Sheri's sailing blog

Sailing for science and sustainability

Going green, going clean, going...'naked'! What's in my pack?

  • What's in my pack?
    Sheri Bastien
  • A rainbow of Foldscopes!
    Sheri Bastien
  • What if I get sea sick?!
    Sheri Bastien

I'm making the final preparations for eXXpedition and doing my level best to keep it both green and clean! I'm finding out quickly though that the quest to cultivate more sustainable habits isn't as straightforward as one would hope; swapping out one type of product such as plastic bags in favor of cotton can actually end up causing other negative environmental impacts, as highlighted in a report by the Ministry of Environment and Food of Denmark.


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As I become more conscious of my purchases I've started to swap out single use items such as face wipes and q-tips for reusable options, and making the switch to bamboo for instance when it comes to my toothbrush. When it comes to alternatives to plastic bags, I have a few cotton ones I've used for years and recently I got to meet the founder of a youth-led initiative in Kathmandu that spearheaded the 'No thanks I carry my own bag' campaign that got plastic bags banned in the city and in the rest of Nepal. So inspiring, though as mentioned above, making an informed choice on this front is slightly more complex than many of us might realize. Toiletries are important to consider as well; during eXXpedition I’ll be testing out ‘naked’ (package free) shampoo and conditioner in bar form, and reef/ocean friendly sunscreen.

Packing for this expedition is so vastly different to the type of expedition I’m more accustomed to. Being an Arctic soul, I have a strong preference for cold temperatures and I’d take -30 over baking in 30 degrees any day! I’ll certainly be traveling lighter for this trip when it comes to clothing and sleep wear!

Though I haven’t experienced motion sickness in the past, I am concerned that an extended time out at sea might leave me heaving overboard (as evident by the massive pile of meds I’m taking with me!).

In terms of other preparations, I've just downloaded some of the citizen science apps we'll be using for data collection including a Marine Debris Tracker, Wild Note for managing and reporting our observations and field data, and Secchi disk for data we collect about phytoplankton. 

Lastly, I'm having a final look over my flights and logistics to ensure all goes smooth and to use what little time on land I have in Aruba and Panama wisely. I've purchased carbon offsets for my flights through Climate Care, though I must admit my skepticism and desire to know more about the accuracy of calculating emissions and transparency issues associated with offsetting. Obviously not flying at all is the most impactful option and offsetting should not be seen as an excuse to continue business as usual. While some critics claim it is another form of green washing, others maintain it is one of several legitimate means of reducing one's impact.  What is not in question is that growth in offsetting has increased substantially and as a recent article points out, "“We are seeing the Greta effect, the impact of Extinction Rebellion, the impact of the words of David Attenborough, the school strikes, all of these coming together”. 

Time to get my sea legs on! :) Stay tuned!


Published 10. December 2019 - 8:00 - Updated 10. December 2019 - 9:17