Monday, February 28, 2011

meet shane

i want you to meet a friend of mine and hear his story.
i hope this may inspire you to think more about the impact of humans on our waterways and beautiful creatures.

we found him on a walk round a headland in northern nsw. we thought he was dead at first but every minute or so he took a breath and lifted his head.

we thought he had been stranded on the rocks as the surf was pretty hectic over that weekend.

we thought we were doing the right thing by trying to help him get back out to sea but he was unable to get under the water - it looked like he had air in his shell that was making him unable to dive.

finally we got to the stage of realising we had to call for some advice so contacted WIRES who connected us with Australian Seabird Rescue. then travelled to us to come pick up the turtle and give him some assistance.

we learnt that when turtles are ashore and they're not there to lay eggs that they are sick. it's either a bacterial infection in their gut that makes them unable to dive but more commonly its because they have swallowed plastic. either of these cause the turtles to flot, unable to dive, so the swell brings them to shore. they are unable to swim back out so are stranded, unable to eat, eventually dying on the shore.

unfortunately shane was one the first of 3 turtles we've seen in past weeks. shane was about a foot and a half long. we met a grand old turtle on a secluded cove. unfortunately he had died. those pictures would not have been pretty. if you've ever snorkeled or skuba dived, you know how graceful and peacful these creatues are. it was a sad day seeing this over 1m long turtle left abandoned on the beach.  last week we came across a 2 foot long turtle on a beach people would be at daily nearby.  he also had died.  if only someone had checked on him and rang WIRES or Australian Seabird Rescue he could have been saved.  it breaks my heart.

i feel a sense of responsibility for all the plastic that gets left on the beach or washed in our waterways because someone simply abandoned a piece of rubbish without thought.

everytime we got to the beach now i pick up rubbish. from a couple of hundred metres of beach i'd pick up at least a bag of rubbish.  its bits of rope, plastic bottles, plastic bags, less than  a centremetre pieces of plastic from being broken down in the sun and surf.  after a long weekend or holidays i could pick up more than 3-4 buckets of rubbish left behind by the tourists. to see human created and discarded garbage mixed in the sand and natural shoreline gets to you. i now find it disgusting and it makes me angry. our inventions have lead to this damage.

so where does leave me and you?
please be responsible with where you discard rubbish.
please use less plastics as they do not break down easily and leaves a mark on our world for far too many years to come.
look after your environment - your parks, bushland and beaches.
connect with community services like Clean Up Australia Day (comming up next Sunday March 6), Landcare or other community groups.
teach your kids to develop these habits.

don't claim naivity. humans are leaving a negative footprint on our beautiful natural world.
live responsibly and think about what you use and where you put it.


  1. We must take more responsibility for the footprint that we are leaving, and accept that we are custodians of this precious speck in the universe.