I’ve been feeling the need lately to share the confusion that’s been going on in my head, so this post is a bit more of a journal entry, with plenty of relevance to eco-living and the challenges we “green dreamers” face. I hope that by elaborating on my own thoughts, I might reach someone else who needs to hear that there is another human being experiencing the same emotions. The world is encountering a new level of challenging times right now, and I personally recognize and feel this more and more as I get older, experience the world further through travel, and engage in more and more inspiring conversations with people from across the globe. We are all handling the challenges (whether they involve social injustice, climate change, pollution, food shortages, and other sticky issues) differently, because we are all unique individuals with our own brains and different wiring systems. I tend to feel most strongly and passionately about the “eco” side of things; that’s just where my heart lies. I still get angry and flustered and hurt when hearing about other issues - but one girl would go crazy if she poured all of herself into too many concerns.Read More
I’m sure there are plenty of holiday-makers down in Hawai’i right now soaking up copious amounts of Vitamin D, sipping lilikoi-foam-topped Mai Tais, and perfecting the beautiful art of doing nothing. Is there a better time to immerse yourself in total relaxation than Christmas and New Year’s? Shouldn’t the holidays be about stepping away from the craziness of every day life and just enjoying the beauty of existing? Maui happens to be one of the best places to practice this art form - you’ll get the backdrop of waving palm trees and crystal clear blue water while you’re recharging those batteries of yours.
BUT, if you’re anything like me, you’ll find yourself itching to get into the water after a few minutes on the island. And rightfully so! The water around the Hawaiian islands are warm year round and home to many stunning coral reefs and fascinating marine organisms. Coral reefs are About 25% of the fish, invertebrate, and plant species you’ll find here are endemic, meaning you won’t spot them anywhere else in the world. There are several popular snorkeling spots around Maui that have quite an impressive reputation for good reason - there’s also the allure of the chance of spotting a manta ray, a sea turtle, an octopus, eels, spinner dolphins, or even humpback whales!Read More
What does the term freediving bring to mind for you? Diving without scuba tanks? Spearfishing? Long breath holds? Insanity? For me, it was mainly just a talent I admired of other people when I saw them diving down to look at an octopus or a moray eel in Molokini Crater for extended periods of time.Read More
A Post To Perk You UP About Fighting for Conservation
I’m sure many of you, like me, have been experiencing the ebb and flow of enthusiasm/motivation and helplessness/anxiety over the conservation of our natural environment. The articles/news/research findings are bombarding us - always - and they should, because we need to be aware of the issues and the science. The emotions we attach to the media, however, are brought about by our own projections. I associate so much doom and gloom with everything I hear about climate change and ecosystem destruction, I can’t help it. But what if I stepped away from that and chose to see things differently? What if this perceived negativity could be transformed into a positive source of motivation?Read More
A Positive Opportunity for Education & Activism with Instagram
How many "pretty" pictures of food or drinks or cute cafes pop up on your social media feeds throughout the day? It might just be my love of experimental cooking, foodie-based travel, colorful ingredients, and beautifully-designed dining spaces, but my feed is brimming with snaps of smoothie bowls and tofu dishes and perfectly crafted coffees with hearts and bears in the latte art. I love seeking inspiration from photos of food, and I imagine there's a part of my brain that relishes looking at them as well. Like some sort of dopamine hit.
Although most of the food-based accounts I follow depict eco-friendly practices, I'm finding that there's still a lot of accounts that are including plastic straws and other single-use plastics in their glamorous marketing shots. Now, I'm not trying to call anyone out and shame them. Nor am I encouraging you to bash anyone or any operation on social media. That's bad form. I'm only saying that I found a perfect opportunity to open up a discussion on single-use plastics when I came across a photo from a hip little pop-up business in Portland specializing in gourmet dessert milkshakes...Read More
When we want or need something, it's as easy as opening our browser to Amazon.com or driving to Target and feeling that rush of immediate gratification. No thought required. Just a credit card and a desire.
This scares me. You know the feeling of emptiness that comes after an impulse buy? It's like a cloud of confusion. It's not satisfying us the way we thought it would. The thing we bought didn't solve our problems. It didn't make us happier (because only you can make you happier). We often choose what is easy instead of what is better in the long run. Maybe our brains are wired that way. Survival, man! But, it's no good.Read More
If someone were to ask me one critical thing they could do right now to help the environment, apart from dropping single-use plastics, I would suggest to them to be more aware of the food on their plates. You know, to eat like you give a f***. Like, where the heck did your food come from? Who grew it? How did they grow it? And...how does its production impact the environment?Read More
Week number 2 brings a bit of a different challenge, and one that became more and more relevant for me after I became hyper-aware of plastic waste and poor environmental practices in restaurants and other businesses. The challenge: speak up about a possible improvement that you think one of your favorite restaurants can make in terms of its plastic use. You know those places you go to eat, the ones you adore with delicious food that you can’t get anywhere else and that give you the warm fuzzies because it’s familiar and it’s the bestest…but that also produce horrendous amounts of waste? I experienced that in Coeur d’Alene this past week at the Fish Market. My family loves this place. AMAZING fish tacos. But EVERYTHING served with single-use plastic sauce tubs, plastic cutlery, and beers on tap are even served in plastic pint cups. WHAT. WHY. GET A DISHWASHER. Give someone a job in the community and stop producing so much waste!Read More
So a little while ago I made a promise to start posting some simple, easy steps you can take to living a more eco-friendly lifestyle. I'm calling this blog series 8 Weeks to a Greener Life and a Bluer Sea, and I'm excited to kick it off with one of my favorite summertime activities: farmer's market shopping! I'm going to keep these posts brief, so you can read them over your morning coffee, absorb what you want from them, and hopefully feel inspired to get out and implement these strategies in your own life.Read More
To the millennials out there: we were raised in a different time with different priorities, and we don’t exactly have a blueprint to look to as we navigate these new and constant environmental challenges. It's a huge task, managing and instigating all of this change. But for those of us who care about the environment to any degree at all, which I truly do believe is most of us, we can start shifting our habits to live a greener lifestyle. We might have to start small; everyone's personal and financial situation is different. But when we continue to demand green alternatives and use our purchasing power to support what we believe in, we are going to keep seeing changes. So start where you can. Do what you can. And at the very least, keep up-to-date on environmental issues and talk about them with your family and friends.Read More
I wrote a post not too long ago about the challenges of being an optimistic environmentalist. The struggle is real. Very, very real. I’m sure many of you have seen National Geographic’s latest magazine cover depicting a plastic bag looming up from the ocean like an iceberg with the title “Planet or Plastic?” This particular issue is just the start of the magazine’s multiyear plan to bring awareness to our planet’s plastic overload crisis. At first glance, it’s heart wrenching - another reminder of the doom and gloom and challenges ahead of us. But once I read the article and absorbed the painful facts, the scary stats, and the troubling photographs, I felt a little rush of excitement. Do we even know how many people are going to be exposed to this crisis as a result of this publication, people that may never even have thought about it seriously and now would? National Geographic has always been a magazine that has sparked controversial conversations, and this particular cover has been dubbed “one for the ages.” People are going to be talking. People are going to be freaked out. And that’s good.Read More
I've been really struggling and trying to be extra mindful of these plastic "conveniences" in my day-to-day life. Plastic has fundamentally changed the way we eat, travel, and live our day-to-day lives. But we lived without it not so long ago - can we reach that stage again? We don't want a plastic ocean.Read More
Fi came to Kaikoura about four years ago. She's originally from the U.K. but moved to Oceania to research common dolphins in Auckland and humpbacks in Australia after completing her undergraduate degree in wildlife photography. As fate would have it, a friend connected Fi with Dolphin Encounter and she found herself in Kaikoura working as a dolphin swim guide and photographer.Read More
"Your life looks so cool, do you just travel all the time? How do you fund this? I'm so jealous!"
My life might look glamorous to those from the outside. Many people use social media to paint the best and most exciting version of themselves. I try and use it to highlight beautiful things I've seen, the positive feelings I'm having, or the people I'm meeting, and naturally skim over the lows and challenges I face internally. It's easy to overlook the day-to-day struggles when you're living in some of the most beautiful parts of the world.Read More
Everyone loves a little bit of reflection at the start of a new year - it gives us time to feel good about the places we've been, cringe a bit at the mistakes we've made, and laugh because of all the lessons we've learned from them. It's been good for me to ponder over you and all of the adventures you've provided for me.Read More
It seems like you hear all sorts of negative, terrifying, inside-squeezing statistics and study results about the dying marine ecosystems around the world these days and how humans are just destroying all things beautiful in the natural world. It's like someone has gone and painted black streaks over the vibrant blues and greens of the sea of my mind. Sometimes it gets to be too much. There are days when it causes me to panic, and fret, and feel depressed about why I am living in this time period and not one hundred, or even fifty, years ago, when the marine world might have been a lot more pristine. Or at the very least, why couldn't I have paid more attention when I was snorkeling in Cabo and Hawai'i fifteen years ago, or the Great Barrier Reef five years ago, before the bleaching epidemics stripped so many of the reefs of their vitality? Why did I have to start falling in love with the underwater world right as we realize how badly it's hurting?Read More
The ocean is full of incredible creatures, many of which the average person will never lay eyes on in their lifetime. Although about 40% of humans live within 100 km of the coast, there's still plenty of us who spend our days without seeing, or thinking about, the big blue. It's easy to feel disconnected from something that we simply don't see every day. Is this why the ocean's health often slips from the list of factors that affect our day-to-day lifestyle choices? In my perfect world, the health of the sea would be at the forefront of everyone's mind when they make any decision that involves sustainability and conservation. But it's not always so. Not everyone can live by the ocean. Not everyone wants to live by the ocean. Not everyone realizes that our health and wellbeing is intimately tied to the wellbeing of the sea. This is why it is important to give reminders of why the ocean is an incredible gift — not to mention essential for our survival as a species — and why it deserves respect and protection.Read More
Familiarity is such a relative concept. I love, love, LOVE that you can move across an ocean and encounter an entirely new, mind-blowingly beautiful country and still completely engage and connect with people who are familiar with the place. Ever since arriving in Kaikoura, my jaw has been getting a regular workout from dropping in awe daily. The beauty that surrounds me is incredible. The wonderful people I work with and live with have been here much longer than me, and it's wild to think that they are so used to all of this wildlife and scenery. Albatross on the reg? No big deal. Adorable fur seal pups snuggling up high on rocks and blinking their big baby eyes at you? The norm. Dusky dolphins doing backflips and cartwheels right next to the boat? Got a million photos already.Read More