An adventurer in spirit and experienced solo traveler, Camila Torres set out from Argentina to Thailand in 2018 to learn to dive. Through becoming a diver, Torres hoped to ultimately document the ocean and learn everything she could from these diverse underwater landscapes.
Now a photographer and filmmaker currently based in Mexico, Torres dedicates time to helping organize beach cleanups around the world, from the Argentine Patagonia to Tulum, Playa del Carmen, and Cancun in Mexico.
Torres’ dream is that we free our seas from plastic and, by changing ourselves, change the future of our planet: through our positive actions, we can be the change we want to see.
Torres is also part of Only One’s network of ocean ambassadors helping to support vital stories, solutions, and campaigns around the world.
This interview was condensed and edited for clarity.
Part of your work is bringing people together to help free the ocean from waste through cleanups in different countries. Why are you passionate about stopping plastic pollution?
The ocean is the most important environment we have that enables us to breathe and, I believe, the most important reason to do whatever it takes to stop plastic pollution. My love for marine animals is also a source of my passion, and for us to be able to see these incredible landscapes and animals the ocean gifts us in every corner of the world free of garbage again, keeping it clean is vital. To be able to go to beaches without them being full of plastic is something that does not happen anymore, and we need to recover our paradises and the animals that inhabit them.
You spend time traveling the world, which is what led you down the path of becoming a photographer and filmmaker. What steps can travelers take to be more conscious of plastic consumption?
What I keep seeing the most of as I share moments with travelers is the consumption of plastic water bottles. To me, above all it’s necessary and urgent that travelers start using reusable bottles and get into the habit of bottling their own water.
What do you love most about the ocean that makes you want to save it?
The ocean for me is where I can experience peace I am unable to find anywhere else. Once I formed a connection with the ocean four years ago, living away from it became impossible. Beyond enabling us to breathe without even us being aware of it, it is my home, and where I feel most complete in the world.
Additionally, every new animal I meet while diving makes me fall in love—so much that I spend days learning about each one. These days I have a strong connection with sharks and whales; they give me a feeling I find hard to explain. Being able to appreciate them creates so much happiness and emotion, there really is nothing in this universe that generates something similar in me.
I’ve seen a lot of turtles and pufferfish killed by fishing nets or microplastics. My soul breaks every time I have one of these encounters. We must be more aware of this to act as quickly as possible and stop as much consumption of plastics as possible. It’s extremely urgent to save our oceans and all their marine life.
Solving the plastics crisis requires addressing pollution at the source, but what small yet meaningful actions can people take to help?
People can start by reducing their plastic consumption as much as possible: stop using plastic bags, say no to plastic straws and cutlery, use a reusable bottle, and bottle your own water. If you’re at the beach or in the ocean and see some waste, try and pick it up—even if it’s just one item.
Donating to causes dedicated to ocean aid make a real difference too. Through organizations like Only One, important stories come to the surface, and funds are distributed to global marine protection campaigns and impactful small coastal community projects.
Remember that we are always an example to people around us, and we have the power to encourage and inspire them to do the same. No action or piece of plastic is too small, and if you can change yourself, so will the world around you.