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Youth Perspectives

Youth Perspective: I can see land more clearly underwater

Emilie Feisthauer

07 Jan 2018

In this perspective from a young scuba diving instructor, Emilie Feisthauer, we hear about what she experiences underwater, and how it informs her view of life on land.
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I used to consume. A lot. More than i should. I would always get plastic bags from the shops, and buy heavily wrapped food and drink with a plastic straw. Never did I wonder where my garbage would end up. I would just throw it in the trash can and never see it again.

Until i discovered one of the most incredible feelings ever: seeing and breathing underwater. And this is when i saw the rubbish i created again: deep down in the water and washed up on the beach.

The beauty of the ocean is priceless. The peace and freedom it offers is incomparable. Once submerged, the ego stops thinking, the mind is floating instead in a complete stillness, where time evaporates, where money doesn’t measure successes and achievements.

I see Life. And even better: experience it. I can hear myself breathing and feel the air filling up my lungs. It is also underwater that i realize how excessively we consume. Consuming never ends: objects become obsolete, out of fashion; individuals buy new computers because theirs easily break or because they are programed to eventually die.

Now imagine how many tons of rubbish 100 individuals create a year. Now multiply it by 100,000,000. This is approximately how much garbage we produce a year, in a world made of 70% of water. We consume at such a rate that we do not have the capacity to properly dispose of all the plastic we create.

How many more turtles need to choke on straws, how many more mammals need to die caught in fishing nets, how many more sharks need to be finned, before we realize that we are indeed destroying what should matter the most. Life.

Corals die from stress incurred by elevating sea temperatures. Fish die from water pollution, from direct human actions such as mass fishing and chemical releases into the atmosphere at an uncontrollable rate. It takes days for people to now clean a beach from all the shoes, bottles, balloons and toothbrushes that wash up on it.
But where does it end? And when does it end?

The is how the experience of the world – both above and below the surface – leads us to different directions. As from the 7 billion individuals inhabiting this Earth, we are all the leaders of our own journey; we do hold the power to gather and to -together- take steps towards a healthier ocean. As consumers, we aim to know what we are buying, now what about aiming at knowing where the product comes from and where it will end…

About the author: Emilie Feisthauer, feisthauer.emilie@gmail.com, currently works as a diving instructor for an international diving and tourism company.  In this role, she introduces many first time visitors to the exquisite beauty of the ocean.
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