<a href="http://gmagazine.com.au/blogs/julie#">Green challenges</a>

Green challenges

Thinking global and acting local, Julie Grundy takes on any challenge we throw at her.

Seas of packaging

Credit: Algalita Marine Research Foundation

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Quite a few of our challenges have involved reducing waste - our just-finished nude food challenge, as well as the no-bottled-water and no-takeaway-coffee-cups months back at the beginning. These challenges often involve a bit of planning ahead to avoid packaging while still getting our food and water and hot coffee as we want it.

When we're in the middle of challenge, trying to form new green habits and facing the little everyday decisions, it's easy to forget why we're making these changes. They can be a pain in the bum, honestly. It's much more convenient to just buy the coffee and accept the plastic bag without making a fuss about packaging.

Which is why I'm glad there's people like the crew of the Alguita: they took a boat out into the Pacific ocean, to research what's now called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. It's thousands of kilometres of plastic and rubbish floating in the ocean, trapped there by the currents. It's affecting the fish and birds and marine life, and it's all because of our love of plastic packaging. These researchers remind me of why I make the green changes in my life.

If you need a bit of motivation to keep up your new good habits, check out the Alguita's blog. They've got photos of the junk they find, the boat and the crew, and some very pretty sunsets!

If you've only got a little bit of time though, I'd recommend watching a short (7-minute) TED talk called Seas of Plastic, given by Captain Charles Moore of the Alguita. He gives a quick overview of the situation, with video and photos of the patch, plus some statistics about plastic use.

As Captain Moore points out, it could take forever to clean the oceans. Our best bet is to stop the plastic at the source, which is us. I found it very powerful to watch, and I'll remember it next time I'm confronted with a plastic water bottle.