Beach Godparents are the best! In Greece pretty much everyone has a loving godparent but it’s not unusual to have two, three and four!
They are often seen as a second parent whose role is to love, cherish and guide the chosen child through life. They are always bearing gifts for namedays, birthdays and of course, during the super important Greek Orthodox Easter. And the best bit, Godparents are there for life.
The other thing you’ll know to be true if you live in Greece; we all have a favourite beach. With the second-longest coastline in Europe, and 6,000 islands and islets there’s plenty of options to pick and choose the one we really love. Often this preference is connected to our childhood summers, holidays with friends, a memorable kiss, the gorgeous white cliffs or passion for a water sport.
Whatever the reason, we all have a special beach that we wish to care for and cherish. As part of the ‘Investigate’ stage of the Clean Blue Paros program, the local team and volunteers perform 16 marine litter audits each year. Each of the four beach locations are audited four times a year. Paros is a small island but because of its smooth coastal geography, it has so many fantastic beaches that need caring for.
So, with this well-embedded cultural tradition of godparents, our nationwide love for our secret spot by the sea, and a growing number of amazing volunteers that want to do more to help, we’ve recently introduced ‘Beach Godparents’ as part of our program.
But what does it mean to become a ‘Beach Godparent’?
Our volunteers firstly choose a special seaside location that is close to their heart, decide if they will perform the audits four times a year or more (one amazing godfather is going full throttle with 12 monthly audits) and then meticulously follow the protocol designed by the Department of Marine Science at the University of the Aegean in Lesvos.
Equipped with reusable bags, seasonal clothing, closed shoes, and in many cases friends and family joining them, they set out to collect, record and separate the waste. Their findings are then sent for analysis, helping us to further understand the plastic pollution on the island and respond by developing systems that will accelerate Paros on her journey to become the first plastic waste-free on the Mediterranean.
Lucky for Paros, so many brilliant residents have stepped up, and decided to show their love, commitment and care through our expanding Marine Audit program.
They have chosen to become the change they want to see, they have chosen to become active members of our Investigate program, but most of all, they have chosen to become ‘Beach Godparents’!
If you wish to join Maria, Nick, Anna, Joe, Kosta, Sia, please send me an email.
See you on the beach,
Photography by the amazing @afokaeos