Protecting Life Below Water

by Michelle Mitoulas

Hi there, my name is Michelle and I am currently enrolled in the Practical Nursing Program at Cambrian College. I live with my boyfriend and our three furbabies, a small dog named Jasmine, and two tabby brothers name Calvin and Hobbes. The area I hope to work in the future is Labor and Delivery, I find this interesting personally because the human body is amazing, and pregnancy and birth is such a monumental moment for most. I believe my interpersonal skills and compassion will aid me in this field.

For this post, I will be focusing on the Sustainable Development Goal number 14, Life Below Water. If you have never heard of the Sustainable Development Goals, it is a blueprint created to sustain and build a better future for all. The goals incorporate every ‘problem’ area our world faces and plans to achieve them by 2030. Sound ambitious? It is, but change starts small, and looking at the bigger picture can feel overwhelming, so I will be focusing on just one of the goals.

Goal number 14 has 10 goals in it self, I won’t summarize all of them, but they hope to minimize pollution, restore and protect marine life, address impacts of ocean acidification, regulate harvesting and end overfishing, and increase scientific research. The ocean is massive, we know this, it inhabits 99% of the living space on Earth by volume. It also employs over 200 million people and is the largest resource of protein. This is daunting information, with something so important and necessary, we need to make sure it will still be there for future generations. There is so much left to explore in our oceans and it excites me as to what will be found, but if there’s nothing left to explore, then we will lose that possibility.

gloved hand holds dirty plastic

The person I chose to focus on for this assignment is shop owner of The Pale Blue Dot shop, Mary. This is a shop located in Hamilton that I personally love, they offer Earth-friendly alternatives to encourage a more sustainable lifestyle. They also up cycle old furniture and décor that they sell online and in shop. The reason I chose to focus on this shop is because they are helping to reduce plastic waste, this is a huge contributor to the pollution in our oceans. They offer things such as reusable produce bags, reusable food wraps, compostable toothbrushes, and even how to make your own toothpaste and reduce plastic waste, and that is just a few. Having a shop like this in the GTA is so important, it is accessible to a large population, and having a store front versus online will bring in street traffic and make it more accessible. A lot of people benefit from this, we benefit from reducing our day to day waste, the landfills won’t fill up as quickly, and there will be less pollution in our oceans.

The Pale Blue Dots goals now is to reduce those single use items and promote more sustainability. Although I couldn’t get a long-term goal out of them, I did find that they hope to create a community hub for people who want to learn more about sustainable living. Having community events in their store will encourage those who have maybe thought about reducing their waste to come out and see that it isn’t as difficult as one might think. With things already in the works such as clothing swaps, community clean ups, and ideation workshops for a greener Hamilton, I am excited to see what they bring to the GTA in the future.

person holding reusable bag

At the moment, the Pale Blue Dot doesn’t have any obstacles in their way of their goal. Their shop is thriving in storefront and online, and their events have had a large turnout with enthusiasm from the city. With more movements being brought to light that call for plastic-less straws to save the sea turtles, being waste free is starting to become a trend, and one that we can all afford to follow.

Since the Pale Blue Dot is a thriving store with companies, they get their products from, they do not need any donations but rather action from the community. Their community hub offers interesting events that range from movies nights, concerts, community clean ups, and clothing swaps. Depending on the event the entry is usually free or a small donation is accepted, things such as musicals guests that have an entry fee, have donations going to local wildlife programs. Here is a link to their current upcoming events for those in the GTA area that are looking to make a difference; https://thepalebluedotshop.com/pages/events.

To better our oceans, we need to better ourselves on land first. Reducing the amount of pollution we put out into our world will not only make the land better, but benefit marine life and the water itself. It is so important to take a moment and think about how every toothbrush, razor, Ziploc bag, and laundry detergent box ever made, is still out there in the world today. That is mind boggling to me, it is up to us to create a change, big or small, so that future generations will be able to live without worry.

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