“Things are changing” warned Luka before letting us board the water bike on the Adriatic beach. How so? I asked. He pointed at piles of what looked like small pieces of plastic waste before declaring that preseason is now the real season.
Science is telling us that things are indeed changing, but I also value observation, especially by those experiencing changes first hand. Luka is one of those people. He spends every summer on the beach renting out his water bikes. His observations confirm at least two of the troubling facts published in a new book titled “How to Save our Planet” by University College London Professor, Mark Maslin.
Fact number one: “Between 1880 and 2020, the 19 warmest years on record have all occurred within the past 20 years.” According to Luka, we might as well add 2021 to that list. He does not remember the weather or the sea temperature being any warmer and any earlier than this year. Preseason is gone. The season starts earlier and no one knows how long it might last. This might be good news for tourist, less so for the planet.
Fact number two: “Waste plastic can be found in every ocean on our planet. A plastic bag has even been found in the Mariana Trench (7 miles deep).” During this trip I noticed the presence of plastic en masse in the sea and on the beach. The plastic I saw was lots of bits and pieces of what once were probably plastic bags or perhaps plastic packaging. The pale, torn up pieces of plastic were literally everywhere. Every morning local workers raked together the pieces washed ashore then collected the garbage. According to Luke, the city was in charge of the beach, but it was those private entrepreneurs working there who were really doing the work to keep their environment clean for the visitors.
Another shocking fact: “We make over 300 million tonnes of plastic every year, equivalent in weight to 1 billion African elephants or every person on Earth”.
Every person has been at war with our planet for too long. “Because to save the planet and ourselves we need to be on a war footing – we need to engage every part of our society in the battle against climate change and environment destruction,” – suggests Mark Maslin. I don’t disagree, but on my holiday I dreamed of peace with the planet.