New 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
People 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.
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.”
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.
Every day we can find our Ocean Advocate and “Blue Life” heroes and heroines sharing their passion and stories online. Sometimes their adventures and journeys seem so large and amazing that we might sit back in awe – and wonder, “What could I possibly do to make in difference in a problem so huge as micro-plastics in the ocean?” (Meet Blue Life Journal co-author Zane Schweitzer making a personal difference each day – featured image)
For example, in collaboration with Parley and supported by TOMRA recycling, the pioneering all-female crew of “eXXpedition North Pacific” recently set sail from Honolulu, Hawaii, on a scientific research mission led by award-winning British skipper, Parley collaborator and ocean advocate, Emily Penn. The voyage will investigate solutions to the devastating impacts of plastic and related toxic pollutants in the world’s oceans, and bring global awareness to three “unseens”: women in science; pollution in our oceans and bodies; and rises in disease, especially in young women.
Here’s another recent example from 5 Gyres, their 18th Expedition bringing citizen scientists (including Blue Life Journal co-author Zane Schweitzer) through Indonesia’s Corla Triangle from Bali to Komodo. They sampled microplastics and explored solutions to the problem of plastic pollution. Groups were lead by 5 Gyres Co-Founder and Research Director Marcus Eriksen and 5 Gyres Science Programs Director Carolynn Box.
That expedition exemplifies 5 Gyres’ “science to solutions” model, leading to a better understanding of the global scope and trends related to ocean plastic pollution. It will help us monitor the efficacy of upstream solutions over time. ( Learn more about the NIX 6 – what WE can do)
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 seems that turning off (or turning down) our own little tap is almost meaningless.
More importantly, we connect with others who begin to do the same. We may not be on an expedition in Indonesia, we may not be measuring plastic across the oceans of the world – but 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 more I learn about Starboard, the more I admire its founder, Svein Rasmussen. His commitment to “blue life” choices goes far beyond the personal and influences everything involved in the corporate presence of Starboard. (excellent interview here) Svein shares this, “The oceans where we practice watersports regulate the climate and house 99% of the biosphere, controlling the weather and providing oxygen for every breath we take.” From planting mangroves, education the next generation of stewards to reducing plastic and carbon footprint in every aspect of Starboard’s processes, Svein innovates and inspires consistently.
A title that matters to Svein is that of “Chief Innovator” and in that role his life is focused on drilling into every little part of the Starboard organization, trying to make it better. Svein explains, “Starboard is a product driven company so I spend most of my time driving the product development and environmental strategies together with our British product manager Ollie O’Reilly. We have been ahead of the curve in terms of shapes and technology and often create what we call 100% market share, meaning during the first year there simply is no similar product in the market.”
Innovation does not end with “first to market.” Svein hopes to make Starboard a truly influential company where short term profit comes second to creating a better tomorrow for all of us. He doesn’t keep his innovations in that area to himself. Rather, Svein is a global leader.
Recently (May 2018) Svein Rasmussen, shared some tough truths about plastic pollution in the ocean and in our lives with the members of the Joint Foreign Chambers of Commerce in Thailand — and encouraged them to take the lead in the industry change. His message was loud and clear as he encouraged others to join Starboard and pioneer the change to a more sustainable way to do business. After all, he posed this crucial question, “Do governments produce plastic? Do waste managers produce trash? Commerce produce plastic trash and is ultimately responsible.”
Some suggestions offered are important steps that should be in discussion in every corporation and workplace –
Start with the office. No single-use plastics allowed at work.
Motivate and encourage your employees to be part of the movement.
Calculate your carbon emissions and plastic use, then reduce it.
Reinvent your business to reduce the overall waste and the dependence on primary materials and energy.
Start seeing the economic and social benefits.
It takes a village, it takes a team. Recognizing the work of others comes naturally for Svein. In discussing where Starboard has come Svein gives heartfelt thanks to people like Ollie O’Reilly for driving our awesome eco board projects and Starboard’s partners Parley, SUP Kids, Sustainable Surf,Watertrek and Arne Fjoertoft at the Thor Heyerdahl Mangrove Park
We can all recognize steps toward a solution that align with our area of influence and location. It might seem that planting a mangrove is a small thing, but when doen in cooperation with others the impact is powerful. Most of us are unaware of the impact of a mangrove. Here is why Svein cares so much, “Mangroves have a vital role in protection of lives and properties in vulnerable coastal communities from tsunamis and extreme weather. Mangroves increase sea food stocks up to 50% and have several important features that help curb climate change.”
Let’s be individually and collectively inspired by this visionary leader and waterman, Svein Rasmussen.
A video of a visionary
Corporations with a conscience and true commitment to saving our Oceans “walk the talk,” and that is not easy.
In addition to creating Gold Standard products, Starboard is involved with several initiatives to reduce their footprint and impact on the environment:
Starboard is taking responsibility for its role in the plastic industry by offsetting their plastic footprint. This involves calculating exactly how much plastic goes into production and are now removing 48 metric tons of ocean plastic in 2018 to create a positive impact on the planet – instead of a negative one. For every board sold – Starboard collects 2 kg of ocean plastic. Starboard’s Plastic Offset Program funds local cleanups and puts a financial value on discarded plastic.
Who can YOU talk to at work, among your social and SUP circles, within community organizations. Be the inspiration and innovation!
The quote that almost made me hop out of my chair and cheer was this from Will McCallum, author of How To Give Up Plastic and head of oceans at Greenpeace UK, “It’s unprecedented for an environmental issue to be having a reaction on [the current] scale. Blue Planet II was undoubtedly the tipping point; in China alone it was downloaded 180 million times.”
Our hope at Blue Life Publications is that we can harness this intention to change habits around plastic use, especially single-use plastic. By connecting millions of people practicing “Blue Life” journal writing with cues and structured support new habits become easier to sustain.
Will McCallum nailed it again, “It’s about inspiring people to become part of the solution.”