “hosting” a Boomerang Bag stand, and we have volunteers to restock bags every couple of weeks, for shoppers to help themselves to. Local shops report slowly seeing customers reusing their own Boomerang Bag and everyone loves their creative, individualised shopping bags, which come in all shades, hues, textures and even patchworks. The other advantage of the project is that we keep fabric out of landfill!

That fun feeling when out and about……and you spot another Boomie!

There are other ways you can help save sea turtles, in brief, these are some below:

  1. Use reusable fabric shopping bags.
  2. Find alternatives to plastic wrap (beeswax wraps, fabric covers, containers etc.)

  1. Say no to plastic straws and suggest your local coffee shop/ cafe uses paper straws.

  2. Carry your own reusable coffee cup for that morning latte or flat white. While the plastic lids don’t pose a direct risk to turtles, it’s still plastic! And that “compostable” paper cup is still lined with plastic too!

  3. Take your own reusable produce net bags for weighing fruit and veggies at the supermarket, to avoid having to use yet more plastic bags. (Boomerang Bag projects usually sell them to fund their shopping bag costs).

  4. Teach your children about the dangers of plastic, to themselves, the environment and the ocean. Children get it!

  5. Try to purchase cotton (organic, where possible), wool or linen clothes. These natural fibres are BETTER for your body, your health and the environment. Synthetic fabrics (yes, Lycra, nylon, spandex etc.) is PLASTIC folks!! Don’t allow your body to breathe, and unfortunately, micro fibres of these plastic fabric sloughs off in the laundry…..straight into our waste water and impossible to filter.

  6. When travelling, take your own reusable cutlery (Boomerang Bag projects also produce a fabric roll up cutlery pouch for a small fee) so that you don’t need to accept plastic single use cutlery each time you “eat on the street“. We also carry stainless steel tiffins (containers) which we ask to be used, instead of plastic or polystyrene plates. These are also used to store leftover food for eating later, very useful and worth their weight when travelling.

  7. Avoid using facial scrub products with plastic “micro-beads”. It is possible to find facial scrubs with almond shell “beads” or similar abrasive agents. I make my own at home, using either salt, brown sugar or coffee grounds.

  8. Be mindful of your choices, especially when purchasing products, ask yourself if your purchase will be supporting your bank account, your health and the environment. If you aren’t sure, chances are it doesn’t pay to buy it. Walk away. There’s your Purchasing Power.

The Sea Turtle is a symbol of endurance. It has survived since the time of the dinosaurs, long after our dinosaurs became extinct. However, their very existence is threatened, particularly by our obsession with the convenience of plastic. So I feel compelled to do my best to save the Sea Turtle, then I am contributing to the survival of our Planet and all it’s interrelated species, which includes Mankind! Please, help me save US ALL!

A community project that fosters Connectedness, to one another, to the community and to the Planet!

Saving Sea Turtles is Fun and Creative!

A sense of Belonging and Contribution by all…..

Children and Parents take action and work together to create change in their community.

New skills learned and shared.

A Boomerang Bag Project Binds Community
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