For the most part, you probably assume there’s nothing wrong with a day spent in your boat on the water. After all, you’re outside enjoying nature – no harm, no foul. But what if that’s not the case? In many instances, boating actually has a negative impact on marine ecosystems and it’s up to us to be more responsible stewards of these precious resources.
4 Ways You Can be a Greener Boater
For many people, there are few better ways to spend a warm spring or summer day than in a boat on the open water. Whether it’s on a private lake, a scenic bay, or out in the deep blue ocean, there’s something exciting and invigorating about immersing yourself in the tranquility of nature. The problem is that boating doesn’t always have the same effect on the marine ecosystem.
When you look at it in context, there’s not much about traditional boating that’s “green” or “eco-friendly.” Outside of kayaking and canoeing, most boating activities require an engine and have some sort of impact on the water. The question is, how much of an impact are you having?
Here are a few practical ways you can become a “greener” boater:
1. Better Fuel and Oil Practices
“Fish, shellfish, sea birds and other forms of aquatic life require a balance of nutrients, oxygen and clean water to survive. Even small quantities of toxic products in the water can disrupt this balance, with lasting harmful effects,” EarthEasy.com explains. “The volume of hydrocarbon and oil pollution entering North America’s waters every year from recreational boating is estimated to be more than 15 times the amount of the Exxon Valdez spill (up to one billion litres per year).”
That’s saying something! If you want to be a greener boater, you have to do your part to limit oil spills and properly dispose of used oil and filters. One of the best things you can do is keep your engine well tuned and secure some sort of oil absorbent pad in your bilge where drips and leaks are more likely to occur.
2. Safer Boat Maintenance and Cleaning
Part of being a green boater is taking care of your boat so that it has the least amount of impact possible on the water. For example, anti-fouling paint plays an important role in protecting a boat’s hull, but few boaters take the time to make strategic choices about the products they use. You need to choose a product that not only meets your needs, but is also free from toxic chemicals and ingredients.
3. Proper Disposal of Waste
In addition to oil and gas, hazardous waste of all types and kinds must be disposed of in the proper manner. This is often easier said than done, which is why many boaters are careless in this area.
Hazardous waste that may be present on your boat could include antifreeze, batteries, paints, cleaning products, filters, and sewage. Your marina or dock should have information on where you can find places to locally dispose of these materials.
4. Respect for Marine Life
Finally, you need to have respect for marine life. If you’re fishing, make sure you follow all laws and only keep fish that meet certain requirements (and that you’re going to use). It’s also important that you learn proper anchoring techniques to prevent harming elements like coral reefs, fish beds, and sea grass.
There’s nothing wrong with having fun and enjoying your time out on the water. However, in order to be a green boater, you have to accept responsibility. This means making strategic choices about the products and processes you use – even when it isn’t super convenient.
Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness
Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.
How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature
Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.
While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.
When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness. Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.
4 Practical Ways to Disconnect
If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:
1. Switch to a New Phone Plan
It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.
One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.
2. Get Rid of Social Media
Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).
If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.
3. Create Quiet Hours
If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.
4. Build Community
Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.
As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.
Untether Your Life
If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.
6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move
Moving can be a stressful and challenging time. No matter how many times you’ve done it in the past, the process of packing up, transporting, and unpacking isn’t very fun. It’s also not very eco-friendly. As you prepare for your next move, there are things you can do to ensure you leave less of a footprint behind.
6 Tips for a Greener Move
Because of the stress and pressure felt when moving, it’s pretty common for people to rush through the process and focus on getting it done. In fact, a lot of people take an “at all costs” approach; they’ll do whatever it takes to make the process as cheap and fast as possible. Don’t be one of those people. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a standard move into an eco-friendly move.
1. Maximize Each Trip
When moving across town, it’s imperative that you make as few trips as possible. Each trip requires more gas, more emissions, and more waste, and more time.
If you’re taking your personal vehicle, consider pulling a trailer behind it. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit into a small trailer. Not only will it make your move greener, but it’ll also save you a lot of time.
2. Donate Things You Don’t Want to Keep
The longer you live somewhere, the more junk you accumulate. This isn’t always obvious until you start packing for a big move. Instead of bringing all of these things with you to your next home, get rid of the stuff you don’t need! If the items are useful, donate them. If the items don’t have much value, toss them.
3. Reuse Moving Boxes
Not only are moving boxes expensive, but they’re also wasteful. If you need a bunch of cardboard boxes, consider looking around on Craigslist, asking friends, or checking the dumpsters behind stores. You can usually find a bunch of recycled boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Here are 12 places you can get them for free.
4. Get Creative With Packing
Who says you need moving boxes? You may find that it’s possible to do most of your move without all that cardboard. Things like storage containers, trashcans, filing cabinets, buckets, and dressers can all store items. Blankets and sheets can be used in lieu of bubble wrap to prevent your items from getting damaged.
5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies
Once you arrive at your new place, resist the urge to pull out a bunch of harsh chemicals to clean the place. You can do yourself (and the planet) a favor by using green cleaning supplies instead. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are great to start with.
6. Forward Your Mail ASAP
Don’t delay in forwarding your mail from your previous address to your new one. Not only is it wasteful for the Postal Service to route your mail to a place where you don’t live, but the next owner is probably just going to toss your letters in the trash.
Moving Doesn’t Have to be Wasteful
Most people only move once every few years. Some people will go a decade or more without a move. As a result, the process of moving often feels strange and new. The less experience you have with it, the less likely it is that you’ll be as efficient as you should. But instead of just diving into the process blind, take some time to learn about what an eco-friendly move looks like. That way, you can leave behind the smallest footprint possible.
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