Each year, La Mer team members and advocates lead the clean-up of local shores and beaches. In South Africa, the brand, along with four La Mer advocates, joined the project; along the journey, they shared their personal connection with the ocean and created daring conversations about human habits that continue to have an impact on Earth’s climate and oceans.
“I used to convince my friends that it was my blood type… That the ocean was my blood type and I had to get in the ocean every day”
“My fondest and first memory of the ocean started off as a young girl when I spent time on the beach with my sister building sand castles all day and all night,” says South African environmentalist, entrepreneur, social activist and La Mer brand advocate, Catherine Constantinides.
She is sitting on a high stool, her eyes brightening up at the memory. The following morning, on World Oceans Day, which is celebrated every year on the 8th of June, Constantinides, along with three other La Mer advocates, will be picking up litter on parts of the beach in Muizenberg. The initiative is also replicated in Johannesburg – along the Jukskei river – and in Durban.
“I remember as I was growing up, I used to convince my friends that it was my blood type… That the ocean was my blood type and I had to get in the ocean every day…. Seeing the ocean as the lungs of the earth puts into perspective how much what we put in really directly affects it,” adds pro surfer and La Mer brand advocate Emma Smith, who also participated in the clean-up initiative.
World Oceans Day was created following the 1987 Brundtland Report that identified the need for a stronger recognition of the ocean and coastal areas worldwide. Since 2009, the 8th of June celebrates the ocean and lead global awareness through different campaigns and projects.
La Mer’s ‘Waves of Change’
La Mer’s Blue Heart initiative began in 2013 when they teamed up with ocean explorer Dr Sylvia Earle to address actionable changes by developing a further understanding of underwater habitat protection. Since then the brand has partnered with the National Geographic Society and supported its emerging explorers programme, worked alongside high-profile ocean advocates, such as singer-songwriter Jhené Aiko, to inspire and inform consumers worldwide; and the La Mer Blue Heart Oceans Fund supports conservation initiatives in the Azores, Grenada and the East China Sea.
“Together we create ripples of good to ensure a future with flourishing seas and for generations to come.”
In 2017, with notable efforts to support ocean conservation projects around the world and to further the La Mer Blue Heart initiative, the global skincare brand launched the Blue Heart Oceans Fund. With a mission statement proclaiming that, “Together we create ripples of good”, La Mer team members and brand advocates around the world actively participate in creating awareness “to ensure a future with flourishing seas and for generations to come.” And on the 8th of June, they lead the cleaning up of shores and beaches, with the understanding that even the smallest contribution can have an immense impact.
Moving towards a better world, together
Every action, no matter how small, has an impact on the future state of our ocean; together, we can play a significant part in instigating positive change.
Awareness is increasing: according to the World Economic Foruma number of countries have initiated bans on the use of disposable plastics or established concrete targets for reducing plastic consumption and waste.
“The thing about humans is that we always think we can leave it to the next person or that some genius will come along and magically take plastic away”
At the UN Environment Assembly in Nairobi, Kenya in December 2017, governments, civil society, businesses and individuals registered an estimated 2.5 million pledges committing to a pollution-free planet. If these promises are upheld, 1.49 billion more people will breath clean air, approximately 30% of the world’s coastlines will be clean and $18.6-billion for research, development and programmes aimed at tackling pollution will come online.
“The science we have seen at this assembly shows we have been so bad at looking after our planet that we have very little room to make more mistakes,” said Dr Edgar Gutiérrez, Minister of Environment and Energy of Costa Rica and the president of the 2017 UN Environment Assembly.
“With the promises made here, we are sending a powerful message that we will listen to the science, change the way we consume and produce, and tackle pollution in all its forms across the globe.”
The simplest way to start ensuring a healthy future for the oceans and striving for plastic-free seas is to play our part in fixing the damage that has already been done.
Jacques Crafford, a South African filmmaker, says: “If I’m ever feeling that life is getting a little too busy or stuff’s wearing me down, (the ocean) is my escape, it’s where I go to, to just absolutely let go of everything. You always come out of the ocean a better person.”
“Start small; a lot of people don’t do anything because they feel like they don’t have that much influence or can’t do that much, but it starts with everyday things.”
For instance, says Smith, we could switch to bamboo toothbrushes, “which are not only affordable but really easy to get”.
“The thing about humans is that we always think we can leave it to the next person or that some genius will come along and magically take plastic away,” says landscape photographer Sharyn Hodges.
La Mer Blue Heart initiative doesn’t leave it to someone else to care; it reminds us that together, even our small acts can have big impacts. For the better.