7 Actions to Take in Support of World Oceans Day

7 Actions to Take in Support of World Oceans Day

June 8th is World Oceans Day

It is estimated that 8 million metric tons of trash enter our oceans every year and, as a planet, we use over 500 million plastic straws every day.  It’s a massive worldwide problem, and today, June 8th 2019, is the day we mark our commitment to make change for the better.  Today is World Oceans Day and here are 7 things you can do, big and small, to help support our oceans. 

1.  Take the 4 R’s pledge and say no to single use plastic

Refuse – Say no to single use plastic whenever possible

Reuse – Purchase reusable straws and containers, bottles and bags for every day use.

Reduce  – your carbon footprint.  Choose grocery items not individually wrapped (ie: don’t buy single serve snacks, but larger family packs and package in reusable containers).  If it comes in plastic, try not to buy it, or forego the wrapping (ie: shopping bags) altogether.

Recycle  – If you do have plastic, please make sure you put it out for recycling!

In honor or World Oceans Day take the pledge today at the Plastic Pollution Coalition. 

2. Eliminate single-use plastic wherever possible

Say no to single-use plastic straws in restaurants and cafes.  Spread the word by downloading these printable “Please serve straws upon request” cards and handing them out everywhere you see plastic straws being used.  The more awareness we can bring to the cause, the greater our chance of success. Hey, if companies like Starbucks can do it, then there is no reason why we cannot either.

You can download the cards here

Another way to eliminate single-use plastic straws is to carry your own reusable silicone or metal straws in your purse or car in case you are about and about and in need of a straw.  I carry these stainless steel straws in my purse for when the urge for a frappuccino hits me or for the occasional soda at our local restaurant.  

There are so many alternatives, and you are not limited to steel or silicone. Bamboo, paper, glass and even hay straws are available for purchase.  You can check out some pretty cool options over at Strawless Ocean

 

3.  Spread the word about ditching plastic straws

Find out more how you can help become part of the strawless planet revolution:

Our last straw

Surfrider

The last plastic straw

 

4. Volunteer at an ocean or beach clean up event

 

Here are two great resources for volunteering at a local beach or ocean clean up, or how you can start your own!

Ocean Blue Project

The Ocean Clean Up

International coastal cleanup is Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019.  You can start planning now to host your first clean up!

5. Make a purchase for a worthy cause

Did you know there are companies making jewelry with the trash they collect and recycle?  4Ocean does.  And with every bracelet that is purchased, one pound of trash is pulled out of the oceans. 

For every bracelet sold, 4Ocean removes one pound of trash.  If you don’t live near a beach or ocean, like myself, participating in a beach or ocean clean up isn’t a viable option on any given day of the week. 

I recently purchased the leatherback sea turtle bracelet and am loving it!  Each month they create a different bracelet, so you can do multiple donations and receive a different bracelet every month, either to keep for yourself or give to a friend.  Even the packaging is environmentally friendly, shipped in an envelope made from recycled paper. 

Kudos to 4ocean!

Shop for your bracelet here

 

6. Virtually adopt an endangered species

Many conservancies and organizations are vying for your donations to help support their non-profit.  How do you choose between them all?

Well, the first rule is always to donate to charities or non-profits where you have a deep and personal connection.  If you’ve traveled to the Galapagos Islands or The Arctic and seen the sea turtles or polar bears, you may have developed a close affinity with either or both of the creatures.  How can you help?

A symbolic virtual adoption.

Any donation to a non-profit is a worthy donation, however, sometimes you like to know exactly where your money is going.  Organizations such as The Galapagos Conservancy or Polar Bears International have developed programs where your donation is set up like a virtual adoption.  The money you give is earmarked specifically to help conservation efforts for a specific species.  Whether it be the Polar Bear in the Arctic or a blue-footed booby bird or sea turtle in the Galapagos, you can symbolically adopt one of these endangered animals and directly aid in their conservation efforts.

 

7. Go on an expedition cruise

Yes, this may seem completely counter-intuitive.

Why take a cruise on a ship which contributes to global warming, pollution and is threatening the very environment we are trying to save?  The fact of the matter is, many of the companies operating expeditions to remote and threatened areas such as Antarctica, the Arctic and The Galapagos Islands must adhere to extremely stringent protocols when sailing in these areas. 

In addition, companies like Lindblad Expeditions, Silversea, Quark Expeditions and Hurtigruten are among the cleanest and greenest vessels afloat.  They are committed to building environmental sustainability in their fleet – building new ships operating on LNG (liquified natural gas) or battery powered hybrid propulsion.  These ships also have their own on-board water filtration and recycling programs, and are endeavoring to move to a completely plastic free environment on board, some are already there. 

Other ships are being built with a dynamic positioning systems which eliminate the need for anchors that could potentially harm the coral and undersea life. The advancements being made are endless.  As new technology develops, you can expect newer and more innovative ships to grace our seas.  In honor of World Oceans Day, Lindblad Expeditions recently announced they are a carbon neutral company.  Big news, and the perfect reason why you shouldn’t hold back from taking that dream trip you have always wanted to take.  Here is the CEO, Sven Lindblad’s announcement:

A little goes a long way

For as little effort as it takes to make a negative impact on the environment, so too is the effort small to make a positive impact.  Whether it is saying “no” to that straw with your soda, bringing your own bags to the grocery store or picking up that empty plastic water bottle and throwing it into the recycling.  These small changes are zero effort on your part and, when you think about, each of those actions greatly eliminates the likelihood they will end up in our oceans.

The next time you reach for a straw, think twice about it and just say “NO”.

’til next time

Explore. Discover. Learn

Emma

P.S. If you are in the market for an expedition cruise, be sure to download my polar expedition cruise guide to help you make a informed choice on your cruising options.

How to Lower your plastic waste in 3 Easy Steps

How to Lower your plastic waste in 3 Easy Steps

This image earlier in the year of a sea turtle with a straw stuck up its’ nose was the defining moment I knew I had to make a more concerted effort to reduce my plastic waste.

Ironically, as I was sitting at my computer writing this post, I went to search for the image, only to find an email from AFAR magazine on precisely this topic.

Serendipity!

It’s been almost 15 years since I started bringing my own bags to the grocery store, yet there are still many who do not. It’s been commonplace in much of Europe for as many years as I can remember. I have memories as a child shopping with my grandparents and taking our own bags even then.

It was just something you did.

Did you know most countries charge a small fee for every single plastic bag they give you, whether at the grocery store or the mall? Why are we so behind the times here? How many plastic bags does your grocery store give away each day?

I dread to think.

By now, we should all be toting around our reusable bags like it’s second nature.

How many of us are not?

Here are five inexpensive items you should be using to lower your consumption of single-use plastic:

1 & 2. Stainless steel or silicone straws.

Starbucks recently announced that it is going to eliminate single-use plastic straws by the year 2020, on the heels of many large corporations and cruise lines such as Ikea, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines, American Airlines and many others. One- time use plastic straws have long been seen as pollutants in our oceans and harmful to our marine life. On a recent family trip to Florida, every restaurant we dined at had paper straws, I don’t think I saw a plastic straw the entire trip (except Starbucks).

According to ecocycle, approximately 500 hundred million straws are used every single day.

Let me repeat that.

500 million straws used.

Every. Single. Day.

That is a LOT of straws! Despite most straws actually being recyclable, the majority either get thrown away, or they miss the filtering process at the recycling plant and end up as trash anyway.

If you like to use a straw, particularly with your Starbucks frappuccino (as I do), or your pina colada, there are re-usable, sustainable alternatives you can buy and keep at home, in your car, or even in your carry-on bag should you be in need of one during your layover or while on vacation. Here are a couple of options:

1.Stainless Steel Straws

Stainless steel straws

2. Silicone Straws

Silicone Straws

I prefer the stainless steel type for smoothies and milkshakes – those with thicker consistencies – while the silicone straws are great for juices and water.

3 & 4. Reusable sandwich and snack bags

As a mom of 2 school age kids, I have packed my share of lunches. I notice there is a lot of plastic waste at this meal – probably you do as well – particularly if you have ever visited your childs’ or grandchilds’ school during the lunch period. Once a year, my daughter’s elementary school has a “trash free lunch” day. Quite frankly, we should be promoting this every day, not just once a year.

Here are a couple of ways you can reduce the waste, not only for school lunches, but snacks in the car to and from after-school activities, picnics, days out and even road trips. Using these recyclable bags and wraps will go a long way to reduce your carbon footprint and save you some money along the road too.

3. Reusable sandwich wrap

Reusable sandwich wrap
These wraps come with fun designs for your kids to make unwrapping their lunch fun, but also – who doesn’t love a cute owl? Perfect for yourself if you pack your own lunch for work, or even for that road trip you have planned next weekend!

4. Reusable storage bags

Rezip reusable storage bags
Perfect for cookies, crackers, fruit, any kind of snack.

Also convenient for air travel as well when the TSA asks for those small pesky containers to be visible in clear plastic bags. Hand washable, lead-free, BPA free, freezer and food safe.

5. Bamboo utensils

Speaking of traveling. How often do you order- in lunch or need a meal at the airport. Perhaps you get your favorite Chinese take-out or a salad from the hip new restaurant down the block from work? What do you need to eat it with?  Cutlery.

Plastic Cutlery.

Why not try bamboo cutlery?

Compact and easy to carry in your purse or leave in the car until you need it.

5. Bamboo Utensils

Bamboo Travel Utensils from To-go Ware

There you have it!

5 easy substitutions you can make now to eliminate single-use plastics in your home and on the road. It won’t take long to get used to, I guarantee it.  If you’ve already mastered the grocery bags and the water bottle, this will be a breeze!

Additional resources

Some further reading to help you understand the impact of plastics on our environment and how you can help protect our oceans and wildlife.  Including an article by AFAR magazine about who in the travel industry is taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint, and a video of the straw being removed from that poor sea turtle in Costa Rica.  Thankfully, it had a happy ending.

The Last Straw:  How the Travel Industry is Phasing Out Plastic

How did Sea Turtle Get a Straw up its Nose?

Starbucks to Eliminate Plastic Straws Globally by 2020

For more reading on what you can do to help:

Ocean Conservancy
Ecocyle

Until next time,

Explore. Discover. Learn
Emma

Full disclosure: Some of these items are affiliate links – I will receive a small commission if you make a purchase through that link. I also use all of these products personally and would never recommend something I have not tried and tested.