I make a choice every day to seek ways that I can innovate and inspire – myself and others. I am Judy Shasek of Water Words. Because of the power of social media we can all connect our small daily actions and influence to change the devastation of our Ocean. We learn from those we FOLLOW and share our innovations and inspiration. This article talks about just one of our HEROES.
The Process of Blue Life Connections? As co-author of Blue Life Journal with Zane Schweitzer we are working to create an avalanche of “Blue Life” actions. Every morning I write in my journal (Your Blue Life Journal is available for pre-order before its August 1 release). By writing short entries guided by the cues, the tone and intention for my day is mindfully established. The journey is always easier with a road map. Through our online CONNECTIONS COMMUNITY we can expand the influence of the heroes among us.
This is from Blue Life Journal co-author, Zane Schweitzer, “Sometimes things align in a way that connects where we want to go with opportunity. I had the almost unimaginable honor of being one of the influential individuals invited to the Maldives for a trip with Parley for the Oceans to attend the Parley Ocean School early in 2017. Founder, Cyrill Gutsch, is a German-born and world renowned designer and creative entrepreneur based in New York City.
There are heroes and mentors all around us: Cyrill Gutsch is a mentor to many. Yet, in 2012, a meeting with activist, Captain Paul Watson of the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society and co-founder of Greenpeace, convinced Cyrill to take on his most challenging client; the world’s oceans. He had the particular objective of focusing attention on the multiple threats facing this vital ecosystem and on establishing a new business culture where it is more lucrative to protect the oceans than to destroy them.” (For the most up-to-date information of Cyrill’s work and deep thinking on the topic, FOLLOW him on Instagram and Twitter )
This is from the Parley for the Oceans website, Jacques Cousteau said, “people protect what they love.” But before you can love something you need to know it, and there’s no better way to learn than through total immersion within the blue universe we’re fighting to preserve and protect. This belief guides the curriculum of Parley Ocean School, a unique program blending ocean activism with learning and exploration on, around, and in the marine environment.
Zane explains this further, “I spend most of my life in, on or under the ocean. However, I had no idea how much I didn’t know about the ocean and the scope of the devastation plastic is causing. Through a series of global marine expeditions, Parley Ocean School (POS) is educating and empowering ambassadors for what might seem like an impossible mission. Each session of POS is dedicated to deepening scientific understanding of marine cultures and environments, with a focus on promoting stewardship, awareness, and solutions in local communities. Every POS alumni leaves with a renewed understanding of their role in this world, and of the actions they can take to protect it in the office, by the sea and at home. I was completely inspired to become the best ocean-advocate I could be after the experience at this Parley Ocean School.
As a waterman following generations of my own family in their connection to, not only the ocean, but also the air, the wind and nature, it is completely natural for me to have a vision of a healthy vibrant ocean. For many who visit the ocean infrequently, or maybe only while on vacation, it looks like a healthy, vibrant ecosystem. But, compared to what?”
The term “shifting baseline syndrome” is an expression coined by fisheries scientist, Daniel Pauly. It describes the memory loss from one generation to the next. As one generation disappears, so does the knowledge of what once was. If a child never hears about the way a forest, a snow covered peak or the ocean was a generation or two ago, that memory is lost. Since birth I have been blessed with hearing stories and memories from my ‘ohana. Our family stories recall the way the ocean was twenty, forty or more years ago. Think about young people who are the second or third generation of families not connected to either the ocean or to nature.
By being disconnected from the past, we are also disconnected from the future. As aware as I am, being in the ocean every day I can be, I was not 100% aware of the dire situation that is the health of the oceans. While at Parley Ocean School, I was shocked by the story of plastic and the devastating impact it has on the albatross. I watched the film, “Albatross” produced by Chris Jordan and it affected me in both my heart and my gut. While a huge part of the plastic debris is washing up on beaches where it can be collected relatively easily like we do at beach cleanups, the majority of the plastic has broken down into small pieces 1/4 of an inch or smaller. The plastic trash is scattered over massive areas and is not easily visible or collected.
After experiencing Parley Ocean School, thinking about the best way I could use my influence and my network was my challenge. It required innovation to discover how I can best use my experience and talents to impact people in my own way. Doing speaking engagements and clinics around the world is one way. Writing Beneath the Surface was another. I am teaming with writer, creative, environmentalist and educator, Judy Shasek, to bring the Blue Life Journal to the world. It’s our vision that the Blue Life Journal will ignite a movement that will serve the Oceans – and our own survival.
The oceans are dying. But it’s not too late to save them. Only passion and creativity on a collaborative level will end marine plastic pollution. Cyrill Gutsch shares The Parley A.I.R. Strategy as a way to addresses the fast-growing and global threat of plastic pollution based on the belief that plastic is a design failure, one that can only be solved if we reinvent the material itself. He shares, “We all have a role to play in the solution. Let’s invent our way out of this mess. Together.”
I know that Cyrill is right. We need to do this “together.” Even before returning home from Parley Ocean School my action had begun. One by one I spoke with my sponsors and explained the need to re-invent and re-design from packaging to product. It was fantastic to hear ideas from my sponsors immediately. Some had already taken steps towards eco innovations such as Starboard teaming up with Sustainable Surf, Parley For The Ocean and Water Trek to combine innovative quality with an alternative means of production using environmentally friendly materials. Beyond that, Starboard is making a huge commitment to take away damage that has already been done by planting one mangrove tree for every single Starboard product sold. A mangrove’s lifespan has the potential to remove 1 ton of CO2 from our atmosphere. The tree’s roots act as a filtration system in the water and ground. In addition, it’s an ecosystem and refuge for small fish. The roots stretch into the ground almost like a protective cage. See more on Starboard Blue
What challenges align with your life mission and the path toward manifesting your future? Who are the creators and collaborators you can influence and inspire? What tools are available to reinvent and redesign the journey, the solutions and your dreams?
The connections you need, the opportunities and tools are available. Learning from your past and living authentically in your present requires mindful observation and reflection on every day, no matter how ordinary or challenging it might seem at the time. I’ve learned that my dedication to capturing my moments, experiences, and emotions in my journal has lead to major success in following my dreams and keeping on track with achieving them. Journaling has kept me grounded and present in the midst of my life’s chaotic routine.
The process proved to me how important it is to not only consistently work towards our dreams by keeping them locked in our heart and in our minds, but also by taking action toward achieving them. My friend and mentor, Suzie Cooney always says, “The mind wins first.” That’s accomplished by taking a step towards your goals every day- even if it’s just the smallest step, and believing in yourself. The Blue Life Journal evolved naturally from response to Beneath the Surface. Everything is unfolding as it should- just as my Grandma Carolyn would always tell me!
The stories of my life, of your life, are created by how we choose to live. For me to feel truly balanced I need to live life standing strong for what is pono- not only for myself, but for the greater good, for my environment and for the Ocean. My life is at its best when I live with respect for the land and for the sea – my home. Preparing for the future is key to who I might become. It’s interesting that making the video project, “Zane’s Deep Blue Life,” with my brother, Matty, Michael Stewart, and Hoku Haiku, began with the chance for me to “Learn from my past” and share a powerful message.