BLUE

 

Last week I attended a screening for the film BLUE. This is hands down one of the most powerful films I have ever seen! I watch A LOT of documentaries, and they all touch your heart, but this film, literally grabs your heart!  I would encourage everyone to attend a local screening and bring friends and family with you!  Every human on the planet needs to be educated on the dire state of our oceans. We are in a critical situation, and I feel like people don’t realize just how close we are to the brink of global catastrophe; nor how imperative oceanic systems are to sustaining all forms of life.  I promise, if you dedicate an hour and a half to watching this film, you will be compelled to do your part. However big or small that is, we all need to act!

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I especially loved how the film ended with a direct call to action in the form of a typographic fish (pictured above), composed of actions that every individual can easily engage in; ones that will help in sustaining the world's oceans.

Check out the film's tailer below

 

The film also has a fantastic website ! It hosts incredible images,  educational programs for youth, comprehensive information regarding the challenges they present in the film, and a well prepared resource page for individuals and for communities wanting to take action. I would urge anyone that is passionate about the oceans, check out this site and commit to some of the lifestyle suggestions that will greatly impact the oceans in a positive way! 

I hope you enjoy this film as much as I did, and thank for your continued interest in this blog and for doing your part to protect the environment! 


 

World Oceans Week - How Can You Help Save The Oceans?

 
 

3 Simple Steps To

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1. GET INSPIRED

Documentaries have always played a powerful role in generating public awareness and I want to share films that I've found profoundly inspiring and that have ultimately, changed my life. All of these films are currently available on NETFLIX. For more info,  click the images icons for direct links to the film websites.

Mission Blue, is going to be my number one recommendation. It is a film that captivated my heart and ultimately inspired my dedication to 'doing my part' for the world I so dearly love.  Dr. Sylvia Earl is a true hero of our times and I am confident that this documentary (available on Netflix) will touch your soul. See the trailer below.

 

2. FIND ALTERNATIVES

So now you're inspired, and further educated on the many challanges facing our world's oceans.
How do you become apart of the solution you may ponder?
GREAT NEWS, it is easier than you think to start making a difference in the world, and there are thousands of resources available at your finger tips. 
Here is a tangible list of ways the average individual can make a positive impact through acessible lifestyle changes:
(I found this awesome list through Sea Legacy, be sure to check them out) 

 

1. REDUCE YOUR OWN CARBON FOOTPRINT 👣

This is an easy one! We can all reduce our greenhouse gas emissions by turning off the lights when we leave a room (it actually does make a difference!), using energy efficient appliances, turning down the thermostat, carrying out an energy audit for our homes and businesses, shifting to compact fluorescent light bulbs, taking public transit whenever possible, buying fuel efficient vehicles, vacationing close to home, and flying less.

2. OFFSET YOUR CARBON EMISSIONS 🍃

You can also neutralize all or part of your greenhouse gas emissions by investing in carbon mitigation projects. The idea is to pay an organization that will tangibly and verifiably curb its own GHG emissions to neutralize yours and make you carbon neutral. The process is known as carbon offsetting. The offsetting is achieved through the purchase of carbon credits. Each credit represents one tonne of carbon dioxide.

3. MIND YOUR SEAFOOD 🎣

One of the easiest things you can do to help take pressure off of over exploited fisheries is to learn about which seafood items are “ocean-friendly”.  You can download and print a seafood guide from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

4. NO MORE PLASTIC 🚯

Let’s be the generation that rejects the unnecessary use of plastic. There are so many avoidable uses of plastic and we need to speak out, write to companies, request stores downsize their packaging, and take every opportunity to avoid single-use plastics.

5. SUPPORT MARINE PROTECTED AREAS 🌊

Did you know that barely 5% of our oceans are protected? According to the UN, we need to protect at least 10% by 2020 if we want to maintain our planet’s ecological integrity. Want to see where these Marine Protected Areas exist and where new ones are being proposed? Check out this interactive map by our conservation partner, the Marine Conservation Institute.

6. SHIFT YOUR DIET 🍖

The beef industry is one of the main causes of climate change. Just a simple shift from eating less or no beef, to a more vegetarian or low meat diet can have a huge impact on how rapidly our oceans cope with carbon inputs and warming trends.

7. AVOID PALM OIL 🌴

Palm oil may be the ultimate icon of globalization – an ingredient directly responsible for some of the world’s most pressing environmental problems that has nonetheless permeated our lives so stealthily we barely noticed. Because palm oil is literally in almost everything we buy, it takes a lot more resolve to educate ourselves. You can download a list of what to buy and what to avoid here.

8. SUPPORT A CARBON TAX 🏭

Carbon is present in every hydrocarbon fuel (coal, petroleum, and natural gas) and is released as carbon dioxide (CO2) when they are burned. A carbon tax is usually defined as a tax based on greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) generated from burning fuels. It puts a price on each tonne of GHG emitted, sending a price signal that will, over time, elicit a powerful market response across the entire economy, resulting in reduced emissions.

9. USE YOUR INVESTOR POWER 💰

If you are lucky enough to own shares in companies, you have the option of investing in companies whose climate change policies you approve of and you can also divest (sell) shares of companies whose climate change policies you disapprove of, and most importantly, you can use your voice and vote on company policies as a shareholder.

10. BE MINDFUL OF HAZARDOUS MATERIALS

Motor oil and other hazardous materials often end up washing into coastal areas because they aren't disposed of properly. This pollutes the water and hurts the overall health of our oceans. Be sure to dispose of hazardous materials in an environmentally-safe way.

11. STICK YOUR HEAD BENEATH “THE THIN BLUE LINE” 🐋

From home, you can explore beautiful visual stories by our collective of world-class photographers over on our Maptia channel, The Thin Blue Line. And when you’re out and about, take every opportunity to stick your head under the thin, blue line and spend time in the ocean. You might hear whales singing or see a gathering of bioluminescent creatures. Pay attention, these are our fellow travelers on our journey through space and time.


Ok, so that's a fairly large list, but do not feel overwhelmed!
All you have to do is choose a couple of commitments and see where it takes you.
I am confident you will see the added health benefits of living sustainability, and feel a whole lot better knowing that you're contributing to a sustainable future. 
Here are a few links of my 'GO TO' resources, that have aided me in tackling these lifestyle changes:

LIFESTYLE
David Suzuki Foundation
Queen of Green  
My Plastic Free Life
City Of Vancouver - Green Living
Green Choices 
Wiki How - Eco Lifestyle
Plastic Free Living 
Global Stewards

Here are a few pdf links for DIY eco friendly recipes:
Home Care
Hair Care
Body Care
Baby Care
Reef safe Sunscreen List

FOOD
Ted Talk - Weekday Veg  
Amazing Vegetarian Recipes
Eating Sustainably
Carbon Foodprint
Sustainable Restaurants in Vancouver

ORGANIZATIONS TO FOLLOW/MAILING LISTS TO JOIN
The Ocean Clean Up
Surf Rider
Oceana
5 Minute Beach Clean Up
350.org
Al Gore's Climate Reality Project
Dogwood BC
WWF
Suzuki Foundation
Greenpeace
Sum Of US
Sea Legacy
Georgia Straight Alliance
Care to Action

 

3. Take Action

Ok, so we have the inspiration, we know what kind of changes/actions are required to live sustainably and we have a great list of resources to work with.
Now it's time for the last and most important step, to TAKE ACTION. 
Just START, right here, right now. As simple as that. No more excuses, delays or questioning if it's even going to make a difference (you have my word, it will!). 
No one expects you to become an 'eco warrior' overnight, but starting somewhere is KEY, and I promise it gets easier, and easier. 
As previously mentioned in step 2, choose a few lifestyle changes, and dedicate yourself to implementing them into daily life. And Voilà, you're on your way to saving the ocean!

And great news, it doesn't have to stop there. For those keen to get really active, there are hundreds of ways you can get involved through participation! 
I have to say, I've found it incredibly up lifting to connect with like minded, eco conscious individuals, and it's always inspiring to see others actively trying to do their part.  Millions of humans are connected to these issues, and millions of people are finding ways to contribute to a brighter future. Who doesn't want to be one of these humans, or hang out with them?
So get on out there, and make some new friends, join a local Shoreline Cleanup or a Climate Change Rally. Start an event in your community or simply sign petitions in the comfort of your home.  Support Indie films that are educating the masses, and attend premiers and film festivals.  Shop 'LOCAL' and support small businesses that are ecologically responsible, like waste free shopping or local Farmers’ Markets.  There are plenty of ways to adopt a minimal , responsible consuming lifestyle, and I think everyone could benefit from this; if not only for your own health/wellness. 

And perhaps most importantly, get outside and connect with nature
Spend as much time outdoors as possible. Personally, it's where my soul comes alive and all of my worries melt away. I always feel connected, grounded and balanced while immersed in the natural world, and there is no substitution for this; it's experiential, and full sensory bliss. 

I truly believe if everyone deeply connected with their environments, they would in turn find value in nature.  And as history clearly shows us, what humans value most, is often preserved. 
 

 Californian Coast - 2013   

Californian Coast - 2013

 


Conversation with Bill McKibben and Melina Laboucan-Massimo

A couple of weeks ago, I had the great pleasure of attending a conversation with two renowned environmentalists,  Bill McKibben and Melina Laboucan-Massimo. 
This event was a fundraiser to aid in generating contributions to support the 200 defendants from the Burnaby Mountain arrests. I was happy to attend this event and support the brave climate defenders that are know facing the Kinder Morgan Corporation in court.
If you would like to make a direct donation to the legal fund for those arrested on Burnaby Mountain, click here.


The entire evening was electrified with intriguing dialogue and I had the exceptional honour of meeting both Melina and Bill in person. It meant a great deal to me to share how they both have inspired me in my pursuits as an environmentally conscious individual.

Incase you're unfamiliar with Bill or Melina, here is a brief intro, to a few of their many accomplishments:

Melina Laboucan-Massimo is a member of the Lubicon Cree First Nation from Northern Alberta. She has worked on social, environmental and climate justice issues for the past 15 years. Currently a Fellow at the David Suzuki Foundation, Melina's research is focused on Climate Change, Indigenous Knowledge and Renewable Energy. Melina holds a Masters degree in Indigenous Governance at the University of Victoria with a focus on Renewable Energy in First Nation communities. As a part of Masters thesis Melina completed a 20.8 kW solar installation in her home community of Little Buffalo in the heart of the tar sands, which powers the health centre.

For over a decade, Melina worked as a Climate and Energy Campaigner with Greenpeace Canada and the Indigenous Environmental Network internationally. She has written for a variety of publications and produced short documentaries on the tar sands, climate change, water issues and Indigenous cultural revitalization. Melina has studied, campaigned and worked in Brazil, Australia, Mexico, Canada and across Europe focusing on resource extraction, climate change impacts, media literacy and Indigenous rights & responsibilities.

Her most recent project is hosting a TV series called Power to the People which documents renewable energy, food security and eco-housing in Indigenous communities across North America. Melina currently serves on the Board of 350.org as well as the steering committees of Indigenous Climate Action, Energy Futures Lab, and Seeding Sovereignty.


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Bill McKibben is an author and environmentalist who in 2014 was awarded the Right Livelihood Prize, sometimes called the ‘alternative Nobel.’ His 1989 book The End of Nature is regarded as the first book for a general audience about climate change, and has appeared in 24 languages; he’s gone on to write a dozen more books. He is a founder of 350.org, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement, which has organized twenty  thousand rallies around the world in every country save North Korea, spearheaded the resistance to the Keystone Pipeline, and launched the fast-growing fossil fuel divestment movement.  

The Schumann Distinguished Scholar in Environmental Studies at Middlebury College and a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, he was the 2013 winner of the Gandhi Prize and the Thomas Merton Prize, and holds honorary degrees from 18 colleges and universities. Foreign Policy named him to their inaugural list of the world’s 100 most important global thinkers, and the Boston Globe said he was “probably America’s most important environmentalist.”   

A former staff writer for the New Yorker, he writes frequently for a wide variety of publications around the world, including the New York Review of BooksNational Geographic, and Rolling Stone. He lives in the mountains above Lake Champlain with his wife, the writer Sue Halpern, where he spends as much time as possible outdoors . In 2014, biologists honored him by naming a new species of woodland gnat— Megophthalmidia mckibbeni--in his honor.

Both Bill and Melina are active public speakers. If you have connected with their projects, books or simply their words, I'd suggest you find an opportunity to experience their dialogue in person. 
I am very thankful I did, and will surely look forward to more opportunities to hear them speak in the future!

Sylvia Earle

Sylvia Earle, is my all time hero!
Her incredible documentary Mission Blue (available on Netflix), motivated me to begin my journey as an environmentalist and dedicate my life/career to making a difference. 
If you haven't already, please watch her film;  it's honest, powerful and optimistic. 
I wanted to share a few of Dr Earle's words that I find inspiring. 
The following paragraphs are reposts from an Elle interview in 2017 by LEAH MELBY CLINTON

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On staying optimistic while fighting to protect the Earth:

"You need to know the risks. You need to know the reality, but the miracle of existence is that in all the universe, Earth is home. We can go outside the atmosphere, a number of people have done so, but not seven billion, let alone nine or ten. We have to make peace with life on Earth and the idea of protecting natural systems. Wilderness—the living old-growth forest, the natural deep-sea systems, pristine rivers that look like Earth before humans came along—these are treasured places that we need to embrace as if our lives depend on it because, really, they do. Knowing that is a breakthrough. We once thought the world was too big to fail, [that] no matter what we took out of the ocean or forests, there would be plenty. Even if we did see the loss of tress, animals, and birds, that's okay because as long as humans were all right, what difference does it make? But now we're beginning to really appreciate the connection between our existence and the natural world. Now we have evidence that our impact on the natural world really threatens our very existence. It threatens our health, economy, and security, but, mostly, if you like to breathe, if you like to have water that magically falls out of the sky, if you like to have the temperature within a range that is within what humans can stand, you'll take care of the natural world."

On how anyone can get involved:

"Support national parks. Nominate places that you love and care about, whether on land or in the ocean, for protection as a Hope Spot by going to Mission Blue. Engage your friends and demand of your leaders that actions be taken to protect wildlife, to protect birds, to protect fish for heaven's sake. We are the most domesticated creatures of all, but the wild creatures that shape the way the world works are in trouble. If they are, we are. Become as educated as you can personally—take advantage of the new means of learning and fall in love with books. Associate with people who care, whether it's in school or in your community or through the Internet. Use your talents, whether it's art or music or that you're a teacher with a way with kids or you're a kid with a way with words or with math. Everyone can do something. Not everyone can do everything, but everyone can do something to make a difference.

Fighting For The Future

“When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty”
 -Thomas Jefferson
 

 Kinder Morgan Protest, Burnaby Mountain, April 7th 2018  | With my lifelong friend, Wes McVey.

Kinder Morgan Protest, Burnaby Mountain, April 7th 2018  | With my lifelong friend, Wes McVey.

Four years ago, I dedicated my career to creating compositional artwork that advocates for awareness and preservation of nature🌎 I could no longer sit back and watch the illogical management of natural environments, without trying to make a difference or have my voice heard.  It has become the driving purpose of my being, and my ultimate inspiration.
Along this soulful journey, I’ve connected with many kindred spirits, and standing up for what I believe in, has become the greatest honour of my life. 
I will gladly commit my days on this Earth, to promoting stewardship and action towards a sustainable future.

I stand in solidarity with the Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam, Squamish and all other indigenous and environmentalists alike. Thank you for leading this resistance 🙌🏻 and for protecting the land for all citizens of the world. I am proud to support these defenders in protest and have found optimism through the sheer passion of others, enduring the fight against corporate greed.  #stopkindermorgan

Boyan Slat

It's estimated that by 2050, our oceans will contain more plastic than fish! 
It's challenging to comprehend this devastation and absolutely heartbreaking. 
All life on Earth, depends on the oceans. They regulate our climate, provide 80% of our oxygen (well plankton do) and are the largest source of food for humans and wildlife. 
Luckily, a young inventor named Boyan Slat, has dedicated his ingenuity to solving the 'impossible' challenge of ridding our oceans of plastic.  
The video below is an excellent presentation of the issue at hand, the challenges they've overcome and the plan to action.  Boyan states that they can remove 50% of the plastics in the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, in 5 years.   

This is monumental and something everyone should support!   
Please watch this video and share!

Save the Ocean

It can be overwhelming when you become aware of the many challenges facing humanity.
But let's face it, ignorance is not bliss, maybe for a short while, but not in the long run. 

The trick is to pick your battles.  Find a cause that resonates with you personally, and then take action.  Myself, well I've chosen a number of causes, however, my biggest one is preservation of the ocean. As mentioned yesterday, the film Mission Blue, really opened my eyes to the global crisis facing our world's oceans.  We do not have a future without healthy oceanic eco systems, therefore I felt, and still do feel, that this should be the number one focus of World Leaders.  
So what can the average person do in the mean time?  
A LOT! 

Here is a brief list of lifestyle changes that have a huge impact on our oceans:

PLASTICS

In reality, consumers have all the power and what we demand, is what will be manufactured.
Plastics are devastating to all eco systems and are culprits of causing cancers and other toxic disorders. 
We all need to eliminate single use plastics and try to avoid all plastics in general.
Guess what, this is a lot easier than you think!
I've been reducing my plastic consumption for years - and it gets easier every day!
This has a massive impact on the oceans; which are estimated to contain more plastics than fish in the next 10 years!!!! 

Check out this awesome resource for 100 steps to a plastic free life

A little overwhelmed? Don't be.
Just choose three or four plastics to eliminate to start. Make goals and in no time, I guarantee you'll be mindful of every piece of plastic that crosses your path.
I started with bottled water. 
For five years I haven't purchased a bottle of water. 
I carry a metal water bottle everywhere ( even when traveling) and I drink tap water (except in third world countries). 
Another useless plastic I did away with was straws.
Really, unless you physically need one, don't use them. They are notorious for killing sea mammals and reptiles; aka whales and turtles! 
And how about plastic bags - there's your third one. 
Did you know that almost every grocery store still offers paper bags?  Whole Foods has the best paper bags for sure, but Safeway, Save On, IGA, etc all have them - you just have to ask. I often skip a bag all together to be honest!  There are many ways to avoid plastic bags, choose what works best for you. 
 

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 LITTER

I can't walk past litter! It's become something that I stop and pick up every single day. Why do I do it? Because I know eventually that piece of litter has a great chance of strangling a sea otter or choking a turtle, or whale, or bird - or heck, I might ingest it myself down the line.  
SO I PICK IT UP! 
It's not hard to do, I don't feel gross after ( I actually feel great),  and I love people looking at me when I do it, because I hope that one day, everyone will feel responsible to protect the environments we cherish and the innocent creatures that get caught in our pollution. 

Inspired? Great!  
Next time you're at the beach, or walking near a river, or see something headed for a storm drain, be a good human and pick it up. That's all it takes - and it makes a world of difference! 

If you want, you can also get involved in a shoreline cleanup! 
The Great Canadian Shoreline Cleanup  was founded by the WWF and every year they organized hundreds of cleanups across the country.  Check out their website to register for an event or, even better, start one of your own.  I'll come! 
Make it an annual family tradition, a team building exercise, or an excuse to make new friends; and know that you'll be making a difference in a world that desperately needs to get a handle on litter. 
Lastly, smokers - I beg of you, please do not litter cigarette butts. They do not biodegrade and they are the most abundant form of litter on the planet!  They poison waterways and kill wildlife. There is no excuse to flick your butt, please throw it in the garbage or a receptacle. 

 


CHEMICALS

Be aware of the chemicals you are using that ultimately go down the drain. 
It is way healthier to use eco friendly; shampoos, body soap, dish soap, household cleaners, etc. 
Luckily consumers have demanded these products, and they are less expensive now than ever. 
They work well, aren't toxic and sustain a healthy ocean. 
The David Suzuki Foundation is a great resource for eco lifestyle practices. 
I especially enjoy the blog by the Queen of Green !

Here are a few pdf links for DIY eco friendly recipes:

Home Care

Hair Care

Body Care

Baby Care

If you don't have time to whip up your own products, I personally use Dr Bonner's castil soap for almost everything. Everything else I need, I purchased at Whole Foods. I carefully select brands that, yes cost slightly more, but are eco friendly.  
It's a win- win! 
I am healthier for using less chemicals, I save money when I make products myself and I am not poisoning eco systems! 


SEAFOOD

Be conscious of your demand and try to eat responsibly! 
The list above (click to enlarge) highlights options and what to avoid. 

 

SUNSCREEN

Maybe you already know this, but if not - DO NOT wear sunscreens in the ocean unless they are eco friendly! 
The chemicals in sunscreen are killing coral reefs, globally!  It's a huge crisis. Don't believe me, check out this National Geographic article on what's happening. 

Now you know!

Here is a list of sunscreens that are eco friendly.
This link provides ratings from consumer reviews regrading; price, ingredients, and effectiveness, 
I personally use Goddess Garden, and again I purchase this at Whole Foods, where they guarantee every product they sell. If you don't like, they'll refund you no questions asked. 

 

MICROFIBERS

I saved this one for last!  It's shocking to think every time we do laundry, we are polluting the ocean and contaminating the food chain. 

Please take a quick look at this article to educate yourself on what might be one of the biggest pollutants of all - microfibres. 
What can we do to stop this?
I recently pledged $20 to a company that is dedicated to making an easy-to-use laundry ball that catches microfibers shedding off our clothes in the washer.
Check out their campaign  

You can also:

*avoid buying fleece and cheap fabrics/clothing
*use/purchase front loading washers
*do less laundry
*sign up to mailing lists to receive news on solutions as they are discovered.

Thank you reading this post.  As always, I am more than happy to answer questions! 

Environmental Blog

My goal as an artist and as an eco-conscious individual, is to inspire environmental preservation. 
I am dedicating this blog to sharing resources, documentaries, petitions, and general information for anyone interested in learning more about how they can transition to a sustainable lifestyle.  

Documentaries have always played a powerful role in generating public awareness and I felt it was important to share films that I've found profoundly inspiring and that have ultimately, changed my life. 

Mission Blue, is a film that captivated my heart, and it honestly inspired me to dedicate my life to 'doing my part' for the world I so dearly love.  Dr. Sylvia Earl is totally my hero!  
Please, if any, watch this film! I've posted the trailer below for a quick teaser. 

 

All of the documentaries below (just click the image for direct links),  are available on Netflix,  via youtube and some do require purchase. I feel confident recommending this list to everyone and anyone.  Each film touches upon serious subject matter, however provides optimism thorough solutions.  Please feel free to share these with family and friends, the more people aware, the more change we will see! 

 


If you have any suggestions for films you've resonated with or have questions, please feel free to leave comments below!