Laura in waterland is a passionate ocean and sustainability advocate. She runs a great insta account and super informative website, which both have a wealth of information on the issues facing our ocean and planet. Laura in waterland shares lots of advice, sustainable tips and eco-recipes all while documenting her experiences on her journey to a more sustainable life on our ocean planet.
Read on for more about her journey and what inspires her …
If you were an animal what would you be?
Tough one to start with! As an adult, I am very aware that animals have life much harder than humans, so I am quite happy with who I am. However, as a child, I was fascinated with the idea of being a mermaid or a sea creature that could just stay underwater for hours. So if I must pick one, I’d say a whale!
What is your favourite thing to do in your spare time?
I love spending time in the outdoors, whether that’s scuba diving, being at the beach, hiking in the forest or just tending to my little garden at home. I also really enjoy working out and cooking nice vegan meals or sweet plant based treats.
What is your first memory / experience of the ocean?
It’s a blurry memory because I was so young and I think everyone was doing this … I just remember the Belgian seaside and jumping over the foam of each wave with my younger sister while holding hands. I didn’t get to experience or learn about what was underneath the surface until much later in life.
How did you get interested in sustainability / eco living and / or the ocean?
My eco journey was a very gradual one. My dad picks up rubbish on our walks, still to this day, but it wasn’t until Asia that I discovered the extent of the plastic crisis. Learning to scuba dive in Australia also opened another door to knowledge on the Ocean. So there wasn’t one moment in particular, it was more like throwing different ingredients into a pot and them blending together into whatever awareness I have today. I am absolutely a work in progress though. I know I still have much to learn and I am excited about it.
What do you find hardest about advocating for the ocean and / or sustainability?
Remaining patient. There is so little time left for us to curb the effects of the climate emergency and the plastic crisis, etc. Our window of opportunity is closing so it’s challenging for me to watch the world moving forward at such a slow pace. Although I understand people’s rhythms as I remember being in their shoes not so long ago, I have no patience or tolerance for corporations and politicians. Their unwillingness to prioritise our future over capitalism, when the science and technologies exist, unnerves me greatly!
What is your favourite place to visit?
My favourite country is Ireland. I fell in love with it so much when I first visited in 2012 that I came to live there for an internship in 2013. I have revisited many times since and have just made the move back there once again!
Where do you want to travel next and why?
There are so many beautiful places on my list like Iceland or Palau for example. All the places I want to visit generally have scuba diving :)
What keeps you motivated and inspired?
Slowing down and spending time outdoors. I feel like I’m repeating myself here but nature, especially the Ocean, is my biggest drive for my sustainable lifestyle and advocacy work (and it helps that our future also hangs in the balance). We easily get caught up in the world of scrolling and endless news and dopamine hits so allowing for stillness and even boredom at times, while surrounded by the beauty of the natural world, has really been helpful for me to stay focused, inspired and hopeful.
What advice would you give someone reading this who wants to start helping the ocean?
The health of the Ocean is intertwined with everything else so whatever you choose to do helps, whether it is buying organic produce or going plastic free. However, I often repeat that one of the most significant actions an individual with privilege can take for the Ocean without delay is quitting seafood. The fishing industry is responsible for:
(1) Most of the plastic in the Ocean (destructive lines and ghost nets left behind that can kill for centuries)
(2) Overfishing (harvesting fish populations faster than they can recover) and destroying the sea beds and habitat.
So if you can do this, it’s a great way to reduce your negative impact on the Ocean and lead others to do the same by example.
Any upcoming projects / activities / causes you want to shout out?
There are so many wonderful worthy NGOs to shout out, but today I’d like to highlight the work of Wicked Good Indonesia. This woman-led NGO is accomplishing wonderful things on the island of Flores in Indonesia. They support the local community by offering eco-tourism job training opportunities in scuba diving and adventure guiding, etc. When the pandemic started, they started a fundraiser to prevent people from starving. The lady behind the organisation also started a recycling program on the island of Komodo and is working on improving the waste management there. I am happy to vouch for this organisation and the fact that any donations will go straight to helping the planet and the people of Flores in one way or another!