Paralympian Susie Rodgers MBE on why we must take action for our ocean
3 minute read
Our Ocean Ambassador and Paralympic gold medallist, Susie Rodgers, encourages us to take a deep breath and take action for our ocean, as time is running out.
"Before I would start a competitive swim, I would take a deep breath and take a moment to focus. This was about me and the water.
Now that I am an Ocean Ambassador for the Marine Conservation Society and very much consider myself to be an environmentalist and marine protector, I’ve had time to think about where that breath comes from.
Our ocean not only covers over 70% of our planet, it provides more than half of the oxygen we breathe.
Susie Rodgers, British Paralympic swimmer and MBE
Despite this life-giving ability, we’re polluting our waters and destroying precious habitats. This is harming the animals and plant life that live there; reducing the ocean's ability to help fight the climate crisis; and ruining a natural beauty that I love.
The Marine Conservation Society works to prevent plastics from getting into our ocean, runs beach cleans to create cleaner coasts and runs a whole variety of different activities, from the Big Seaweed Search to the annual Plastic Challenge."
My blue heart
"As well as creating cleaner coasts and preventing the flow of plastics into our oceans, research by the University of Surrey with beach clean volunteers shows that beach cleans can have a positive impact on participants health and wellbeing.
It’s also been proven that wild swimming can help to lift depression.
Having dedicated my life to competitive swimming, I have always had a connection to the water. It is a place where I need not wear my prosthetic limbs and orthotics, I can be completely myself – totally free. The ocean provides so much of the oxygen that we breathe, how can you not feel alive and connected to nature when you swim in it?
I’ve said previously that nature is like a positive toolkit for the mind. I believe it now, coming out of the greatest pandemic any one of us has lived through, more than ever before.
I have always had a connection to the water. It is a place where I need not wear my prosthetic limbs and orthotics, I can be completely myself – totally free.Susie Rodgers
If you haven’t had the chance recently, I would urge you to get outside, get to a beach or somewhere that you can see, hear or smell the sea – and really take the time to experience it and appreciate it.
I’d love to discuss how it makes you feel. If you’d be open to sharing it, do drop me a tweet @Susie_Rodgers and make sure you tag @mcsuk as well."
Join me and take action
"As you most likely know, I dedicated a huge part of my life to swimming. As a Paralympian, I competed internationally for six years and in that time I won 30 international medals. I have won a Paralympic gold and five bronze medals.
The pride I feel at having won these – for myself, for my country, for other Paralympic athletes – is insurmountable.
But now? I dedicate my time and energy to raising awareness around saving our ocean and working on disability inclusion. I’ve seen both the natural beauties that a clean, protected area can achieve and some incredibly polluted beaches and waterways.
Both have had a huge impact on me.
So if, like me, you want to protect the ocean which has given us so much, take a deep breath – and please, take action.
- Become a member of the Marine Conservation Society and you will be adding your voice to thousands of others and help our work to protect our seas, shores and wildlife.
- Take part in our Great British Beach Clean this September a week-long citizen science event, where hundreds of beach cleans take place up and down the UK. These beach cleans not only help to prevent litter flowing to our seas, but we record it, contributing to a long-term, national dataset. I hope to see you there.
- Share this post on social or fill out our blue heart story form and tell us what the ocean means to you."