Our Warrior – Finn Ní Fhaoláin
Marine scientist, Author & Private Chef
What does the ocean mean to you?
Phew, that’s a hard one, the ocean is so many things to me, honestly it feels like home! Its play – when I’m surfing, its energising – early morning cold-water dips that are better then a double shot espresso, adventure – working on deep sea research ships or sailing to new countries or simply the relaxation and calm of an evening stroll on the beach.
Was there as instance/memory that first got you engaged with the issue of marine litter/litter/ocean health?
I studied earth and ocean science is college, so that would be the obvious answer, but my parents were always very ocean-loving people and so I spent my childhood on beaches, swimming and exploring rock pools. I do have early memories of my mum signing petitions against Sellafield and explaining to me how toxic waste was being dumped into the Irish Sea and how by signing a petition that meant using your voice to help protect the ocean. We also always watched lots of David Attenborough doco’s and picked up fishing litter on the beaches.
Your top advise to those who would like to join us to improving our ocean.
Oh this is always one of my favourite things to talk to people about! I think, a bit like voting, its so important to remind people that they as an individual really really matter. One person deciding to give up plastic water bottles is already such a massive reduction when you think of what the average person consumes in terms of plastic each year! I would say the easiest steps are the personal ones – move away from signal use plastics – I have my little “anti-plastic” kit of – a metal water bottle, a glass and rubber travel coffee cup and a set of bamboo cutlery – those are easy ones to start with. In terms of chemicals as well its really easy these days to switch household cleaners and cosmetics to natural brands – what we put on our bodies and wash our dishes and clothes with ends up in the ocean so these are simple steps to take at home to take care of it!
Why did you get involved with the Clean Coasts programme?
I guess it was a really natural progression, I loved coming along to beach cleans in my local area organised by Clean Coast volunteers, as surfers as well I feel like you’re exposed to it more as you’re on the beach all the time and see the litter in the sea as well. Its always been a big passion of mine to share about ocean conservation and more sustainable living on my website and social media, so it was a great fit!