It is time to make a difference for our ocean in 2019!

Our team at the Nicholas Sonntag Marine Education Centre has created an easy New Year's resolution challenge that starts on January 1st and we invite all of you to partake. With one simple lifestyle tweak per week you will join our ranks and become a Tide Changer! The Tide Changer Challenge is focused on reducing your environmental impact and implementing a "zero-waste" approach in your day-to-day life. Let's REALLY make a difference in 2019!

Tide Changer Challenge

During the first 10 weeks of the year, we will send you a video that challenges you to make changes to your daily habits. This challenge encourages you to live more consciously with the environment and ocean in mind. Help reduce your personal footprint on the earth and our ocean!

Sign up to receive the challenges here: https://mailchi.mp/72f7d99096d7/tidechangerchallenge

Be noticed while doing it by tagging photos of your daily challenge with @nsmec and #TideChangerChallenge

Weekly Challenges:

Click on the image to be directed to  Week 1 - Tide Changer Challenge

Click on the image to be directed to Week 1 - Tide Changer Challenge

Week 1: Reduce the use of single-use cups! (challenge for the week of Jan 1 - 7)

Most single-use cups are made with a plastic polyurethane lining that makes it extremely hard for facilities to recycle. 

Single-use cups are used for about an average of 10 minutes and then get tossed in the garbage joining 136 MILLION others in Vancouver alone each year! This does not include those that end up directly in our ocean.  

Become a Tide Changer and learn from our week 1 challenge what you can do to make a difference!

Click on the image to be directed to  Week 2 - Tide Changer Challenge

Click on the image to be directed to Week 2 - Tide Changer Challenge

Week 2: Check the labels of your clothing! (challenge for the week of Jan 7 - 13)

You may or may not know that much of our clothing is made with plastic fibres: polyester, nylon, acrylic, elastane. These materials are all made from plastic! As we wash our clothes, tiny pieces of plastic fibres, called microfibres, break off and get washed down the drain and out into the ocean.

These microfibres make up 36% of the microplastic entering the world’s ocean every year.

Become a Tide Changer and learn from our week 2 challenge what you can do to make a difference!

Click on the image to be directed to   Week 3 - Tide Changer Challenge

Click on the image to be directed to Week 3 - Tide Changer Challenge

Week 3: Look under your sink! (challenge for the week of Jan 14 - 20)

We all need to clean our homes, but have we ever thought of the effects of cleaning chemicals on our environment?

Majority of cleaning chemicals go down the drain and end up in our OCEAN, and the bottles are often found in the garbage. We challenge you to look under the sink and check YOUR cleaning supplies.

A solution is quite simple: choose more natural cleaning substances or even buy in bulk. This is better not just for the environment, but also for your wallet!

For centuries, people used basic household items such as white vinegar and salt to clean their homes. There are also great benefits to using natural oils! Lemon, citrus, thyme, rosemary, lavender, tea tree oils, to name a few. Not only are some of these antibacterial & great natural degreasers, they also smell great.

Become a Tide Changer and learn from our week 3 challenge what you can do to make a difference!

Click on the image to be directed to   Week 4 - Tide Changer Challenge

Click on the image to be directed to Week 4 - Tide Changer Challenge

Week 4: Stop using plastic produce bags! (challenge for the week of Jan 21 - 27)

We have all heard that we need to stop using plastic grocery bags, and you may have seen grocery stores ban them at the tills, but everyone always forgets about the little plastic produce bags.

Up to 13 million tons of plastic ends up in our ocean EACH YEAR! Even if we recycle these plastic produce bags, they are so lightweight that they often get blown out of recycling facilities. The solution is not to recycle, but to break the plastic pattern and stop using plastic bags altogether.

There are easy solutions: You don’t need them! Plunk those loose oranges or potatoes right into your basket or cart. However, if that is too unorganized for you, bring your own cotton bags just for this purpose.

Become a Tide Changer and learn from our week 4 challenge what you can do to make a difference!

Click on the image to be directed to   Week 5 - Tide Changer Challenge

Click on the image to be directed to Week 5 - Tide Changer Challenge

Week 5: Discover ocean-friendly suncare! (challenge for the week of Jan 28 - Feb 3)

If you are escaping the winter for a pitch of sun, you will need to protect your skin from getting a sunburn. It is important to know that conventional sunscreens contain oxybenzone, a chemical that kills coral reels and other marine life. Coral reefs and living animals that create an immense amount of habitat. Researchers say that the effects of oxybenzone are as bad as if you were to soak coral reefs in gasoline.

There are many options to keep your skin and the ocean beautiful and healthy!

  • Look for sunscreen containing no oxybenzone, easily found in most health food stores.

  • Use plant oils with SPF properties (coconut, carrot seed oils)

  • Find a recipe to make your own sunscreen

  • Protect your skin with clothing (hats, sunglasses) or spend less time in the sun.

Become a Tide Changer and learn from our week 5 challenge what you can do to make a difference!

Click on the image to be directed to   Week 6 - Tide Changer Challenge

Click on the image to be directed to Week 6 - Tide Changer Challenge

Week 6: Research and purchase sustainable seafood! (challenge for the week of Feb 4 - Feb 10)

Overfishing is one of the biggest threats ocean animals face. Up to 90% of the world’s fish stocks are now fully fished or overfished. Another threat that fish face includes bycatch. Up to 40% of fish catches can be of non-targeted animals (referred to as bycatch) which do not get used at all and, unfortunately, just end up dying. Severe habitat damage can also occur through fishing equipment like bottom trawling that drags along the ocean floor destroying crucial habitat for marine life.

Next time you are on a mission to purchase seafood, choose sustainable seafood options! Do your research at home and learn more about Ocean Wise and Seafood Watch programs. Find out what fish is in season in your area and what fish stocks are sustainable to eat. Ask your local fishmonger questions about where their seafood is coming from and how it was fished.

Become a Tide Changer and learn from our week 6 challenge what you can do to make a difference!

Click on the image to be directed to  Week 7 - Tide Changer Challenge

Click on the image to be directed to Week 7 - Tide Changer Challenge

Week 7: Reduce your carbon footprint! (challenge for the week of Feb 11 - Feb 17)

Currently our atmospheric carbon is higher than at any point in the last 800,000 years! With more CO2 in the atmosphere the earth gets warmer, the ocean gets warmer and becomes more acidic. This makes it hard from animals like oysters and clams to grow their shells.   

The main cause of C02 level rise is the burning of fossil fuels for energy. One easy way to reduce your energy consumption is by using wool dryer balls in your laundry. These can reduce your drying times by up to 20%, while reducing static, eliminating the need for wasteful dryer sheets. In the summer remember to hang your clothes to dry.

Become a Tide Changer and learn from our week 7 challenge what you can do to make a difference!

Click on the image to be directed to   Week 8 - Tide Changer Challenge

Click on the image to be directed to Week 8 - Tide Changer Challenge

Week 8: Vote with your dollars and influence your community! (challenge for the week of Feb 18 - Feb 24)

Your hard-earned dollars can support decisions and businesses that do good for our marine ecosystems and support your community!

There are many ways that we, as consumers, can show our support for sustainable businesses and ocean related policies just by being careful what we buy. For example, you can choose to shop with businesses that take on sustainability initiatives and make sustainable products that are not harmful for our ecosystem. Buying local is a huge aspect of this process because local business contribute to your local community and the money you spend also stays in your community. Part of your sustainably buying process should also be choosing to not purchase single-use products or products with excessive plastic packaging.

And lastly, public officials in your area can make a change. Know what your community leaders stand for in terms of supporting ocean related policies, marine protection areas and other marine conservation and renewable energy initiatives.

Research share what you learn with your friends and help spread the word. Once you have the knowledge, you are on the right track to supporting your community and the ocean.

Become a Tide Changer and learn from our week 8 challenge what you can do to make a difference!

Click on the image to be directed to   Week 9 - Tide Changer Challenge

Click on the image to be directed to Week 9 - Tide Changer Challenge

Week 9: Discover beeswax wraps! (challenge for the week of Feb 25 - March 3)

Beeswax wraps are a great alternative to cling wrap and other plastic packaging. They are essentially a piece of natural fabric, coated in beeswax that is flexible, clingy, and can be washed and reused.

Unfortunately, at this point, things like cling wrap and zip locking bags are NOT recyclable, so even if you have been diligently putting them in your recycling bins, they ultimately end up in the landfill or being burnt as biofuel.

As plastics degrade, whether it is on land or in the ocean, it breaks into microscopic pieces, that eventually enter the water cycle. This is our drinking water, water we grow our food with, give to our animals, and make beer with!

In a study that tested tap water in countries around the world, 83% of water samples contained microscopic plastic, with the highest being in the USA with a whopping 94% of the samples.

Okay, so back to beeswax wraps! They are a great way to cut back on your plastic use. You can use them at home to cover up your leftovers, bring them to stores and wrap your cheese and cold cuts in them, and use them on the go.

There are lots of companies out there that make beeswax wraps, or if you are a little crafty, you can make them at home and help keep plastic out of our water cycle.

Become a Tide Changer and learn from our week 9 challenge what you can do to make a difference!

Click on the image to be directed to   Week 10 - Tide Changer Challenge

Click on the image to be directed to Week 10 - Tide Changer Challenge

Week 10: Help clean up our waterways! (challenge for the week of March 4 - March 10)

We have talked a lot about plastic over the last 9 weeks of our Tide Changer Challenge and it’s because it is a HUGE problem, but one that you can help change immediately and with ease. The world’s plastic production has increased 20 times in the last 50 years. Household activities, things that each of us do in our daily lives, generate 77% of total microplastics in the ocean.

One way you can help is by going “plogging”. Plogging (‘picking up litter’ + ‘jogging’) is an eco-friendly fitness craze that originated in Sweden and has gained popularity over social media thanks to one of our biologist friends in Vancouver.

How can you join this movement? Grab reusable gloves and a bag or a bucket and pick up litter along creeks, roads and shorelines each time you are going for a walk or a jog.

Become a Tide Changer and learn from our week 10 challenge what you can do to make a difference!