Every minute, 15 tonnes of plastic ends up in the ocean. This equals over one million plastic bags. Into the ocean. Every minute. The ocean connects us across continents and environmental challenges. Endangering its health will affect the marine ecologies, its creatures, and ultimately - ourselves.
In order to reach the UN Sustainability Goals, every one of us will have to be on board. In Norway, we have an expression called tavaha, meaning ‘take care of the ocean’. Tavaha has become the ‘aloha’ of the Nordic countries and is now used by a growing generation of environmental guardians.
In the spirit of tavaha, I am declaring this December for ‘Plastic Awareness Month’. Every day until New Year I will share an experience from my own journey towards drastically reducing my plastic footprint, and inspiration for the kind of world I am _for_.
I am blessed to have a fast-growing community around me that also believe in the change. In addition to the tavaha life-hacks, I will share stories from people in my global family that is making a special difference to take care of the ocean.
Follow the quest on Instagram: @norwegiansage
Music: We Are Circling ~ Buffy Sainte Marie, added to the Tavaha Journey playlist. ✌🏼🐳
1/31 ~ Taking care of the oceans starts at home.
Wherever you are in the world, the first thing you can do to contribute to cleaner oceans is to switch out something that you (hopefully) use every single day: your toothbrush.
Over 99% of the toothbrushes the world uses today are plastic. They are made of a combination of plastic (made from crude oil) and rubber for the hand piece, nylon for the bristles, and a mix of plastic and cardboard for the packaging. Currently none of these items are biodegradable. And if they are burnt, they release a combination of toxic- and greenhouse gases. The manufactoring of the nylon for the bristles not only creates nitrous oxide, a greenhouse gas 310 times more potent than carbon dioxide, but it’s an energy and water intensive process that results in runoff.
Worse, the plastic brushes end up in our oceans and are washed up on our beaches or consumed by marine life.When beach cleaning in Norway, we often find old toothbrushes from faraway places.
I found bamboo toothbrushes at Karma Coffee Nepal, and today I'm getting 10 more to give away to friends and family. Later this month I will also teach you how to make your own microplastic-freee toothpaste. Share the love! <3
Read more here.. https://medium.com/…/the-environment-the-oceans-and-your-to…
Track: Simple Things by Ziggy Alberts! https://open.spotify.com/track/6fMDuFibA8ZvlTorpIICQM…
2/31 ~ When we take care of the oceans, we take care of ourselves.
The oceans cover 71 percent of the Earth's surface and contain 97 percent of the Earth's water. The water sustains life on Earth, and helps connects lands, seas, and atmosphere into an integrated system. The hydrologic cycle describes the pilgrimage of water as water molecules make their way from the Earth's surface to the atmosphere, and back again. The oceans are vital for balancing the Earth's temperature, transporting fresh water and nutrients through the rivers and currents, containing information about our health and channeling energy exchanges.
In Eastern medicine, you learn the same principles for taking care of the body. Water makes it possible for all of the other elements in our system to function correctly and is the first place to check when your body is chronically out of balance. If the water in our system is polluted or acidic, it will have an impact on our minds and bodies. If the e-motions of the ocean are out of balance, the Earth will be feel it, and so will we.
NASA on the Importance of the Ocean in the Water Cycle - https://science.nasa.gov/…/ocean-earth-sy…/ocean-water-cycle
Track: Rain CloZee Remix - Wildlife https://open.spotify.com/track/7ktGCQdyLc8h08prrbEX3C
3/31 ~ Revolution in the Wasteland
Plastic bags have become the iconic symbol for waste. In Norway, December is the month of the plastic bag. Before Christmas Eve, we have used our credit card 1,5 million times total, spending over 660 billion USD. With this comes excessive, mindless use of plastic bags. Despite recycling schemes and high-tech waste management, we have a long way to go.
Figures show that only 1% of all plastic bags are recycled, with most heading for landfill, or worse, our oceans. They get into soil and water and slowly release toxic chemicals. The decomposition takes over 500 years. And - they come with a financial cost. In the UK, they spend over 10 million pounds every year to clean up littered plastic bags, and I won’t even begin on the cost of animal care for India’s cows or the ocean’s sea creatures. Over 200,000 animals die every year from choking on plastic waste.
When using plastic bags unconsciously, you are also endorsing the demand for crude oil. Over 100 million barrels of oil are needed to make the world’s plastic bags each year. And the average usage of a plastic bag is just 20 minutes.
Many countries have already banned plastic bags, and set up in-store recycling systems. Last year, the Nepali government announced a nationwide ban on the use, sale, distribution, import and export of plastic bags. Countries such as Bangladesh, Rwanda, China, Taiwan, Macedonia and most recently Kenya are also taking a stand. Bans, partial bans, and fees have been enacted by some local jurisdictions in North America, Australia, and Myanmar. Maybe it's time for the Norwegian government to follow.. Or are we just too comfortable?
While governments and scientists are working on solutions, we can do our part by creating our own Wasteland Revolution, replacing plastic bags with reusable bags like this one from Nordic Ocean Watch, marked #tavaha - the Nordic expression for taking care of the ocean.
Track: Warrior - Xavier Rudd https://open.spotify.com/track/4lVomjTNzAElQwH92T7Qa8
The world phasing out plastic bags - https://en.wikipedia.org/…/Phase-out_of_lightweight_plastic…
4/31 ~ Inter-generational Environmental Councils
Sometimes, creating a wave of plastic awareness just takes one small drop of eco-intention. Do what you can with what you have! Generally, I find that people really want to make a difference, but need inspiration and pragmatic solutions adapted to their day-to-day spaces. Look at the areas of your own life. Where can you start asking questions? Is it in your household, your local neighborhood, your workplace?
Establish an inter-generational Environmental Council. Make a list of the areas where you use the most plastic. Find out how you organise your waste. Where does the plastic travel? The waste? And the water? You could even be surprised to find that you can save money by creating green solutions. Breakthroughs in innovation and technology are bringing us closer to answers.
Today, we established an Environmental Council in my own workplace, and our first decision was to create a policy for the use of disposable plastic and establishing a compost!
I can already foresee an app for large-scale opinion polls where all employees/students/family members will have a democratic say in the environmental value-base of the community.
Check out Ducky.eco for instance, where your colleagues can compete in teams to achieve specific environmental goals in the workplace, functioning as both an educational and strategic communication tool.
Today's photo is an example of the beauty in upcycling. These are tiles/coasters from Precious Plastic Community, an initiative producing open source machines, tools and infrastructures to fight plastic pollution from the bottom up. Support/buy them here -https://bazar.preciousplastic.com/…/481659-handmade-coaster…
Track: Home again - Michael Kawanuka https://open.spotify.com/track/46EuzanXhKwIc7755wLAvS…
5/31 ~ No plastic touches my lips..
We spend too much money and energy on beauty products from one-time plastic containers, filled with chemicals and toxins. I want to start making my own, tavaha-style, and have invested in this wooden container from Karma Coffee Nepal, handmade by a women's collective. It has coconut oil, beeswax and shea butter for the base, and coffee grounds for gentle exfoliation.
When this is empty, I make refill it with Mother Earth’s blessings and add argan/rose-oil from travels in Morocco, as well as drops of vitamin-e.. Essential oils such as peppermint, lavender, vanilla, sandalwood, musk, or fresh lime juice and manuca honey could be great too. Can't wait..
Did you know that common ingredients in commercial lip balms are whale vomit (ambergris, a wax-like material that is created in the intestines and digestive system of sperm whale), sheep sweat (lanolin) and cochineal beetles (red dye). Didn't think so. Ew.
Track: Ahuahueya - Herbert Quinteroshttps://open.spotify.com/track/7f4hNLtAXeD4r7cZwW3mV5?si=NMkz76Mk
6/31 ~ Toxicity Warning
Poltmetaxyl%@&?. Be aware of anything with complex names. These are 5 of the 67 (!) microplastics in our everyday hygienic products. Look for them on the ingredients list and stay clear!
A single cleansing product can contain as many as 360,000 microbeads. The tiny microplastic beads - found in face and body scrubs, cleansers, creams and some toothpastes - are too small to be captured through existing wastewater treatment processes, and wash straight into the ocean where they harm fish and other sea life and become part of the food cycle.
Scientists fear that chemicals in plastics and also chemicals which attach themselves to plastic in the natural environment could cause poisoning, infertility and genetic disruption in marine life, and potentially in humans if ingested in high quantities.
"The presence of microplastic in foodstuffs could potentially increase direct exposure of plastic-associated chemicals to humans and may present an attributable risk to human health," says a recent report from UN Environment.
The best way to counter this is to eat seafood from clean sources (if you eat 🐟), reduce your plastic waste to avoid the waste from ending up in the ocean, and stay clear of products that contain microplastics. Natural, biodegradable alternatives include jojoba beads, apricot kernels, ground nutshells and salt!
7/31 ~ Stop Sucking
Can we all agree that plastic straws are totally unnecessary? If you really need to suck your liquids, alternatives to plastic straws are copper and bamboo.
Because of this - https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=4wH878t78bw
8/31~ Show me your waste, and I will tell you who you are..
...as an individual, family, community, nation.
Not all plastic is bad plastic, but the global problem of plastic pollution is rooted in the lack of waste management infrastructure for recycling and upcycling the waste. In a community’s relative connecion to nature. If the plastic ends up on the ground and there are no systems to take care of it, it will end up in the rivers and oceans.
I am currently living in the Himalayas, its glaciers and rivers home to over 40% of the world’s fresh water. Currently, the waters and animals of Nepal’s major cities are choking in plastic, due to the lack of waste management centres and people’s lack of awareness of their plastic footprint and its consequences.
Sometimes, the largest impact can come from a small group of people organized around a clear goal. I am proud be on the advisory board of the Clean City Cooperative in Chitwan, a social enterprise in the making by my friend Taylor Smythe! This is a movement with the goal of empowering one local community to embrace waste management in a conscious, connected way.
Their long-term vision is to help every community in Nepal build and operate its’ own waste management center, the waste footprint by 90% and providing an economic vehicle for Nepalese people, while protecting nature and the biodiversity.
Read more about the Clean City Cooperative and support the initiative here -https://www.gofundme.com/cleancitycooperative
9/31 ~ Starting the conversation by sharing the challenges
Today I am writing for Mahi Yoga Essentials, and will be online in the Himalayan sun for most of the day. Sit down with a digital cup of tea and talk about plastic with me? What are your greatest challenges when it comes to reducing your plastic footprints? Which plastic-wrapped products can you not do without? What are the obstacles to a zero waste attitude in your daily lifestyle? Can we share and find the solutions together? Please comment with your challenges and personal victories towards a sustainable life..
- Lack of zero waste wholesale across Norway and Nepal
- Still using makeup, need to find a 100% conscious brand
- Remembering to tune in to nature in the urban plastic wasteland
- Sourcing natural ingredients for painting and film development
- Frustration when being pushed marketing freebies wrapped in one time plastic, and when thinking about why the Norwegian government still haven't banned single-use plastic and plastic bags.
- Would like to switch to Fairphone, but they need to work on their camera optics.
- Not being able to recycle/compost with ease when travelling.
10/31 ~ Make thy food thy medicine
Plastic is not edible. Keep it out of the kitchen and away from your vegetables. Plastic particles seeps into your ingredients along with other chemical preservatives and toxins.. Today’s organic harvest from Farmers Mart Kathmandu, brought home in their reusable cloth bags.. There are so many things you can do to make your household more natural.. Mornings and body feel better this way. When you start your tavaha journey, you will be taking care of our planet, body, mind and soul at the same time.
11/31 ~ Love your beach? Love your vagina.
Around 30 different types of waste tied to sanitary protection ends up on our beaches and shorelines. On average, one woman will use more than 11,000 disposable sanitary products in a lifetime. Every year, over 45 billion feminine hygiene products are disposed of globally. Ocean Conservancy volunteers collected 27,938 used tampons and applicators on our world’s beaches on a single day (International Coastal Cleanup, 2013).
So let's advocate the awesomeness of plastic free moon cycles! Sharing the wisdom will also contribute to transforming the conversation around periods, reconnecting with our feminine nature, and continuing to break the menstrual taboo. So here's a list of the benefits of the resuable menstrual cup. <3
- Eco-friendly, a simple way to dramatically reduce the monthly waste.
- Save money - they can be used for up to 10 years.
- They bring you closer to your own cycle.
- Cups require much less frequent changing than pads and tampons.
- You can tailor it to suit your your body.
- Takes up very little space, perfect for nomadic beings.
- Make it easy to track how your fluid is being expelled and understanding your cycle.
- Most brands come in recyclable paper packaging.
12/31 - Support local craftswomanship!
In order to reduce our plastic footprint, we need to stop buying commercialized crap and start investing in durable, quality products - with meaning. I was so happy to see my sister Sara Fosstvedt post this creation yesterday!! This is the peace table - being held up by three united forces. Inspired by a 'Seed Dinner' in Lofoten, Norway - gathered around a similar table, talking about how to achieve the sustainability goals, stop the global arms trade and create lasting peace. Seed Dinners are dinners where we consciously or unconsciously plant a seed of intention to work together around a common goal.Oliver Ganslandt var playing 'Indigo' and we were watching the sun set over the town of Henningsvær.
"The symbol in the wood work is the native American symbol of the all seing Eye of a Medicine Man/woman. The outer lines of the symbol represents the four corners of the Universe- North, South, East and West. The centre circle represents the Eye and the spiritual vision. Which is universal peace. The triangles pointing up is the symbol of men and the once pointing down is women. They represent people of all colors as we are all dependent on each other."
There are so many talented craftsmen- and women out there, shaping hopes and dreams out of nature's products with innocent hands. This year, I also got a hold of a beautiful knife made by Sydney Woodwardof Over Grow The System. Have a look - http://overgrowthesystem.org/product/hand-forged-knife-2/
14/31 ~ Bring your own cup/jar
This is Ramesh, owner of Lemon Tree Bakery in Kathmandu. When I run out of @timwendelboe coffee, I come here in the mornings on my way to work, and we talk about everything from politics the puranas.. Ramesh loved the idea of zero plastic december and is committed to replacing unnecessary plastic wrapping with nepali paper!! He will also give a discount to anyone that brings their own jar, so we don’t have to waste one time cups and lids! And he keeps special coconut milk for meee. Small victories..
15/31 ~ #Tavaha - sharing the wave
Tavaha is the Nordic expression for taking care of the ocean: ta vare på havet. It is also referred to as the 'nordic aloha'. Tavaha encompasses unity, understanding and solidarity across borders, generations and cultures. The ocean is what connects the world. It has always taken care of us and we cannot live without it.
The expression has now become the ‘aloha’ of the Nordic countries and is used by an ever-building wave of action-oriented environmentalists. It has become a powerful transformation word, an expression that promotes the understanding that we cannot use the ocean without also contributing to its health.
When we give our voice to the ocean, we are participating in creating a new culture of how we engage with our blue planet. Ideally, everyone should spend most of their day in nature, reconnecting to our environment. After all, why stay inside, when all hope is out(side)? If you use the hashtag #tavaha when you are out cleaning your beaches or engaging in conversations on social media you help building our movement towards cleaner oceans, a clean conscience - and a clean consciousness!
16/31 ~ Make the ocean your compass
Your compass of values, of rhythms, of equilibrium. Spending more time by, in or on the ocean also re-connects you to the oceans inside you. By helping clean the ocean and its beaches, you are cleaning your inner shores. There is no difference between the distances.
1. Being in the ocean can teach your body to expand on so many levels - if you let it
2. Knowing the patterns of the weather will teach you to respect and predict the play of the elements.
3. We have become addicted to technology - I can recommend reading ‘The Lost Art of Finding Your Way’.
4. The sail plan we are on is not sustainable. Our current relationship to the ocean is destroying our ability to live on this Earth.
5. We are in it together - on the sea you have to pull your weight and participate. The time to act is always now.
6. On the sea, you will have to travel light and only harvest what is necessary.
7. Learning to flow with her waves, her cycles, her tides will create more balance in your life.
8. You body is also like a ship, push down the centreboard/bandhas, learn to navigate, and feel the wind fill your sails.
9. Letting go of your boundaries will allow you to feel a closeness to other people. Think drop vs. source.
10. Mni Wiconi/Water is Life. In the end - Water/Ocean/Nature rules all. And she does not like suffocating in plastic.