For chapter two on our search for Real Action Heroes, our quest takes us to Cornwall, where we’ve teamed up with beach clean heroine, Emily. Emily set up Beach Guardian with her dad in 2017 on a mission to engage, educate and empower the local community to come together to combat plastic pollution in our oceans. It’s a mission which at Berghaus, we’re proud to back. We’re determined to protect the planet we love to explore and sharing the beach with Emily, we understand both how powerfully nature can connect us and recognise too, our responsibility to preserve it.
The beach gives me purpose in my life. It gives me a reason to get up in the morning, it gives me a reason to go to work because I’m lucky enough for my job to be protecting the beach… Living here as a child was such a privilege and it really sparked so much inside of me and that’s definitely why I do what I do now. It’s to protect this absolute haven for wildlife but [also] for myself as well, you know? It’s somewhere that I can find peace and connect to the environment and connect to myself.
Emily’s passion really resonates with us. You can see how much of her energy she draws from the beach and how determined she is to put that positive energy back into her community. Ultimately, it’s the environment around us which we feed from. Here in Cornwall, the tides play a huge part in that and it’s why so many here are passionate about protecting the area.
The most important part of our mission is just empowering people, bringing people together from all different backgrounds, all different ages to tackle this huge issue that we all face. Plastic pollution is in all of our lives and that is why it’s so important to all come together to address it.
Further from Cornwall, Emily continues, what’s achieved here has a wider, global impact.
Every continent is connected by the ocean. It brings us all together. If everybody did one thing in their lives, every single day to make a difference to the planet, that would be 8 billion small things.
As we live and breathe the outdoors ourselves, championing voices like Emily’s gets us motivated to make more change. The change that’s right in front of us that we can all start today.
The thing about plastic pollution is there is no one size that fits all and if you go to a beach there are so many different pieces of plastic that you may find, from plastic bottles to crisp packets to discarded fishing nets. Often, you may feel like you’re making the biggest difference by removing the most, or the biggest item but every piece of plastic affects the ecosystem in some way. So even if you’re just removing one microplastic, it still makes a difference. Everything you do impacts the wider ecosystem positively.
Over the course of the beach clean, Emily finds crisp packets from before she was born. It’s something that’s happened so often, she’s created her very own collection – a treasure chest of eerily faded gems which she keeps to stay positive. It’s also a simple reminder of the difference she makes every time she’s out here. The real jewel in the crown though was her partnership with Pepsi-Co, starting in 2018 after she wore a dress made of crisp packets to her graduation. Since then, they have introduced the nation’s first crisp packet recycling scheme and pledged to switch all their Walkers crisp packaging to 100% recyclable, compostable or biodegradable materials by 2025. Just one instance of small action powering huge change.
Emily’s greatest superpower, though, is her positivity. To make lasting change, we have to feel good about it, no matter the size of the act. The waves of change are rippling and there’s plenty to feel good about.
To keep up to date with Beach Guardian, check them out at https://www.beachguardian.org/. With updates every Tuesday on their YouTube channel, there’s plenty of tips to keep you motivated and making a difference. Emily emboldens more of us to talk about the environment, honestly and openly. The more of us who connect, the more of us who are connected to make a change, together.
We’ve recently switched to using 100% organic cotton in all our logowear products, so check out our range for small changes that make a big difference.
Lastly, if you live near the seaside, don’t forget to check out a local beach clean in your area.