Beyond Beach Cleanup: Rockin’ Resolutions

ocean-viewNew Year’s is a time when we resolve to eat better, embrace good health and savor life. Personal goals are written and we are filled with positive expectation. Maybe you have considered habits that are harmful to our magnificent planet among your resolution process. Let’s hope so.

No matter how many beach cleanups we all do, until we cleanup some habits, significant change will not happen. Keep on with your practice of loving and respecting the natural environment by picking up litter and refusing straws. Talk about what you do and why – conversations inspire change.

If you are on social media – you can help spread the word by using the hashtag #HabitCleanup. Everyone can join that mission by some positive action each day. Here are a few simple suggestions and tips to create less trash and fewer carbon emissions over the next 12 months.

Preaching to the Choir: You Know the Drill

Over one million plastic bottles are purchased every minute around the world. Nearly 80 per cent of these end up in our landfills and oceans. Once this fact gets beyond your head and into your heart, trust me, you feel a pang of pain seeing cases of plastic bottles stacked in stores and heading home with shoppers.

Convenience has become an expectation and fuels habits negative to our planet. Your diligence – daily – makes a difference. But more than that, when you talk about your choices and why it’s worth the effort – you motivate, inspire and help others make habit changes. #HabitCleanup.

Reduce and reuse, before recycling

bljk-new-coverPeople tend to feel good about themselves when they recycle, but often it’s forgotten that recycling should be a last resort. There is no “away” when it comes to plastic. Living a sustainable lifestyle is not an all or nothing approach. And by sharing your efforts you expand your personal carbon-minimal footprint. Take what steps you can in 2019 and share them – in a positive, uplifting way that celebrates sustainability. #HabitCleanup for 2019.

To inspire the young people in your life and to give them hope for their future, you can gift them a BLUE LIFE JOURNAL FOR KIDS. Learn more here. 

Next Generation Ocean Stewards!

Upstream solutions? WE are the upstream. WE are the ones who can (one by one) turn off our personal “plastics into the ocean” tap. When the gushing stream of plastics into the water, land and air is so huge it might seem that turning off (or turning down) our own little tap is almost meaningless.

This is absolutely NOT the case, and we all know it in our heart.

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Cover Art by Liz Cunningham, author of Ocean Country – Copyright 2018

The habit of writing about intention, gratitude and actions is a powerful practice. We can make a “blue life” choice and write about it in our Blue Life Journal. We can then share our commitment and action on our social media, we talk about it in conversation with a friend, we turn down our tap.

More importantly, we connect with others who begin to do the same.

We may not be on an expedition in Indonesia, but thank goodness 5 Gyres IS!

We may not be measuring plastic across the oceans of the world and creating a network of innovators who can re-design materials, but thank goodness Cyrill Gutsch and Parley for the Oceans is.

Do not underestimate individual action repeated consistently. We are leading change where it will matter most. Our personal habits and choices will turn off the taps where it is need most – UPSTREAM from the plastic garbage patches killing our oceans. (Get your Blue Life Journal and start today)

Never think your choices are less important – remember that collectively we created the problem as a human member of the plastics dilemma. Together, we are the ones who will solve it.

The time is NOW to engage
the future stewards of the ocean in the process.

The optimism, perspective and ideas of youth are exactly what we all need. For that reason, we offer a Blue Life Curriculum to teachers in grades 4-8 at NO CHARGE. It includes: kids_nature

  • Comprehensive Teacher handbook
  • All slide decks (with online video)
  • List of each You Tube video for ease in obtaining “green light” for use in the classroom
  • Scripts for each slide deck (PDF)
  • Worksheets for each slide deck (Google Forms and PDF)
  • PDF (printable) copies of the Blue Life Journal for Kids
  • Explanation and Alignment to standards (Technology, writing, character education, environment, STEM careers, Service Learning)
  • Access to additional/optional activities
  • Resources and Supplemental Materials for expanding as interest dictates

If you are interested in learning more, fill out the form on our CONTACT page. If you already have a program that includes journal writing, character education, environmental studies, a “green” club or a focus on STEM careers, you will love the Blue Life Curriculum. 

Our mantra we hope you adopt with us: ONE + TOGETHER = HOPE.

Innovate Our Way Out of Trouble? Absolutely!

There are 46,000 pieces of trash in every square mile of Ocean

46,000 pieces of anything is a LOT! But trash in the beautiful deep blue sea – that is heart breaking. Heart breaking because it is ugly, but even more because plastic is most often death for marine life. They are the quiet and innocent victims of habits that need to be changed. They have no voice in the “what can we do about plastic” debate.

ecoverGood News! A Belgian company called Ecover is now making their cleaning product packaging from plastic fished out of the sea. Taking plastic right out of the ocean, the company then processes it into detergent and dish soap containers. They are calling their new product the “Ocean Bottle” in an effort to bring attention to the problem of plastic pollution in our precious waterways.

Where will Ecover get their plastic? They will use waste retrieved by fishermen or from boats fitted with special equipment to trawl the sea for waste.

This is a clever company with a sense of humor (check out the image directly from their cool website).

Not only are they making “ocean friendly” bottles, they have re-invented soap. They figured out that fermentation can also be used to make effective ingredients for soap. Through fermentation Ecover can turn sugars into alcohols that can be used as solvents—the cleaning agents in many of our formulas that dissolve oils and other stains. And by using nature-inspired chemistry like fermentation, Ecover is able to minimize our impact on the environment.

Many conventional cleaning processes typically involve high-heat, high-intensity practices to produce ingredients. While these processes can be quicker and cheaper, making ingredients this way requires a lot of energy and can lead to unwanted by-products that can be bad for the environment. Conventional processes can also emit more greenhouse gases and consume more water. So Ecover attempts to limit their use of conventional processes when they can. This is #InnovateandInspire on a huge scale. YAY!!!!!

One Million Sea Animals Die Every Year from Sea Waste

Indonesia, Sangalakki Island. This endangered green turtle is sitting at a cleaning station waited ot be serviced by small fish that scour it's surface for dead and diseased tissue. The common name "green" comes from the color of its fat.

Blue Ocean.net shared in a recent article, “Ocean waste is a major issue in all parts of the globe. Fish in the northern Pacific alone ingest up to 24,000 tons of plastic waste and every year at least one million sea animals die from ingesting sea waste. Once waste gets into the ocean environment, it can take thousands of years to degrade.”

There are so many ways we can make a difference. Yes, we can clean up plastic from the sea. But, maybe even more importantly, we can stop using “new” plastic. Ecover is smart and making an innovative journey.

Let’s find and support more companies just like this – and SUBSCRIBE to BlueOcean.net

 

 

5 Gyres: Informing with Solutions

5 Gyres empowers action against the global health crisis of plastic pollution through science, art, education, and adventure. It’s exactly the sort of organization that inspires us with hope while providing sound  and hard-won data. As we try to do our best against the blight of plastic, here’s a group we can support and FOLLOW (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram). Want the latest research? Their new Research Hub lets you access the best scientific studies that can drive solutions to plastic pollution. Easy to use, the Hub also showcases a series of Policy Briefs focusing on the worst types of plastic pollution and what we can do about them. 5

The media 5 Gyres shares can help us understand how hard people are working. A recent article they shared from MyGoodPlanet on microplastics really opened my eyes to more that I can be doing.

5-2“Even though the plastic pollution problem is a far bigger issue than we can yet fully understand and comprehend, there are several steps that each of us can take in order to reduce further plastic and particularly microplastic pollution. Firstly and foremost reduce and refuse plastic whenever it is possible, reuse and recycle as much as possible. To reduce microplastics in particular, avoid personal hygiene products that contain microbeads. However, one of the biggest creators of small plastic particles is synthetic fibres (any man made material), and as ironic (and sad) it might be, this also includes clothing made out of recycled plastic bottles. Dr. Mark Browne, an ecologist and postdoctoral fellow at the National Centre of Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara, California, explains:

“every time a synthetic garment — one made of manmade rather than natural fibers — goes through the spin and rinse cycle in a washing machine, it sheds a large number of plastic fibers. Most washing machines don’t have filters to trap these miniscule microfibers, and neither do sewage plants that are responsible for removing contaminants. So every time the water drains from a washing machine, plastic filaments are swept through the sewers and eventually end up in the ocean.”

So while we all do our best, there is always more to learn and groups to support. One thing we can do is to inspire others with action. Join the world’s largest coastal cleanup day with 5 Gyres on September 15. (coincidentally that is also one of 5 Gyres Ambassadors, Zane Schweitzer, co-author of Blue Life Journal, birthday). More info here.

The Voice of Youth: Saving Our Oceans

india-plastic2We recently wrote about a group of middle schoolers in India who sent 20,000 plastic wrappers back to the manufacturer asking them to change the packaging to keep plastic out of the environment and the ocean.

That was a powerful story and one that solidly reinforces the premise behind the Blue Life Journal Curriculum (Grades 4-8) we created for teachers. (Available at no cost for the 2018-2019 school year) When young people are given a tool, like the Blue Life Journal for Kids, and engaging stories demonstrating hope, innovation, imagination, invention and connection as a solution path vs the enormous challenge of plastic – the future looks bright.

We recently read an article about an expedition partially sponsored by Starboard, Eat Less Plastic. This expedition which will sail to remote parts of the globe and sift small “microplastics” from the ocean will spend five months sailing the South Pacific. They will go to  areas that have never been tested for microplastics and other marine debris.

The mission is funded through Love The Sea, a Hawaii-based non-profit run by Campbell Farrell—himself an accomplished big-wave surfer as well as paddleboard racer. Originally from New Zealand.  The Ultimate Waterman, Starboard Dream Team athlete and co-author of the Blue Life Journal, Zane Schweitzer, is throwing his support behind the journey as one of its ambassadors. The message shared by expeditions of this type are loud and clear – we need to re-design plastic and stop the flow at the source, with manufacturing.Eat-Less-Plastic-An-Epic-4-month-Voyage-Across-The-Southern-Pacific-Ocean-2

When it comes to coastal cleanups Campbell Farrell, a surfer, ECO/Ocean advocate, Starboard Ambassador and businessman says that “beverage containers and straws get a lot of flak, but when you go and do a beach cleanup, every industry I can think of, whether it’s automotive, sporting, fashion, of toothbrushes, is showing up on the beaches every day. The entire world and every industry needs to stop and take a look at their consumption of plastics. It’s going to take big commercial players to step up.”

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Starboard’s Svein Rasmussen walks the talk – with gusto!

Manufacturers with philosophies like Starboard and their “Starboard Blue” commitment can lead the way. Leaders and those in the role of CEO, like Starboard’s Svein Rasmussen, are working hard to share the message. But there are endless more manufacturers who need to really HEAR the message. Sometimes it just takes the collective voice of youth – the future stewards of our planet. We are certain that when teachers share our Blue Life Curriculum with their students that the students will take up the cause through their optimism, idealism, hope for the future and fresh perspective.

Plastic Litter: Are We Really the Culprits?

india-plastic1Visit any school cafeteria on any given day and look around at the plastic wrappers for snacks, juice boxes, cookies, single serve lunch kits and other items. Most of those wrappers end up in the trash and most, if not all, cannot be recycled. Even the most “green” teacher or student has little choice in this scenario.

Students from one middle school in the port city of Thoothukudi (India) collected more than 20,000 packaged food wrappers in less than two weeks, sorted them out and mailed them back to the companies who manufactured them. City councilors in India are encouraging school children to round up packaging of this sort and mail it back to the manufacturers. Think of all the “blue life” lessons that could be embedded into an activity like this is any school.

More than 10,ooo of the wrappers came from a company called Britannia (owned primarily by Nabisco) which makes biscuits, bread and cakes.

Along with the wrappers, the students sent a letter: india-plastic2

“We are happy with the taste and quality of your products, but unhappy with the plastic packaging. We want to ensure a safe environment for our future generations and minimize our plastic footprint. We have decided to collect used plastic wrappers of your products and send them to you for safe disposal. Please help us savor your products without guilt, by introducing eco-friendly packaging.”

We are 100% sure we will be creating a segment of the Blue Life Curriculum (Grades 4-8) that will include options for similar activities along with engagement with city officials. Inspire younger generations with a desire for change and they’ll forge ahead. They have an optimistic views and are idealistic enough to TRY! So important.

What do you think? The more pressure that is placed on companies to handle their own waste, as opposed to consumers, the sooner we’ll see deposit strategies and bulk stores that allow reusable containers appearing in our cities.

This type of awareness and waste-collection project will affect the students’ own long-term lifestyle habits. It’s a unique project that most kids will consider important – and even fun. Most likely they will talk to their families and influence wider-reaching habit shifts. That’s our hope for all the “blue life” tribe.

To any teachers out there, if you want to receive our Blue Life Curriculum (Grades 4-8) at no cost, or learn more about its full resources and alignment to standards, just CONTACT us.

 

 

Back to School: Blue Life Stewards

People ask, “Why do you give away your Blue Life Curriculum (grades 4-8) to teachers and students – no charge?”

Here’s one reason why: “In school, children learn to be citizens. As we face climate change, disparities between rich and poor, and complicated questions about ever-more-powerful technology, we need citizens who care about community and can speak different truths.”EnviroKidsGallery07-itok=ENKYip0m

The above is a quote from the book Family Business by Malinda Chouinard and Jennifer Ridgeway

There are children all over the world being given the valuable opportunity to practice journal writing. Our thought is this: If young people are given a chance to reflect on gratitude, creating an amazing day and writing their intention to make a “blue life – good for the ocean and environment” choice every day, they will learn to be aware and proactive citizens that can save our ocean.

The second part of the Blue Life Curriculum is a series of engaging slide decks including powerful video, scripted discussion cues for the teacher and digital worksheets (no paper needed).  These resources reinforce ideas, demonstrate the power of individuals to make a difference and are geared to inspire young people to innovate and invent.

That’s our donation to our future. CONTACT us for more information.