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?
Here is a brief list of lifestyle changes that have a huge impact on our oceans:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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!
Be conscious of your demand and try to eat responsibly!
The list above (click to enlarge) highlights options and what to avoid.
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.
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!