Today, we’d like to highlight Jocelyn Marsh, founder of the Love Our Oceans Project and this month’s #LocalHero!
The new project aims to reduce plastic usage within the veterinary industry while also promoting conversation towards ocean stewardship.
We asked Jocelyn a series of questions to learn more about this amazing project, and what future endeavors are planned as her project grows.
1) Tell us a bit about yourself and what motivated you to start getting involved with the environment.
Hello! My name is Jocelyn and I’m a Registered Veterinary Technician (RVT) from Vancouver, BC, and I’ve been working in small animal medicine for approximately two years, but my path to involving myself with the environment is a windy one. Since I was a child, I’ve always had a great appreciation for the environment and this is ultimately why I wanted to work in Veterinary medicine as I wanted to help animals in need whether that be domestic species or wildlife. During the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown, the Veterinary industry was overwhelmed, and walking outside in nature or going for hikes was huge for my mental health and overall wellbeing. During this time, I also saw applications open for the ‘Ocean Bridge Ambassador Program’ which is a program that accepts 160 Canadians between the ages of 18-30 to develop an action project and deliver it within their local communities. I am very proud to say I was accepted into this program, and in June 2021 I met some of my fellow ambassadors on a 10 day learning journey that completely immersed me into environmental issues, and since then I have tried to continue educating myself and others on why we need to be a voice for the environment and the many species that inhabit it.
2) How did you first get involved with the Love Our Oceans Project?
When I was in the beginning stages of developing an action project for the Ocean Bridge program, I went through many ideas, but ultimately told myself to not reinvent the wheel per say, but to look towards areas I already knew well. I realized that this area was the Veterinary Industry. I saw how many of the items and procedures used in practice utilized plastic, and the large amount of plastic waste that came with it. I decided to start the ‘Love Our Oceans Project’ as a blog to document my journey with my action project. What started as a blog for my own enjoyment, has turned into a reference website for industry professionals looking to involve their clinics in more sustainable practices.
I think the project is important because we have the ability to really make some positive change when it comes to plastic waste in the industry, and I can tell from the short time that the project has been out to the world that the desire to do better is there and it’s been so nice to see people so excited to get involved whether that be staff or clients. One of my favourite quotes is by Isaac Newton who once said “If I have seen further by others, it is by standing upon the shoulders of giants.” The project is built on the experiences and individuals I work and interact with, and as a result we’ve been able to get the conversation started around how we can evolve and inspire change in the Veterinary world.
Some of the actions I’m working on focus mostly on plastic waste reduction. I have a three-tiered system that involves: a pill vial recycling program with clients bringing back their pet’s pill vials for re-use or recycling and they receive a discount on their dispensing fee as a thank you for their involvement in the initiative, moving to a weight-based method of measurement for liquid medication audits which discontinues the use of plastic needles/syringes for auditing purposes (my hospital was using almost 800 needles/syringes annually for their audits alone!), and I post informational posts/videos for individuals in the industry on ways they can repurpose plastic items in clinic for other uses i.e making bandage boots out of IV bags and lines so pets don’t soak their bandages when walking outside. I think these initiatives are particularly important because they are policies that can be implemented quickly and do not require new innovations, but rather what we already have access to.
5) What challenges or obstacles do you face when you take action?
The most challenging obstacle I have faced when trying to take action has been rolling out the changes. We are creatures of habit, and change can be very difficult when we are used to doing something one way for so long. I do have to say for the most part, everyone has been very receptive to the changes, but it can take some time and muscle memory for people to feel comfortable with them and so I think support and education is really important in these instances to show why change is needed and how it can even benefit them!
7) Who inspires you in terms of activism and making a difference in the environment?
Oh! So many people! Cristina Mittermeier and Paul Nicklen are two photographers I follow who are incredible at documenting issues surrounding the environment through photos that tell a story just by one captured image. I’m also very inspired by my fellow coworkers and Ocean Bridge ambassadors who are so compassionate and driven for change. Lastly, my mentor Benjamin, is one of the most inspiring people I’ve met. He has spent so much time helping me bring this project to light, and I am so thankful for his knowledge and experiences in helping me strengthen my voice for activism.
Just seeing the excitement around the project as a whole. I have a QR code set up in the exam rooms at the practice I work at that allows clients to sign up for the pill vial recycling program on their own, and everytime I see a new sign up I get so excited! These clients signed up because they wanted to. People want change and I’ve been able to see this since the start of the project rollout.
9) What future events or initiatives do you have planned?
I have recently started posting videos with information for both industry professionals and those interested in learning more about ways we can repurpose plastic in clinic or things we can do to reduce our plastic foot print when it comes to the Veterinary industry. I also hope to continue perfecting the items already rolled out such as continuing to streamline our weight based audit procedures.
10) Do you have any recommendations for people wanting to make a difference in their communities?