Words by Pippa Best from @seasoulblessings
Starting regular sea swimming changed my life for the better in every way. As I fell more in love with the sea, I became more passionate about sharing its magic with others – and about finding ways to protect it.
Time in the ocean heals us. Every morning, there’s something new to feel and discover – vitality, peace, clarity, courage, awe, gratitude, the list is endless. As we swim, we’re reminded that we’re part of nature. And that’s both a gift and a responsibility.
All that time in the water inspired me to set up my business, Sea Soul Blessings, as a way to encourage more people to appreciate all that the sea offers us – so that together, we can protect what we love.
“As we swim, we’re reminded that we’re part of nature. And that’s both a gift and a responsibility”
That connection to the sea means that I choose to create my products as sustainably as I can, and to donate to environmental causes from every sale. Penzance, where I live in Cornwall, was the first town in the UK to be awarded ‘plastic-free’ status. And while Sea Soul Blessings is a ‘plastic-free’ business, I doubt I’m plastic-free myself – because just like all the beautiful sea-life I swim with, I’m probably swallowing microplastics every morning…
There’s already far more plastic in the ocean than there are stars in the Milky Way. By 2050, there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish (by weight). Our reliance on plastics is changing the entire ecosystem – and it’s everywhere. It’s in the Arctic and the Antarctic. They’ve even found plastic at the bottom of the Mariana Trench.
So what can we do about it? As consumers, we can make conscious choices. We can think about the impact of our purchases on the ocean and the natural world. We can change our energy supplier to one that focuses on renewable energy – and move our money into banks that don’t fund fossil fuels.
We can reuse, recycle, think carefully about what we’re buying – do we need it, could we get it second-hand or made in a more sustainable way? We can try to avoid single-use plastics. And instead invest in buying things that last, and mending what we have, instead of throwaway fashion.
Recycling plastics into clothing – as Speedo are doing with their new range – is a step towards a more circular economy. One in which we continuously turn one thing into another, and nothing goes to waste. For that circle to continue, we also need to find ways to recycle and transform that swimwear when it reaches the end of its useful life.
“We can reuse, recycle, think carefully about what we’re buying – do we need it, could we get it second-hand or made in a more sustainable way?”
I’m a big believer in being an imperfect activist. I’d rather start somewhere, doing what I can in that moment, and continuing to improve, step by step – than feel like I have to do everything perfectly, and so never try at all. We can make a positive difference with each change. And as soon as we get used to one new change, we can move onto the next.
Of course, the people that most need to take action are those at the top – the ones who have the power to make a big difference. That’s why we need to speak out about the changes we want to see. Join campaigns. Talk to the brands we love, and get them to consider their impact on the ocean. We can connect with others who are trying to do the same things – because we’re stronger and louder together.
The massive increase in the popularity of wild swimming gives me hope. More people swimming means more people experiencing all the ‘Blue Mind’ benefits of time in and around water. It means more people falling in love with the ocean – and more people working to protect it. I love encouraging people to start sea swimming, and I always feel more optimistic when I do a group beach clean and see the power we have to make a visible change together. I also use the beach as the location for my coaching and retreats – and love seeing the soothing and inspiring impacts of time spent by the water.
When it all gets too overwhelming, my favourite thing to do is lie on my back in the sea and feel that deep connection to the ocean. I love meditating and doing a bit of yoga after a sunrise swim. Or taking a mindful moment to draw one of my Sea Soul Blessings cards. Sometimes, just taking a few deep ocean breaths is enough to remind me what really matters. We need the sea as much as the sea needs us. As we heal the ocean, we also heal ourselves.