Joining the fight to protect our planet
JUST as the ocean delivers a sense of "magic" for Alison Foley, what it pulls back is creating a "world disaster".
The Buderim resident fears a future spent by the beachside will be filled with more than just sand.
"What's happening is like a global, existential crisis," she said.
"Not to be overly dramatic about it, but plastic pollution is really serious stuff."
With a passion to advocate for solutions to plastic pollution, Ms Foley established her own clean-up and educational organisation, Ten Little Pieces, last year.
Although she often feels "overwhelmed" by what our planet is facing, she believes even the smallest action can create significant change.
"We need to bridge the disconnect between individual action, like littering just one cigarette butt, and the cumulative consequence of that," she said.
"Because when you see mountains of them after a clean-up, you see the penny drop.
"We need to empower everyone to really pay attention to the environment and if we all did that, what a massive impact we would have."
Proof of this can be seen in Ms Foley's next mission to protect the planet, with her efforts recently recognised on a global scale.
She has been selected as one of 300 women to embark on leg 11 of eXXpedition - an all-female sailing crew circumnavigating the globe - in May next year.
The aim of eXXpedition is to raise awareness of, and explore solutions to, the environmental and health impacts of single-use plastics and toxic substances in our oceans.
Ms Foley said she was stoked to have been chosen for the mission.
"It gives me goosebumps - I'm so excited," she said.
Empowering women to enter fields of work in STEM areas could be one solution to world pollution, Ms Foley said.
"There's a really famous scientist … he thought the biggest threat to the environment was deforestation and climate catastrophe, but really the biggest threat to our environment and future is apathy," she said.
"And that's something we (women) do really well."
Yet above all, Ms Foley believes the ultimate answer is education.
"I don't underestimate eight-year-olds," she said.
"We can open dialogue around protecting the planet from four years old, and the older they get the more action they can take, but even the smallest action has an effect.
"Education really is key … and we need to change."
Ms Foley is required to fund costs associated with the expedition. Search eXXpedition to Research Ocean Plastics on GoFundMe to donate, or head to her website, www.tenlittlepieces.com