Lauren is a Naturalist and Marine Tour Guide, giving a unique insight into how to care for our Ocean. She is a local Ocean Guardian, raising awareness on her tours and publishing awesome info on her blog, The Greenest Blue.
Does anyone else feel like a little saltwater therapy is one of the best ways to pick yourself up when you’re feeling down or discouraged? That’s always been one of my mantras: “Feeling bummed? Get salty!”
The ocean is a haven for many of us sea-loving landlubbers and an escape from the hum-drum of day-to-day life. I’ve been fueling my ocean passion for the last four years by working on the water as a marine tour guide and naturalist. This means I’ve taken guests out to see humpback whales in their Hawaiian breeding grounds in the North Pacific, helped travelers swim and dance underwater with rambunctious wild dusky dolphins in Kaikoura, and taught visitors about the magnificent orcas of the Pacific Northwest.
For many people, observing marine life in the wild can be a life-changing experience and a critical turning point in raising their level of eco-awareness. It provides the perfect platform for me to educate guests about how our lifestyles and daily decisions directly impact the ocean they’re floating on. So many people have no idea how much trouble our seas are in!
Using Marine Tourism to Inspire a Greener Lifestyle
On a marine tour, guests seem to be especially open to hearing about this eco-mission. During an intense emotional experience like swimming with wild dolphins or watching a humpback whale breach, people start to feel more connected to these creatures and have a stronger threshold for understanding the vulnerability of our marine ecosystems. How can you watch something as magnificent as a whale or dolphin, hear about the challenges they’re facing, and not want to do something about it? Taking people out on a tour is the perfect opportunity to deliver my message of ocean conservation and eco-awareness.
Every day out on the water I see incredible wildlife, but I also witness the effects of the unfortunate reality of plastic pollution. Marine life is particularly susceptible to plastic; many animals have been found with scary amounts of plastic in their stomachs or wrapped around their bodies. Anytime we pass by plastic bits and bobs floating along while on a tour, I always make sure to scoop them up in a net and bring them to a more appropriate disposal facility. But the truth is - just fishing up plastic when we see it floating in the water or scattered along the side of the road isn’t going to solve the problem of plastic over-use. We’re in the middle of a crisis that’s going to require a societal mindset shift.
My Top 3 Tips For Going Green For The Sea
So….here’s my top three tips for you to green your lifestyle for the benefit of our oceanic friends, whether or not you live by the sea! It’s all about reducing your footprint and (surprise!) turning to a more local economy.
1) Ditch the throw-away lifestyle
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve picked up plastic straws at the beach or found myself snorkeling with bits of stretchy plastic bobbing around my head. Simply using something once and throwing it away does not serve the planet well, and unfortunately, we often do this with plastic cutlery, bags, straws, and take-away beverage cups. The beauty of this challenge is that we can make a quick turn-around and develop a new habit with a bit of dedication. CaliWoods tumblers are the perfect example. Stash one of these in your travel bag, your car, or your desk at work and you’ll always be prepared to present your own cup “for takeaway” when you’re ordering any hot or cold beverage. You’re preventing hundreds of plastic cups from entering the landfill or accidentally escaping out to the ocean by making this change! Can’t you almost see the dolphins smiling?
2) Shop at your local farmer’s market
Supporting a local economy, like shopping at your weekend farmer’s market, helps to reduce the huge impact of transport and shipping that goes into moving food around the world. This type of long-distance transport negatively affects the oceans because quite a bit of the carbon dioxide that is released from the transport industry is absorbed by the sea, which contributes to ocean acidification and a more difficult life for marine life. Is it really the best idea to buy raspberries from Chile or grapes from the U.S.A. if it's the middle of winter in New Zealand? Probably not. Try eating seasonally and experimenting with new recipes with whatever produce your local farmers are growing at the moment. It’ll spice things up in the kitchen, and you’ll feel good about reducing your footprint and making life easier for sea-dwellers. Check out the Package-Free Fridge Tips or take it a step further by trying your hand at Bulk Shopping and come home with package free food!
3) Pick your adventures mindfully
I adore travel, and it’s helped shape me into who I am today. Unfortunately, most types of travel, especially air, involve a significant amount of emissions. It’s always a good idea to make sure, when you do choose to travel, that you’ve thought about the impact you’re having. Try weighing the personal benefits with the environmental negatives of each trip you take, and that way you might reduce the amount of long-distance travel you do. You can try to embrace more local adventures, like road-tripping to a new beach with a car full of your mates, or even a shorter domestic flight to a new location. Take the bus. Hop on a train. Travel is a beautiful luxury made more accessible in the last few decades, but we shouldn’t treat it lightly. Explore well, explore fully, and you’ll be reducing your emissions by only choosing to travel when the benefits truly outweigh the negatives.
Look at offsetting your travel carbon emissions here.
Fight On, Ocean Warrior!
I hope these ideas have left you with a clearer vision of what you can do to help protect the amazing creatures that dwell in the deep blue. Sometimes these changes can seem overwhelming, but the beauty is that we are all in this together. We can all do our part, and we have each other to lean on. A healthy planet and thriving ocean is more than worth it!
CaliWoods New Tumblers Are the Perfect Addition to Your Eco-Travel Kit And Your Purchase Gives Back To The Ocean!
When Shay asked if I’d be able to write a blog post to accompany the launch of CaliWood’s amazing new eco-tumblers, I was all in. Living a closer-to-zero-waste lifestyle for a more sustainable future is a topic that is near and dear to my heart, so I’m stoked to see that each tumbler purchased supports a unique mission focused on marine conservation.
I always strive to inspire positive change for the planet through eco-awareness in both my work and my personal life, and leading by example is one of the best ways to activate change. That means I’m constantly learning about environmental issues, adapting my habits and actions to combat any negative impacts accordingly, and having conversations with anyone interested along the way!
By adopting reusable eco-alternatives into my lifestyle, I’m able to lighten my footprint on the planet. It also means that less plastic is getting tossed into the bin, and ideally less ends up in our oceans! See the CaliWoods Hot and Cold Tumblers Here.