Media serves a lot of different purposes in today’s society, and can invoke a huge range of emotions. For those of us with a passion for imagery, audio, and other types of creative outlets, there is an immense responsibility to ensure we’re spreading the right messages to our audience. In the marine conservation world, my cohorts and I have taken on the rather large task of illuminating the problems and threats faced by our ocean and its inhabitants.Read More
Because Tonga is one of the breeding grounds of the South Pacific humpback whales, we see an extensive range of behaviors that are focused around accomplishing one of two goals: 1) you’re either here to give birth and raise a calf or 2) you’re here to get pregnant or impregnate another whale.
Sometimes I make jokes that whales are the “original tropical island honeymooners”and that Tonga is the bedroom and Antarctica is the kitchen, connected by the world’s longest hallway, but these expressions are a bit of a euphemism. It’s definitely not all chillaxing and playful getting it on for the whales here. Breeding season is hard work.Read More
One of my big goals is to sail as much as possible, in the very near future. I’m trying to manifest that with positive thinking and affirmative action. I took a sailing course in the San Juan Islands in June with my family (photos below) and fell even more in love with the concept of harnessing the wind’s energy to spend time on the best thing in the world (the ocean).Read More
Another busy week is whirling by, filled with bouts of spitting rain and random bursts of sunshine. The sun is always teasing us, staying out just long enough to dry our towels and our salt-stained clothing before it ducks behind a cloud and we have to run around frantically collecting our laundry before the next downpour.
Island weather, it turns out, is a fickle friend. And I love it! Some nights it’s a bit chilly and we are bundled up in blankets, drinking mulled wine and nibbling on our sacred stashes of dark chocolate while watching movies. Other nights, we’re sweating and draped on top of our bedsheets, wishing for the soft whir of a fan next to our ears and some sort of reprieve from the hypnotic buzzing of the mozzies.Read More
You’re looking at a brand new Master/Engineer Class 6! A.k.a. I’ve obtained my basic skipper’s ticket. I just finished the last stage of my skipper’s course, which consisted of a fifteen minute verbal exam with an officer from Tonga’s Marine and Ports Division. This whole process has been going on since May - I took a three week course in Nuku’alofa on the main island of Tonga with 25 other skippers-to-be. My friend Thom and I were the only two palangis (Caucasians) in the class, and I was also one of two females (REPRESENT). I really enjoyed learning with and being around my Tongan classmates. Everyone was welcoming and very kind!Read More
Things have gotten busier around Sea Change this week! More and more guests are arriving, and a somewhat spontaneous wedding ceremony was held last Saturday alongside a Tongan feast. It’s nice to see some new faces around the property, and with each new group comes more bubbling enthusiasm, different stories, and fresh conversations to be had. I’m excited to meet and chat with a lot of these people out on the whale swims this season. It’ll be interesting to see what their experiences with whales have been prior to this visit. I imagine a lot of them might be seeing whales for the first time? Who knows!Read More
There is a crazy new adventure on the horizon! One of my best friends and flatmates, Fi, and I are heading up to Tonga to work with humpback whales for the austral winter. I’m so thankful that for the last four years, I’ve been able to spend at least one season with my favorite cetacean species. Humpbacks are such incredible, majestic creatures to encounter on the water. With their extra-long pectoral flippers, inquisitive eyes, and acrobatic nature, they never cease to delight guests on a whale watch (or make me scream).Read More
I’m pretty sick of all the heavy negative weight around the words “climate change.” Yes, it’s scary. It’s horrifying that we are letting things get this bad. But at the same time, it’s a problem that we are facing, and there are many people taking positive action. Humanity has faced problems before. We’ve tackled issues and seen both successes and failures, and plenty of bumps along the way. In the end, doesn’t it come down to collaboration and problem-solving? I listened to a really succinct Green Dreamer podcast the other day that focused on summarizing climate change science into three basic facts. Dr. Jeffrey Bennet was the astronomer, teacher, and author that was interviewed, and I enjoyed his casual and easy-to-understand style as he pointed out some helpful bits of advice and offered practical ideas for solutions to this crisis. And the episode was only 30 minutes! I recommend listening to the whole thing here, but I’ve also summarized some of the key ideals that really stuck out to me.Read More
Two weeks into 2019 and it’s going to keep chugging. Does it feel any different than 2018? Not really. But I do have this sensation, this impatience, this sense of urgency that seemed to ring itself in along with the fireworks and champagne on New Year’s Eve two weeks ago. We all have our challenges that we want to tackle in 2019, our resolutions that we’re hoping to stick to, changes we want to implement in our own lifestyles. For those of you whose resolutions involve tackling the issue of plastic pollution and the impracticality of the “throw-away” culture, please read on. This is a guide on realistic changes you can make this year, and how you can actually keep these habits throughout the coming months instead of getting reabsorbed into the old ways. If you feel like I feel on these topics, you’ll realize that our society is fast running out of excuses to not address these issues on a very personal level.
So, 2019, man! #noexcuses.Read More
As a traveler, we have an immense responsibility. Jet-setting or road-tripping (or cycling, walking, running, horseback riding, etc.) to see the world is a beautiful gift, and we really shouldn’t take it lightly. Just as we try to “greenify” our lives back home, we can try to spruce up our travel game to be a bit more self-sufficient and leave less of a consumerist trail in our wake.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
I'm back with Week 6's Eco-Challenge! This is a real simple one, going back to the basics. It's about picking up litter (hence the #justpickitup theme). We see trash all the time in places it doesn't belong, and the concern here is how often we refuse to acknowledge it. On the beach, on your morning run, on the side of the road, at the park, in the supermarket car park. Why do we see it and ignore it so much of the time when we know that it's negatively impacting the environment? It all comes down to convenience, doesn't it?Read More
This week I want to talk about hair. Specifically, how we wash it, and how we purchase shampoo. There is so much plastic in our bathrooms, it's not even funny. Not even remotely. It's annoying as hell. It tumbles off the shelves and ledge when we bump into it. Once you squeeze ever little last drop out of the bottle, you have to get rid of it and buy another. Where does it go? Rubbish? Recycling? Do you get confused and just chuck it? "Oh well, someone else's problem now." (Please don't think like that.)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
One of the most powerful driving forces in nurturing my zest for ocean conservation is connecting with like-minded, creative individuals who are working towards the same mission - but usually from a slightly different angle! I had the pleasure of connecting with Janell, the founder and creator of Clam & Clasp, and instantly fell in love with her beautiful pieces of jewelry. Each features a sustainably collected seashell and a promise to speak for the sea.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