We’re in the Ocean Film Festival 2021!

Changing Tides will be featured as one of the many great films in the Ocean Film Festival 2021

It’s been almost 3 years since we lived our our dream of paddling the Inside Passage! Yet still to this day we are keeping the adventure alive. In 2020 we released our film ‘Changing Tides’. We have had a premier screening in Australia, and Canada, and had an online screening during lock down – which while wasn’t perfect, was a fun experiment!

Now we get to share our adventure all over again. We are so very thankful to the team at the Ocean Film Festival and Adventure Reel, who have worked with us to create a special edition of ‘Changing Tides’ for the Ocean Film Festival. In collaboration with our original film makers Anna T, and Akemi, and some real heros at the Ocean Film Festival, we are bringing to the screen a 17min short film with not-seen-before footage, some new tracks and funny moments.

Make sure you check out the website and find a screening near you!

Plastic is a Climate Change Problem

Plastic is not just polluting the ocean, it’s polluting our climate too

When we think about the problems of plastic, we often think about ocean. We see marine creatures suffering from plastic pollution. We see surfers riding waves, surrounded by the waste of their fellow humans, and to be honest with you, these were the issues that originally raised the problem for Mathilde and I. We have always been strongly connected to the ocean and the Great Barrier Reef is a very special place to both of us. However, it is not often that when we think about plastic, our minds turn to the climate and the climate crisis that we are currently facing.

Plastic in our oceans is only one small part of a whole system of pollution which begins at extraction, then goes to transport, refinery, manufacturing, distribution, waste management, and last but not least unintended pollution. Over the last 10 years we have been successful in bringing plastic to the forefront of many people’s minds, by talking about marine pollution. Now we have plastic on the agenda, we need to start talking about what the whole system actually means and how we address plastic as a problem at a systems level.

Just now I mentioned the link between plastic and climate change. I imagine that most of us could take a guess at how plastic contributes to anthropocentric climate change, but probably like me, you will be shocked to learn how much. So just for a moment, let’s examine the problem.

 

The following information is sourced from a comprehensive, multi-party report lead by the Center for International Environmental Law. 

If plastic production and use grow as currently planned, by 2030, emissions could reach 1.34 gigatons per year—equivalent to the emissions released by more than 295 new 500-megawatt coal-fired power plants.”

“In 2019, the production and incineration of plastic will add more than 850 million metric tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere—equal to the emissions from 189 five-hundred-megawatt coal power plants.”

That figure was not unexpected to me, and probably not to you, and we can’t ignore its significance. I am going to quickly break down the different parts, and then we can get into solutions.

Extraction and Transport

The extraction associated with plastic production is in the process of drilling and fracking for gas and oil. Methane leakage, flaring and fuel combustion all result in emissions. Which is also intensified by the carbon released from land disturbance and clearing.  In the U.S in 2015 9.5–10.5 million metric tons of CO2 we released in association with extraction for plastic manufacturing.

Refining and Manufacture

According to the report written by the Center for International Environmental Law, Plastic refining is among the most greenhouse gas – intensive industries in the manufacturing sector—and the fastest growing. The complicated chemical refinement of plastics is responsible for a large amount of emissions associated with plastic production.

In 2015, 24 ethylene facilities in the US produced 17.5 million metric tons of CO2e, emitting as much CO2 as 3.8 million passenger vehicles. 

Waste Management

Believe it or not landfill emits the least amount of carbon, but obviously presents significant other risks. Many landfills were built in coastal areas and are being exposed due to erosion. Recycling has a moderate emissions profile and can replace the need for new plastics on the market. Incineration is a waste management option that is often used for plastic waste management and rarely spoken about.

Use of incineration in plastic waste management is poised to grow dramatically in the coming decades. US 2015 5.9 million metric tons

Plastic in the Environment

I don’t think I need to talk at length about the harm to flora and fauna that plastic in our environment presents. However I do want to mention recent research on the impact that plastics in our ocean has on contribution to carbon sequestration and emissions.

Sarah-Jeanne Royer and her team demonstrates that plastic at the ocean’s surface continually releases methane and other greenhouse gases, and that these emissions increase as the plastic breaks down further. Current estimates address only the one percent of plastic at the ocean’s surface. Emissions from the 99 percent of plastic that lies below the ocean’s surface cannot yet be estimated with precision

Earth’s oceans have absorbed 20-40 percent of all anthropogenic carbon emitted since the dawn of the indus-trial era. Laboratory experiments suggest this plastic pollution can reduce the ability of phytoplankton to fix carbon through photosynthesis. They also suggest that plastic pollution can reduce the metabolic rates, reproductive success, and survival of zoo-plankton that transfer the carbon to the deep ocean. 

In recent conversations, a lot of people have concerns about focusing on plastic and that climate change is the most important problem that we need to be talking about. Don’t get the wrong message, that is true, climate change is the single biggest challenge we face. However there is not one single cause for this challenge. Climate change is multi-faceted and we need to be looking at so many different problems and solutions if we are going to create the change we need to see in the world. That is something we can not achieve unless we seriously change our plastic consumption and production.

The same report I have referenced today, also talks about what we can do to address the problem.

 

  • ending the production and use of single- use, disposable plastic;
  • stopping development of new oil, gas, and petrochemical infrastructure;
  • fostering the transition to zero-waste communities;
  • implementing extended producer responsibility as a critical component of circular economies;
  • adopting and enforcing ambitious targets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from all sectors, including plastic production.

 

 

You may feel that you don’t have the power to change these things and one person alone doesn’t. We need everyone making an effort. It could be changing your plastic consumption, or helping your community transition to a waste free environment. Or it could be talking to your elected politicians, or pressuring industry to change.

A Long Haul to Tribune Bay

Lucy & Mathilde are on the final stretch of their expedition, having recently arrived on the north of Vancouver Island.

The last couple of weeks have involved overnight flooding of the kayaks, calm waters and warm days, strong rapids and alot more sightings of people and boats!

They were very excited to be welcomed by Mathilde’s parents and locals at camp near Cluxewe.

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Rapids through the narrow channels around Vancouver Island were a fun but nerve-wracking novolty to begin with. But the ocean showed whose boss when slight mistiming meant the girls were at the whim of the ocean as they were forced to a different camp than they were aiming for at Big Bay.

On Hornby Island, The Tribune Bay Outdoor Education Centre held a camp for Young Women in Ocean Literacy & Leadership, where 45 young women passionate about the ocean attended. The Passage Adventures duo were set to hold a workshop at this camp, but due to delays throughout their expedition, 8 days out from the camp they were still 290km away!

But they were more determined than ever, with so many eager young girls to hear their story, and they pumped out a massive average of 36km per day to make it to the camp on Hornby Island for their workshop. Their seaside welcome looked like this:

 

The workshop followed, whereby Lucy & Mathilde educated and inspired the girls to use their power to create change. The young women blew them away with their enthusiasm, ideas and intelligent questions.

10 year-old Straw No More advocate, Molly Steer, from Lucy’s hometown of Cairns, also featured at the camp. She is a living example of the power of the youth voice. Check out her Tedx talk here

The camp was coordinated by Oceanwise and the Comox Valley School District #71 – Check out Their Facebook page for more interviews, photos and videos of Lucy & Mathilde.

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Today Passage Adventures are headed on a little 2 day trip to the remote North West Coast of Vancouver Island with the Living Oceans Society and 6 volunteers for a beach clean up. It will involve driving access via logging roads and a hike to the remote area, where they’ll collect garbage and camp for 2 days. The garbage is then heli-lifted out. Volunteers are transported and fed during the weekend trip, and helicopters aren’t cheap! This is why Passage Adventures needs your help in supporting them – half of their fundraising money is going to the Living Oceans Society! You can still Donate here

 

THE JOURNEY IS ALMOST OVER!!!

The girls have planned to finish their paddling adventure At 12PM on AUGUST 4TH at CADBORO BAY, VICTORIA, VANCOUVER ISLAND. They would love for anyone and everyone to join them in celebrating at a nearby restaurant/bar that evening. More details to come on social media!