2017 is here! And with it (along with even colder temperatures and the seemingly inevitable viruses that have floored us this past couple of weeks) lots of intentions and plans. We think, and hope, it’s going to be a pretty big year for us in terms of sailing! I wrote in our last post about the privilege of being able to travel relatively easily, and with that privilege we recognize the responsibility to do our bit to try to protect and cherish the seas that we love so much.
There are loads of amazing organizations working to improve and better understand the health of the oceans and marine life: here’s a great blog post from Sailing Totem with links to lots of projects and organizations doing important work. Local to Vancouver, we’re inspired by the work of Stream Of Dreams, who work to change environmental behaviour through education and the creation of public art, and the beach clean ups organized by Surfrider Foundation. And in Canada in general, there are some good initiatives to do ocean and beach cleanups such as the Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup.
Plastic is one of the top ocean pollutants and causes massive amounts of danger to marine creatures. It’s heartbreaking to see the effects it has on marine life – for an idea of the extent of the problem have a look at the trailer for the recent movie A Plastic Ocean and get informed about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.
Long-term we hope to combine our sailing adventures with citizen science projects and efforts to better understand and protect ocean life. But in the meantime, while we keep working away at the never-ending list of boat jobs to make our boat a comfortable home, we’re thinking about ways we can make a difference right now. And one of those things is to try to dramatically reduce the amount of plastic in our lives. It’s hard to talk about it without just feeling guilty that we’re not doing better, but we think it’s worth holding ourselves accountable in small ways and I feel like it gets easier and more natural to avoid plastic when you take the default position of trying to avoid it wherever and whenever possible. We fairly diligently:
- carry re-useable shopping bags
- wash and re-use ziplock bags
- try to only buy second hand toys and pass things on to other families when possible
- avoid buying bottled water
- shop consciously, with an effort to bring as little plastic as possible in with our groceries
- aim to avoid products with micro-beads in – this website is a great source of information to help with that.
But I realized there are still frequent occasions, particularly when we travel or are on the move (which is often!), when plastic sneaks in and we don’t even think about it. Even though in our heads we’re on a ‘no plastic’ setting, we make far too many exceptions for the sake of convenience and just because of habit. When it comes to provisioning and planning boat trips, it’s particularly easy to forget to be environmentally-focused, and as we plan to be doing lots of that later this year, we need to improve our habits NOW! So, this post is our public attempt to ‘Pledge less plastic’ in three concrete ways. We hope to totally eliminate from our daily life*:
- Disposable coffee cup lids.
- Drinking straws.
- Plastic cutlery (knives, forks, spoons)
These are the sneaky things that enter our lives without us really noticing. Not any more! It’s impossible to be perfect, but I think we’ve got a lot of room for improvement…
And, inspired by the #2Minutebeachclean we commit to doing regular beach cleanups. Nothing fancy. Just when we’re out and about we’ll spend some of our beach time picking up rubbish!
Basically, we pledge to be more vocal and more conscientious about avoiding plastic, and try to encourage others to do the same.
Do you too?!
If so you could share this post or one of the many others out there (here’s a fabulous list of ideas to reduce plastic use, for example), support efforts by organizations working to make a difference, and think about how you can change your daily habits and tell us in the comments what specific things you’re going to try to avoid! We’ll add your name (plus website, if you have one) to the pledge at the bottom of this post with the aim of motivating each other to do better.
As lovers of the sea, let’s pledge to use less plastic in 2017 (and always)!
The Sailing Illusion Crew
(We’d love to add your name and website here…)