This intern blog comes from Dana Wilfarht. Dana grew up on the North Shore of Massachusetts, graduated from Roger Williams University with a semester with Sea Education Association along the way.
On the water, life becomes simpler. Necessities become the bare essentials, a little bit of comfort and nothing more.
While on a forty day Pacific Ocean crossing with Sea Education Association, the motto “Ship. Shipmate. Self.” became a serious reality. It was difficult to understand the relevance of this phrase but once land was out of sight, this seemed to be prevalent each and every minute while at sea and more-so, now, on land as well. First must come the ship, or the planet, as they are what supports life as we know it. Next come shipmates because relying on each other is not only more enjoyable but truly necessary. Finally, it is important that we consider ourselves.
After studying marine debris on this trip across the Pacific, the magnitude of the problem we are facing bared its ugly face. Very quickly the idea of a simple lifestyle became much more appealing than going back to the consumer driven lifestyle I was familiar with before. It was humbling to see the world with a different set of eyes. How did our world become so disposable? Single use plastic water bottles are more the norm than refillable. Plastic bags are everywhere and are used as a convenience for a minute or so, but then last in the environment for thousands of years. Our focus shifted from quality of life to creating conveniences that accommodate our new, fast paced lifestyles.
Though we cannot travel back in time and save the planet from ourselves, what we can do is to research and educate. I believe that knowledge is the most powerful drive of change. If people knew the real damage that our single use plastic, styrofoam, etc. is causing, I am hopeful that there would be a big shift in how we live our lives. Chaos to simplicity. Quantity of material goods to quality of life. Appearing happy to true happiness.