Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentines Day!!

Happy Valentines Day from The Bahamas Plastic Movement!!

May your love for others last as long as plastic!

Photo Credit: Marina Debris.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

January 2014 Daily Single Use Plastic Log

As I mentioned in the prior post, this year I decided to start documenting the amount of single use plastic items I use daily. Starting in January 2014, I kept a running log on my cellphone and recorded the date, number and type of items used, it's origin and things I did to avoid the product. Most days I didn't use any items but on days that I did I was most likely out of town, at a fair or bar. Below is a table that I have constructed that displays the information listed above. For the month of January I used 54 single use plastic items. In contrast to global estimates of daily plastic usage, I don't use nearly as much as the average person, but I've estimated that I use 1.8 pieces of plastic roughly per day. However if you take a closer look at the items that I've used most during the month of January, you'll discover that plastic straws are most prevalent. In the words of my good friend Josh Kovach (sup Josh) "Eewwy". Why am I consuming so many straws, 18 this month!! A small number of those straws were drink stirrers that I refused, but the others were used as I guiltily enjoyed frozen beverages. Straws are one of the top ten debris items found on beaches worldwide. Thanks to this log I am able to pin point my single use problem areas and create personal solutions that will lead to national and global ones as well. 

My name is Kristal "Ocean" Ambrose and I abused plastic straws during the month of January 2014. 

February is here so I will most definitely be curbing my single use plastic appetite even more. To solve the issue I had with straws this past month I will keep my reusable straw in my purse or nearby. Unfortunately my reusable straw is made out of plastic (go figure) but I will invest in some glass straws made by this really cool company called Simply Straws, click on the name to learn more. You can review my single use plastic log below.

You can start a daily log as well! Every little step counts so begin documenting your usage today. What's stopping you?

January 2014 Daily Single Use Plastic Log

No. of Plastic Items
Type of Plastic Items
1st January 2014
cups (4), lid (1),straws (4), plastic clamshell (1), utensils (1), styrofoam plate (1), bottles (2)
Coffehouse, Junkanoo event, rib shack
2nd January 2014
cups (2), lid (1), straw (1), utensils (2), styrofoam clamshells (2), bag (1)
Coffehouse, art gallery, take out restauant

Tracking My Daily Single Use Plastic Consumption (Photos Inside)

Single use plastic is like an ex-boyfriend that you try to get rid of. You know it's not good for you but you use it anyway, you try to avoid it but it seems to be everywhere you go and when you're lonely it's so convenient to utilize; like takeaway food containers for example. Although I'm an advocate for saying NO to single use plastic items, sometimes I find myself on the corner of hypocrite street and guilt avenue. In 2012 I made the decision to say NO to single use plastic items because they require lots of finite resources to create but are used for a minimal amount of time and persists for ages in the natural environment, especially in our oceans. So things like straws and plastic bags were taboo in my book, although depending on the circumstance I still found myself using them. Living on the island of Eleuthera allows me to control how much single use plastic enters my life. I take my reusable bags to the store or use boxes and if I order take out from the local food take away in my town I take my own plate. In fact the restaurant owners are so used to me bringing my plate in, that if I forget it they let me borrow their dishware (shout out to A & T's Take-Away in Deep Creek). The minute I step foot outside of my settlement or town of Deep Creek, things get a bit different and I find myself unprepared, even more so when I'm travelling to Nassau or other islands or countries. Although my rules remain the same as far as no bags,straws or styrofoam, the minute I'm in a different environment I find that its unavoidable sometimes. Especially if I'm at a party, a coffeehouse, or bar. I've come to the conclusion that plastic is simply a silent part of Bahamian culture and having these items every and any where that you go is just the norm.

This year I decided to conduct my own personal study, which was quantifying the amount of single use plastic items I use on a daily basis.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Deep Creek Middle School: School Without Walls-Plastic Unit Part 1 (Pics Inside)

If anyone knows me they know that I love me some Deep Creek Middle School! So when the opportunity came about for me to co-advise the eighth grade school without walls plastic unit I was all over it. The Deep Creek Middle School (DCMS) is an independent school for Bahamian students in grades seven through ninth and is located on the southern end of the island of Eleuthera. DCMS offers an experiential approach to the Bahamian curriculum.  As much as I love all of the students of this school, often times I find myself a tad bit jealous of the awesome experiences they have.  When I was in middle school I didn’t have a quarter of the opportunities and experiences they have. From marine ecology class to learning how to scuba dive, these kids have it made in the shade. In addition to the exciting courses offered, these students are empowered to become young activists. When I was that age I was totally oblivious to global issues and was never challenged to think outside of the box. 

The School Without Walls (SWW) Unit at DCMS is 21st century learning at its best.  It’s an intensive interdisciplinary instructional unit that gets kids out in the community finding real solutions to real problems. This year for SWW, the eighth grade class at DCMS is tackling Plastic Pollution in South Eleuthera.   This six week course challenges students to investigate the ‘what’, ‘so what’ and ‘now what’ of the issue and propose and implement solutions to solve the problem. For our first class we left the bland walls of the classroom and headed to the beach to take a closer look at plastic that was washing in. Students were split into groups based on plastic debris categories, i.e food wrapping, household items, packaging, etc. Each group conducted surveys to determine the amount of plastic items found within their category while simultaneously performing a beach clean-up. The amount of debris that we came across was staggering! There were beverage bottles, plastic film, countless bottle caps, car tires, you name it –we found it. There was even a rusty refrigerator door laying on the beach. Seeing the first hand effects of our plastic consumption got our students fired up to raise awareness and promote change. Our young activists are on a mission. Stay tuned to see what they do next!