New Year

Ok so I'm a little late and it's a week after New Year, but it's time to reflect on what happened in the last year and what are our goals for the future.
So last year was a time for growth within our company - we started to run more trips and to gain a following of loyal guests.  The boat underwent a bit of a facelift with new paint, upholstery, and some other fun additions.  Norm and I started to settle more into our roles and make more friends within the La Paz community.  It was a positive year of change and we want to keep the ball rolliing as we move into 2018.

My resolutions for the New Year are to continue to be more aware of the products we are buying and the environmental footprint we are leaving on our trips.  Ok, so we are a motor boat with a diesel engine but there are steps that we can all do in our day to day life to make our local area and planet a better place to live in!  We are very lucky in that our waters around La Paz and Espiritu Santo look very clean - one of the biggest advantages to being a desert is that we do not have rivers bringing a lot of waste from inland out into the Sea of Cortez and the population here on the peninsula is relatively low.  However that does not mean we are immune to pollution.  One of the biggest problems facing our oceans is the amount of plastic that ends up in them - this is occurring in many forms from plastics thrown away that end up directly in the ocean (e.g. plastic bags and bottles) to micro plastics as products break down and degrade.  Plastic is a very useful and pretty cheap product that is embedded in our daily lives - it is very difficult to avoid it.  Whilst I don't expect to be able to go Plastic Free I am making a conscious effort to reduce the amount I use and consume.  If you live here in La Paz or have some free time on your trip then have a look and see what the guys at MAR LIBRE are up to and whether you can join in a beach, mangrove or reef clean during your stay.  I always pick up any rubbish I see when in these places but will also try to attend more of these events this year to engage with the community.  Next one is January 27th.

Two of the worst offenders are plastic bags and plastic bottles.  Plastic bags from the grocery store (and here in Mexico baggers often 'double bag' your items) have a very short useable life compared to the amount of time they take to degrade.  When I go shopping I always try to use my reusable bags and if I run out then I get my groceries boxed rather than bagged.  Most of my fruit and veggies I put loose in my trolley but I'm looking into getting some reusable bags to take to the store to make it a little easier to keep them all together (and I think the checkout people would like me better!).

Plastic water bottles are another huge source of disposable plastic and one of the easiest for us to do something about.  Here in Mexico you can get big garrafons refilled with purified water for 10-12 pesos for 5 gallons.  Economical and makes a lot of 500ml bottles (almost 40) - you can get insulated, reusable, stainless steel bottles that help to keep your drink either hot or cold from about US$10.  We ask that guests try to bring their own reusable bottles on trips so that you can refill to your hearts content and stay hydrated.  Otherwise we use cups.  We keep small, reusuable containers of water in our fridges so that it stays cool and then you can dr cup.  We also have large coolers that you can refill from at anytime.  This cuts down on an awful lot of plastic bottles.  I try to keep sodas to a minimum but rather make fresh juices or flavoured waters to help keep you hydrated throughout the day.  I am currently looking into a soda stream machine for the boat so watch this space for news on that!

Another big and easy change to make is to say no to plastic straws in restaurants.  Here in La Paz the simple words 'sin popote por favour' will let your server know not to bring a straw.  It can be a little harder to remember to bring your own tupperware for takeaout especially if it is a spur of the moment meal but if you have leftovers then this is a great way to keep them fresh rather than using the styrofoam containers.  I am really proud of the town I used to live in on Vancouver Island - the community of Tofino made a decision to reduce environmental impact by going straw free (read all about it here https://pacificrim.surfrider.org/campaigns/straws-suck/) and it would be great if something like that could be achieved here also.

These are all just small steps that we can take but if everyone makes an effort then things can change.  Of course it is up to the big companies to change their practices to reduce our exposure to plastics and unsustainable waste and packaging but there are simple everyday steps to take.  For more information go to plasticoceans.org 




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