2019 – A Year for Doing More Good, Better

2018 was a good year. We did some skiing, winter camping and took trips to Yosemite and Whitehorse. 2018 was also the year that Maelys and I started taking a bigger interest in the impact we have on the environment – both directly and indirectly, as well as being more aware of the impact others have.

What does this interest look like. Well in 2018;

  • I turned Vegetarian.
  • We check labels for palm oil
  • We check for the PETA sign on all things from detergents to shampoos
  • We use bamboo toothbrushes
  • We re-fill our cooking oil and washing detergents at the local zero waste market (The Soap Dispensery on Main and 21st)
  • I pick-up litter when on hikes, when I remember and when we have ample time.
  • I carry my poop back home with me now, on those backcountry camping trips.
  • We adopted a kitten this year who was saved from a kill shelter in California.
  • We share posts on social media about the plight of Southern Resident Orca, Grizzly Trophy hunting and the wolf cull in BC and Alberta to help with Caribou numbers which is actually because of the destruction of habitat.
  • We carry metal straws with us and our coffee thermos in place of disposable ones (Maelys is much better than me at this)
  • Generally – Conscious Decision Making – Opt for the environmentally and socially responsible companies, beyond the flakey CSR programmes that most corporates have. Plus those that Pledge 1% of their sales to local causes

I think it’s a start, especially compared to a life of ignorance when living in London. There I would recycle and that was pretty much it. It’s easy to be so disconnected with actual real life there. But in 2019 I want to do more. I want to continue and expand what we have built into our lifestyle. But I also want to be more proactive in going out of the comfort zone of our lifestyle, and involve others. This will help share the message but also get more done. 10 people proactively cleaning up a trail will do a better job than the two of us, when it catches our eye.

Why this desire to ramp up what we are doing? Well, firstly, it doesn’t feel like we’re doing much any more. I’ve also been reading Let my People go Surfing by Yvon Chauinard, the founder of Patagonia. This made me understand that there’s always more that we can do. He applies it to what his busines can do but it also applies to all of us. The support of Maelys has been very important in this as well. She believes in what we want to achieve and she stands with me when the easy decision may not be the right one. Her parents bought me 2 additional books from the Patagonia Library The Responsible Company and Tools for Grassroots Activists These, along with some bees wax paper to wrap our food goods, getting rid of the need for clingfilm, are excellent additions to the house and will kick start the journey of 2019.


2019 grass

So this year, this is what we have planned:

  • Take a Hike Foundation Annual Snowshoe trail
    • Take a Hike is a full-time alternate high school program that uses the outdoors and adventure to engage vulnerable youth in school, community and mental health supports. This is Maelys’ initiative, having contacted them earlier this year. So I will be joining her and her colleagues this February for the annual snowhoe trip up Mount Seymour on Vancouver’s North Shore. This is an excellent opportunity to not only help out vulnerable children and give them a better future, but also introduce these kids to nature properly for potentially the first time.

I’ll be making another post on this soon, so watch this space! EDIT – You can find my post here: Take a Hike 13th Annual Moonlight Snowshoe

  • The Great Canadian Shoreline Clean-up – Organise Quarterly Clean-ups
    • This is an initiative in parternship with Ocean Wise and WWF, where volunteers clean-up the trash from the beach, record and document what’s been picked-up. A great way to bring the community together and clean up beaches for us to enjoy but more importantly, the wildlife that rely upon the ocean to survive.

I have already pencilled in the first one, but I will be sharing more about this soon. In the meantime you can find out more on The Great Canadian Shoreline Clean up here

  • Organise and lead 4 Trail clean-up
    • Same as with the shoreline clean-up, I’m going to organise at least 4 hike trail clean-ups throughout the snow free months. As a member of the BCMC, I will look to utilise this group, plus friends and strangers to help clean up the trails. For EVERY hike, we should pack out what you pack in, organics included, but not everyone knows or believes this. We will continue pick-up as I go along and share with you all what we find.

Again, as and when these happen I will be sharing our progress and what happens throughout the year. I am sure I will be asking for donations of money and time from you as well, but I look forward to sharing these experiences with you.

  • Oil Spill Course with IWRC
    • The International Wildlife Rehabilitation Council essentially provide science-based education and resources on wildlife rehabilitation to promote wildlife conservation and welfare worldwide. Maelys is a member and did her Basic Wildlife Rehab at the end of 2017.
    • This is something that we had supposed to do last year however we’ll make sure to do it in 2019. This is especially important in the Vancouver area as it’s a matter of time when this will happen here, even if the Kinder Morgen Pipeline doesn’t come through.

Oh, and if you have any green hacks, such as exchanging your plastic toothbrush for bamboo then please do share in the comments below

Until then, thank you!

(Feature Photo credit to Mandy Barker taken from Google. Instagram profile @mandybarkerphotography/ 

Mandy is an international award-winning photographer whose work involving
marine plastic debris has received global recognition. Working with scientists she aims
to raise awareness about plastic pollution in the world’s oceans whilst highlighting
the harmful affect on marine life and ultimately ourselves)

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