Hi everyone, thanks for supporting Plastic Oceans Canada!
We have had an extremely busy year, our team has grown and so have our actions.
Over this past year we’ve furthered our reach in education, expanding our video library of amazing short stories featuring individuals changing the game on plastic pollution. Not to mention we’ve developed more field trips, expeditions in the wild, educational workshops and most excitingly of all, we’ve launched a plastic offset program for individuals and businesses.
See below for some short explanations of what we’ve been up to, written by members of our core team.
Rethink Plastic – Community & Business Workshop
On Friday, November 22, 2019, we hosted an interactive workshop in Vancouver. On the subject of rethinking plastic, we discussed how to effectively audit and reduce plastic use in businesses and in the community. Altogether, we enjoyed nurturing positive discussions between business owners, employees and the general public about how to phase out single use plastics and build a greener community. As a result, we had wonderful discussions with the public and received positive feedback! In the future, we look forward to these workshops reaching more Canadians across the country!
Plastic Oceans: Plastic Initiatives Database
Here at Plastic Oceans we are working on creating a unique database that will help bring together all plastic initiatives from across Canada. With this in mind, we are including non-profits (both registered or unregistered with the CRA), businesses that are reducing consumers’ overall plastic footprint, and individuals who are informing the public about plastic pollution impacts.
Our goal in creating the Plastic Initiatives Database is to have a universal platform that will be accessible to the public to help inform them about all of the plastic initiatives happening in their community.
If you would like to submit a charity, business or individual to our Plastic Initiatives Database please email [email protected]
New Youth Resources
Educational film – Earth’s Ekko:
Earth’s Ekko is our newest resource available to help educate young people. A spin off of the original documentary, A Plastic Ocean, Earth’s Ekko is a short film geared towards children aged 5-10 years old, and delivers the same inspiring message; with knowing comes caring, and with caring comes change.
Ekko is a fun, bubbly, deep ocean cartoon character leading an adventure that opens our eyes to the world of plastic in and out of the ocean. This 22 minute, opensource film is available at plasticoceans.ca and plasticoceans.org. Are you looking to expand plastic waste awareness and inspire young people to care and find solutions? This film is for you.
Workshop – Oceans Alive:
Plastic Oceans Canada is partnering with the Vancouver Aquarium to host Oceans Alive, a new immersive, one day workshop for students 14-18 years. Considering this is a relatively new workshop, we recently held a test run with local students and Plastic Oceans friends and family. Our test run helped to mold this new learning experience into a can’t miss opportunity for any student interested in microplastics, ocean life, and finding solutions.
Situated in the heart of Stanley Park on Vancouver’s beautiful shoreline, the day starts with hands on activities like a plankton tow, wet lab and shoreline cleanup. The ocean comes alive when we see the direct connection between discarded plastics, especially single-use, and the effects plastic has on our ocean’s delicate ecosystems. The workshop wraps up with an aquarium gallery exploration and reflective discussion on how to recycle (we can always improve!), and utilize the 7 R’s to promote zero waste living. Learn more: Ocean’s Alive Workshop.
Oceans Alive is an ongoing weekend workshop available upon request. Contact [email protected] to find out more.
Tanzania’s federal single-use plastic bag ban encourages Canadians to rethink single-use plastics
As the airplane circles on arrival to the airport in Dar es Salam, Tanzania, a reminder comes over the audio system; leave your plastic bags behind. Walking through the market, reusable bags hang from every market stall. You cannot find a plastic bag in the hotels, the stores, or the bathroom garbage bin.
On June 1, 2019, Tanzania implemented a ban on plastic bags. You cannot import, export, manufacture, sell, store, supply, or use plastic carrier bags. There are few exceptions to the law. Violations come with hefty fines and possible prison time. (Note that resealable zipper plastic bags are not included in the ban).
Plastic bags made up a significant portion of plastic pollution in Tanzania, clogging roadsides and fields. They served as a vector for mosquitoes, contributing to the spread of malaria. In a country where waste management infrastructure is still developing, plastic bags all too often ended up in all the wrong places.
Talk to a local and most of them will tell you that in the beginning, the ban required an adjustment. Like the rest of us, Tanzanians were used to the convenience of easily available single-use bags. Now, however, they are proud of the ban.
Wandering through a tourist shop, a gentleman asked about where we had come from. “Canada,” he said, “your leader is Prime Minister Trudeau. When you go home, tell him what Tanzania has done with the plastic bag ban. Maybe Canada can do something similar.” While I don’t have opportunity to casually chat with Prime Minister Trudeau, the clerk raises an important point. If Tanzania, with all its economic barriers, can ban the plastic bag, surely Canada can do the same.
The Kesho Trust – Tanzanian Community Development
If you are looking for an awesome organization doing great work in Tanzania, check out The Kesho Trust. They work in community-based conservation as well as economic and community development. I cannot say enough about the excellence of this organization!
From our Executive Director
We are so thankful to our supporters, this year has seen such an amazing shift in thinking towards our issue.
In that theme, I was lucky enough to be announced as a speaker for a TEDx conference of that name! If anyone is in the greater Vancouver area, come on down for a day of fun and learning at the Bell Performing arts center.
Check out the official website! Tickets sold out in 2 days last year, so be sure to get yours in time!
Expeditions to Pacific Islands
In August and September, we were able to carve out some time for me to return to my beloved pacific Islands and flagship S.V. Moana. We took a small team throughout past projects and were able to re-connect with old friends, help the projects we started move forward to the next stage and even invite some amazing new friends working on solutions in China along for the ride.
Stay tuned for a short clip coming soon on what is happening in these islands and the progress they’ve made over the past years.
Plastic Remediation – Plastic Offsets Program
100 Brand – Early Adopter
With the transition in career this year from Ocean Captain/field worker to Executive Director of a charity, there is one thing that I am extremely proud of and excited to bring to you. We have recently announced a plastic offset program for individuals and businesses to go plastic neutral and help us continue our work.
An early adopter came in the form of a 100% recycled plastic water bottle from Arctic Chiller, called 100 Brand. 100 brand offers an exciting new way people can engage with conscious consumerism and buy responsibly, if they require bottled water.
Concerning this, we strongly advocate for reusable options first. However, we are excited about this partnership taking root over the next year and seeing more companies adopt our program, enabling more great plastic initiatives across Canada!
2020 Tofino Trip with Plastic Oceans Canada
Before I sign off, if anyone is interested in joining us for 5 days in Canada’s ocean paradise of the west. Be sure to check out our expeditions working alongside amazing partners in the Pacific Rim area next June and July.
To our donors
We cannot conclude this newsletter without thanking all the people that have made our work possible. Thank you for helping to fund our projects and increase our impact in Canada and abroad!
Keeping this in mind, many of us have those hard-to-buy-for people on our Christmas lists. Don’t worry we have your back! How about donating to Plastic Oceans Canada on their behalf? It’s the gift that keeps on giving!