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 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



One More Generation: Youngest Generation Leaders

Founders and Motivating Leaders – Carter and Olivia Ries

When we think about organizations leading change and inspiring others to develop awareness and habits around reducing single use plastic we don’t think of two kids on a mission. That’s exactly what started One More Generation.

The founders of One More Generation, Carter and Olivia Ries, (their story here) started their endeavor when they were still in elementary school. They believe that children have the power to solve the issues of endangered species and threats to the environment. That belief can fuel a powerful hope for us all.

As an educator, I was thrilled to see the peer mentoring they do through the well-designed curriculum available at their website. Sharing this at your favorite school or with a teacher might be one of the most important “blue life” things you do.

Carter and Olivia understand the importance of providing people with an easy entry to making change – something as easy as not using plastic straws. Their OneLessStraw campaign allows us to pledge for a positive action. Carter and Oliva explain it like this, “We created the “OneLessStraw Pledge Campaign” as a way for each of us to get involved. Affecting change is as easy as saying ‘No’. You don’t have to buy anything. You don’t have to convince others to do what you are doing. You merely have to say ‘No’ to all plastic straws.”

Video is the best way to share a story. Take a look at their TEDx Youth presentation.

Every great initiative has more reach through committed partners. At Blue Life Connections, our reach grows through your actions, connections with great leaders and sharing stories and “blue life” habits. Carter and Olivia wanted to be sure that we let people know who their partners are – click here for the full story.

Small Steps to Ocean Saving Blue Life Habits

blue heartI started to write the Blue Life Journal because it is in my heart to do everything possible from my location and my expertise to connect millions of people all wanting to save the Ocean. My energy was very unfocused at first. There was so much to do, and I didn’t know where to being. I needed to uncover my core motivation. My personal exploration of my motivation might also be a useful one for those of you who commit to a practice of daily Blue Life Journaling.

Each step of the way during the writing process I asked, “Why am I doing this?” If it’s to save the ocean, then the question could be “Why is this important to me?” Ask that question of yourself as part of the Blue Life Connections community.

If it’s important to you because you want to be able to enjoy the ocean with your kids, again ask yourself “Why is this important to me?” Your answer might be that you want your kids to have fond memories of the beach, boating, fishing, diving and seeing clean shorelines. And this might be important to you because you worry about water in general, in lakes, bays and even in your faucet at home. Continue this exercise until you find the truest, deepest reason behind your goal.wave-drop-ocean-2

I did that. The exercise was so very valuable in breaking down my “big picture” goal into smaller steps. You may not want to connect millions of people to save the ocean and change habits around plastic. You may not want to connect millions of individuals’ ideas, inspiration and innovation. You might simply want to do what you can to create a life and habits that is most satisfying to yourself.

That dive down into “what is my motivation to join the Blue Life Connections community and begin a practice of Blue Life Journaling” sets the stage for setting short-term goals that build on that intention and keep your motivation at the forefront. Without that intention, reaching your goal of daily, mindful Blue Life actions is less likely and falling off track is much easier.

It is very cool how exploring my motivation helped to provide a clear path to success.

Small goals can work like stepping stones on your way to larger goals.

The challenge with a long-term goal is that it can seem so far away – weeks, months, or even years – that it doesn’t feel quite so detrimental to put off progressing. You may find yourself asking, “Why not make a change or build a new Blue Life habit tomorrow?”

I am trying to connect millions of people – and now I realize my goal is engage one person and perhaps, inspire that person to inspire another. Then, repeat!  Short-term goals allowed me to focus in short increments so that I can be focused on my next mini goal. With that – my “big picture” vision seems less overwhelming. A short-term goal, I can do that!

How about you? Here are some ideas:

Eat for tomorrow
Reducing or eliminating animal products from your diet is the single most powerful thing you can do as a consumer to ease the stress on our oceans. Fish have feelings too and suffer just as much as animals on factory farms. Not only that, fish are fed to pigs, chickens — even other fish in fish farms — in numbers that are wiping out ocean ecosystems.

Say NO to plastic bags
Every piece of plastic ever made still exists. There are approximately 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in each square mile of the world’s oceans. Think of the marine animals next time you shop.

Step up for sharks
Don’t support restaurants that serve Shark Fin Soup, and help end cruel shark netting

Eat organic
It’s better for you, and the planet. There are 146 dead zones identified in the world’s oceans that are primarily caused by chemical fertilizers in run off.

Spread the word
Share Blue Life Connections with your friends.

Take Out With Out – Restaurant Hacks

(Reposted from the excellent blog, My Plastic Free Life.” You will be so inspired by following their story. )

150x220-TOWO-bannerA fascinating campaign aimed at reducing unnecessary restaurant packaging is urging supporters to bring their own resusables (BYOR) and to refuse disposable containers, cups, bags, even straws. Take Out Without asks its members not only to bring their own containers but also to upload photos of their actions to the TOWO Flickr Group and to hand out TOWO informational wallet cards explaining how restaurants can reduce their food packaging waste. The campaign’s creed:

1) ReFuse Unnecessary Stuff. Think about the spoons, forks, straws, and napkins that you get served (why do they give you enough for a family of 20 when eating alone?). Ask yourself before accepting all these items, “Do I really need all of this?”

2) Re TakeYour Own Reusables. You can bring your own containers, straws, cutlery, mugs, bottles, and even your own bag – It’s so easy to find and use!

3) ReConsiderYour Habits. It’s easy to fall into a routine, so why not choose to create a new one?

Lisa Borden of Borden Communications & Design, the force behind Take Out Without, explains how she came up with the idea for the campaign. Lisa explained that the idea originated with one of her clients, a manufacturer of bamboo products, who wanted to take action against Styrofoam. But Lisa wasn’t interested in stopping at Styrofoam. Why not target all restaurant packaging waste?

…in a day and age where too many of us spend more time eating and drinking from restaurants and cafes over our own kitchens, it’s an issue that is broad enough to be able engage so many into taking action.

Lisa herself would rather stay home and cook her own meals. But when out, she prefers sit-down restaurants over carry out and chooses those that practice waste reduction as much as possible. Her favorite restaurant creates compost from leftover food, which is then used to grow the organic produce they serve. But she recognizes that unfortunately not everyone has the time to cook at home or sit down for a meal. In those cases, bringing our own containers for take out or leftovers can make a difference.

What if a restaurant won’t do it?

From my experience, there are businesses that have no problem filling up my containers (the Chinese restaurant down the street, the butcher shop, Whole Foods, my local cafe, the sandwich guy on the corner) and there are those that do. And there are those that ostensibly do but actually don’t get it. Take this example from Lisa:

Some businesses get it, some just don’t….

[Once] I went proudly into a great cafe and handed my Insulated Klean Kanteen over to them and then realized that they made my drink in a disposable, poured it into my mug, and threw out the cup! Moral of the story: always check the process, not just the end result!

I choose to frequent spots that do get it, or want to…. but it’s amazing what businesses will do for your business. Remember to explain WHY you are bringing your own containers. Then you’ll be the brilliant one starting a trend.

My attitude? First, ask. You won’t know if you don’t ask. Then, patronize the businesses that will comply with the request and steer clear of those that won’t. I always try to explain why reducing waste is important to me and why I won’t be coming back until they either start letting folks bring their own containers or at least switch to sustainable, compostable packaging.

Why Choose a Simple Bar of Soap?

A simple “blue life” choice.

liq-soap-compatreWhen commodity items like soap become familiar in a form that includes plastic, we sometimes don’t think about making the “old fashioned” choice. We’re used to a plastic pump bottle at every sink, and the sometimes slimey bar of soap seems like a messy choice.

Dealing with the mess.

Though liquid soap has been around since 1865 and possibly even earlier, it didn’t become mass-produced until 1980. Prior to that bar soap was the primary way to wash hands. A frequent complaint about bar soap was the slippery nature of the wetted soap and the lathery residue it left on counters and in soap dishes designed to contain it. Liquid soap in a plastic bottle is easy to use and all but eliminates the sudsy residue bar soaps left behind. Dispensers also aren’t slippery to handle. They are disposable and easy to replace. People didn’t have to spend time each week or day cleaning up the soap scum left from repeated uses of a bar of soap.

BUT Liquid Soap DOES Leave a MESS! Ecological considerations.

2009 study done at the Institute of Environmental Engineering concluded that liquid soaps leave a 25% larger carbon footprint than do bar soaps. Why is that? It takes more chemical feedstocks and processing to manufacturing liquid soap, 7 times more and that means 7 times more energy use and carbon emissions.

Other scientists found that liquid soap has 10x the carbon footprint of bar soap. Two major culprits here: The chemicals that are used to manufacture liquid soap, and the fact that the soap is packaged in wasteful plastic.

During use, liquid soap gets a little bit of bar soap’s lead back. People use about 30% less water when they wash their hands with liquid soap than with bar soap.

liq-soap-beachWe use about seven times more liquid soap than bar soap for each hand wash. Even though we tend to use about 30 percent more heated water washing with bar soap, it is still the environmental winner. You won’t find slivers of soap bars washed up on your favorite beach – ever. That plastic liquid soap container is here for almost eternity.

Choose a bar of soap for YOUR Blue Life choice today! stainless

There is another option – there always is! You can purchase a re-usable liquid soap dispenser and buy a huge container of liquid soap (and dispose of it for recycling or re-use when it is empty). That way you have reduced your negative impact by making a wiser and more blue choice.