Grace Good is a 14-year-old budding underwater and coastal photographer who is on a mission to make the coast a happy place that is free from plastics. She is our kinda girl!!!
Grace and her mum Ashley live on Noosa North Shore and the ocean is her happy place. Grace is passionate about picking up rubbish, no matter how small or how far she has to walk with the rubbish, and she wants to motivate and inspire all local businesses to stop using plastics, which will help to look after our environment and waterways. In addition, she is creating, bamboo cups, plastic free straws, hats and bags to raise money for Plastic Free Noosa through her social enterpise, OceanGrace.
To support or learn more about Grace, please visit her Instagram page @OceanGraceAustralia or her website at www.oceangrace.org.
Why are you passionate about the issue of plastics?
Plastic is extremely toxic to the ocean and so its toxic to all of life. There is no life at all without the ocean. Humans use most plastic only once before they throw it away and even if they throw it in the recycling bin, the ocean ends up collecting millions of tons of plastic every year. I read that its like dumping a whole garbage truck of plastic into the ocean every minute. Once its in the ocean, the plastic that sinks hurts the seabeds and many animals such as turtles mistake it for food and then start choking on it or it gets tangled around them or it blocks their throat or digestive system and they eventually die. When humans eat fish they are often eating the same plastic they threw away. It doesn't make sense that we use plastic when there are so many other things that we can be doing that also help our ocean.
What do you think are the biggest environmental concerns for your age group?
In my opinion, I think it would be deforestation because we are used to the same amount of oxygen as we have always had but we lose oxygen when we cut down trees and new trees do not produce the same oxygen as mature trees. If we keep cutting down trees it will all go down hill. Trees are also very healing and we have been using them for different kinds of medicine for a long time. If we lose them we would have to use other things filled with chemicals.
Are you worried about the world you are inheriting from current generations?
Yes, very much so. Humans have messed with our world completely. They haven't listened to or taken care of the earth and they have forgotten that we are part of the earth, the trees, the ocean and the animals. Humans are unique because we have minds that can think and plan and build but past generations haven't thought about how they have slowly been killing the earth and that is plain to see. It will be on all of us to fix it which is a little concerning but I believe we can do it.
Can you tell us one rewarding experience you have had along your journey?
My whole journey has been pretty amazing, however, if I could pick one it would be taking all the profits from selling the first OceanGrace products - the extendable metal straws - and being able to give them to Plastic Free Noosa who will use those funds to help save the ocean. And of course, becoming an Ambassador for Plastic Free Noosa has been a huge reward!
What is one of the most interesting experiences you have had on your journey?
It was so interesting to dive and snorkel on the Great Barrier Reef. I got to see really healthy coral reefs and meet marine biologists who explained about coral bleaching and what it actually means (it doesn't mean the coral is dead) and how it is possible for reefs that are completely dead to come back to life in just a few years, as long as we do our part. It was interesting to find out that sting rays have only one barb to use in their entire life so they use it as a last resort, and clown fish change genders - its actually the female that is the Queen Bee in the anenome and she is always the largest fish. If she dies, the next largest male will change into a female and become boss. Most of all, its been interesting to see how many people are willing to help out and help me start OceanGrace.
Do you have any heroes you aspire to?
My mum has been one of my heroes because she always encourages me to keep going and she supports me in so many ways. I also feel inspired by groups and people I follow on social media who are doing things to help save the ocean. I really loved the movie 'Chasing Coral' and was inspired by the guy who created the movie and his story and The Ocean Agency who are spreading awareness and starting projects that encourage people to get involved. Some of my heroes, too, are the people who are doing what makes them happy in life. When we went to Far North Queensland, I admired the marine biologists who got to go out on the ocean every day and snorkel and dive and laugh with each other while they were also helping us to learn and understand more about the ocean.
What does it mean to you to be a Plastic Free Noosa Ambassador?
To me, it means I have a responsibility to look after the ocean, do what I can to stop using plastic (especially single use plastic) and to help spread the word as much as possible and encourage my friends and my community to be more aware of how plastic hurts all of life, including us humans. It means that when I am out and about in the world, my words and actions about being more responsible about being plastic free aren't just coming from me but that I am part of a bigger team of people who are as passionate and determined as me.
Are you excited about the future?
Yes I am because I believe that my generation will all be on board to help save the world. I am truly not just saying that because I am in this generation - I just really think we will. And I think the next generation will make a good impact too. I think we see things differently than other generations and we understand this is one planet, one earth, one big community, not just humans.
Ready to go plastic free? Plastic Free Noosa helps to protect the environment by empowering the Noosa community in eliminating single-use plastics through direct engagement, recognition and facilitating circular economies.
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