The World has no remote control. If there are things you don’t like, get up and change them yourself.

Short version:

I’m Libby and I’ve made my very own bamboo bicycle to cycle around the world raising awareness about (and lessen) plastic pollution in the oceans.

Slightly longer version, with pictures:

I bought www.treadlighter.org quite some time ago while I was working in Borneo at an orangutan rehabilitation centre.  I had spent most of the previous 6 years working in conservation; both marine and terrestrial. It all got a bit too much for me.  I just cannot reconcile myself with the catastrophic worldwide consequences of humans’ actions.

I have witnessed manta rays (which are classified as vulnerable to extinction on the IUCN redlist) coughing up plastic as they tried to feed on plankton.  I have seen the plastic-filled stomachs of dead turtles and sea birds, poached turtle bones hidden amongst sand dunes, swum with marine animals bearing the scars of propellors and fishing lines; some still ‘wearing’ fishing nets and other manmade debris, others just wearing the scars or missing entire appendages.

Cutting fishing line from a desperate giant manta in Ecuador. We were able to remove all the line, but couldn’t remove the hook from his spiracle. What a horrific piercing…

When you see stuff like that on TV, it’s horrific. When you see it in real life, it eats away at you and you can’t get it out of your thoughts.

For me, treadlighter is about what each one of us can do to make a positive difference. This is a philosophy that the wonderful Dr Jane Goodall promotes through her Roots and Shoots call to action.  My favourite Jane Goodall quote is:

“Every individual makes a difference.  You have to decide what kind of difference you want to make.”

I believe education is the most important tool to change the world.  As a primary school teacher, I love firing up passion about conservation and I am super proud of my pupils’ progress and their desire to make a difference.  They will be the great conservationists of tomorrow.  But right now, being in a classroom full time doesn’t feel like the right path for me.  I need to be out there doing something.

I can’t explain it any other way than I can’t sit still in some little cushy bubble, knowing what’s happening to our natural world. So I’m getting out on the road, on my homemade bamboo bicycle (which I will use to produce my own electricity and fresh air), and I’m going to do something about what’s bothering me.

“The World has no remote control. If there are things you don’t like, get up and change them yourself.”

I am starting with cycling the length of New Zealand, visiting schools and other organisations to share my experiences, discuss ways we can all make a positive difference and organise beach and river cleans.

From there I have further exciting conservation-minded plans.  But for the moment I’ll focus on New Zealand.