Saturday, July 16, 2011

Safari Wangu

Safari Wangu - Our Journey

Tomorrow, I will embark on a journey with 21 other students to Arusha Tanzania where we will be working closely with an orphanage. Each student on the trip will blog once, you can check it out here.

Thank you!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Recent Update!!

I’m sorry that I haven’t been doing much blogging since I’ve been back. I want to start posting more regularly so I’m going to start now!

Since I’ve been back I’ve been really busy with school, speaking, conferences, catching up with friends and a variety of other things. Plastic pollution awareness and Midway Atoll have stayed on the forefront of my mind as I’ve been telling the story to anyone who will listen. I’ve spoke to many service clubs in the Okanagan as well as high schools and elementary schools. I lovelovelove speaking to elementary schools. They are so enthusiastic about recycling and going green, every time I speak to one I feel refreshed and inspired.

As well as speaking I’ve been going to conferences and growing as a leader. I was lucky to be chosen as one of 24 grade 11 students to participate in the Minerva Learning to Lead conference at UBC about a month ago now.  At this conference I was paired up with an emerging community leader and an established community leader. This weekend definitely changed my life. My triad was gracious to listen to my story and tell me what they saw in me. The weekend’s theme was focusing on your values and I learned a lot about what’s important to me. I went there thinking that my top values were family, love and honesty but during the weekend I learned that my values were not all that I thought them to be. I found that my new values are compassion, courage and integrity. These are quite different from my original three but I think that within them are my other values. Along with compassion comes love etc. The conference was so inspiring. It was great to meet the other 24 grade 11 leaders and I made friendships that will never die.

Right now is exam week in my school, so things are crazy stressful. I leave for Arusha, Tanzania in 25 days and I’m sooooo excited!!! I’m not sure how much I’ve said about this trip in my other posts so I’ll explain a bit now. My amazing leadership teacher Mrs. Richardson is taking 22 highschool students to work in an orphanage in Arusha via LOHADA. You can check out our blog here where you can make donations and see posts from each student on the trip.

On top of this Africa trip, I decided that I would like to write a curriculum for grade 5 classes. This is going to educate young students about plastic pollution beyond what I can say in a 20 minute presentation. I will focus on three areas; the problem, the facts and how we can help/solve this problem. It’s my dream to reach as many students as I can though this. If you have any suggestions and/or questions please do not hesitate to reach me at .

I'm also going to be presenting at the TEDx event happening here in Penticton. This is such a huge honour as I love TED and I know some amazing connections will be made here. I will be sharing the stage with Jan Vozenilek, which is also a great honour. The moment I first heard Jan speak it became my dream to be able to speak with him on this topic. So many amazing dreams of mine have been coming true this year, I'm so blessed. 

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Interview on CHBC

Check out my latest interview!!

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My journey is not over.

As I was sitting on the airplane on the way back to Honolulu from Midway I was reminded of the trip there. I took a look at each of the seven team member's faces and thought that just two weeks ago these guys were strangers. All I knew about them was their name and title; cinematographer, producer or director, I had no idea how connected we would become.

As a team we had the privilege of witnessing something that hardly anyone else in the world would get a chance to. We saw the beauty and peace of Midway Atoll, but we also saw the disgusting reality of the destruction of our planet. As our two weeks together proceeded personal jokes arose, tears were shed and an unspoken bond was formed between these 8 strangers.

Photo: Kris Krug

As a teenager I haven't had the experience of witnessing a group of adults working together to reach a common goal but here I had that chance. It has been a beautiful experience. Each one of our team members are so different but I saw these adults use their strengths to help each other overcome their weaknesses. I was humbled to see them talk so openly with each other and wholeheartedly share their feelings and beliefs. I have never seen adults talk like this with each other and I aspire to be confident enough in myself to be able to do this.

I have found traits within each of these adults that I so highly admire and will try to foster within myself. It has been so hard to say goodbye to my new 'ohana' but I hope they understand that they have forever changed me and impacted my life and for that I thank them.

On another note, my journey is not over! I know that being this actively involved in a cause while so young will not be easy. I have already faced many hard times that made me consider stopping everything I do but I now better understand that this is way too important to me and the world. I'm in this forever. I promise you all that! So as I go continue on my journey please keep checking back on my blog. I'm going to have some very interesting stories about travelling elsewhere to speak about plastic pollution! 

Big thank you to everyone!! 

Sunday, April 3, 2011

There is always a choice...

Today is our last full day here on Midway Atoll and after a few days of no sun, it decided to make an appearance. Tomorrow is going to be a very hard day. I have fallen so in love with these albatross and they trust us more than I have ever seen another wild animal trust a human being. The more that I think about that the more absurd that becomes. They have no reason to trust us like that. We are killing so many of them.

It really only hit me two days ago that I am here on Midway Atoll. It was then that I realized my dream had actually come true, but it proved my worst nightmare to be true as well... plastic pollution is getting way out of hand. As I was riding my bike beside a big field of birds and I thought about all the plastic products I've used in my life time.

 I couldn't possibly think of them all because plastic has become second nature to society. I thought about the shampoo I've used..

Photo: Kris Krug

 the numerous toothbrushes I've gone through..

or water bottles I've drank from.

That's when it really hit me, all of my plastic could be inside one of these birds. I imagined my toothbrush poking and stretching a baby albatross's stomach and I was brought to tears. I am responsible for an innocent being's suffering. Just because I needed that plastic spoon to stir my coffee a year ago, something suffered for it's whole life. This was an absolutely heartbreaking thought.

The North Pacific Gyre is impossible to clean out, but we can make a difference by choosing not to contribute to this problem anymore. There is always a choice. Are you responsible enough to make the right one?


Friday, April 1, 2011

3 Days Left :(

As days go by, my time here on Midway becomes less and less. I have become so connected with this place and leaving here in three days will be heartbreaking.  I am going to miss being so close to nature and spending time with animals that aren't afraid of me. My favourite thing to do here is sit in the middle of a big field with thousands of birds around me!

Photo: Ian Hinkle

They are so cute and aren't scared of you one bit! Yesterday, I sat beside a little chick and we played tug-o-war with my sweater. Just like a dog would, they shake their head in attempt to win the battle, so adorable! Occasionally, an adult or juvenile wanders up to me and nibbles at my shoe or camera but they're gentle..most of the time.

When I sit there I feel like I could stay forever, but then who would tell this story? Who would share the horrors of this beautiful place? Who would tell the world about this colossal problem of plastic pollution?  So I realize I can't stay here forever. I need to go home and share my stories and experiences from Midway Atoll every chance I get!


Monday, March 28, 2011

Plastic beaches?

Yesterday I walked along the main beach on Midway Atoll  and I noticed something a little peculiar. The sand is so white, it seems like it's glowing but when you look a little closer you see that the beaches are filled with little pieces of plastic. Some are as large as a laundry basket and others, a gain of sand.

I thought this was really disappointing. To see that the beach is already so filled with plastic was really hard and so sad. We're in way over our heads with this problem of plastic pollution and if we don't change our habits of abusing single use/disposable plastics then our beaches will soon be composed of only plastic. I thought of this quote by John Wayne while I was sitting there "Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway." I am honestly so scared and intimidated by what I've been seeing here on Midway Atoll but it has inspired me more then ever to live plastic free and to tell people what they can do to use less plastic and share the horrors of what is happening here. I will be speaking to schools and other organizations when I return and I would willingly share my stories with you or your organization. Please email me, and I would be honoured to present to your group. 

As I have said before, everyday I notice something new about this island, sometimes good and far too often sad. Shorty after I walked along the beach, Victoria Sloan Jordan our production coordinator and I went to this field that was filled with albatross! 

We went there because we knew that there was an extraordinary amount of plastic in the grass with the birds. So we collected as much as we could so we can show people in our presentations and had a few curious albatross come over to check us out!

  After, we ran out to catch the sunset. It was gorgeous and the crew got some great shots.