Why You Should Stop Washing Your Face with Micro-Beads

It seems pretty silly that the products we wash our face and bodies with daily can be a huge danger to marine life. But in reality these little plastic beads that are in so many products can be extremely harmful. Purchasing and using these products can potentially pollute the environment, and you might not even know it.screen-shot-2016-09-27-at-10-21-08-pm

Break-outs are the absolute worst, and so is having dry skin. Buying products that have exfoliation properties seem essential when removing deep dirt and dead skin cells. These hard little beads can be your best friend if you’re prone to the occasional  peeling or  even stress-acne. However, the excessive lengths we go to have flawless skin can take a harrowing toll on the environment.

How can a bead smaller than the tip of a pen hurt the ocean? The answer to this question is that one bead can’t hurt the ocean, but when large amounts end up in it they clump and become thick layers that ultimately end up at the ocean floor and don’t biodegrade. These beads are made up of polyethylene otherwise known as PE, and when  all is said and done and your face is clean, all of the little beads that scrubbed your pores will go down the drain, into the sewer system, and ultimately end up in the ocean.

These beads can actually end up in our food chain when fish eat them because they do not realize what they are eating and that it is harmful. These beads can ultimately end up in our food chain when we consume fish than have consumed marine life that has ingested these beads. This is problematic for a multitude of reasons, an obvious one being that plastic is not edible, even in small doses. Another issue is that these beads can absorb harmful toxins such as PCB’s and DDT’s which are banned man-made chemicals that are still floating around in our environment because they cannot disappear.  Various scientists have also explained that there is a direct correlation between these toxins and different forms of cancer in humans. These beads pose a threat not just to marine life but to our lives as well.

Fortunately, people have taken action against the use of micro-beads in products, and there have been some recent positive developments. Some companies have replaced the beads in their products with alternatives that are biodegradable. These alternatives include ground nut shells salt crystals. Other countries, such as Australia have made sure that no companies use micro-beads in their products. In 2015 President Obama proposed a bill to do the same in the United States.

There is still a lot of ground to cover, but we can help by limiting the demand for these products by switching to more organic and sustainable alternatives and products. If these companies’ target consumers are not buying the product, there will be less demand and therefore less manufacturing of these harmful materials.

Take a stand today and switch to a less harmful product. Having clear skin is nice, but having a clearer ocean is much, much nicer.


Future of the Ocean Symposium: A Sobering Response to Upcoming Administration

Wishing Whale had the pleasure of attending the 12th Annual Future of the Ocean Symposium & Champion of the Ocean Awards Luncheon earlier today. The event, held at Monmouth University in West Long Branch, New Jersey, included a variety of guest speakers, who discussed America’s Ocean Future, and what the priorities for congress and the Trump Administration are moving forward. This discussion was insightful being only about a month away from the Presidential Inauguration.

The mission of this event was to serve the University and the public interest as a forum for research, education, and collaboration that fosters the application of the best available science and policy to support stewardship of healthy, resilient and productive coastal ecosystems and sustainable communities. While we were unable to attend the entire function, some key points were discussed which stressed the importance of climate change and and what Americans can do.

 Christine Todd Whitman, 50th Governor of New Jersey and President The Whitman Strategy Group, a firm that specializes in energy and environmental issues, was one of the guests and honorees of the event. She served as Administrator of the EPA under the Bush Administration. Another honoree and guest was Donald E. Boesch, President of the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science.

Primarily the speakers discussed how the new administration will affect the implication of sustainable practices and its growth. While still very early to tell, the possibly of retrogressing in regards to the progress the United States has made for combating climate change is a harsh reality many champions of marine conservation and environmentalists must face.

While it is easy to feel uneasy about the future, there is always hope.Only days ago President Elect Trump and daughter Ivanka met with Al Gore to discuss climate change. America’s younger generations have been exposed to the reality of climate change. While Trump has a history of climate change denialism, his children understand just how important this issue is. Whitman said at the event on Trump, “Listen to your daughter.”

Are Millennials Environmentally Friendly?

It seems that everyone, and that means everyone, has an opinion on millennials. Whether is be negative (usually) or positive, Millennials are creating quite the dialogue. Millennials are quite possibly the most studied generation ever. They are definitely the most technology intuitive, and their work ethic? Well we’re not too sure just yet on how that is when most of them are still in college.

But what night be an important thing to look into is the visual that millennials care about the environment more than older generations, and it’s also important to see if they actually act in response to those feelings. Are millennials more environmentally friendly? It seems likely. Many Millennials haven’t been around that long, but they have the most access to information at a quicker pace than any generation before. They are constantly reading and posting and learning about the world around them, and their domination of social media has made it quite clear that they make their opinions heard.

This information overload is likely what may help millennials guide their opinions on social and environmental issues. For example, it is likely that millennials will tend to seek out brands that are more environmentally beneficial or healthier for themselves. Despite their lack of funds, they have the information to know that other brands are out there that other generations might miss out on when looking at the Sunday advertisements for shopping ideas. Another possible correlation could also be that millennials inexperience with budgeting could lead them to buy more expensive products instead of buying what is the cheapest. Disposable income is the highest when there aren’t many bills to pay, so the frivolity in spending could definitely lead to buying more expensive items, even if it is for a good cause.

While millennials seem to care more than the average generation, talk is cheap, and when faced with daunting tasks such as recycling, According to a 2013 Eco Pulse survey by Shelton GRP only 33% of millennials participated. Millennials also slacked on reusable water bottles, minimizing water usage during showers or brushing teeth, and making sure electronics are unplugged when not being used. So while they may be talking about issues, they may not be as productive as thought. What is interesting however form this poll is the lifestyle choices millennials make. They were more likely to borrow or share items, shop sustainably, grow their own food and make their own cleaning products.

So when it comes to being environmentally friendly, millennials care, and they do what they can, not what they should, which could be said about any generation really. Millennials will be inheriting this world pretty soon, so with a little more action, our future looks not half bad.

Source: carbonxprint

A Note from One of Our Writers

Hey all, Courtney here, regular college student and a member of the Wishing Whale team. Usually on this blog we talk about tips to conserve our environment or discuss news on what is currently happening to our oceans. I want to share something personal with you all , just so you can see that this isn’t a site that preaches to the choir, one that doesn’t care about its’ readers or its’ content. I wanted to share with you my personal history with sustainability, and the struggle I’ve had trying to save the world from a dorm room on the Jersey Shore.( I promise you it’s nothing like the show.)

A lot of the time when I read ocean conservation or sustainability blogs they come off really pretentious. They tell me what I should be doing. They tell me I should be not be using plastic, not eating sea food, not eating meat, not shopping at my favorite stores, not buying food from the grocery store if it has too much packaging, and not cleaning with chemicals. A lot of the time it is overwhelming how much I feel my existence alone does more harm than good when it  comes to saving the planet. It is really easy to become discouraged by these blogs. I don’t want to feel that way.Neither should you.

When Wishing Whale was created, we believed that people have lives. People live in a modern age in a consumerist society. It’s hard enough getting people who don’t care about the environment to finally start caring, so I don’t understand why people gear their information towards an audience that has already been invested, when it’s the people who don’t know that could really make a difference. Wishing Whale set out to inform young people, people who wouldn’t usually know or care about environmental issues, and let them know very simply what’s going on and the steps one can take to fix things.

I’m one girl living away at college near the coast of New Jersey. I’ve come to find how much beauty there is from seeing the beach every day. I’ve read up on what is happening to our environment, and it’s become something in me that I’ve tried my best to pay attention to. Do I always recycle responsibly? When I can I do. Do I eat meat and sea food? The dining hall at school has very limited options. Do i shop at stores that don’t participate in free trade? Sales are important when you’ve got fifteen dollars in your bank account. The point is that nobody is perfect.

Nobody, not even the ones preaching online about all of these different lifestyle choices are perfect. The important thing isn’t to do all of those things. The important thing is to know that you’ve thought about it. The more people who know that these alternative choices exist, the more it is possible to make these changes and to make conscious decisions to change. I wake up every morning and think about things I can do to help the environment. Wishing Whale is not here to shame you. We know that one person can’t just wake up one morning and save the world. But what we believe you can do, is wake up one morning, and try.






Let’s Talk About the Trash Vortex

When you hear about the Trash Vortex it sounds like some science fiction novelists creation, or something you’d see in a movie about a far-off dystopian future. But the trash vortex is 100% real and honestly pretty unknown and not really talked about often.

For those who don’t know of the Trash Vortex, you might know it by its more official name; The Great Pacific Garbage Patch. This “patch” actually spans from the west coast of the United States, primarily between California and Hawaii all the way to Japan. That’s a pretty large patch.

The Vortex gets its namesake from the immense amount of marine debris and garbage that gets pushed out there by various currents that run in a circular motion, known as a Subtropical Gyre.

The debris then becomes trapped there and can also sink to the bottom, and pile up.
It can’t be stressed enough how terrible this is for the environment and for the marine life that occupy this area. Most of the debris consists of microplastics and various other potentially hazardous trash.

But for what seems to be such an aggressive and ugly issue, the Trash Vortex has been unclaimed and ignored for years. Falling smack dab in the middle of two countries, neither have taken the blame for its creation, nor have set out to correct it.
So the Vortex remains, forever collecting nautical trash. So there may always be a Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is pretty sad, but what can be done is we can make an effort not to help it grow.

Reduce the usage of disposable plastics, watch where your recycled waste goes, and be sure to keep the coast clean. By doing these things, we can only hope that our Earth; and our oceans don’t become science fiction.




Sustainable Holiday Gift Giving

With Thanksgiving only days away there is one infamous holiday where people brave the insanity of the day to shop for holiday gifts at record low prices. While Black Friday has become it’s own holiday tradition, is it really worth the insanity? It’s debatable whether the deals are worth the early morning adventure, and if those items are really necessary. While gift-giving is a wonderful tradition to uphold, there are much easier ways to get heartfelt gifts at low prices, and it doesn’t have to be Black Friday to get them.

It seems department stores and shopping malls have the greatest number of customers flocking to them. People don’t really realize when flipping through the circulars that small businesses also have Black Friday sales, and their items may be cheaper and better quality as well. There are many ways to shop for holiday gifts sustainably this year, and doing so not only helps the environment, but your local community and your nerves as well.

Holiday shopping is expensive. There are so many people who deserve gifts but the funds might just not be there this year. if you want to show someone you care, but don’t necessarily have the funds to do so, shopping at thrift stores might be the answer. The saying goes ‘what’s old is new’, and shopping at thrift stores or garage sales may help you find personal gifts, unusual and comical gifts, or really old things that friends or family might like. A lot of things that end up in these stores are barely used and still have packaging, so with the right touch this could really make someone’s holiday season. Being able to hunt for the perfect gift and not worry about the cost brings a different sentiment to holiday shopping. It feels less like a mission or a duty and more like a fun experience to find something that reminds you of that specific person.

If you’re looking to shop for unique items and help your community, shop small this holiday season. Tons of small business have great sales that are easy to miss out on because they don’t get the word out as well as a department store. Shop for quality, even if it may be a little more pricey than a department store. You’re paying for quality and helping the environment by contributing to a business that didn’t need much fuel to ship and transport their items.

People forget that the real joy of receiving a gift isn’t the gift itself but the person who gave it. Instead of splurging on material goods, try giving them the gift of a memory. By getting creative and planning an activity to do with them or getting them tickets to something, you’re giving them something they can’t put on a shelf, but instead will remember it forever. If you’ve got a computer and a pen, odds are you can come up with a pretty great experience for someone. Handmade gifts are also wonderful. The right friends and family will appreciate effort, and if you take the time to make something special for them odds are they will love it. Finding DIY projects on Pinterest can give you some great inspiration. Baking something special is also a great way to skip the expensive gift giving and give someone something they’ll enjoy.

What is most important about this season is that it is a season of GIVING. Give your time. Give your creativity. Give your warmth. Give away things you no longer want or need. The spirit of this holiday season is to give the gift of love; something you won’t find while in line for the register at 4 a.m.



California Becomes the First State to Ban Plastic Bags

While it’s no secret that plastic does more harm than good, the state of California has decided to do something about it. California is the first to have a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags. This decision follows the recent approval of  P2016-11-14-16_50_16-wishing_whale-wishing_whale-%e2%80%a2-instagram-photos-and-videosroposition 67. The ban affects grocery stores, retailers, liquor stores, and small markets.

While the ban covers a large variety of places, restaurants are excluded from the ban , and customers will be able to obtain a thicker plastic bag or a paper bag if necessary, but must pay 10 cents extra. This tax is put in place in order to persuade people into using more sustainable methods of carrying things such as the usage of a reusable tote bag, or canvas bag.

According to the San Diego Times, The state of California is estimated to have used roughly 13 billion single use plastic bags every year. If just one state is using that money, it is easy to realize how much of a problem this can be if the rest of the nation is also using plastic bags.

This law has made much positive change in a short time. Cleaner beaches have been reported when beach sweep data has been submitted recently. Plastic bags tend to be one of the main objects found during these beach clean-ups. In cities that already had the ban since 2011, such as San Francisco, it has been reported that bag litter  has been reduced by about 90 percent. This is evidence that the state-wide ban will provide positive results in the future.

While the lack of plastic bags may be an inconvenience to some, the overall positive impact the ban will have can be argued to be worth more than mild inconvenience. Plastic bags have been known to enter waterways and harm marine life such as turtles and whales and other creatures such as birds. These animals swallow and become entangled within the bags. These bags are also an eye-sore and can make beautiful beaches look dirty and unpleasant.

By banning the bags, marine life is helped significantly, the state will not be further contributing in creating more of these plastic bags, and people will learn to make sustainable choices. People will be proud of their beaches and find that by enduring a small inconvenience, they are contributing a large part to positive change.

2016-11-14 16_50_30-Wishing_Whale (@wishing_whale) • Instagram photos and videos.png