Petrus + Novi and The Plastic Tide

Ocean Warriors Plastic in Paradise was written as a short story and was adapted for a children's book.  To celebrate its release in its bilingual version I have decided to (re)share parts of the original story and my inspiration for writing it.

When I first started visiting unpopulated beaches and islands of Raja Ampat I became acutely aware of the Plastic Tide.  Prior to this, I think I believed that rubbish ended up on beaches because people left it there.  And that rubbish that found it's way into the sea did so because it was left on beaches and the ocean swallowed it up.

But it's not that simple.

There is something particularly striking about seeing plastic debris on an otherwise untouched beach or island. When there is no other sign of humans except the trash... when the tide line is riddled with plastic - sometimes knee deep... when there is literally no other way for the trash to get there except by being spat out by the sea...

Then you start to see how the habits in one area of the world can so easily impact other areas of the world...

One of the things I really struggled with in moving to Raja Ampat was what to do with the trash...

The call to action in Ocean Warriors Plastic in Paradise was a beach clean.  I wondered about writing it this way in the beginning because cleaning the beach didn't seem like quite enough.  But the simple fact is that right here right now it's the only option.

There is no waste management system in Raja Ampat.  To write a book that called the children to an action that wasn't possible to perform seemed pointless.


Exhausted, Novi and Petrus dragged themselves onto the hot sand and watched the reef appear as the tide receded.  Streamers of shredded plastic floated amid the sea grass and straws swam in the rock pools.  Novi noticed the plastic bottles that dotted the tide line.

"What's it all doing here?" She asked Petrus.  "There's no one here, how did the beach and the reef get covered in plastic?"

"It comes from the village and from far away lands", her brother replied, looking towards the horizon as if towards the far off lands of which he spoke.  "We are all connected by the sea.  What the ocean swallows on one shore she spits out on another, days or weeks or months away".

"Unless she chokes on it first", said Novi in a voice so tiny it was barely audible.

"Yes, said Petrus, equally as solemnly, "Unless she chokes on it first".

The children sat quietly, each of them pondering the journey of the plastic through the sea and the threat it posed to all of them.


We are all connected by the sea.

What our beautiful mother ocean swallows on one shore she spits out on another...


What do you do to reduce your plastic consumption or to build awareness around the issue of marine debris?  I'm always looking for new ways to be better and would love to hear from you!


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