Ten Ways to Love the Ocean

This week, my mind is focused on the ocean, our Ocean Girl summer camp starts in 4 days  and I am stoked! I thought I would share a few simple ideas we talk about at camp for reusing and rethinking  plastic. You are welcome to add your own ideas and or suggestions in the comment section, mahalo! This is the first in a series of helpful posts and videos of how to use creative alternatives and imagination for positive solutions.

Ocean Girl Project, starts in the ocean. You might think of us as mermaids :). We have fun and play and swim, surf, watch fish in the reef, plus we learn new things and in gratitude, we do beach cleanups. When you do a beach clean up you may feel sad to see all the plastic pollution, the ugly effects on the reef and sea creatures, but feeling bad doesn’t help you or the ocean.

Ocean Project as a whole, became more powerful and meaningful to me when I began to value plastic. I turned that negative draining feeling into motivated excited energy.

How did I do that? I started to stop and think about my everyday choices, this helped me use less plastic and value each piece, keep it longer and find many uses for it, I re-imagined ways to use and never waste what I already have, learned to share with others and made new friends, and of course, never litter.  Sometimes it takes work, but its also very fun. Today I explore, invent, create and I am evolving into a ever more empowered positive ocean girl.  I value the message plastic has taught me, I hope you can too.

There are many things we can do to be part of the solution, let’s start with a few simple ideas, courtesy of World Ocean Observatory:
(small kine edits and additions by me)

1. Avoid buying items packaged in plastic. Buy produce that isn’t wrapped in plastic. A great place to find fresh produce and other yummy food and gift items is at a local farmers market! Take an ocean girl class at our workshop and learn how to make detergent and body care products or support a local business, always less plastic involved. Buy items in reusable glass  or recycled cardboard. Say no way to products which contain microplastics like synthetic body scrubs. Not only are you reducing the plastic you use, you’re sending a powerful message to the makers of those products that you don’t like plastic in your products or on your food.

2. Use cloth shopping bags. Plastic bags are dangerous to wildlife.  Use cloth reusable bags —keep in your car or backpack or your bike or by the front door—make it a positive habit to take reusable bags when you go shopping. I am going to post a piece on recycling  reusable  plastic bags soon. Look for: Making your own reusable bags is fun and simple.

3. Skip bottled water. Carry a reusable water bottle. Plastic bottles are one of the top five most common types of litter found on beaches. Since bottled water is expensive , you’ll also save money doing this, and avoid the possible hazards of toxins leaching into your beverage. The thrifts stores generally carry dozens of reusable bottles, I see many brand new, buy one for you and to give to a friend.

4. Upcycle. Be creative! Think of new uses for old items rather than discarding them or buying new ones. Pinterest has 100’s of ideas and suggestions. This is my personal favorite!

5. Carry a reusable cup for drinks. Stow it in your bag so you have it when you order or refill your drink.

6.  “No straw, please.” Straws are one of the top 10 items found on beaches. In most cases, drinking out of a straw is simply unnecessary and a easy habit to break. If you do need a straw, please consider a reusable stainless steel or glass. I used to ask for no straw and no plastic lid, it’s not that hard to carry my drink to the table. I skipped drinks if I was driving or riding my bike and ended up saving money and drinking more water, win-win.

7. Wear clothing made from natural (not synthetic) materials. Wearing and washing clothes causes fibers to flake off, and polyester clothing is made of plastic. Tiny particles of microplastic found in oceans around the world have been traced to such synthetic fabrics. Natural fabrics take less of the worlds natural resources to create.  Do clothing swaps with friends!!

8. Avoid disposable tableware, or use the compostable kind. Carry washable and reusable containers or utensils. When using compostable tableware, be aware they are not made to biodegrade in a landfill and need to be disposed of in composting conditions.

9. Don’t discard electronics in the rubbish. Aim to repair or upgrade your devices instead of buying new ones. Sell gadgets and computer parts, or find a facility where you can turn them in for recycling.

10. Bring your own container for takeout and leftovers. When ordering takeout or bringing home leftovers, ask if you can get the food in your own reusable container. I added this information  twice, why?  Styrofoam is another thing we don’t want in our landfills, ocean, bodies or foods.

I plan to continue this wave in a series of 10 posts where we will explore in detail creative fun alternatives to plastic.

If you are interested in signing up for our fall workshops, please use the contact form below or email: colleen@oceangirlproject.com

Surf’s up, sea in the ocean soon.