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.

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.

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.

Your Passion Fuels Ocean Solutions

During the time period of January – June 2018 many individuals that are passionate about “being the Blue Life solution” for our voiceless friend, the Ocean, will be using the Blue Life Journal. If you want your “early release” copy of the Blue Life Journal (coming August 1, 2018) Pre-order here.

ashleybdrone2In a challenging, even overwhelming, situation whether in business, life – or our fragile environment – creativity is the ability to design original, meaningful ideas that shake the foundations of traditional “The way we’ve always done it” mindset. (Photo Credit: Karim Illya of Ashley Baxter)

The lone creative genius who has the “fix it” innovation represents old school thinking. Today, in teams, environmental organizations and businesses across the world, it’s true that no one person holds all the pieces of the puzzle. For that reason we have created this CONVERSATIONS vehicle so that creativity can be nurtured and supported throughout Blue Life Journal Publications. Together, we connect and collaborate by the daily practice of Blue Life Journal-ing. We will create the very survival and hope the Ocean requires by offering up our own ideas and building on those of others. Organizations, innovative projects and – YOU! Connect and share via your social media. Check us out on Twitter.

Hope will come from the groundswell; the people and the Blue Life community. It has to, because our viral explosion of ideas can fuel the next SUPERTREND.  (Click to Learn More)

Individual small actions will drive the habits central to the health of our Oceans – and our own survival. All of this is very good news to us because our core competency is connecting people, into communities that ‘Innovate and Inspire.” Together, we have the power to change our environment.

Choices and Heroes

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.

table-of-contentsThe 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.

Related imageThere 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 TwitterImage result for cyrill gutsch parley for the oceans

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.


The Journey Begins

Inzane-super-groms-1Throughout 2018 Zane Schweitzer and Judy Shasek will be having conversations with surfers, stand up paddlers, caring citizens from around the globe. They will be speaking at schools, in the workplace, at Rotary Clubs and with groups concerned about the future of our Earth, and the Ocean. The goal: To engage a million+ individuals in the practice of making a Blue Life choice every day and writing it down in their Blue Life Journal.

That small, simple act will generate a mindset, strong habits and a tidal wave of inspiration that can turn the tide on the devastation inflicted on the environment – and our deep, blue Oceans.

Their inspiration has originated from a love of the Ocean, but their dedication to making a powerful, daily difference in the lives of millions has come from the example of so many hard-working and knowledgeable individuals. The organizations, individuals and groups featured in the first few CONVERSATIONS and the PEOPLE AND PROJECTS section include: Svein Rasmussen of Starboard and Starboard Blue, Cyrill Gutsch of Parley for the Oceans, and Michael Stewart of Sustainable Surf (Learn more here)

Together, each doing our small part consistently, we can change the world. Believe and Create! — Zane Kekoa Schweitzer