Monday 21 October 2019

Going green: ‘The health of the ocean is linked to our own health and wellbeing', says Easkey Britton

Greener Living: As part of our special on easy ways to tread softly on the planet, Easkey Britton, PhD, Marine social scientist at National University of Ireland, advises on a healthy ocean life

Easkey Britton
Easkey Britton

I live more of a 'blue life' than a green life. I've been in love with the sea for as long as I can remember. Growing up on the north-west of Donegal, I felt an intimate connection to its raw, wild, hard edges. The sea is where I come most alive, get lost, learn, rise to challenges, work out and relax - and it has always been this way.

The sea is the single greatest influencer on my life and, for me, surfing is this playful medium that allows me to indulge in that passion, and has also let me build a career.

People may think it is utter madness, chasing storms and getting excited by bad weather - which is when we get the good waves in Ireland - but I like to think of it as a good addiction, a healthy addiction that gets under your skin. I can't not do it.

My academic side is born of a real curiosity that comes from having grown up being immersed in the outdoors and nature. Every day, you are meeting new surprises and learning new things.

'Oceans and Human Health' is a new and emerging field of research. What's exciting about it is that it helps create a greater sense of connection to something that often feels 'out of sight, out of mind' - the sea.

It allows us to understand how the health of the ocean is linked to our health and wellbeing. That's a powerful mobiliser and reconnector. We need to rediscover the aliveness we feel when immersed in nature, an aliveness that is amplified by water.

As an island nation, the ocean has such a powerful influence on us; its constant rhythmic pulse shapes our lives. Yet we don't recognise that enough. I think if we constantly find ways to be curious, ask questions and be reflective, we can find ways to make an impact. #WeAreIslanders 

Easkey’s three ways to go green

1 Get wet!

Just a few minutes spent outdoors is enough to restore our attention and boost our self-esteem.

2 Just breathe

With about 70pc of the oxygen we breathe coming from the ocean, each breath connects us with the ocean.

3 Do good, feel good

Ninety-seven per cent of our waste ends up in the ocean. Turn part of your commute to work into a two-minute street-clean or do a two-minute beach-clean every time you visit the beach.

For more about Seas, Oceans & Public Health, visit sophie2020.eu

Irish Independent

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