All posts filed under: Stewardship

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 …

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 …

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 …

Bear Aware Safety Measures and Tips

How to be Bear Aware in Urban Areas

Bear sightings in the Pacific North West are on the rise. Recently, BC Conservation Officers announced they’ve had to destroy a record number of habituated bears. The main contributing factor to this is we have built our homes where they roam, feed, and slumber. Anyone who knows me (or has seen our son’s nursery) knows I have a love of all things bear. Logan’s room is filled with bears, I have a tattoo of a Panda, and I often dream about them. Is that weird? A typical black bear will have a home range of roughly 100km. The neighbourhood my family and I live in is 30 years old. Our local black bears are habituated to people. This means they have learned how to grab a quick snack from unsecured compost and garbage bins or raid our gardens and bird feeders. Later this summer we will be moving to a newly developed area that boarders a research forest and provincial park. These local bears will not be as acclimated to the presence of humans…yet. It …

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. …

Luke Wallace

Environmentalist of the Month: Luke Wallace

It’s the fall return of our blog! First up, we’re introducing you to environmentalist Luke Wallace. I met this inspiring folk singer at the premiere of his first documentary, One Big Coast and was instantly a fan. His voice has the power to draw the whole room in and lift the spirits of every environment-loving listener. One Big Coast was shown at British Columbia Institute of Technology during a sustainability event my classmates and I hosted. An added bonus to the film was a concert at the end. We were blown away by how someone so young, 22 at the time, could have such a strong and powerful voice and how effectively it came across through art. Luke Wallace is a recent graduate of University of British Columbia with a Bachelor of Arts in Environmental Geography, a musician and a conservation activist. During his mid-teens he began to sing in choirs. Over time he picked up the guitar and starting writing, singing and performing folk music. He credits his love of music for getting him through …

Jungle Path

Voluntourism – Know Before You Go

My first experience with voluntourism was in Costa Rica at an off-grid turtle camp, La Tortuga Feliz. It was founded by the late Paul Lepourtre after he studied the sea turtles in the area and is now run by long-term international volunteers and the local community. The program generates income for the locals through volunteer fees- providing another way to make a living other than poaching. The local guides take the volunteers out on night-time beach patrols, collecting recently laid turtle eggs and bringing them back to the hatchery where they are protected from poachers. I showed up after a few bumps in the road not really knowing what to expect. We’d come in at dawn, the noise of the boat waking up the howler monkeys, sending them into yelling fits in the jungle overhead. It was unreal, the area was so untouched and so full of wildlife. The locals are very inspiring in that they make use of any material to build what they need and are some of the most cheerful, friendly people I’ve ever met. I knew this would …