Following on from my last post about the Niteworks video I thought I’d share something else that came to fruition whilst I was away in Eden…
If you read this blog you’ll probably have worked out that much of my life revolves around the ocean, wildlife and marine conservation volunteering.
There are so many problems facing the ocean but there’s one thing that’s particularly weedled its way under my skin… mostly because of how completely pointless it is… the sale of krill oil.
Krill oil, unsurprisingly, is the oil that comes from mushing up billions of tiny free-swimming crustaceans called krill.
Krill oil in the UK is sold straight to consumers as a dietary supplement. It’s peddled as an anti-ageing product, a miracle pill to keep away the wrinkles and fine lines.
Carol Vorderman didn’t seem so clever to me when she became the desperate face of Bioglan Krill Oil.
In the Southern Ocean, krill is the primary food source for many Antarctic animals including whales, seals and penguins. Strong krill stocks are vital for the existence of the entire Antarctic ecosystem.
In the last decade or so, bigger and bigger fishing boats have been engineered to hoover hundreds of thousands tonnes of krill out of the ocean.
Wildlife populations have declined as a result with case studies reporting malnourished humpback whales stranding off the coast of New Zealand and penguin populations plummeting.
So, to put it simply…
THEY NEED KRILL, WE DON’T
Grrrrraaarrrrrrrgghhhgghhhhh! It makes me so mad!
I mean, come on Carol… I’d rather be a wizened old prune sunning my raisin-face whilst humpback-spotting than know that my vanity has contributed to wiping Great Whales off the planet.
So, I’ve been writing to supermarkets, spreading the word via social media and executing my own one-woman campaign against the stuff using good old pen and paper…
As thrilling as guerilla educating is, ‘accidentally’ leaving notes in shops was never going to change much so I started writing to those at the top.
My main target was Waitrose. I’d had various emailed conversations with them over the last 4 years or so as they market themselves as one of the most environmentally conscious supermarkets in the UK. It’s a long story but they were reassured of sustainability by the WWF and MSC labelling, two organisations that receive funding from fisheries.
They dug their heels in, put their head in the sand, whatever. So I created a petition: Petition: Waitrose: The sale of krill oil is destroying the Antarctic ecosystem
The first 500 signatures was easy, after that it slowed down. Then I had to abandon the campaign to enter ‘Eden’.
Coming back to ‘real life’ after Eden was emotional. I got to talk to my family again, see my favourite places, feel freedom.
Yet the first thing to bring a tear to my eye was to see that Waitrose had finally taken krill oil off its shelves.
It might not have been anything to do with me, they may have already begun investigating it by the time that I started the petition, but to think that I may have played even a teensy-tiny part somewhere along the line is incredibly special to me.
Krill might be tiny, my voice amongst millions of others might be tiny, but maybe even tiny things can try to make big changes.
This made me cry. Sure, there is so, SO much more that can be done about the horrible things we do to nature, but it’s SO hopeful to hear about these things. Not the fact itself, that Waitrose has stopped selling it, but also to hear about people as caring, infuriated and sensitive about these issues like you. And you never know… your petition might have played a bigger part than you think.
Thank you Chantal 🙂
It definitely feels like the movement for our oceans is growing, we’re all learning so much now when before it was easy to just be ignorant of where things come from. When I started being interested in marine conservation it was relatively niche, now everyone knows more about it and I’m just trying to catch up. But I think even one bottle removed from the beach is a step forward 🙂
By the way, your preservation activities are one of the things I e-mailed you about whilst you were emerged in Eden (before I knew about that). When I’m on Skye next year, I’d like to participate in a beach clean or something like that. Of course, I’m there only a month, but if in that month there’s something going on like that, I could help.
Of course! There’s all kind of stuff being organised all over the island. Let me know when you’ll be here and I’ll see what’s on/what we can do. Even if there’s nothing on, you can’t beat a nice walk and mini beach clean followed by a pint in the pub to warm up x
Katie, every great crusade has to start somewhere. I admire your stance on saving our oceans and all the creatures that live within them, no matter how small those creatures may be. I am learning how to help in my own small way, recycling as much as I can, using my reusable water bottle etc, I’ll be doing a bit of beach cleaning while up in the Arisaig area later this month too. Small steps but it’s heading in the right direction. I want to be much more in tune with the environment when I finally move up to the Highlands. Keep doing what you’re doing Katie, we need more passionate people like you to encourage more people to be kinder to our planet xx
I’ve got such a good feeling about all this small stuff… So not everyone uses reusable water bottles but you do, I do, some of my friends do… it’s relatively little but compared to just a few years ago it’s a difference. Same with the beach cleaning.
It sounds like you’re already very in tune with the environment, the Highlands will be lucky to have you here x
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Thanks Katie. I can’t wait to get up there and make a difference in my own little way xx