We found Océano Limpio Tenerife in Instagram, with some publications that stand out among the tide of influencers and poses. Trash, garbage and more garbage collected on beaches, by volunteers, during their walks. The premise is clear, any time and place is good to act now.
We talked to María Celma Argaluza, the founder of this movement based in Tenerife, in the Canary Islands.
Can you tell us more about Océano Limpio Tenerife and its purpose?
Océano Limpio Tenerife is a citizen action movement. The idea is to give visibility and importance to all those actions that many people do, without anyone telling us where and when we have to act. We know the problem and we know that the solution is in our own hands. Many people wait for an organization to tell them when they are organizing a beach cleanup to help. From Océano Limpio Tenerife the message I want to send is not to wait for anything, there is no time, the oceans have long been visibly affected by our bad actions and decisions. So why wait? Sometimes it is a matter of a gesture, going to the beach for example, and getting used to picking up the trash we see near the towel or on the shore as we walk to the water, or thinking about what we buy when we go to the supermarket. It all translates into a change in habits. Unfortunately we continue to see day by day, attitudes of people who do not react, as if this reality were not with them. And we must not forget that we all owe our lives to the ocean. Literally.
How did the idea come about?
The idea was forged when I came to live in Tenerife and I found beautiful places where I found garbage and lots of plastic. I started to collect but still felt I wasn't doing enough. I felt very frustrated. So the next step was to start working on the subject in the class where I was a teacher, with 3 year olds. The reaction of the children was so incredible that the following year I promoted the project throughout the center and in turn launched Océano Limpio Tenerife on social networks to publicize the problem, show the state of the island and promote what each of us can do to change that situation.
What are your main initiatives? Do you organize any kind of event?
The idea is to change the habit we have of waiting for events or actions to be organized on our behalf, to change that chip, so I avoid that a little, although once or twice a year I make what I call a "call to action". It usually coincides with World Ocean Day or World Beach Cleanup Day. In this way and through this call, many people act where and when they can, and we try to cover as much of the island as possible. The response is growing and it is exciting to see the power we can have if we move.
Do you have any projects that you would like to highlight?
Clearly the project at CEIP Montaña Pelada in El Médano (Tenerife). To show children the wonders of the ocean because what you know, you love and what you love, you protect. It is a project that makes not only students aware, but also teachers and families. In the end it is the adults who have gotten used to this situation but it is the children who live with the consequences.
What would you say to someone to make them aware and start acting now to help the planet?
That they should open their eyes, they should start to see the amount of garbage they generate at home, the amount of plastic they buy, their consumption in general, if they would be able to reduce the consumption of products packaged in plastic or if they really need everything they buy? We have reached the point where natural resources seem to be at their limit, because we live in a consumerist society, in search of the easy and without looking and thinking beyond what we want at every moment. The change begins with each one of us, through those small gestures in our daily lives.
Some time ago, while I was on a beach collecting plastics, a person came up to me and said that it was great what I was doing but doubting about what a single person could achieve by cleaning. At that moment I did not react and even felt small at the comment. With time and seeing what I have been achieving with a little passion and effort, my answer to that question would be clear: What is a person doing cleaning alone? CHANGING THE WORLD.