Hello! My name’s Grant Blakeway and I’m a South African businessman based in Durban.
Thirty-seven years ago, I was a sailor and diver in the SA navy. Today, I run my own transportation and logistics company. I spend a lot of time making sure that assets move safely from Point A to Point B. In recent years, I’ve spent countless hours thinking about the direction we’re moving in as human beings. As inhabitants of Earth. As the so-called custodians of this planet. Because we’re facing a crisis.
I was on holiday with my wife Adri in Indonesia when the severity of the marine plastic pollution problem hit me. We were staying at a picture-perfect resort on the other side of the world, thousands of kilometres from home, but the beaches looked nothing like those in the brochures.
The pristine shores we’d expected were instead strewn with all kinds of garbage. Packets, bottles, straws, wrappers, broken toys… Plastic, plastic, and more plastic as far as the eye could see. We were both stunned by the scale of the pollution.
I’ve lived near the coast for most of my life. And I’ve seen the slow decline of our marine environment. I’m sure you have, too. Maybe you’ve walked along a sandy shore in your home town and felt the trash underneath your toes. Maybe you’ve watched a documentary or read an article that highlighted the damage we’re doing to our oceans.
What lies ahead for future generations if we don’t act now? A marine graveyard? An expanse of seawater as toxic as it is foul? I can’t afford to sit on the sidelines and wait for someone else to do something. And neither can you.
I’m taking part in this year’s Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge to shine a spotlight on one of the most pressing environmental concerns of our time, and to call for dramatic social change to turn the tide on plastic.
My team name – Melokuhle – means “stand for what’s right” in isiZulu. It’s what I strive to do every day. And I hope you’ll do the same in pursuit of healthier, more resilient marine ecosystems.