Humans vs Microplastics: Expeditions and Heroes

Blue Life Choices, Water - SUP
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Every day we can find our Ocean Advocate and “Blue Life” heroes and heroines sharing their passion and stories online. Sometimes their adventures and journeys seem so large and amazing that we might sit back in awe – and wonder, “What could I possibly do to make in difference in a problem so huge as micro-plastics in the ocean?” (Meet Blue Life Journal co-author Zane Schweitzer making a personal difference each day – featured image)

For example, in collaboration with Parley and supported by TOMRA recycling, the pioneering all-female crew of “eXXpedition North Pacific” recently set sail from Honolulu, Hawaii, on a scientific research mission led by award-winning British skipper, Parley collaborator and ocean advocate, Emily Penn. The voyage will investigate solutions to the devastating impacts of plastic and related toxic pollutants in the world’s oceans, and bring global awareness to three “unseens”: women in science; pollution in our oceans and bodies; and rises in disease, especially in young women. Exxxpedition-north-pacific4

Here’s another recent example from 5 Gyres, their 18th Expedition bringing citizen scientists (including Blue Life Journal co-author Zane Schweitzer) through Indonesia’s Corla Triangle from Bali to Komodo. They sampled microplastics and explored solutions to the problem of plastic pollution. Groups were lead by 5 Gyres Co-Founder and Research Director Marcus Eriksen and 5 Gyres Science Programs Director Carolynn Box.

Through their Asia Pacific Action Against Plastic Pollution program, 5 Gyres is collaborating with NGOs in Southeast Asia to highlight and scale zero-waste efforts in the region. Data collected on this Expedition will be incorporated into their global dataset of microplastics, used in the update of 5 Gyres’ Global Estimate of Marine Plastic Pollution study.

That expedition exemplifies 5 Gyres’ “science to solutions” model, leading to a better understanding of the global scope and trends related to ocean plastic pollution. It will help us monitor the efficacy of upstream solutions over time. ( Learn more about the NIX 6 – what WE can do)

Upstream solutions – WE are the upstream. WE are the ones who can (one by one) turn off our personal “plastics into the ocean” tap. When the gushing stream of plastics into the water, land and air is so huge it might seems that turning off (or turning down) our own little tap is almost meaningless.

blj-new-bright-coverThis is absolutely NOT the case, and we all know it in our heart. We make a “blue life” choice and write about it in our Blue Life Journal. We share it on our social media, we talk about it in conversation with a friend, we turn down our tap.

More importantly, we connect with others who begin to do the same. We may not be on an expedition in Indonesia, we may not be measuring plastic across the oceans of the world – but we are leading change where it will matter most. Our personal habits and choices will turn off the taps where it is need most – UPSTREAM from the plastic garbage patches killing our oceans. (Get your Blue Life Journal and start today)

Never think your choices are less important – remember that collectively we created the problem as a human member of the plastics dilemma. Together, we are the ones who will solve it.

Our mantra we hope you adopt with us: ONE + TOGETHER = HOPE.

Steps Toward Solutions: Beat Plastic Pollution

Plastic Pollution, Solution Strategies
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The Ocean seems so vast – is that why it has been treated like a dump for generations? The ocean provides us with everything we need: food, oxygen, inspiration and jobs. It also regulates the climate. In spite of our survival depending on the Ocean, a whole garbage truck’s worth of plastic ends up in the ocean every minute, and we are way overdue in doing something about the problem. The good news is that this is a problem that can be solved. Innovators who network, like Cyrill Gutsch of Parley for the Oceans, show us the power of many of us connecting and innovating. That’s the premise behind sharing the Blue Life Journal with as many people as possible.

Plastic pollution in the ocean was documented by researchers as far back as 1970. For everyone else, 2017 was probably the year when their eyes were seriously opened. Images of the plastic problem  on beaches in all corners of the world are just the tip of the “disaster iceberg.” What we cannot see far out in the ocean, the plastic gyres, where currents swirl plastic into massive islands of waste, and the microplastics continue to expand. Groups like are providing hope and research in that area.

The problem seems beyond manageable, but our awareness of solution-opportunities is a huge step in the right direction no matter where we live or work. The following is from an article by Nina Jensen, Chief Executive Officer, X Four-10 / REV, – published March 2, 2018. We are inspired by her insight and expertise.

Eight essential steps we can take

1. We must reduce our plastic dependency

We use an incredible quantity of single-use plastic items, such as straws, plastic bags, packaging, plastic cups, plates and cutlery. We must put an end to it. An increasing number of countries have now imposed a ban on disposable plastics and plastic bags, or established concrete targets for reducing plastic consumption and waste. This effort must be scaled up, so that global plastic consumption goes down. You can do your part by refusing to use these products.

2. Increased producer responsibility

Over the past 50 years, world plastic production has doubled, and leading plastic manufacturers are planning to increase production by almost a third over the next five years. In 1974, the average per capita plastic consumption was 2kg. Today, this has increased to 43kg! This is taking the world in the wrong direction. Instead, alternatives to non-degradable plastics must be developed, and the industries responsible for the major plastic wastes must be targeted with specific industry agreements and producer liability arrangements, with requirements for handling, collection and reuse of waste and broken plastic equipment.

A member of Algeria's Under the Sea diving club collects plastic bottles.

A member of Algeria’s Under the Sea diving club collects plastic bottles. Image: Reuters/Zohra Bensemra

3. Increase fees and taxes on polluting plastics

Most of the plastics used today are produced from oil, and are a source of both climate emissions and pollution. As an example, in Norway only 0.5 percent of the plastic is renewable. Despite that, fossil plastic is still cheaper to make and buy than the renewable. Governments need to investigate implementing a tax or fee on polluting plastics. The fees must be changed so that recycled plastic becomes cheaper than fossil.

4. Increased waste management where the problem is greatest

The bulk of plastic waste comes from developing countries. Rapid population growth and a swelling middle class means the consumption of plastic is increasing faster than the capacity to handle the plastic waste, and therefore much of the excess ends up in the sea. China and Indonesia are among the countries that produce the most plastic waste. As part of the solution, an international aid programme should be established to develop waste management and recycling infrastructure.

5. Implementation of the zero vision for ocean plastic

In December 2017, the UN Environment Assembly adopted a global goal to stop the discharge of plastic to the sea. As a follow-up, an international agreement with firm targets and time frames for implementation should be established, ensuring the mapping of sources of marine waste, increased market responsibility to prevent new propagation and strengthening of waste management globally.

6. Increased mapping, surveillance and research

There is still much we do not know about the plastic problem. Researchers estimate that more than 70 percent of the plastic ends up on the sea floor. Over time, it breaks down into tiny particles, but we do not know what happens to this material or how to get rid of it. The efforts to map and monitor, as well as conduct research on the negative effects, must be strengthened. An important initiative in this direction is REV, the world’s largest research and expedition vessel, which aims to solve the biggest challenges around the ocean, including a dedicated effort on plastic.

7. Stop the flow of plastic waste into the sea

Around 80 percent of the plastic in the ocean is suspected to come from activities and industry on land. This can include everything from car tyres, technical sports equipment and fleece clothing, to cigarette butts and cotton buds. Everyone can and should contribute to the solution. For example, you can participate in clean-up operations, cut your own plastic consumption and of course always pick up any garbage you find along your way.

8. Increased funds for clean-up

To solve the plastic problem, we must ensure that action and clean-up operations are undertaken in areas where the problem is the greatest. Much of the work, however, is hampered due to the lack of financial resources. By establishing a global ocean fund, with waste management and clean-up of marine areas high on the agenda, we will be one step closer towards the goal: a future without plastic and marine pollution in our ocean.


Tags: , , , Elements, Water - SUP
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Our BLOG is meant to be a dynamic CONVERSATION. Rather than solely sharing the Blue Life author’s ideas or insights, CONVERSATIONs will be exactly that – communication we have with others. Who knows – it could easily be a conversation with YOU!

FOLLOW our conversations and stay active in them.

If you would like Blue Life Journal co-author, Judy Shasek, MS, to create the Blue Life curriculum to complement environmental or character education/journal writing for your school, CONTACT  HERE

If you would like Blue Life Journal  co-author, Zane Schweitzer, to have a workshop or speaking engagement with your group, you can CONTACT him here.

Zane Speakers Kit – Connect with Zane for Events and Workshops 

Click to enjoy a sampling of our CONVERSATIONS

The Journey Begins

Humans vs Microplastics: Expeditions and Heroes

Small Goals = Blue Life Actions That Can Connect Millions

You Asked: Give Me Some Blue Life Ideas

Your Passion is the Solution 

Soap – A Simple Choice?

Choices and Heroes

Talk Story with Zane Schweitzer: Attitude of Gratitude

Tags: , , , , Fire - Energy, Water - SUP, Wellness and Meditation
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Zane Scweitzer with Es Ma (Mindful Tapper at Eget företag) during a private session in Mindful Tapping

Zane Schweitzer with Esma (Mindful Tapper at Eget företag) during a private session in Mindful Tapping

While we aren’t always aware of it, most of the time we’re either thinking about something in the past or what may happen in the future. Mindfulness meditation specifically asks us to use our breathing, posture and mind to remain focused on the present. With gentle discipline, mindfulness meditation provides a different path toward presence. Those who meditate consistently tend to be calmer, even in the face of stressful or challenging situations or other life demands. That’s because they’ve cultivated a stillness within that allows them to acknowledge these thoughts and “stories we tell ourselves” without allowing them to affect their actions or perceptions too drastically.

Zane spent time in New Zealand learning local traditions and mindfulness

Zane spent time in New Zealand learning local traditions and mindfulness

In February, Zane Schweitzer traveled to Cabarete, Dominican Republic for Master of the Ocean. It’s a watersport competition in four categories which combines surfing, windsurfing, kitesurfing and Standup paddle surfing. Master of the Ocean challenges the most skilled Surfers, Windsurfers, Kitesurfers and SUPsurfers with 5 days of extreme water skills and showcases the best of the Caribbean. Zane defended his championship of the event for the third time. Once back home, with some time to reflect, he was inspired to share a valuable and important part of his week in the Dominican Republic.

Innovate and Inspire

Innovate and Inspire

Enjoy his story:

Mindful awareness is important, but making an action to take a step towards what you feel is right or moral can be hard. I love the feeling of commitment I took during this mindful awareness meditation through the action of mindful tapping. It’s as though you become aware of your presence and inner self as you are taking a step toward what you are focusing on by the action of tapping. It is an immediate action of commitment to initially make that step towards the outcome you desire.

Big props to the overall winners of the Master of The Ocean comp! Brandon Sanford, Emmanuel David Rondon, Zane Kekoa Schweitzer and Luciano Gonzalez.

Big props to the overall winners of the Master of The Ocean comp!
Brandon Sanford, Emmanuel David Rondon, Zane Kekoa Schweitzer and Luciano Gonzalez.

I’ve been fortunate enough to learn that practice during my stay in the Dominican Republic  for Master of the Ocean, a world championship waterman competition. Coming here I’m immersed with my passion for sport, as well as,  the weight of some stress to perform.  I came hoping to defend my title as 2x Master of the Ocean champion. Esma helped me by reminding me of the importance of mindful awareness and presence by feeling inside and paying attention to what the body and mind is feeling. Mindful tapping directly affected me by reminding me to be patient. It allowed me to clearly know what I have to do to achieve my goal of becoming Master Of The Ocean Champion for the third consecutive time. (Side bar: Zane did defend his title)

Aloha and Mahalo,  Zane Kekoa Schweitzer – Innovate and Inspire

Why Walk on Water?

Tags: , , , , Active Meditation, SUP Yoga, Water - SUP
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Walk on water wherever you find it for a mediatative experience

Walk on water wherever you find it for a meditative experience

Water – in lakes, rivers, bays and the deep blue sea. We know our tribe, we are “Water Walkers.” Board under barefeet, paddle in hand we crave our time on the water. Whether we dream of catching that perfect wave or training for technique and speed, we want the meditative state of being absolutely present and one with the water. The team at P2SUP loves hearing your stories and all the reasons you head to the water. When life is chaotic and some active meditation could connect you to your purpose and balance (mind and spirit) – we have guided meditation scripts to share. Why do you “walk on water?” Here are some reasons we hear again and again.

Fun – that is certainly one reason to SUP or “walk on water.” Not so surprisingly,  a marine biologist and author, Wallace J. Nichols, has done an enormous amount of research for his ground-breaking book, BLUE MIND. He has explored the cognitive and emotional benefits of being in, on or around water. As humans, we have a neurological reaction to water. We enjoy a mildly meditative state that increase our ability to focus while reducing stress. According to Nichols, “Just seeing or hearing water triggers that response.”

Read More

KIALOA Paddles

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KIALOA Paddles
P2SUP Founder, Judy Shasek (author of the Elder SUP blog), has been using Kialoa Paddles for over eight years. From recreational river paddling, to ocean surfing and cruising – from course to down wind racing – Shasek has enjoyed a KIALOA Paddle for every need. Innovation in function and design is an on-going and integral part of the KIALOA culture.We know that each of you enjoying a “Power of Presence” active meditation during your standup paddle can find a KIALOA paddle at the price point you seek.

You can weigh the attributes of weight, durability, portability (adjustable and travel paddles) and blade size, then select what is exactly right for you. namastek

waikiki-topaloha-board-packageInflatable SUP Boards and more: From the Aloha Board and Paddle package to the fleet of inflatable boards offered  by KIALOA you can enjoy the same quality and aesthetic beauty in boards as you find in paddles. We will be using KIALOA paddles and boards exclusively in our clinics, workshops and our on-the-water excursions.