Drowning in debris: Far South Coast author's colourful debut

First time author/illustrator Julie Parker takes inspiration from the marine debris she has collected from the coast between Lakes Entrance and Merimbula. Photo: Rachel Mounsey
First time author/illustrator Julie Parker takes inspiration from the marine debris she has collected from the coast between Lakes Entrance and Merimbula. Photo: Rachel Mounsey

Years of dedication to the Sea Shepard Marine Debris Campaign, hauling home tons of plastic rubbish every weekend, have inspired a fun-filled children's book.

Far South Coast author Julie Parker hopes it will highlight the effects ocean debris is having on marine life and the environment.

Hot of the press and self published, 'What would happen do you suppose?' challenges young readers to question the consequences of single-use plastics and other rubbish that finds its way into our oceans and water ways.

The vibrant cartoon illustrations were drawn by Julie, who up until three years ago had never really imagined herself as an illustrator or a writer.

"I wanted this book to look as raw as the subject matter, so I had to learn how to paint which you can imagine involved a lot of trial and error," the Mallacoota author said.

And it was the first completed illustration that really set the project on its way.

Taking inspiration from a photograph taken at nearby Big Beach of a seal with a fishing net rope caught around its neck, Julie set to work.

 Buoy O Buoy: The first completed illustration in the book.

Buoy O Buoy: The first completed illustration in the book.

Pretty soon almost every bit of rubbish she found combined with ocean life became scenarios for pages in the book.

The copious amounts of plastics recovered along the coastlines made it difficult for Julie to know when to end the book and she is already planning a sequel.

"There's quite an overwhelming amount of plastic washing up in this little pocket of the world.

"Every weekend I bring home a huge collection of hard and soft plastics including literally hundreds of glow sticks, cigarette lighters, fishing tackle galore, copious amounts of rope, and fishing tackle galore.

"It's not rocket science to realise the effect, these items are having on our marine life and animals." she said.

The pictures are accompanied by rollicking rhyming text which makes the message loud and clear in a child like manner.

"They don't want boring facts thrown at them. They've got to have some imagination and colour thrown in."

Although 'What would happen do you suppose?' is aimed at children it doesn't mean it's just for kids.

"The message is for everybody, I hope to inspire individuals to make positive lifestyle changes that in the long run have a positive impact on our oceans," said Julie.

"If one person who reads this book refuses a plastic bag or straw, my job is done."

For more information on how to order a copy of 'What would happen do you suppose?'visit the book's Facebook page. For every book sold $5 is donated to the Sea Shepard Marine Debris Campaign.

This story Drowning in debris: Far South Coast author's colourful debut first appeared on Bay Post-Moruya Examiner.

Comments