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Humans love to suck: glass, steel and bamboo alternatives to plastic straws

The human habit of using straws is older than The Holy Bible, seriously! In fact, the oldest drinking straw was found in a sumerian tomb dated from 3,000 B.C.E. Straws are a useful tool for helping children, elder or disabled people to drink. What’s more, straws are a cool way to prevent the ice of your mojito to spill out of the glass, hitting directly your face when you are trying to slurp the final drops. Having said that, what’s wrong with straws?

International free straw day

 

What’s wrong with straws?

The heartbroken video of the sea turtle suffering from an embedded straw into the nose, was a warning of the alarming situation that we are creating by using single use plastic items. In the United States, 500 million straws are used and discarded every day, enough straws to wrap around the earth’s circumference 2’5 times a day. The UK throws away 8.5 billion straws each year, 4.8 billion in Germany and 3.2 in France. The plastic straws average use is 20 minutes and it takes 500 years to decompose and as far as we know does not disappear. Ever. Every single pieces of plastic ever made, is still out there in some form. There’s is no such thing as throwing it ‘away.’ There is no away. Tossed ‘away’ means it either ends up in landfill for hundreds of years, is burned releasing toxins into the atmosphere, ends up in nature, or is recycled. The plastic straw is in the top six of single use plastics found in the ocean.

What can we do to beat the plastic straw?

Do we really need the straw in our drinks? No we don’t. But it still is a routine add-on in most of the world. Say no to the straw before you order your drink. Or bring your own. By proactively showing up with your reusable straw you can say no to many plastic ones. Many options are out there: glass, stainless steel or bamboo. Heck, you can even use the branch of a papaya tree as a straw.

If you still love to suck, here you can find 6 plastic straw alternatives to keep sucking in a sustainable way.

Plastic Straw Alternatives

1: Glass Straws

Glass straws are like a little piece of art, can be designed in different shapes, colours and do not absorb the taste of other products like reusable plastics straws do. Cons? Glass is not as resistant as stainless steel so it is not the best option for travellers or for children. If you are someone who likes classy stuff for your cocktails or smoothies, glass straws are your best option. Where to buy glass straws?

Glass Straws in USA/ Canada

Glass Straws in the UK

2: Stainless steel straws

Stainless steel straws, are the perfect travelling mate, resistants, unbreakable and on budget, do not absorb any flavour. Also recommended for children. Cons? They don’t look as classy as glass straws and if you don’t like the texture of the metal it can be unsatisfying. Personally, using my stainless steel straw has saved me hundreds of plastic ones. Where to buy stainless steel straws?

Stainless steel straws in the US / Canada

Stainless steel straws in the UK

Roestvrij Stalen rietjes in Nederland

Another plastic free solution out there is the stainless steel filter straw from LifeStraw. They developed a plastic-free stainless steel straw with filter to always have safe drinkingwater during your travels!

stainless steel straw

3: Bamboo Straws

Think what nature provides. Bamboo straws are a natural and organic option that you can even DIY at your home. My parents have a big bamboo bush. We cut some, sand them a little bit, and you have a straw. And nature provides other options. In the tropics for example you have the papaya tree of which the branches are little pipes. I’m sure other options exist. Just make sure you don’t destroy what does not need to be destroyed. Cons? Unlike glass and metal, bamboo straws could get moldy if you don’t wash and dry them properly.
Where to buy Bamboo straws?

Bamboo Straws in the USA / Canada

Bamboo Straws in the UK

Bamboe rietjes in Nederland

DIY bamboo straws

I make bamboo straws from the black bamboo in my parents garden. I don’t sell them but if you like one you can get them HERE by becoming a Patreon.

4: Edible straws

How cool if you could eat the straw after you finished your drink? Check out what … has created! Now this adds to the drinking experience! Where to buy edible straws?

5: Paper Straws

Are paper straws biodegradable? Some are but not all. Sometimes the ink on the straws is plastic. Paper straws are progression and better than plastic straws. Since most of the paper straws are meant to be used only once, and it still cost a lot of energy to manufacture them, the options above are a better pick.

Paper Straws (US)

6: Straws made from straw

Where do you think the name ‘straw’ comes from? For centuries all drinking straws were made from the stalks of grain. Nature gives us straws. The real hay straw is the perfect alternative for the ‘single use’ plastic straw. They grow in abudance, suck fine, and break down quickly too. And are cheap. I wish to see these and just these in bars

Hay Straws (US)

Hay Straws (Holland)

 

What is your favourite alternative to the plastics straw?

 



Disclaimer: By buying a reusable straw you will automatically support the oceanpreneurial efforts. As always I only recommended ‘things’ I fully support. This post contains some affiliate links. If you click and buy something, the oceanpreneur will earn a tiny commission.

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What can you throw over board when sailing the ocean? Part 2. On the Ocean

The discussion comes up on every boat setting sail for the ocean. How are we going to deal with waste?  Is it better to throw glass and tin in the ocean or dump it on a little island? What is actually recyclable? How to dispose waste on the other side? Are there recycling facilities in the Caribbean?

I sailed across the Atlantic Ocean 3 times now. I learned a lot on how and how not to do things! I especially saw and learned about the importance and decline of the ocean! Here’s what I learned in the waste department. Surely the intentions of the sailors and yachtsmen are to take best care of the environment. We all love the ocean. And we like to keep it healthy so we can keep exploring this beauty forever! We also love visiting the islands and waste management facilities may be non-existent.

How to deal with waste when sailing across the ocean?

In Part 1. On Shore, I discussed ideas to minimize your footprint as a sailor while still on shore. With conscious provisioning you already reduced your negative impact bigtime.

Now you’re out there. What to do with the waste that you are creating? Here’s Part 2, for once you’re sailing out there.

What can you throw overboard?

  • Organics (food). This can go overboard 12 miles out of the coast. Make sure you do this well ahead before arrival to the Caribbean. Food can bring unwanted bacteria and insects to an island and change the whole ecosystem. Fruit peels can float around for years since it doesn’t get biodegraded at sea on how it does on land.
  • Nothing else but coconut shells goes overboard. The ocean is not a dumping ground. Things might sink and go deep. It won’t be gone. So no glass, no cans, no cardboard, no cigarettes and no paper should go overboard. And definitely no plastic. Never throw anything overboard that doesn’t decompose quickly in water.

Can you throw glass overboard in open sea? NO. It sinks, but never ever disappears.  Yes, it’s made of sand but glass as for what we have created it would never appear in nature like it. We add things for functionality and colour. 50% – 80% of glass is recycled. This is great because it saves a lot of resources and raw materials to make glass from scratch. Leave your glass for recycling.

Can you throw cans overboard in open sea? NO. it sinks, but cans often have a plastic coating. Also, this is a welcome material to be recycled. It does not take many resources to process aluminium into new cans, containers, or maybe even a boat! It does take a lot of resources to extract new raw materials from the earth.

I took my mermaid fins and explored the bottom of the sea. This is what it discovered:


Plastic? No. no. NO! Never ever disappears.

Cigarettes? No! Loaded with chemicals.

Chewing gum? No Chewing gum is plastic.

Cardboard and paper towels? If it’s untreated paper, then it’s ok to throw overboard. If it’s white or has any sort of ink on it, it’s not ok! Almost all paper and cardboard is treated (with ink, UV coating, foils, glues, polymers). White paper towels are treated with chlorine which is a dangerous toxic for your own and the ocean’s health. It should not go overboard. Cardboard usually has ink on it, which is a kind of plastic. This includes the label of a teabag, which is full of ink.

Tea bags? No. They have plastic in it.

Can you throw cans over board when sailng? Nope!

Many pilots, guide books, articles and sailor forums say that tins and glass jars can go overboard in deep seas. After all, they sink and are made from natural materials, right? Accordingly, many sailors do this. However, these articles are usually written from a practical perspective, not from an environmental one. Re-using and recycling can be very practical on board too! Bottles and tins have been found in the deepest trenches ocean trenches with the brand names and logos still readable.

Considering the critical state the ocean is in, every item that does not come from the sea should not be tossed in. Glass and tins are much more valuable on land than at the bottom of the sea. Recycling uses fewer resources than extracting new materials from the ground. These materials simply do not belong in the ocean. The ocean is not a dumping ground. If you wouldn’t eat it or put it on your skin, why should the living organisms in the sea have to deal with it? Your waste might sink into the deep, but it won’t be gone.

No glass, no cans, no cardboard, no cigarettes and no paper should go overboard. And definitely no plastic! Never throw anything overboard that doesn’t decompose quickly in water. Even fruit peels can take years to biodegrade at sea. They are valuable to land as compost. Do the best you can to close the loop and contribute to the circular economy.

 So how to process the waste on board when sailing?

Here are some ideas:

  • 3 buckets/ containers in the galley:
    • One for organic waste. Several times a day you can throw it overboard (Be wind aware;)!)
    • A bag or basket for recyclables
    • If you do well the waste bucket is the last that gets full!
  • Rinse waste with saltwater to avoid smells and the introduction of invasive species when disposing of in a new destination. Especially meat, cheese and dairy packaging should be rinsed well.
  • Once full get it out of the galley and into a storage container. It helps to separate plastic, tins, cardboard, and glass right away into different bags. Unfortunately, cans, bottles, and jars are not being reused but at least recycled. So far cans and bottles are preferred crushed (Greening the Caribbean).
  • Make an ashtray (you can simply tape a bottle to the boat). Cigarette buts can be tossed in there.
  • Reuse tin cans and glass containers where you can. If you plan to go to remote islands, don’t crush them and you can make someone happy with it. In the Caribbean, it’s preferred to be delivered crushed.
  • In the galley:
    • Cut non recycle plastic (film, bags and thin wrappers) into small pieces to reduce the volume. But in general, if you have place to get it on board, you have place to store it until you can dispose of it properly.
    • Have all organics dumped overboard 12 miles before arriving at the island. You don’t want to bring anything invasive into an island.

Read more about Contributing to a Healthier Ocean in Ocean Nomad, the adventure travel guide to the ocean, for the ocean.

Have you sailed across the Atlantic? Then I’d love to hear from you! I’m now updating the big Atlantic Sailing survey. Your experience will help the next passage makers for a safe and conscious passage. Check it out here.

What are your ideas on processing waste on board on a sailing vessel?


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Fish Responsibly (or not at all)

Fishing can be an exciting part of a long sailing passage, like the Atlantic crossing – but catching is a different story! On my three Atlantic crossings (combined), we caught a total of three fish that made it up to the dinner plate. In the process, we lost about ten lures and eight fishing lines that are all still floating around, ‘ghost fishing’ somewhere in the ocean. Only Neptune knows if a dolphin or sea turtle may have gotten injured, entangled or killed by it. Or maybe the lines got stuck in a boat propeller. Every bit of fishing gear lost will continue to damage in the ocean. It will never disappear.

Many sailors like to fish. It’s a better way to source your fish than buying them in cans, where we often don’t know how and when it’s been caught and mixed. But, do you really need to catch fish? Here’s a few things to consider.

Do you really need to catch fish?

The saying goes: “there’s plenty more fish in the sea.” Well, this saying is outdated! There’s actually not much left. Not so long ago, we thought that the ocean could replenish whatever we take from it. After all, the oceans are huge! Now we know that that is not the case. For fishing to be sustainable, we need to allow enough time for new ones to be born so the population can be maintained. The reverse is happening. We have taken more than the ocean ‘produces’, and we’re taking fish faster than they can reproduce. It’s called overfishing.

Overfishing has wiped out 90% of the ocean’s large top-predators, like sharks, tunas, cod, and groupers. And we need the big fish in the ocean because they eat the weaker ones. They prevent the ‘jenga’ from collapsing. The big fish that are still out there weigh 50% or less than they did 50 years ago. The average weight of a swordfish caught today is 45 Kilos. In the 60’s this was 130 kilos (1). Of all fish species, 52% is fully exploited, 17% is overexploited, and 7% is depleted. Common seafood choices such as tuna, shrimp, and salmon are among the worst affected (2). I don’t want to withhold the good news from you: a whopping 1% of species are recovering from depletion!

Besides impact plastic has on our ocean, wildlife and environment, plastic is a concern to human health. Plastic isn’t just around us, it’s in us! Through food we eat, water we drink, products we use, things we touch, and the air we breathe. Plastic is found in a third of UK-caught fish, including cod, haddock, mackerel and shellfish (3). Shellfish lovers could be eating up to 11,000 plastic fragments in their seafood each year (4).

Me taking water samples during my hitch-sailing trip around the Atlantic. The samples I took seemed like bright, clean ocean water. No plastic to be seen! Adventurers and conservation scientists then tested them for microplastic pieces. They all contained plastic, except for one! The rest of the samples, I took in different locations in the Atlantic Ocean, had more than 11 micro pieces per litre. One of the samples taken between the Canary Islands and Cape Verde had 47 micro pieces! Of all the samples collected during the ARC across the Atlantic, 97.5% of the samples contained microplastic!>

It’s not a question anymore if we are eating plastic from seafood, the question is what it does to the health of animals, the ocean, and us. Plastic in the ocean contains high levels of pollutants such as PCB, Phthalates, organic pesticides like BPA, and heavy metals like mercury, arsenic, and lead. These are proven poisons linked to all sorts of diseases, including cancer, hormone disruption, and infertility issues (5).

The problem is not just the fish we’re taking; the problem is also how we’re taking it. So if you must catch fish, here are a few suggestions to bear in mind to make it a little less harmful.

How (& how not) to fish

  • Fish with the right gear or not at all! Choose the right hook and line thickness. Ocean fish are big guys. A thin line will not hold and will end up at sea as a ghost fishing.
  • Do your research to find out if your catch is a threatened species or not – then either release or eat.
  • Only catch and kill what you can eat.
    • Catch something you can’t eat? Throw it back within seconds, not minutes.
    • Is it too big to eat? Throw it back!
  • Kill the fish right away once you caught it. A handy trick is to spray alcohol in the gills. If you don’t, the fish will suffer tremendously, and all that stress will affect the quality of the flesh. It’s not healthy for the fish, or for you!
  • If you fish near the islands:
    • Check the local situation and rules for species, size, and sustainability.
    • Spearfishing is prohibited almost everywhere in the Caribbean (except for often lionfish, which are an invasive species and need to be reduced for the ecosystem to be in balance).
    • Be aware that many fish in the Caribbean are poisonous.
  • Wherever you are, take it easy on the bigger guys. We need them in the ocean! They eat the weak and sick ones to keep the system in balance. Few are left because it takes so long for them to mature. The higher up in the food chain, the older the animal, the more contaminants have been built up. Tuna, swordfish, shark, cod or sea bass all have dangerous levels of mercury and PCB accumulated in their bodies.
  • By eating some species, you can even help the ecosystem, such as lionfish in the Caribbean. While they were a rare sight just ten years ago, the population is now out of control.

‘Fish’ for seaweed

We have a lot of food to choose from these days with healthier alternatives that still provide the same benefit without killing life. An exciting option I have found is consuming sea algae like kelp, nori, spirulina, dulse, and Sargassum. Hundreds of edible sorts of sea vegetables are known. Seaweeds are real super foods that mostly need sun and current to thrive. These vegetables of the sea are where fish get their omegas from in the first place. It’s a healthier food choice for you and the ocean. And they just float by your boat!

Learn more about the state of the ocean and what we can do to contribute to a healthier ocean in book Ocean Nomad.

 


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Catch a Sailboat Ride Across the Ocean and Make a Difference

Ocean Travel Guide for Adventurers

Catch a Sailboat Ride Across the Ocean & Contribute to a Healthier Ocean

Press Release Ocean Nomad

For Immediate Release

What do you do when you have the dream to sail across the ocean but no boat, no budget, and no sailing experience? You just go to a harbour and put your thumb up, like a hitch-hiker? Ocean enthusiast Suzanne sailed the Atlantic three times on a strangers’ sailing vessel and wrote a book about how (and how not) to hitch-sail the high seas: “Ocean Nomad, the Complete Atlantic Sailing Crew Guide – how to catch a ride & make a difference for a healthier ocean.”

The 400-pages ocean travel guide, launched last week on a traditional wooden sailing vessel, encourages an alternative and nature-minded way of adventure travel. Ocean Nomad explains the ins and outs on how (and how not) to hop on a boat for a sail across the Atlantic. Packed with practical advice and stories, Ocean Nomad, persuades and guides the adventure traveller to go from the idea of “someday I would like to go on a big sailing trip”, to sipping a coconut on the other side of the Atlantic Ocean celebrating the achievement. After reading the book excuses will be thrown overboard for good and action modus is on.

Called the “doyenne of sailboat hitchhikers!” by captain Lyon, Suzanne emphasizes that traversing an ocean is not just about finding a boat. Finding the right boat, careful investigation and preparation are what makes it a fun, safe, and meaningful ocean adventure. Book Ocean Nomad explains what to be mindful of.

With interwoven stories throughout the book, Suzanne, who has been living more at sea than on land the last years, makes you feel, what it is like to stay on a boat with strangers for weeks in a row. What does it do to your mind, body and soul to be offline and be away from everything but nature for weeks? How to stay happy and healthy? How to deal with seasickness? How to manage waste at sea and on the islands? What does it mean to be on ‘watch’? What’s it like to arrive in a new land after weeks at sea?

The author’s love for the Ocean splashes off the pages. “The fresh ocean air, day by day, jumping dolphins next to the boat, the wind in your hair, the pure connection with nature: on the ocean you find it and it gives you energy,” says Suzanne van der Veeken.” During her sailing trips and freedive expeditions, she has also seen and learned about the fast decline of the oceans. “Bags, bottles, straws, I’ve seen them all drifting past. Hundreds of miles off the coast! On every sail. On every dive.” “Once a fellow crew member thought he caught a fish. But it was a plastic bag! Every water sample that I took – a curiosity project – contained pieces of plastic. With the naked eye, you could not see it but the research results gave me a mega wake-up call” says Suzanne.

Plastic pollution is just one of the challenges. In the book, Suzanne explains in depth about the importance of the ocean, what is happening, with, for example, plastic, climate change and the fishing industry. But the main focus is on what we can do! In addition to the tips and tools to make an ocean sailing dream a reality, Suzanne provides easily actionable take-aways on how we can make a positive contribution to the health of the ocean. “We can ‘just’ cross an ocean and have a memorable adventure, but we can do more! The ocean brings us so much. As fanatic users, we are responsible for bringing life back into the ocean. We have no time to lose when it comes to preserving the ocean” says Suzanne, who was one of the 100 invited Ocean Youth Leaders at the global Our Ocean summit in Malta this year.

With Ocean Nomad, Suzanne hopes to get people of the couch, excite and inform others about this adventurous style of travel and connect people to the ocean. Now is the time to make the dreams happen. Because you never know what tomorrow will bring. Suzanne believes that when you experience the magic and direct dependence of the ocean, you’ll start caring more for it too.

Ocean Nomad: The Complete Atlantic Sailing Crew Guide – How to Catch a Ride and Contribute to a Healthier Ocean by Suzanne van der Veeken

Available as E-Book and Print. Book Website: https://www.theoceanpreneur.com/books

Download 60 pages for Free.

Press Kit with book details, reviews, blurbs, short excerpts, and images
Download 60 pages for Free

Suzanne previous in the Media

Book Trailer (Youtube & Facebook):

Download Press Release as PDF:

Ocean Nomad Press Release

English

 

Ocean Nomad Pers Bericht

Dutch

 

Ocean Nomad - Como hacer Barcostop en el Atlantico

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“Don’t just accept the future, go shape it.” Take-aways from the Our Ocean Youth Summit

The last week I had the privilege to be present at the Our Ocean Youth & Our Ocean conference in Malta. An important gathering by and for the world! Here high-level leaders came together to emphasize on the urgency of improving the health of our ocean. And to make commitments on what each one is going to do to really turn the tide! How was it?

A life-changing experience!

Not only for me, but for everyone living on this planet today! Really amazing to see such a big presence from presidents, ministers, EU, UN, ocean leaders and organisations from all over the world for the common goal of saving the ocean. Countries from all over the world have made big pledges to take the protection of the ocean to the highest level! 700 concrete, measurable and tracked commitments have been made! Since we’re ALL dependent on the ocean! And we have NO time to lose! 

Read all the commitments

here. There’s still hope. We must save what’s left!

Powerful quotes, statements and food for thought from the summit:

“We know now what we could not know as a kid. We’re 8 million minds together! Our collective knowdlegde gathering capacity is a gift. We need to get better at caring and respecting. We really are sea creatures, without the ocean we cannot exist. Our life support system is grounded in the ocean. You may never touch the ocean, but the ocean touches you. We must be mindful of all actions you take. We have the power! We need to get better at caring and respecting. And we own it to the ocean. Don’t ever think it’s too late, until it’s too later.” Sylvia A. Earle of Mission Blue

“Paris & SDG 14 are critical in the survival of our species. We got to spread the word. And make ideas come to live!” – Peter Thomson. UN secretary General’s special Envoy for the Ocean.

“Our main challenge is awareness for collective change. We have to make it exciting and enticing to change behaviour.” – Frans Timmermans

Dr. Nathan Walworth from Covalence Life presented a powerful talk about the importance of the Circular Economy. “Is Climate change our biggest issue? Or is climate change a reflection of our deeper internal and external issues?” Do your habits reflect how you feel about the world?” How can we move toward a regenerative world?” “You are the future mindful culture and lifestyle for the planet: a regenerative lifestyle.” All SOA Youth participants were challenged to pick a topic and present the following day on their circular economy solution.

Oliver Steeds – CEO of Nekton (Deepsea technology and exploration) compared the ocean challenge and solution with a mountain. “Look at the challenge as climbing a mountain. Focus on 1 thing until you reach basecamp number 1. Then move on to the next basecamp.” Step by step we can make sustainable changes and reach for the top!

James Movick from the Pacific Island Forum Fisheries Agency emphasized the importance of equity. Pacific Islanders are on the frontline feeling the effects of changes in the ocean. The islanders are highly dependent on the state of the ocean. But appetite from overseas is catching fish faster than they can rejuvenate. “Who’s equity are you looking after? How do we distribute the resource ecosystem? And how can we build equity felt by those on the ground?” As individuals, question where you fish is coming from. Is it legal?

Brett Jenks – CEO of Rare. “Everything what’s wrong with the world gives us the opportunity to change it, “There are so many reasons to celebrate. Given the evidence, we’re in a good place. But we have work to do!” Understanding how the minds works, is what’s going to change it.”

John Frank – Vice President EU Government affairs of Microsoft, mentioned that true fact that Ocean problems don’t happen in the ocean! He said the future is not inevitable. But each one of is is capable to bring something to the table. “Don’t just accept the future, go shape it,” – John Frank. Powerful!

“You are not apart from nature, you are part from nature!”Celine Cousteau

Choose the best YOU can in every situation! Above all…

“Make ocean action fun and stay healthy so that we can keep going for a long period of time!” Adrian Grenier Lonely Whale Foundation 

A few takeaways from the Our Ocean conference 2017 in Malta:

  • Climate Change is #1 on the agenda! Marine litter climbed high up the ladder for urgency! We must turn the plastic tide: government, business, and individuals!
  • Major announcements for new Marine Protected Areas all over the world! (Currently, only 3.1% of the ocean are protected!)
  • More than six billion euros committed by public and private actors!
  • Sustainable Ocean Alliance announced the SOA Youth Ocean Solutions accelerator! A place for the youngsters to make the innovative ocean ideas happen
  • Keywords! Blue and circular economy, innovation, and urgency!
  • Acknowledgement of the importance of having more young ocean leaders.

It has been so empowering to be amongst others dedicating their lives to saving the ocean. Meet up, team up and taking action! We can’t settle for little improvements. Big changes must be made urgently so the next generations in every layer of our ecosystem can thrive too! We can do this! No one can do this alone, but ALL together we can!

I also really like to emphasize we really have NO time to lose! We don’t see it because we don’t live below the surface (at least most of us humans ;)). But we are all dependent on the ocean! For food, oxygen, jobs, health and happiness. The forests of the seas are dying, the ocean is becoming acid and species are getting lost. Ok. On to the good news -> there is still hope! But we must ALL take collective action. NOW!

What can YOU do? Make conscious decisions in every choice you’re making! What’s the best you can choose? Educate yourself. Ask questions. Be curious! Are you a sailor? Provision carefully.  Are you a traveller? Pack with purpose. And explore the ocean! So you experience it’s magic! And it’s current state… Like, share and support the work of young ocean leaders which will help tremendously to keep us all going! Apply for the next Our Ocean conference in Bali!

EXPLORE BE CURIOUS HAVE COURAGE TAKE ACTION MAKE THE DIFFERENCE REGENERATE & CELEBRATE for our ocean

Youth

Thanks everyone but especially all you youngsters (100 attendees from 50 different countries!) for showing up, sharing your energy for our common goal to protect the ocean. A massive shout out to Daniela & team of the Sustainable Oceans Alliance (SOA Youth) for enabling the younger ocean change makers to attend this event! And to all the new #ourocean friends I’ve made! Here’s a video compiled by SOA Youth and the 100 young ocean leaders taking action for the ocean and why.

My action

Connect people to the ocean! When people can experience the ocean, they will love, understand, care, and act! I aim to help a lot in the awareness and education department by campaigning on social media, blogging, through the book I just wrote, with Ocean Nomad TV, , the build of a green Carriacou sailing sloop, and more ocean experiences in which you can take part! Stay tuned on this blog.

Oceanpreneur mission

I just made the ocean adventure travel guide: OCEAN NOMAD available! I wrote this book with the aim to help more people experience the ocean. From experience comes awareness and excitement. From that, comes caring. Ocean Nomad helps others go on sailing adventures and also includes 60 pages of what’s actually happening to the oceans and what you can do as an individual. 

No budget, no experience, no worries! Ocean Nomad provides the bearings to help the (aspiring) ocean adventurer catch a sailboat ride, safely and meaningfully. The official launch end of this month, of course, on a boat! You’re invited! You can already download the book or just have a free sneak peak. Or if you simply think this is cool but not for you, click here to tweet it to the world.

Now go out there, be curious and explore the ocean!

A few photo’s

Our Ocean conference

SOA Youth Group

The first person I met in Malta and she already made the conference week a success! Thank you Caro for your presence! Caro represents Heirstoouroceans, Mission Blue, and Marine Conservation Institute 

Presenting about Bio Plastic and the Circular economy.

Thank you Daniel from Peru for this photo!

My roomies from Palau, Seattle and Adrien Grenier of the Lonely Whale foundation

SOA Youth Group

When ocean conservationists go to a conference #plasticfree

Ocean Art

Clean Oceans International is making fuel from Plastic

Playing with the Underwater drone of Blue Eye Robotics

With Adrien Grenier of the Lonely Whale Foundation

John Kerry speaking greatly about the urgency of protecting our ocean

Mr. Faure. President of the Seychelles, an island nation on the forefront of ocean changes

Dune Ives from the Lonely Whale Foundation presenting about their #stopsucking plastic straw campaign

Dune and Her Deepness Sylvia Earle talking about the future of our ocean

With the roomies, Miel and Diluna from Palau (Heirs to our oceans) and Helena bringing Ocean & Art to the conference from Seattle

Kristina Gjerde, Law of the High Seas expert.

So honoured to meet my biggest inspiration in real. Her Deepness Sylvia Earle. If someone is creating a legacy for our ocean, it’s her!

With explorer & ocean change-maker Celine Cousteau. She rocked the final keynote at the Our Ocean Youth Summit.

Daniela announcing the SOA Youth Ocean Accelerator

Melati Wijsen rocking the stage speaking about her initiative ByeBye Plastic Bags

Dune from Lonely Whale Foundation talking straws

EU Commisioner Karmenu Vella speaking at the Our Ocean conference

Caro (Heirstoouroceans & Mission Blue) & Heather. Two beautiful endless energetic ocean change-makers (Families in Nature)

Diving in with Olivia from One More Generation and One Less Straw (Pledge here!)

I, and Anna (Oceanographer from Seattle), Daniel (Peruvean Ambassador for the Ocean), Andy – Makes artificial reef structures (Reef Life Restoration) & Olivia – campaigns against the plastic pollution with One Less Straw) All passionate young ocean change makers!

Help raise awareness about this conference, the ocean, and the youth leaders by giving it a like or share. Thanks! If you like to receive updates on ocean adventure travel & conservation splashes, sign up for my once in a while Ocean Splash.

 

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How to minimise your waste footprint when sailing the ocean? Part 1.

The discussion comes up on every boat setting sail for the ocean. How are we going to deal with waste?  Is it better to throw glass and tin in the ocean or dump it on a little island? What is actually recyclable? How to dispose waste on the other side? Are there recycling facilities in the Caribbean?

I sailed across the Atlantic Ocean 4 times now. I learned a lot on how and how not to do things. I especially saw and learned about the importance and decline of the ocean. Here’s what I learned in the waste department. Surely the intentions of the sailors and yachtsmen are to take the best care of the environment. We all love the ocean. And we like to keep it healthy so we can keep exploring this beauty forever. We also love visiting the islands and waste management facilities may be non-existent.

So how to deal with waste when sailing across the ocean?

Part 1: minimize the provisioning footprint 

ON SHORE

We have to be mindful to what we bring on shore on the islands. The Caribbean islands do not have big enough landfalls. Waste is often dumped near the road or burned. Waste in landfalls is often burned as well. So is it better to just throw things like cans, and glass in the ocean? How can we as sailors best tackle this waste management issue on boats?

Here are some ideas to minimize your footprint as a sailor while still on shore:

  • Number 1. Do you very best buying without as little packaging as possible. Be mindful on what you bring on board in the first place. It can really add up. As a crewmember, before you even hop on board minimize, minimize, minimize.
  • Opt for landing at a destination with recycling facilities in place. It’s worth making your first landing on one of these islands for safe disposing garbage.
  • In Spain, Cape Verde, and the Caribbean a plastic bag is still practically mandatory at the supermarket. Always bring your own bags.
  • Choose consciously what you buy:
    • Buy in bulk to have less packaging in the first place. You can store smaller amounts in reusable containers.
    • Paper towels. This is often used lots on board. In many situations, a good old reusable cloth can do the job. If you do use paper, get one that is biodegradable and does not have ink on it (ink is a kind of plastic!). White paper towel is bleached and should not go overboard. Recycled toilet paper and kitchen roll sounds great but is often treated with a lot of chemicals.
    • Cleaning Products. Use biodegradable washing liquid for your own and the health of the oceans. It all drains straight to the ocean. You find this in organic stores (which you can find on Happy Cow). Baking Soda and Vinegar + water remains a good cleaning product, for the boat interior as well as your hair.
    • Use natural biodegradable soaps and shampoos.
    • In Spain, go to the market for your provisioning (not supermarket). At least in Las Palmas, at the market they will pick the greenest fruits and veggies for you which will last the longest. They come and bring it in carton boxes to the boat. It’s the cheapest way, you support the local entrepreneur and not plastic bags. Avoid buying as much as you can from the supermarket. It’s wrapped in so many wrappers and at checkout, they put everything in bags again, even if you friendly ask not to do that. Especially when they deliver goods. Many boats leave from Spain where they still very accustomed to wrap things in multiple packaging.
    • Don’t buy items that contain lots of wrappers: candy, biscuits and tea (in Spain and Cabo Verde many brands even wrap every individual tea bags). Make your own. If you happen to do buy wrapped stuff, get rid off as much packaging as you can if your departure destination has facilities in place.
    • Go to the market with your own reusable bags. If you have foods delivered, see if the marketmen can take back the cardboard and boxes. You don’t want to take those anyway since they are a source of unwanted bacteria, cockroaches.
    • Choose products with recycled packaging or packaging that you can reuse yourself.
    • Use reusable containers to store goods.
    • Reuse items as much as you can– bags, containers, boxes, etc.
    • Get cloth napkins instead of paper.
    • Get wooden pegs, instead of plastic ones.
    • If you don’t have a water filter on board and bottled water is needed, buy the 20Liter bottles + a pump. Water bottles are one of the biggest ocean polluters and not desired in the Caribbean, or anywhere. Read 10 water filter solutions you can use as crew.
    • Please don’t buy balloons for the ocean birthday or halfway party. The wind and sun will have them snap and it’ll get mixed into the plastic soup.

 

We live in a world where convenience and profit still dominate the scene. Walk the extra block. What’s more important? Convenience or continuing a healthy ocean for future generations?

With conscious provisioning, you can reduce your negative impact big time.

What about when you’re out there? Read part 2: What to do with the waste that you are creating? What can go overboard?

Read more about provisioning, long lasting healthy foods to buy and how to deal with waste on the ocean and on the other side in Ocean Nomad – The Complete Atlantic Sailing Crew Guide.

Have you sailed across the Atlantic? Then I’d love to hear from you! I’m now updating the big Atlantic Sailing survey. Your experience will help the next passage makers for a safe and conscious passage. Check it out here.

With a healthy ocean, everyone wins!

“I can sense the enthusiasm coming out at me from the pages and feel that her book is an inspiration and fantastic guide on hitch sailing and ocean preservation. It should be on every yacht out there at sea.”- Steve Green Yacht Master Instructor and Ocean Master

“It is part of my ship’s articles: I want every crew member to read it before they step on board! Not just because it is packed with tips for both captain and crew, but also because it gives a clear insight in the minds of hitch sailors. This is more than a ‘if-you-can-dream-it-you-can-do-it/-if-you-just-put-your-mind-to-it-it-will-happen” – Captain Edwin Butter of OceanConservation


 

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Travel packing for the planet: What’s in my eco friendly travel kit?

The ultimate guide to your eco-friendly travel kit

You want to travel light, compact and purposeful. But that’s not enough! Here are some considerations and recommendations for your ethical and eco-friendly travelkit.

You want to support innovative social entrepreneurs, and have a positive influence on fellow travellers and locals to help create awareness of solutions out there to make this world a better place. You want to minimize your carbon footprint, your trash trail and the number of chemicals polluting the environment and your body. You want the best for your health AND make a positive difference in the world that you call your playground. You want to collect memories and not things. You do need to pack something at some point.

But you’re busy. You don’t have the time to sort it all out. You left the packing part to last minute and now you realize it would be good to have done some research so you can travel with a positive impact

What impact do you actually make with the travel gear you take with you? How eco-friendly is your kit?

Warning: Long post! Find more plastic-free travel solutions in my lastest #PLASTICFREENOMAD campaign. Disclaimer: No brand is paying me to mention them. Recommendations for the eco-friendly travel kit are based on my own investigation and testing. 
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Travelling? 70 eco travel tips for a better planet

Are you amongst the fortunate few to be able to travel? Lucky you!
Now let’s make the most out of it! Not just for yourself but for the places and people that you’re visiting. Our travels can bring huge benefits to local communities. It can also destroy a destination. 

What impact do you make?

According to your facebook and Instagram accounts you have been travelling to the most beautiful paradises on the planet. You have eaten exotic delicacies, encountered magnificent wildlife, engaged with fascinating cultures, climbed to the top of the volcano and explored the funderwaterworld. You have memories of a lifetime.

I am one of these lucky bastards.

Lucky bastard exploring paradise

But you also have memories of trash on the beach, begging children, damaged corals, green ski slopes, porters like donkeys, people trying to sell a fruit for almost nothing, no fish today, chained monkeys, and sharks on the market. Just to name a few situations that make us feel bad, though are there daily.

The beach these days in the Gili Islands

You have experienced the preciousness of drinking water, fresh air, power, a roof, freedom, a toilet, feeling safe, internet, a bankcard, a clean beach, and a healthy body. Most normal ‘back home.’ Not for most us in the world.
You are aware of your lucky position in this world. And you really want to do something good. But WHAT can you do?
“I get up every morning determined to both change the world and have one hell of a good time. Sometimes this makes planning my day difficult.” E.B. White 
 If you are able to travel you have the skills or resources to make a positive impact. We can travel AND do good AND save money AND have fun. When we make conscious decisions, we can minimize our negative footprint and maximize the benefit for the place we visit and for the planet as a whole. Every decision and every action counts. Collectively our impact is major. With millions of extra travellers every year and a 1,5 million EXTRA people on the planet WEEKLY, it’s all becoming a bit crowded. Our planet and the destinations we’re visiting are reaching limits to cope with our demands. Climate change is happening and it’s probably worse than you think it is. It’s more important than ever to do your bit. It’s our responsibility to become part of the solution, not the problem

So what can you do?

Here are some easy eco travel tips and actions to make your travel a good one, for the planet and for you:

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