“We are living in an interminable succession of absurdities imposed by the myopic logic
of short-term thinking.” — Jacques Yves Cousteau
People often say ‘you are what you eat.’ I can certainly resonate with that. But it’s not just that. You are also what you buy, use, put, wrap, and present yourself with. Making a difference and living sustainably is not just about having solar panels on the boat or roof (although that is a great investment to reduce reliance on fossil fuel!). Responsible living is about how you think, buy, plan and prepare, and where. Whether you go around the world or to the market around the corner, thinking ahead helps. Start questioning where things come from, how it has been made, and by who? Where do things go after we throw it ‘away’? By making a shift in our thinking, and putting our inspector hat on, we can better engineer our lives to reduce our environmental impact. The most fun and effective way to make a change is by finding out yourself. Sailing will give you that pause, to think, reflect, and plan for the way forward. Here is some food for thought.
Do you need to go shopping? If so, do you need to buy new clothes, gadgets and gear? Take over second-hand, borrow from the neighbour, save resources and things from the trash pile.
Who do you give your money to? Do you help Mr. Supermarket CEO finance his second boat or are you bringing benefits directly to a family by shopping locally? Help to shorten the supply chain, which reduces transportation energy cost, use of packaging, and increases nutritional value, and benefits for those down at the bottom. Support the small entrepreneurs and go against mass consumerism. We live in a demand-driven society. Help the good brands, those without lobbying power and big advertisement budgets, to climb the ladder. Support the local coconut art and straw hats in the Caribbean. This is art that doesn’t harm the environment. As opposed to jewelry made from turtles, corals or sharks.
“We live on a planet where pigs eat more fish than sharks and where the domestic house cat eats more fish than all of the seal in the North Atlantic Ocean.”
— Captain Paul Watson
Where does your food come from? Do you know its source? The source is not the supermarket. It’s the soil and the water that determines the quality of the food. Rethink food recommendations. Who sponsors the food advice you’re reading? Is there maybe a financial gain involved? Do you know what’s in your processed food? Would your grandma say it’s food? Consider and explore alternatives for the sake of your own and the planet’s health.
How much waste do you generate each week? What is it? Food, packaging, paper? How much of that could you refuse, reduce, reuse or recycle? We all still use plastic bags, but not because we want them. We know it’s not the way to go by now. We simply forget to bring reusable bags in the first place. Before you purchase something packaged in plastic, consider if you need it. If there’s a different option, choose the one where you can reuse the packaging and don’t have to toss it away. For example, take a toothbrush. With let’s say eight toothbrushes per year, in a life of 30 years brushing my teeth I have thrown ‘away’ 240 toothbrushes (as well as the plastic wrappers they are packed in)! And that’s just me! I can circle an ocean-worthy boat with that! Be creative and inventive. See what you can reuse, borrow, swap, buy second-hand or make yourself. Every piece of plastic ever made is still out there in some form. If you throw plastic away, there is no ‘away.’ We all have a desire for convenience. We organise a BBQ and can just throw the dishes away. It may save a few minutes of your time. But the effects of it cost us greatly. We do take-away but what do we do with the (often styrofoam) box it’s delivered in? We order online and have another plastic taped box. We opt for one-time usage products like tampons, diapers, straws, bags and bottles because it’s convenient, or the advertisement has made us believe it’s convenient. We don’t even know what’s the alternative because we accept things as they come. Our system makes it difficult to make sustainable choices because money drives our society. Think about the journey things make before it arrives into your hands. What choices can you make to reduce the number and impact of those journeys? Not only plastic items make their impact. Glass, metals, wood, coal are also resources used to produce things. What can you do to reduce energy demands?
Another big waste is food. In the western world, an estimated one-third of the food we buy, we throw away. What a waste. How can we plan smarter than that? Here’s something fun to try: Aim to continue seeing the bottom of the garbage bin (put the organics separately if you don’t do so yet). How long can you manage?
Toogoodtogo is a cool app where you can pick up food at the end of the day before they throw it away.
Rethink the past
Before the 1960s the world was doing fine without plastics. There simply was no such thing as a plastic bag, diaper or shoe. Since then, it has found its way into every corner of our society. We have to think about alternatives that work. And support those accordingly. Think, what would your grandmother do?
‘Eco,’ ‘sustainable’, ‘organic’ or ‘green’ have become fashion words. In most countries, anyone can put that on there, and it can legitimately be sold. Question advertising messages. These messages are created for the purpose of selling, not saving the planet. Certifications are a step in the right direction but don’t just take certified products for granted either. When a brand is a certified B-Corporation, it’s using business as a force for social, environmental, and economic good, which is a positive step forward. Nevertheless, read labels, read stories, and ask questions. Advertisers are smart, and they know how to find you at the right spot.
Rethink the investment
Sometimes organic is more expensive. Realise that it’s only expensive in the short term. In the long run, it will be healthier for you, our children, and the planet because the soil is preserved and not damaged with harmful pesticides, herbicides and insecticides for the sake of volume and price. As much as you and I may live on a budget, cheaper is not always better. By supporting organic producers, we keep them in business, enabling them to bring more purity to the consumer and keep our soils healthy for the future. Also fun, invest in some seeds and basic materials and start growing food and making cosmetics yourself!
Rethink on what matters
For whom are you doing what you’re doing? And why? What are the consequences of what you eat/drink/buy/do/plan for/work for, for the next ten minutes, ten months, ten years and 100 years? What impact do those actions make on yourself, our children, and the world as a whole? Instead of spending money, time and effort in keeping consumerism going, what can you do at the core? Work harder to earn more money so that you can buy organic (which unfortunately is often more expensive)? Or instead, use your time creating solutions and advocate to ban harmful practices, subsidize organic farmers to make it less expensive? Money, fun and ‘owning’ stuff are all temporary. Our impact will last beyond our lifetimes, so we better make it a good one!
“The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them. — Albert Einstein
Thoughts become actions. What can you do?
An easy action we can take is to refuse single-use plastic. This is plastic that is used one time only. The most troublesome part of the plastic challenge is the magnitude of plastics we only use for a few minutes to eat, carry stuff, and take away. These single-use items have an average life span of 15 minutes and then are thrown ‘away.’ Only there is no such thing as ‘away.’ Where’s away? Eventually the ocean. 50% of the plastic problem in the ocean is disposable plastic like plastic bags, water bottles, takeaway containers, cups and straws. This is a relatively easy problem to tackle. We don’t need single-use plastic. Pro-actively say NO. With your drink order, ask for no straw. Show up with your reusable straw. Refuse to accept a plastic or paper cup at the coffee machine or water cooler. With your shopping, say no to the plastic bag. Stay, don’t take away; have your coffee or lunch on the spot. You can save a plastic item and have a nice chat! Refusal is easier in some countries than others—especially in developing countries you need to be equipped to be able to refuse. Be prepared and bring your reusable items.
Refuse to buy cosmetics with plastic ingredients. Common ingredients are polyethene and polypropylene, polyethene terephthalate (PET), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), and nylon (PA)—and dozens more complicated plastic names are out there. These words are impossible to remember. Thankfully there is a great app to help. Use “Beat the Microbead”, to check if your mascara, shower gel, toothpaste or sunscreen use plastic ingredients. Learn more at BeattheMicrobead.com.
Refuse to accept that ‘it’s just the way it is’—it may used to be. Now we know more, have developed more, it doesn’t have to be.
Refuse to eat fish that are overexploited or endangered and explain why to the vendor or restaurant owner. Shark, whale, and bluefin tuna are still commonly found on the menu.
Our greatest and most exciting individual power: the power of choice! To a large degree, we can choose what to eat, drink, wear, believe, say, do, create, and buy. We can choose with whom to play, talk, sail, date, marry. Each choice comes with its consequences, good or bad. With an abundance of options in everything these days it’s sometimes hard to choose, isn’t it? Do your best with whatever choice you make it’s a good one for you and the ocean! Not sure what the best option is? Explore, discover, learn, and then choose.
Fix things. Develop your handyman skills and try to fix whatever it is that broke. Or if it’s out of your league look for a handy man near you. Join the fixing process so next time you can do it yourself. Lots of spare parts available on the second-hand market places.
To be 100% is super tough (for now!), but we can drastically reduce our usage. A few ideas to get you started:
Reduce plastic use
Choose products made from natural fibres and materials. Immense amounts of crude oil and chemicals are used to produce plastic, polyester, nylon and other synthetic materials for your backpack, clothes, and technical gadgets. Not to mention the amount of waste generated. . . . All sorts of plastics with complicated names exist: polyethylene terephthalate (PET) (bottles are made from this), polyvinyl chloride (PVC) (the garden hose, vinyl plates, pipes and fake ‘leather’ shoes are made from this), polystyrene (Tupperware is made from this), polymethyl methacrylate (windows are made from this), nylon (our clothes), polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE/Teflon—the famous non-sticky pans)—they are all plastic!
Place a filter in your washing machine. Did you know that with every wash of a synthetic cloth item, thousands of fibres end up in our waterways? I’m not even talking about the chemical colouring techniques (and labour efforts) used to produce our clothing. Synthetic (read: plastic) fibres act as a sponge for metals and chemicals. Fish see this as plankton, and the toxin-loaded fibre stays in the fish for months. Alternatives can include (organic!) cotton, hemp, bamboo, or eucalyptus. Learn more about this challenge on Life-Mermaids.eu.
Particularly in the cosmetics department, we can reduce a lot on plastic waste. Almost all toiletries, like shampoo, toothpaste, or sunscreen, come in plastic packaging and are thrown ‘away’ once finished. Save yourself and the ocean from toxins and plastic pollution. Buy natural shampoo in bulk bottles, get a block of soap instead of the liquid stuff. Or even better, make your own toothpaste, shampoo, moisturiser, facial cleaner or mosquito spray. Choose a hairbrush, hair ties, toothbrush and razor all made from other materials than plastic.
Bring your own toothpicks. In many restaurants, toothpicks are individually wrapped in plastic. Be prepared and bring your own. Pine needles work great too:)
Source food from places that use less packaging, like the local market or even better, grow your own.
Filter water (with a filter on your tap or with a reusable water bottle)
Bring your own bag, spoon, cup, and bottle, and keep saying no!
If you order online, kindly request the sender to use as little packaging as possible, and without plastic tape. Demand minimal or better no packaging in general wherever you go. Buy from sellers located close to you to avoid a package going from a plane to a ship, to a ferry, to a truck, around the world.
Reduce resources use
Cut down on power. Reduce your own carbon footprint by sourcing locally. Walk, bike, hike, share rides, take public transport, turn off the lights when not in use, switch to more efficient light bulbs, reduce airplane trips, reduce meat and fish intake, and waste less food. And hitch-sail the Atlantic Ocean where you must be very conservative with the resources you have on board. After this journey, you’ll treat every drop of water like gold.
Reduce the amount of paper you consume. Read online newspapers, brochures, blogs, e-books. Say no to the receipt at the ATM. Do you need a receipt for everything you buy? The paper is often bleached, and the ink is plastic. Paper often ends up with organics further polluting the soil. Save a tree so more carbon can be absorbed; keep it digital.
A significant impact we can make is to reduce the number of babies we’re making. Researchers calculated a reduction of 58 tons of CO2 for each year of a parent’s life, as compared to 2.4 tons by living car free, 0.21 through recycling, and 1.60 for a roundtrip Atlantic flight. This study is based on people living in the Western world, consuming as an average westerner.
Reduce buying new things. Our resources are finite.
Reduce the chemicals
Cleaning products, cosmetic products and plastic products are often loaded with toxins, harmful for the ocean, and yourself. Why use them?
The average sunscreen has lots of chemicals affecting corals, fish, and your own health. Some tourism destinations (for example Bonito in Brazil, and Palau in the Pacific) even prohibit sunscreen to protect nature since this product has already negatively affected the natural state of the destination. It’s that destructive! Using biodegradable sunscreen is not only better for the environment, but it’s also much better for you. Ingredients that are found to be biggest hormone disruptors are oxybenzone and octinoxate, and homosalate, octisalate, and octocrylene). So, what to do? Do everything else right before applying sunscreen in the first place. Protect yourself from the sun with a cap, and clothing. Use sunscreen only when you have to. More and more biodegradable sunscreens are available on the market. Zinc oxide and titanium dioxide are working ingredients that are more ocean and human-friendly alternative. Finding one that does not come in plastic is the biggest challenge! Or just make your own.
Shampoo, soaps, and lotions
How many words do you see on the back of your shampoo that you can’t even pronounce? Google them and educate yourself. All the fragrances, chemicals and other stuff the big corporations put into our shampoo, shower gel, makeup, and mosquito spray may smell great but are loaded with harmful toxins that end up in our waterways and bodies. We often assume that if it’s on the shelves or if it says ‘natural’, it should be okay, right? It’s not. The cosmetic industry is shockingly little regulated. Luckily there are many real natural cosmetics out there. They are only not penetrated into the big supply chains. You could get a block of soap instead of the liquid stuff. Or even better, make your own toothpaste, shampoo, sunscreen, facial cleaner or mosquito spray.
What about aggressive cleaning products? They work so well! Aside from the residue that stays on the floor where you walk or on the galley counter where you put your food, we just wash it down. Where does it go then? The ocean! With a combination of vinegar, baking soda and cold pressed plant oils, we can clean almost anything!
Many outdoor brands produce clothing with PFCs, a highly toxic chemical which has now been found in the highest snow peaks, waterways and ocean. Check detox-outdoor.org to learn how green or pollutive your favourite outdoor brand is.
Reduce the trash pile
Our world is filling up with trash at an exponential rate. I can’t even be sure if that water bottle floating around the ocean wasn’t formerly used by me! Either way, the planet is everyones. Everyone should take care. Reduce plastic in the ocean by helping clean up. The ocean is downhill from everything. Wind and water ways bring it in. If you see it on the ground, take the opportunity to pick it up, preventing it from ending up in the oceans.
A few initiatives to make cleaning up more fun, easy and impactful:
Take3forthesea. Collect three trash pieces every day you go out and play. Tim Silverwood sailed through the great Pacific garbage patch and realised something had to be done! He founded #Take3fortheSea with a simple message: take three pieces of rubbish with you when you leave the beach, waterway, or . . . anywhere. If you do this every day, you can save thousands of pieces of trash from ending up at sea. Simple but impactful. Imagine what we can accomplish if everyone does this. Learn more at Take3.org.
Join a beach clean-up or organise one! Check #CleanSwell on social media for inspiration.
Order your ‘Trash Hunter Kit’ and help to identify where it comes from in the first place. Who are the producers and who are the polluters? Learn more at TrashHunters.org.
Join the Ocean Nomads crew. Lot’s of initiatives already going and more to come!
As we have already learned, the problem with plastic waste is that it doesn’t go away. Before you toss something away at all, perhaps the item can serve another purpose?
Packaging is a big waster. Reuse packaging when you can. Reuse the peanut box, pill jar, spice pots, or zip-lock cereal bags to store other items. Old pill jars are especially useful when travelling. Reuse plastic bags as garbage bags.
To be able to refuse plastic, you should be equipped with something you can reuse. We can all make a huge difference by being prepared with reusables. Going to a friend’s BBQ party where ‘throw away’ is usually the norm’? Bring your own cutlery, plate, cup and straw. You will surely make an entrance, and it’s a great conversation starter. Make it a habit of bringing your reusables items wherever you go. By being well-prepared, you can avoid ‘having’ to accept hundreds of plastic items. Hit the road with a spoon, fork, knife (or spork), straw, bag,cup, a storage container for takeaway, refillable bottle and filtered bottle.
Access to drinkable tap water might be normal at home, but in many countries buying plastic bottled water has become the norm. It already makes a great difference to have a reusable drinking bottle with you all the time. At home, at your office, and especially during your travels. If you don’t like the taste of tap water, put a filter on it. This might be the best investment for your health too. In addition to a refillable bottle, a filter- jug, -bottle or -straw can be a lifesaver. Especially on boats on during travels where portable refill options are rare. With a filtered water bottle, I can scoop water from the dirtiest river and drink it. I can drink water from any tap or source (except for salty water). Using a filter bottle has saved me from adding hundreds of plastic bottles to the trash pile, in just one month! The market has plenty of different filter bottles, jugs and straws available. Here’s a blogpost on different travelfirendly water filtration solutions.
In many western countries, you now have to pay 10 cents for a plastic bag. In the developing world, you have to say NO 10 times to avoid them. Bring a bag or two whenever you go shopping. If you do end up with a plastic bag in your hands, re-use it, for as long as you can.
The plastic straw is in the top six of single use plastics found in the ocean. It’s a routine add-on in most of the world. By proactively showing up with your reusable straw you can say no to many plastic ones. This is especially great when you are in a coconut or cocktail country! Many options are out there: stainless steel, bamboo, glass and silicon. Heck, you can even use the branch of a papaya tree as a straw. Using my stainless steel straw has saved me hundreds of plastic ones. And have given me dozens of awareness raising conversations! Make it a habit. Here is a blog on reusable straws.
For the parents
An average baby uses seven diapers a day. Assuming the little one is potty-trained by age two—that’s over 5,000 diapers! After newspapers and packaging, diapers are the largest disposable item in our trash pile. Did you know that disposable diapers also have plastic in them? Every single disposable diaper ever used is still out there. The poo may be organic, but most diapers are not. Get some cool shark, dolphin, star or coconut printed cloth diapers, saving money, energy, toxins and waste. And your kid will look super cool in his unique outfit.
For the girls
Women use an estimated 11,000 tampons or sanitary pads in a lifetime. The average pad contains as much plastic as four carrier bags. Most tampons contain plastic. Most tampons are bleached. We don’t consciously eat plastic or bleach. Why would we want to put it in our bodies? And waterways? We can reduce plastic and chemicals in our ocean, and save a lot of money by choosing alternatives. What’s a better solution? A reusable menstruation cup or pad. You can insert it like a tampon, you can still climb masts and dance-like with a tampon—but you only need one. You can reuse it, over and over again. Try it! Please ditch the tampon—and if you really can’t, at least use the organic tampons.
Even if you dispose of your waste correctly, you never know where it will end up, so recycle where you can even before generating the waste. Compared to making a new plastic product, recycling uses less water, fossil fuel and resource extraction. But don’t forget, plastic can only be down-cycled. A bottle can never be a bottle again.
I’m talking a lot about plastic here, but another type of product with huge environmental impact is tech gear. It’s called e-waste. Bring your old tech stuff to dealers that can use the parts. Or sell it. Apple has a recycling program, as well as most other tech brands. Please don’t just throw it ‘away.’
Products made from recycled-something are often better than new. It helps to create awareness, but, it’s not the solution! Eventually, it will still add to the trash pile.
We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly. – Zero Waste Chef
From ocean adventure comes awareness. From that, comes caring. From caring comes action and leadership. We can only do good if we first hand experience the magic of the seas as well as the realities that the oceans are facing in the first place. Ocean adventure can spark new insights and give one a new set of eyes. It makes us more conscious as consumers. It makes us stronger, more confident, resilient. It makes new leaders. Maybe Ocean leaders!
This blogpost is an excerpt from the bonus section of book Ocean Nomad: the hitchhike guide to the oceans. Jump on an ocean adventure and experience the magic and challenges for yourself.
https://theoceanpreneur.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/sailing-andsustainability.jpg13321776Suzannehttps://theoceanpreneur.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Ocean_layout3_blue.pngSuzanne2019-09-21 11:38:222020-01-13 16:41:51What can you do? The 7 R's: Rethink-Refuse-Reduce-Re-choose-Repair-Reuse-Recycle
Here are the latest sailing opportunities I have (co) – created to connect you to the sea, yourself, and to others like you.
We’re all on similar journeys, dreaming and doing about ocean adventures and to make a positive impact around us. We have brilliant ideas, projects, dream, actions, and desires for experiences, learning, connection, and to be part of something. We’re looking to connect with others honouring simple and sustainable lifestyles. But alone we can only do so much!
With Ocean Nomads, I aim to connect more of you to nature and each other. With trips and soon also a community app. For now, the following trips have been planned to help you accelerate your adventures and journeys and connections. I hope to welcome you on board!
Eco Day Sail in Amsterdam & Ijsselmeer with Sailmate | August 2019
Anna and I met over the internet, and then sailed together for a week in Sicily last year. We connected well, and have been eager to do more, team up, make impact and have fun. Anna is a German living and loving the Netherlands. And I’m a Dutchy living and loving anywhere but in the Netherlands. So it’s about time to sail in Holland, isn’t it? Together we want to reach & connect more people with the same interest.
We’ll organize numerous eco-minded daytrips that you can join as an individual or with a group (max 4). It are full day sails including lunch and much more. A unique, nature-minded and adventurous way to experience Amsterdam.
What? Exclusive Eco Day Sail Experience in Amsterdam
Connecting to your Self & the Ocean of Possibilities through Yoga & Sailing | September 7 – 14
For being able to take responsibility for the outside world, to fight for what you believe in we need to take care of the self. Being centered in your inner source of strength and having your reason for being on this planet clear supports your mission in the outside world. One boat, a bunch of ocean lovers and 7 days of exploration of your inner world.
Nicole and I studied, travelled, worked and lived together. And our mentor always said we should put our strengths together and make things happen. Here we are! This September we rent a boat in Croatia and invite a few souls looking to connect to nature, but above all, the inner self. Nicole is a highly qualified yoga instructor, coach, and super empathic well-being accelerator. She’ll run the program aimed to make you feel your best self. I’ll run the boat.
What? Connecting to your innerself. Yoga, Meditation, Sailing & Adventure
Meet your Adventure & Impact-driven Tribe & Accelerate the dreams and impact | Ocean Nomads Croatia Flotilla August 31 – September 7
With this event, we aim to connect ocean adventurers and change-makers for maximum fun and impact, at sea! With multiple sailing boats, we’ll facilitate the connection between a beautiful mix of purpose-driven salty souls and between you and nature. As a group we can explore the edges of the ideal. We’ll share ideas, skills, knowledge, support, connections, and above all: fun ocean adventure time!
What? Connecting Dreamers & Doers at Sea. Adventure, Fun, Sustainability & Networking.
When? August 31 – September 7 2019
You can also hire me as captain or crew or to organize you personalized epic ocean adventure.
Not able to join now? Or not sure yet? Learn more on OceanNomads.co, Check out some testimonials, Subscribe to the Ocean Nomads newsletter to be updated about the next spontaneous sailing trips, meet-ups, crew opportunities and the next steps of this movement.
https://theoceanpreneur.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Ocean-nomads-3.png450810Suzannehttps://theoceanpreneur.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Ocean_layout3_blue.pngSuzanne2019-08-02 11:35:112019-08-09 10:42:35Adventure & Impact Sailing Opportunities for August and September | 2019
https://theoceanpreneur.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Screenshot-2018-12-01-22.19.45.jpg7301300Suzannehttps://theoceanpreneur.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Ocean_layout3_blue.pngSuzanne2018-12-01 20:53:072019-05-14 09:16:34How to make your own toothpaste? Healthy, Cheap, Available and Zero Waste
Do you have a boat just sitting on a mooring somewhere growing barnacles? Or do you need to leave your boat behind for a month or longer? Or would you rather have your boat somewhere else but don’t want / can’t do the delivery yourself? Or are you selling her for a bargain?
Your boat can serve as an ocean impact sloop, supporting the mission to protect the ocean!
Here’s how I can help:
I can look after your boat, keep the barnacles off, sail her to place x if you want her elsewhere and find crew if needed, or try to help you sell her. I’ve sailed +25.000 NM on a variety of boats and of which four Atlantic Crossings (twice West/East and twice East/West). I’ve reached the level of confidence, competence, and qualification (YachtMaster Offshore) to take boats safely sailing, coastal and offshore. I can hold my breath for five minutes getting rid of all those barnacles at the bottom. Last but not least, I have a good insurance. You can read some reviews on Facebook and ask for my CV for more details. I’m available, qualified, and dedicated! Here’s how you can help:
Provide your boat to enable Oceanpreneur ocean adventure & impact projects.
I’m looking to sail a boat for 1-4 months in the Caribbean this winter, because:
It’s the best way I can use my superpowers to save the ocean!
It will allow me to create more and better content on ocean challenges and solutions! I started Youtubing and must make more Ocean Nomad TV (Ocean Adventure & Impact) videos with the mission to save the seas.
I’m developing the strategy and funding plan for the Carriacou Sloop. She’ll be used for ocean impact projects. But we have no time to lose! Until she’s ready I’m looking for other ways to scale up the ocean conservation efforts and education is a major part of that. I’m looking to test some ocean literacy programs, visit schools in the Caribbean islands and get a better understanding of how to help the islands and the ocean so that future generations will experience life too.
I just need a platform: a sailing boat!
Time & Dates are flexible!
When and where ideally?
Somewhere between January and May in the Caribbean (preferably Eastern Caribbean since that’s where the sloop will be built)
Somewhere between May and September in the Mediterranean
What kind of boat?
A monohull sailing boat
Pretty much ready to set sail
30-60 ft /Able to sleep 4-8 people. Can consider bigger.
The simpler the better.
https://theoceanpreneur.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/11/suzanne-van-der-veeken.jpg6511070Suzannehttps://theoceanpreneur.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Ocean_layout3_blue.pngSuzanne2018-11-15 13:47:242018-12-07 15:14:44Do you need a boat care-taker / deliverer? Let me help!
We are now 16 days at sea. Six salty sailors and I are navigating our way from Spain to the Americas on a small sailing sloop.
The lack of wind brings opportunity. After weeks of staring at the big blue we’re going to feel its magic from a different perspective. We put a line out for safety – I step over the railing and jump.
I splash into the 4,000-metre-deep water of the Atlantic Ocean, hundreds of miles from the nearest shore. The feeling of refreshment and freedom is indescribable. With limited water and space, I have not showered or moved much these past weeks. I feel alive, small and on top of the world at the same time. The water is like tea: so warm. What is beneath me? I put on my mask and dive under. There is nothing to see except the butts of my fellow crew and the colour of deep ocean, blue with beams of light shining through.
Driven by my deep sense of curiosity I sail the ocean, freedive into the deep, kite surf the surface, and explore distant shores. My discoveries on, in and underneath the water have taught me about the challenges it is facing.
Virgin Unite, Ocean Unite, Ocean Nomad
Image from Ocean Unite
I’ve sailed the seas in every continent except Antarctica. I have walked on remote beaches on islands hundreds of miles from mainland. I have put on my freedive mermaid fins and explored the bottom of the sea wherever I got the chance. I’ve explored below the surface in Tonga, in the middle of the South Pacific, in the Galapagos, the Mediterranean, South East Asia, East Africa, Australia, and the Caribbean. And everywhere I am confronted by the same man-made problem afflicting the ocean.
In the middle of the Atlantic, far away from civilization, I’ve seen it drifting. Plastic bags, bottles, straws. Once a fellow crew member thought he caught a fish, but it was a plastic bag. Every water sample that I have taken, every 200 miles, contained tiny pieces of plastic, invisible to the naked eye.
I have watched fish eating plastic pieces, mistaking them for food. I’ve been dancing with manta rays in a plastic soup, watching them funnel in wrappers instead of plankton, while I unwrap the bags from my fins.
Occasionally I don’t know where to resurface after a free-dive because above me I see nothing but trash. I’ve met local fishermen, from Tonga to Turkey to Tobago, telling me the catch of the day is less than 10 per cent of what it used to be. In two out of three days exploring the Mediterranean Sea last summer, I did not see a single fish.
Ocean Nomad Life, the good and the bad by @oceanpreneur Intro
As a sailor, I am intricately connected to nature. Life at sea provides a deep and lasting respect for nature because you are directly dependent on it. But the real truth is, we are all dependent on our ocean. The ocean is the heart of the planet. It produces more than half of the oxygen we breathe, regulates our climate and is home to magnificent wildlife and the biggest creatures on earth. It gives us food, jobs, life and joy. Without it, we cannot survive. It gives us everything and yet we are taking it out of balance, as if we were the last generation on earth.
I am responsible for this. And you are too. I have ‘thrown away’ dozens of things in my life. But now I have learned, there is no ‘away.’ Every piece of plastic ever made is still out there in some form. I have been ignorant. But not anymore. My ocean explorations have taught me about the magnitude of the challenges our ocean is facing and how urgently we need to fact them.
Awareness is key but action is mandatory. We are all responsible for depleting life in the ocean and together we have a responsibility to bring it back to life. We owe it to future generations. But what can we do?
Virgin Unite, Ocean Unite, Ocean Nomad
Image from Ocean Unite
Adventure has brought me awareness. That’s where it starts. From experience comes awareness. From that, comes caring. From caring comes action and leadership. We can only do good if we know what the problem is in the first place. We are so used to doing things the way we do, that we don’t think about their effect. What impact are you having, right now? Calculate your carbon footprint. Calculate roughly how many toothbrushes, and shampoo bottles you have used in your life! Now think about how you can recycle, re-use, repair and make it circular.
Educate yourself. Ask questions. Be curious. Choose wisely. Our greatest and most exciting individual power is the power of choice. To a large extent we can choose what to eat, drink, wear, believe, say, do, create, and buy. Each choice comes with consequences, good or bad. Do your best with whatever choice you make to make it a good one for you and the ocean. Your choices help you plot new routes.
Virgin Unite, Ocean Unite, Ocean Nomad
Image from Ocean Unite
Explore, learn and gain new perspectives. Set out on ocean adventures that may be for a greater purpose. Go for a sail, jump in the sea, walk the shore, learn how to dive. Adventure can spark new insights and give you a new set of eyes. It makes us more conscious as consumers. It resets us. It makes us stronger, more confident, resilient. Maybe it makes you a leader. Maybe an ocean leader. You can shape culture, disrupt business and stimulate change. Above all, by making it fun you’ll have the energy to keep going!
Governments and companies respond to the choices and activities of the public. By plotting your course for positive change you can shape what will be on the agenda tomorrow. We’re all in the same boat so we need your hands on deck! I must climb back on board again. The winds of change are picking up. Yes let’s rock this boat! But let’s rock this boat together as a global ocean family. – This is a guest blog and may not represent the views of Virgin.com. Please see virgin.com/terms for more details.
https://theoceanpreneur.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Screenshot-2017-11-22-17.49.10.png287500Suzannehttps://theoceanpreneur.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Ocean_layout3_blue.pngSuzanne2018-01-25 05:29:172018-02-28 05:37:38From ocean adventurer to change-maker | from Virgin.com
https://theoceanpreneur.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/IMG_7284.jpg9601280Suzannehttps://theoceanpreneur.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Ocean_layout3_blue.pngSuzanne2018-01-04 12:31:202020-01-17 19:35:207 Reasons why the ocean is SO important
Fiesta time in Lanzarote last week! The launch of book Ocean Nomad: The Complete Atlantic Sailing Crew Guide – Catch a Ride & Contribute to a Healthier Ocean ! A celebration of a milestone I have been working towards for two and a half years. Back then I thought to ‘just’ write down a few tips into a 20-page PDF. Along the way, I figured to really make an impact for the good, and deliver something of true value, I better do it well or not at all. Now, book Ocean Nomad, is a fact, as an e-book but also print! Ocean Nomad is a 400-page guidebook for sailing across the Atlantic as crew, from dream state to execution state in a safe, happy and meaningful matter. With the book, I aim to connect people to the ocean. When people experience the ocean, they’ll be more triggered to care for it too. The very first print edition of Ocean Nomad has been brought into the world last week in Lanzarote.
Launching on a boat
This milestone was something to celebrate. Of course, on a boat! Easy to choose which boat. I teamed up with Marjo & Edwin of Grace for Ocean Conservation. There’s simply no better venue than the almost 100-year-old wooden sailboat, a perfect example that naturally made crafts last, sustainable in style. I invited my parents, friends and other adventurous souls to join the festivities! Super fantastic to finally be able to share the result of the work. We made it one weekend full of FUN!
Book Launch festivities
On Thursday the VIPs (&first print books!) arrived and we started off with a homemade dinner made by Marjo and a big cheers! I handed out the first copy to Mum & Dad, and to Marjo & Edwin, my ocean parents.
Friday morning was show time! Lanzarote Mix radio set up a studio on the boat and for two hours we were live on air. In the afternoon some press stopped by and we decorated Grace and the pontoon to get the party started! Mum had made party flags. Dad helped to create re-usable bamboo straws. Local artisanal beer crafter NOA provided the beers (If you’re in Lanzarote, you must try this healthy yummy local produce at their brewery). VIPs and supersupporters Karlijn, Roline & Lonneke created the tune list and happy vibes. A great mix of family, friends, (aspiring) sailors, boat hitchhikers, local curious and change-makers made the party! The setting allowed for many beautiful ocean connections have been made. Mission accomplished!
Saturday was sailing ‘o clock! It was a long-awaited dream to finally take my parents and friends out sailing and to share a taste of the lifestyle I’ve been living the last years. We sailed down to Puerto Calero. Here we held a movie screening of Vanishing Sail, a movie about the wooden boat craft that still takes place on the beach in the Caribbean. But for how much longer? After living between the boat builders for two months earlier this year, and sailing one of these beautiful Carriacou Sloops across the Caribbean, I’m determined to do what I can to revive this art. The screening triggered some more souls determined to not let this art of wooden boat building die. I’m looking to organize more screenings. Let me know if you have a group, yacht club or community interested!
Together with the big book, I also launched the ‘Ocean Love & Conservation’ part of the book as a seperate Bonus edition on Kindle for a bargain. This bonus part is about Making the Ocean famous again and what we can do as crew to make a difference for a healthier ocean. We have no time to loose when it comes to saving our ocean. The more people learn about what’s happening to the ocean and what actions can be taken, the better.
An ocean of gratitude
Thanks everyone for making this weekend a mega memorable celebration of life, for life! Super thanks to Mum, Dad, Roline, Karlijn Lonneke, Edwin & Marjo for being present and sharing the unconditional Ocean Nomad love! A special thanks to my early Indiegogo supporters. And thank YOU for buying the book which will help support the next creation.
I did another book presentation in Rubicon Marina. Together with Grace for Ocean Conservation we set up a stand at the Rubicon marina mercadillo. Now I’m in Las Palmas helping the (aspiring) sailors on a safe, happy, and meaningful ride across. Every Thursday this November at 18.00 I’ll be presente in the Sailors Bay to talk about the book and answer questions. More book presentations and events I’ll mention on https://www.theoceanpreneur.com/books
It’s just the beginning
I’m superhappy with the success so far! The first colour edition is almost sold out. Book Ocean Nomad 2, the Caribbean edition, is in far stages. I’m creating an Ocean Nomad book series, and an Ocean Nomad community of like-minded Ocean Adventurers and change-makers. The first Ocean Nomad Reviews give me happy tears.
Publishing a book has been as adventurous as sailing across the Atlantic. I’ll write more about the book publishing process soon on this blog (Ps. I’m recruiting. I need more hands on deck)
Thank you to everyone who helped to make this happen: the book launch and the book! An ocean of gratitude to all!
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
https://theoceanpreneur.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/22366507_10154910553793199_5482882827988466702_n.jpg720960Suzannehttps://theoceanpreneur.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/Ocean_layout3_blue.pngSuzanne2017-10-11 11:18:472019-05-13 13:52:26“Don’t just accept the future, go shape it.” Take-aways from the Our Ocean Youth Summit