You’ve most likely heard this before: the surface of the Earth is over 70% ocean.
In and of itself this is telling as to how huge the oceans truly are.
But look at it another way to get the vastness of our oceans — this is a number that you may not have heard: the total volume of our oceans is 1.26 sextillion (that’s one with 21 zeroes after it) liters.
That is a lot of water.
So in that sextillion-sized vastness, what harm could a little garbage here and there, a little plastic perhaps, actually do.
Miami-based entrepreneur and business coach Douglas Barra is surrounded by water. And he’s one of the people who is spreading the news about the answer to that question.
The ocean is big… NOT infinite
There was a time when Douglas, like many, thought that the oceans were too big to warrant much concern. But he eventually learned that the many life forms living in them, most of which are out of sight and out of mind, are being significantly impacted by human activity. He recalls his fisherman stepson instructing him to cut the rings on plastic beverage holders to keep sea life from becoming ensnared.
Regrettably, we humans have had a nasty habit of dumping our garbage where it doesn’t belong. Douglas wants this to stop, and stop now, or it will come back to bite us in a bigger way than we can imagine.
He puts it starkly and simply. “Without healthy oceans and ocean life, there won’t be any life on this planet,” he says.
Douglas supports UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) #14 – Conserve and sustainably use of the oceans, seas, and marine resources – as a critical way to address this issue head-on.
“Hand-ups” over “Hand-outs”
Douglas does his part to clean up the oceans by ensuring, first, that he’s not adding to the problem. He strictly follows the “three R’s” of waste reduction – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – both personally and at his work at Team Sage, a franchise of the internationally-recognised ActionCOACH company.
Douglas is passionate about helping other business owners achieve their goals. A former programmer, he moved on from a successful career in software consulting to pass on his knowledge and experience to others as a business coach so they can achieve more success as well.
And now, he brings his environmental commitment into the very meaning of success, “For me, a successful business is a business that matters, a business that makes life better for others,” he says.
In addition to making life better for his clients, it’s important to Douglas that his own business contributes to the community at large – but in a way that gives people a long-term opportunity to help themselves. Rather than “hand-outs”, he believes in “hand-ups” – helping people up and out of a rut or jam – truly impacting their lives. That’s why Team Sage supports B1G1 projects that provide business training to entrepreneurs working to get out of poverty.
Oceans are everyone’s legacy
Douglas believes that businesses shouldn’t look at giving as a hardship or a cut into their profits. On the contrary, a generous mentality can attract excellent team members and clients that share their vision for a better future. “Giving effectively literally does shift the spirit of the business; it is a deeply transformative process,” he says.
Interestingly, Douglas points out that small businesses far outnumber large ones in terms of employment and economic impact. And because of that Douglas says they are in a unique position to lead the charge in solving the world’s problems – even if just a little at a time.
“Most people want to be part of something that is making a difference – especially our younger generations,” he says. “I saw a sign recently that put it well: ‘we have not inherited the world from our forefathers; we have borrowed it from our children’.”
That’s why Reduce, Reuse, Recycle are the new ‘3Rs’. Putting them into action now protects what we have borrowed. That sextillion-sized vastness is a huge and constant reminder of the obligation we have.