Gift to the Planet

Posted Posted in Got Ocean?, TopStory

It’s the last week before Christmas – one of many holidays celebrated by people on Earth this time of year. There’s also Hanukkah, Kwanza, and 11 other multicultural celebrations in the month of December alone. With these holidays, many traditions are observed and practiced between family, friends and communities. Today, I’d like to focus on a few parts of a well-known tradition of gift-giving, and wrapping said gifts.

Who doesn’t love to open a gift? And, doesn’t it add that much more giddiness when the gift is disguised by wrapping, a box, or a bag? Unless you’re a toddler, you’re probably going to find much more joy in the gift under all the disguise. 

But, what about all that wrapping paper and ribbon – is it necessary to exhibit what our gift is about? Does the type or color or design of paper really add to the experience for the person we’re gifting? Maybe…but I lean towards no.

Could we challenge ourselves to find alternative, reusable wrapping and remove yet another single-use material from our lives? Can we make small changes that stack up to big change for our Planet, our environment, our Ocean? YES and YES.

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, household waste can increase by as much as 25%.  Food scraps, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons all add up to 1 million tons per week to a landfill (EPA). Many of you are aware of what garbage looks like before, during, and after it goes to the landfill. Think overstuffed bins ready for curbside pickup with a wind gust blowing litter away and eventually into a storm drain which leads to the ocean.

About 38,000 miles of ribbon is used each year, and likely thrown out after a single-use. If this was saved, it would be enough ribbon to tie a bow around the Earth (CalRecycle)!

Ribbon around the Earth
Credit: EasyExpat Blog

The amount of waste we can avoid by making small changes is amazing to think about and act on. Below is a smorgasbord of ideas – pick one, pick many – you can try this holiday season, then work on making the idea a habit year-round. Isn’t generating less waste the least we can give back to the Planet this season and every season?

  • Look for alternative types of “wrapping” around your house – newspaper, magazines, brown paper bags, saved packaging from mail-order products, reusable bags, and baskets are all great ways to give a gift with an extra use on the side.
  • If you buy wrapping paper, please seek responsibly made material, such as paper from a sustainably managed forest, 100% recycled paper, or thicker/heavier gift wrap that is molded easily to be flattened and used again in the future. Cloth wrapping paper is also a great alternative! Don’t forget to recycle unwanted/unusable paper afterwards.
  • Invest in and collect gift bags and responsibly made, durable gift wrap ribbon. Then, make sure your family, friends, and guests know they can leave it with you if they don’t choose to save and use again for themselves.
  • Avoid using ribbon all together – get creative with a simple sprig of evergreen or berries, or snatch up a pinecone to use in your design.
  • As always, use your reusable shopping bags when you’re out and about looking for those special gifts. Many stores give you a small discount for providing your own bag, and depending where you live, this may already be a mandatory practice. Every time you refuse a single-use plastic bag at the store, you’re contributing one less that could eventually end up HERE.

Be kind to your wallets by reusing.

Be kind to each other by taking action.

Be kind to our Oceans on Planet Earth by changing your habits.

 

 

Written by Sarah Burgess. Sarah fervently supports many ideas to conserve our Planet and take care of the Oceans – the best way to do this is by adventuring. Read more at BurgessAdventures

Introducing the Colorado Ocean Coaltion

Posted Posted in TopStory

The Colorado Ocean Coalition…what? That doesn’t make sense. Did the Colorado River become the sixth ocean?

Don’t worry you haven’t missed anything, the Colorado River is still a river. And while hearing the name Colorado Ocean Coalition for the first time might throw you for loop, the reality is an inland based ocean organization makes perfect sense.

Living along the coast isn’t a requirement for caring about our oceans. In fact, it doesn’t matter where you live; we are all impacting the health of our oceans. Thanks to modern technology and a global economy, a fish caught off the coast of South America can end up on a dinner plate in Colorado. But should you be eating that fish?

Well…that depends. Is the fishery sustainable? Did the fishing method destroy other ocean habitats? Does that fish contain a heavy dose of mercury? Aren’t these things you would like to know before digging in? And you certainly can’t ask a baked fish those questions.

The Colorado Ocean Coalition is filling an inland ocean void by raising awareness of ocean issues and getting more people to start asking questions. This is very exciting because the more people ask questions the more they begin to make conscious consumer choices and the more power we all have to affect change.

Now with an ocean coalition in place, Colorado and other inland states can work with coastal states to develop healthy ocean policies and legislation inland. Hawaii passed a statewide ban on plastic bags this summer that becomes effective July 1, 2015. Wouldn’t it be great if an inland state did the same?

The possibilities are endless and every move in the right direction helps our oceans. Executive Director Vicki Nichols Goldstein sums it up best with her favorite question, “Do you really need to see the ocean to save it?” Definitely not! So join the Colorado Ocean Coalition on their quest to save our oceans and check out their website to start learning more about hot ocean topics. Because whether you live a mile high or at sea level you can be part of the solution.

Colorado Ocean Coalition’s 2nd Annual Event, Making WAVES is coming up on October 20th and 21st! Held in Boulder, this multifaceted symposium and celebration highlights ocean issues, solutions and is a change making event for engagement and national action. Making Waves provides the general public access to and opportunities to interact with cutting edge researchers, well known speakers, award winning film makers and advocates creating an upwelling of supporters and inland ocean activists. Jean-Michel Cousteau, son of Jacques Cousteau, will be the keynote speaker for the weekend.

Click here for 2012 Making Waves symposium information.

Click here for REGISTRATION and TICKETS to Making WAVES 2012.

Pre-registration for the Ocean Symposium is free, but required. Also, don’t forget to order a box lunch from The Purple Bus !

Carolyn Kraft is a freelance writer, content developer and social media manager for Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, and whale watch naturalist. She blogs at oceanwildthings.com.

Image Credit: Claudio Garzon

Sustainable Seafood: Fish for the Future by COCO

Posted Posted in Uncategorized

Sustainable Seafood: Fish for the Future

The Ocean serves many purposes. It regulates our climate, provides us with recreational opportunities, is the major source of the oxygen we breathe and the food we eat. However, our oceans are in serious trouble.

 

The global catch of wild fish leveled out 15 years ago and since then 85 percent of the world’s fisheries are either declining or being harvested at capacity. Demand for fish is also increasing and it is now over seven times what it was in 1950.

 

There are a variety of destructive fishing practices such as bottom trawling and long lining that are devastating the marine environment.  Our oceans are being fished at alarming rates and scientists estimate that most of the world’s major fishery species have been reduced in numbers by 75-95 percent.  We as consumers can make a difference by choosing seafood that has been sustainably harvested.  Our seafood choices offer a daily opportunity to contribute to the oceans health.

 

5 Fish to Avoid*

  • Atlantic Blue Fin Tuna
  • Skates and Rays
  • Chilean Sea Bass 
  • Orange Roughy
  • Sharks
 
*There is a lot of complexity around which fish to avoid. Be an informed consumer and learn about the issues on what YOU can do.  Do plenty of research with all the resources available to you and make your own educated decision. These are our recommendations.

 

 ·What You Can Do·

 

  1. Use all available resources to make smart choices about seafood.
  2. Ask where your seafood comes from before you make a choice. 
  3. Avoid unsustainable seafood at markets and restaurants. 
  4. Teach others about the importance of being a conscious consumer.
  5. Show your support for local businesses that incorporate sustainable seafood practices. 

 

 


·Resources·

Monterey Bay Aquarium Sea Food Watch-information for consumers and businesses

Fish Choice– connects buyers and sellers of sustainable seafood

GreenPeace Seafood- store ratings for sustainable seafood

Fish Watch– NOAA’s seafood watch

SeaChoice– Making smart seafood decisions for today and tomorrow

Marine Stewardship Council– Certifies sustainable seafood

Blue Ocean Institute Sea Food Choices– searchable guide for seafood

 

Seafood Watch provides action cardsfish factsconsumer information, and seafood recommendations.

Seafood Watch, an organization involved with the Monterey Bay Aquarium, has been working since 1999 to make the vision of a healthy abundant ocean a reality, showing us that overfishing developed over a long period of time and we are just starting to solve it.

 

 

Click on the Map to see the sustainable seafood guide closest to where you live!


View Sustainable Seafood Guides in a larger map