Happiness Has a New Address – Tagged "Healthy Oceans" – Dulse & Rugosa
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    Celebrating Earth Day in Maine

    Celebrating Earth Day in Maine

    Earth Day was the idea of Senator Gaylord Nelson of Wisconsin.  He felt that environmental issues and awareness needed to be more prominent in both the media and in politics so he created the first official Earth Day back in 1970. 

    Of course, Earth Day should be everyday.  This year, the official theme is "Environmental and Climate Literacy".  In order to get a bit more literate in this area I'm reading Naomi Klein's "This Changes Everything- Capitalism vs the Climate".  It's not an easy read for me, I tend to like complex mysteries that allow me to escape into a book and this book makes you think.  Another everyday way to celebrate our planet is to get outside and pick up trash.  Noticing all the bits of litter can be very eye opening.  Besides helping to make the earth a tiny bit cleaner you are setting an example for others.  People need to see folks out there not ignoring litter but picking it up. 

    It's nice to get out and about and connect with others on this Earth Day Celebration.  Here's a list of events around the state of ME. 

    MID-COAST MAINE

    JUST EAT IT- A FOOD WASTE STORY

    Sunday April 22 at the Strand Theatre in downtown Rockland

    This event is hosted by Renew Rockland, The Strand and Good Tern Coop.  Check out their Facebook Page for more info.

    EARTH DAY CHORAL CONCERT

    Camden’s Quasimodal Chorus will celebrate the Earth with song.  At the Camden Public Library on Sunday starts at 2:00 and a donation of $10 is suggested.  More info- http://www.librarycamden.org/event/spring-concert-april-2/

    EARTH DAY WORK DAY at MOFGA

    Earth Day Planting Day on Sat April 21 from 9-3 at the Common Ground Education Center in Unity.  More info from MOFGA.

    A WALK FOR MOTHER EARTH

    Sears Island to Belfast on Sat April 21 from 8-3.  Here's a link to the route.

     

    SOUTHERN MAINE

    CELEBRATE SCIENCE & EARTH DAY- WHAT WOULD RACHEL DO?

    This event honors Rachel Carson and is from 10-2 on Sat at the Waterhouse Center in downtown Kennebunk.  More info here-https://www.someplaneteers.org/

    TERRA MATTERS YOUTH CLIMATE SUMMIT

    Sat 9-12 at Hannaford Hall in Portland.  Environmental clubs from Me's high and middle schools will present their projects.  After the event join the march and rally and remember to bring your refillable containers for food and drink.  More info here- http://terramatters.org/

    EARTH FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES AT THE PORTLAND CHILDREN'S MUSEUM

    Seeds,mud, stories, face painting and more! From 10:30 to 4:30, cost of admission to the museum.  More info- https://www.portlandmaine.com/events/earth-day/ 

    WELLS RESERVE AT LAUDHOLM

    This place is beautiful and on Earth Day there are family friendly events including bird watching, a concert, beach clean-up and more.  https://www.wellsreserve.org/

    A DAY OF MINDFULNESS

    If you'd like to experience peace and quiet head to Nurture Thru Nature Retreat

    starting at 9:30  for singing, chanting, meditation and more peaceful activities.  Check it out- http://www.ntnretreats.com/

    DOWN EAST

    EARTH DAY AT COLLEGE OF THE ATLANTIC

    Roadside cleanup, picnic lunch, puppet show, e car and a showing of the film 

    "The Story of Stuff".  More info-http://www.coa.edu/calendar/#!event_id/28712/view/event

    I know this list is incomplete- feel free to add any events in the comment section.

     

     

     

    Plastic Free July

    Plastic Free July

    This month- there is a world wide movement- Plastic Free July with the goal of raising awareness and challenging people to do something about single use plastic.  Single use plastic is plastic that is essentially used one time and then discarded.  Straws, coffee cups, lids, take out containers.  Basically anything that is convenient, quick and saves time. 

    It's not that plastics are inherently evil.  The Plastic Free July organization has a really interesting perspective on plastics- "Plastics were developed in the early 20th century and were environmentally important, replacing ivory, tortoiseshell, horn and other plant and animal products. By the 1960's plastic had gone from being used in durable items to widespread use including disposable plastic packaging."  When you think about all the plant and animal products that have been saved you realize plastics have a place in our society and often especially with medicine and agriculture the benefits of plastic can make life better.  

    The problem is we have too much of a good thing.  We are simply using way, way, way too much plastic- it's everywhere and it's created a host of problems.  "Everypiece of plastic ever produced still remains somewhere in the earth today. In the last half of the 20th century over 1 billion tons of plastic was produced. This figure has already doubled in the first ten years of this century."  One of the biggest culprits is single use plastic, in the USA over 500 million straws are used daily.  

    And while many people recycle household plastic, single use plastic is the least likely to be recycled.  We tend to use these plastic products at events, concerts and while traveling.  Often our recycled plastic is sent to a developing country where we can't see it but it's still there.  There may also be health issues related to plastic especially with food stored or cooked in plastic.  And finally just the trash that is filling our land and oceans.  Plastic pollution in the oceans affects all sea creatures.  According to the Ocean Conservancy the biggest source of ocean pollution is plastic beverage containers.  They break down into smaller and smaller pieces and are often mistaken for food by hungry animals.  

    The best way to get started on your Plastic Free Journey is to visit Plastic Free July and take the Pesky Plastic Quiz.  Answering the questions will give you a great starting place to make a change in your life.  I guarantee once you get started you won't look back.  

    Resources to get you started- 

    From the Plastic Free Mermaid a free downloaded e-book Plastic Free July Guidebook

    Another resource from Treading My Own Path has Enough is Enough- 18 Ideas for Embracing a Life With Less Waste and Less Stuff.  She also writes great blogs with practical tips, her latest is How to Buy Milk, Yogurt and Cheese Without Plastic

    Follow Australian writer and activist Anita Horn on Facebook, her page is devoted to Plastic Free Produce.  It's an easy one to start because many of our fruits and vegetables are beautifully packaged by Mother Nature.

    Protect Our Oceans Every Day- Simple Tips to Reduce Plastic Consumption

    Protect Our Oceans Every Day- Simple Tips to Reduce Plastic Consumption

    World Ocean Day 2015 was when I moved from awareness to activism both personally and in business.  Thanks to a FaceBook post by the Lonely Whale Foundation.  It was the handsome face of Adrian Grenier who played Vince on the TV show Entourage that caught my eye.  Of course, there is always that disconnect between a favorite character on a TV show and the actual actor.  In Entourage, Grenier plays an up and coming celebrity who definitely buys into the consumption lifestyle.  It was a pleasant surprise to see him talking about plastic straws  and his passion for the ocean.

    Single use plastic is trashing our oceans

    The truth is our oceans are being polluted with needless plastic.  This includes water bottles, straws, plastic bags, drink cups, coffee lids and balloons.  Everyday items that most of us don't think about using.  The problem with plastic compared to other materials is it really never goes away.  It just keeps breaking down into tiny, little pieces.  Often these pieces look like a tasty morsel to a jellyfish, turtle or seabird.  That's the problem our planet is facing.

    A few simple steps can make a difference.  

    Stop drinking water from plastic bottles- Invest in a reusable water bottle and use it. For more info check out Ban the Bottle

    Refillable water, coffee and drink cups are the way to go. 

    Say "NO" to plastic straws.  We use  500 million straws daily in the USA.  Companies now make stainless steel or bamboo straws both washable and reusable.  Checkout the Strawless Ocean for more plastic straw data. 

    Purchase a refillable coffee cup- You can use a refillable cup anywhere, this includes independent coffee shops, gas station quick shops and even big franchises including Dunkin donuts and Starbucks.  Even the Starbucks in the busy Kennebunk Rest Stop will make whatever yummy coffee drink you want in your refillable mug.

    Skip the lid- if you have to use a single use coffee cup don't use the lid, it's one less piece of unnecessary trash.

    Celebrate naturally- The problem with balloons is the bits and pieces often look like food for hungry critters and the strings often entangle and even kill wildlife.  Our joyous celebrations shouldn't harm wildlife or pollute our planet.  The organization Balloons Blow has over 20 environmentally friendly alternatives to balloons.  My favorites are bubbles and ribbon streamers.  

    I know how hard it can be to make changes.   Sipping from a straw is something we don't think about- you have to make a conscious effort and expect to fail at times.  One of the best ways to move from awareness to activism is to pick up trash.  Next time you are out for a walk or hike, notice what trash is around.  Chances are it's water bottles, fast food cups, lids and straws and other types of connivence foods.  It's actually shocking.  And document your find by taking a picture and posting it with Just Grab Bits and you'll be entered to win cool, eco-friendly prizes including our own plastic free Dulse & Rugosa shampoo bars.

    Start your zero waste journey today- small steps lead to big changes.

     

     

    Easy Tips To Help You Go Plastic Free and Zero Waste

    Easy Tips To Help You Go Plastic Free and Zero Waste

    2017 is the year to begin your plastic free journey.  New Year resolutions can be tough, for me it helps if they are structured for success.  Small steps work best.  I don’t recommend giving up plastic “cold turkey”- that’s guaranteed to be frustrating.  Instead each month or so, give up one type of single use plastic and before you know it you’ll be a Zero Waste Warrior.

    Plastic free is all about limiting your use of plastic to essentials and eliminating single use plastic.  Single use plastic is plastic that is used once and then discarded- straws, coffee cups, drink lids, water bottles, grocery bags……….  Zero waste is a philosophy that focuses on rethinking how we live in order to produce as little waste as possible.

     Here are more than 12 steps that you can take to help you on your plastic free journey.  Mix them up, start with one that is easy for you and save the harder ones for later.  I guarantee by this time next year, you will be proud of your new habits and view purchases entirely differently.

    1. Educate yourself.  The more you know, the more motivated and committed you will be to keep your resolutions to be plastic free and zero waste.
    2. Give up plastic grocery bags.  Bring your own and if you forget only buy enough to carry easily in your hand.  I find it helpful to keep a lightweight bag in my purse.
    3. Reusable bags for ALL purchases.  Once you master reusable grocery bags make it a policy to not use any plastic bags for any purchase.  It's easy once you get started.
    4. Switch to reusable coffee cups.  When my life is routine this is easy, when it gets chaotic it's quite a challenge.  One tip is to buy more than one reusable cup , that way if one is dirty or lost in the car you can still enjoy a coffee.
    5. Stop buying plastic water bottles.  The first thing you have to do is buy a reusable water container and carry it where ever you go- including airports.
    6. Buy in bulk.  This is a critical step in moving towards zero waste.  Instead of buying 6 small yogurt containers for the week, buy one large.  Before you know it you'll be investigating local farms that sell yogurt in reusable jars.
    7. Plastic Free Produce.  Produce does not need to be wrapped in plastic and often produce is over packaged.  I found I needed to support a few stores in order to buy all my produce plastic free and to invest and make some reusable produce/bulk bags.  My habits have changed- and yes it does take a bit longer to make a salad than simply opening a plastic package.
    8. Replace paper napkins and towels with cloth.  Your one time purchase of napkins will last for years.  Using washable cloths for most clean up jobs and saving paper towels for big messes will help you cut down on waste.
    9. Rethink soap, shampoos and other personal care items.  The personal care aisle in a grocery store is loaded with plastic packaging.  Instead of a plastic bottle of liquid soap switch to a bar.  Try a shampoo bar instead of a plastic bottle of shampoo and conditioner.
    10. Invest in reusable food containers.  Pack lunches, picnics and when ordering take away bring your own container.  Sure you might wait a few minutes but it's a great chance to catch up on your social media while you wait.
    11. Switch to bamboo toothbrushes.  Remember plastic never biodegrades because it's not part of Mother Nature's food chain.
    12. Give up disposable razors.  Invest in a razor that will last a life time.
    13. Switch to glass or metal containers for food storage.  When your plastic food storage containers wear out switch to glass or metal.  But wait for them to wear out, it's wasteful to simply throw something away.  Use it up first and then take it to be recycled.
    14. Replace plastic wrap and aluminum foil with beeswax or cloth.  I often wrap a tea towel around my serving bowl before putting in the fridge.  You could also invest in a few glass containers with lids.  Glass really helps keep track of your food 'cause you can see what you're saving. 
    15. Compost.  Composting your food really helps cut down on unnecessary waste.
    16. Pick up trash.  There's nothing like picking up a bit of trash to firm your resolve to be plastic free and to embrace the zero waste philosophy.
    17. Finally, make purchasing decisions based on packaging.  Whenever possible purchase items with less packaging.  Support businesses that are working on reducing waste.  Shop local, shop small.

    Plastic Free Friday

    Plastic Free Friday

    World Ocean Day was June 8th and this year the theme was plastic.  “Healthy Oceans, Healthy Planets” encourages individuals and organizations across the planet to take action for preventing plastic pollution in our ocean.


    In a nutshell, here is what's happening- we as humans are simply becoming far too dependent on plastic.  Plastic is everywhere.  And as our lives get busier and busier, convenience is what we want and plastic is often the solution.

    Single use plastic is plastic used only one time.


    The problem is plastic is a material that is made to be durable.  Yet so much of the plastic we use is single use- think water bottles, grocery bags, coffee cups, lids and straws.  Single use plastic is the term used to describe this type of plastic.  It’s often used only one time.  And let’s be honest- this type of plastic has the least chance of actually being recycled.  For example, after a great movie, it’s easy to toss your popcorn, soda cup and straw right into the trash.  The result, in America we use about 30 million tons of plastic per year and only 8% gets recycled.  The rest is incinerated or simply allowed to settle on the Ear

    Plastic is made from oil.  17 million barrels of oil are used to make water bottles that are used only once.  It’s not healthy to reuse many plastic containers because you have no idea what chemicals have been added.  Chemicals like BPA can seriously affect our bodies.


    When plastic settles into the Earth it simply keeps breaking down into smaller and smaller pieces.  These pieces end up in the water system and finally dumped into our oceans.


    The reason World Ocean Day focused on plastic this year is because our oceans make our Earth livable for all creatures big and small, land or water.  We need healthy oceans for a healthy Earth no matter where one chooses to live.   And sadly, much of our single use plastic ends up floating in our oceans.  Sea creatures mistake plastic for food and this leads to all sorts of serious issues.

    Plastic is a common sight on beaches.


    Dulse and Rugosa is an island based business.  We harvest seaweeds from our shores.  We want clean oceans now and for future generations.  And if that is a bit inconvenient- tough.   

    Here are some great resources-

    http://www.plasticpollutioncoalition.org/

    http://www.lonelywhale.org/