Author: Nikkey Dawn

eXXpedition North Pacific in the Salish Sea

EXXpedition Round-up: The Science, The Sailing and The Sights

I’m back from eXXpedition! We’re still waiting on all of the samples to be confirmed by the scientists we took them for so while I can’t share any confirmed data just yet I can start sharing what we saw and did on this microplastic research voyage.  I will update this post once the data has been confirmed. Everyone keeps asking me how eXXpedition was. Which is a completely normal and appreciated question but one I’ve struggled to answer adequately. Of course it was amazing, I mean, 8 days of sailing the west coast of British Columbia and Washington is a dream. Especially when you’re in the company of 13 inspiring, funny and downright lovely women. Having said that, it was also really hard at times. The physical and mental challenges were easy to take in stride (unless you suffered from seasickness) but the emotional tax of collecting microplastics out of the ocean was draining. We did our best to stay positive, morale matters when you’re living on top of each other. The sampling was a …

Main Beach Byron Bay

How to Use Less Plastic in Your Travel + Beach Bag

This post is part of an on-going series about going plastic free one area of your life at a time. See the other posts here and sign-up for Nikkey’s newsletter to recieve new plastic free challenges as they come out. This challenge is inspired by her work with eXXpedition on a microplastic research voyage through the Pacific Ocean.  Summer is finally here! I’m less than two weeks away from my microplastic research sailing voyage with eXXpedition which has me thinking about packing all things travel sized and sun related. I’m guessing you’ve got a trip or two coming up in your summer plans too. Whether you’re going on vacation or spending a day at the beach, you can stay safe from the sun and enjoy it all without using plastic! How great is that? Here are my suggested swaps for the essentials in your bag: Sunscreen in Plastic Bottles > Sunscreen in Tins, Tubes or Glass Jars Why: Plastic sunscreen bottles and tubes are rarely recycled because of the labour involved to clean them and non-recyclable …

Clothing Hanging on a rod

How to Use Less Plastic in Your Wardrobe

This post is part of an on-going series about going plastic free one area of your life at a time. See the other posts here and sign-up for Nikkey’s newsletter to recieve new plastic free challenges as they come out. This challenge is inspired by her work with eXXpedition on a microplastic research voyage through the Pacific Ocean.  Your wardrobe may have more plastic than you know. This wasn’t something I’d thought a lot about until I started to learn about microplastics. It turns out one of the ways we all, likely unknowingly, contribute to the problem is through our laundry. When any synthetic fabrics (think fleece, nylon, polyester etc.) go through the wash tiny plastic microfibres break off and disappearing into our waste water systems. These systems are unable to filter out these particles and they ultimately end up in the ocean. It’s estimated between 200,000 – 1,000,000 pieces can break off a single item of clothing each wash. These microfibres act as sponges and carriers, binding to all sorts of harmful chemicals like DDTs …

Plastic Free Lifestyle

The Real Challenges of Going Plastic Free

The real challenge of going plastic free isn’t plastic itself, it’s the systems that have made us dependant on it in the first place. We’re two challenges into the Plastic Free Challenge and there’s probably similar things coming up for all of us. I wanted to address some of these this week to let you know you’re not alone and offer a little encouragement for challenging scenarios such as these: Cost Okay, let’s talk about the cost of going plastic free. This can be a very valid inhibitor, not all of us are in a financial place to make every change and that is okay. Some of the plastic swaps cost more up-front but save you money in the long run, some are cheaper and others are just plain more expensive. To help you navigate through this I’ll be doing a comparison costs with the swaps from here on out.   Relationships Maybe you live with a roommate or partner who is not supportive of these changes, maybe they  fear change or are hung up …

How To Use Less Plastic in the Bathroom

This post is part of an on-going series about going plastic free one area of your life at a time. See the other posts here and sign-up for Nikkey’s newsletter to recieve new plastic free challenges as they come out. This challenge is inspired by her work with eXXpedition on a microplastic research voyage through the Pacific Ocean.  The bathroom is probably the sneakiest wasteful area in your home. Think about it, most of us don’t have recycling bins in there so we often end up throwing things out that are perfectly recyclable or compostable. Then, there are all the products and toiletries that come in plastic packaging and small tight tubes or containers that are tough to clean out well enough for recycling! The good news is with a few simple swaps we can drastically cut back on plastic: Disposable Razors > Stainless Steel Razors Why: Technically disposable razors can be recycled in some areas but with a lot of effort, I’m guessing if you’re using a disposable item you don’t want to go through …

Kitchen glassware

How To Use Less Plastic in the Kitchen

This post is part of an on-going series about going plastic free one area of your life at a time. See the other posts here and sign-up for Nikkey’s newsletter to recieve new plastic free challenges as they come out. This challenge is inspired by her work with eXXpedition on a microplastic research voyage through the Pacific Ocean.  Over 8 millions tons over plastics ends up in the ocean every year, it’s time we change that. Welcome to our first no plastic challenge!   With Easter weekend here we thought it was fitting to start in the kitchen. There’s going to be food to buy, people to feed and leftovers to save. So here we go, for the next two weeks we challenge you to these swaps: Grocery Shopping Plastic bags > Reusable bags (including produce and bulk food) Why: Most are not recycled. With their lightweight nature even when disposed of plastic bags can easily be blown into waterway and end up in the ocean to be eaten by turtles and whales mistaking them as …

The Sea Dragon Yacht from Above

Why I’m Sailing the PNW Coast for Microplastic Research

This July I’ll be sailing from Vancouver to Seattle, by way of Vancouver Island, with eXXpedition to sample the ocean for microplastics. We’re a diverse group of women with backgrounds in science, conservation, exploration and the arts. There’s a lot to learn from one another and I feel so inspired by these women already. We all believe in eXXpedition’s mission of making the unseen seen and we’ve signed up to do just that! Microplastics are an ever growing problem we’re only really starting to understand the long term impacts of. These little pieces of plastic not only affect marine life but our own health as well. They are known to be carriers for toxins as well as leach them as they break down. This includes endocrine disruptors like BPA, PCBs and DEHP to name a few. These chemicals are being linked to a whole host of health issues such as cancer, endometriosis and autoimmune disorders. In my family alone more of these health issues have been occurring more frequently over the generations. While we’ll never know the …

Hiking 4 Lake Loop

A Sustainable Living Manifesto

What if every morning we woke up and instead of trying to move a massive mountain we just picked up a light little pebble and moved that? And then imagined all those other people out there moving their own pebbles, it would start to feel like we are in fact moving a mountain – together. People get overwhelmed when changing their lifestyle because the environmental issues can feel so big and unsolvable. It also doesn’t help that our harmful habits are so deeply engrained in our western lives – most societies are not set up for us to live lighter with ease. But the more we change the more the world will change with us. Anyone can live more sustainably with a few adjustments, it doesn’t have to cost money but it does take time and energy. In a culture that values ‘busy’ it can feel like we don’t have either of those but for the vast majority of us there is still time to be found. Take 30 minutes out of your day that you’d normally spend …

Empty Parking Lot

The Age of Anthropocene – What Does it Mean?

It means, we are out of time. We need to find our way out of this paper bag of our own making called climate change. Not a decade from now, not even 12 months from now – today. We have entered the 6th mass extinction and have been living in the age of Anthropocene for some time now, officially recognized or not. The official recommendation to the International Geological Congress was made by a group of scientist at the end of August. They say the age should start in the 1950s for that was the turning point in terms of waste we’ve produced that has changed the world for good. We have driven ourself out of the Holocene period. This is depressing, I won’t lie to you. If it makes you want to crawl into bed and throw the covers over your head, you’re not alone. But that’s simply not an option anymore. Every single one of us has to decide what kind of world we want to live in and what we’re willing to do for it. …

Beach Scene in Malibu

10 Ways to Make Your Road Trip Eco-friendly

Thought caring about the environment meant giving up road trips? Think again! Roll down the window, crank the tunes and give slow travel a go. Car travel almost always comes out ahead of air travel for less emissions but there are many online calculators to help you out. Some of the factors include plane capacity, distance and the fuel efficiency of your vehicle. Of course driving less is always better but if you need to get somewhere, why not enjoy it. I had to head down to LA for a conference at the end of summer so after roping in a friend we turned what could’ve been a fly-in/fly-out work trip into a much more fun west coast road trip. Both of us live a pretty eco-conscious lifestyle so while we prepared for the trip we definitely learned some more ways to reduce our impact along the way. Read on for my top 10 tips: 1. Camp or stay at eco-certified accommodations You will use far less power camping and likely conserve more water. What’s a road trip without sleeping under the stars anyways? If …