With a little bit of help from our friends

Dear all:

We launched a very successful  gofundme campaign 18 months ago when we first started our project in Ecuador called Mingas por el Mar and raised  $ AU 700 that we used to buy all the tools and things we needed to complete our beach clean ups, educational talks, murals and to provide some food for volunteers. Those funds have helped us run our project and we are so grateful to all the people who contributed to our cause.

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Last week we launched another gofundme campaign this time to raise some funds to get our new project going.

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This new campaign is aiming to raise $1300 AU to put together a one day event in Guayaquil which will provide a space for all the NGOs and initiatives in the country to come together and share with the community all their work.  It’s also a day to raise awareness about the importance of taking action for our environment and the centre piece of the event is constructing a big plastic mat made by people all over the country with a message of unity and working together. It’s going to be a day full of activities, talks, dance, art, music, yoga and much more.

What are the funds going to be destined for:

  • To pay for all the equipment: (speakers, microphones)to provide for the sound on the day ($400 US)
  • To pay for the printing of the photos for our photo exhibition and for all the materials to create an art instalment on the day ($200)
  • To pay for all the signage needed for the day ($150)
  • To pay for the tools and materials needed to put together the installation of the “big plastic mat” which will be the centre of the day.

This event is very important for us because it will help us raise funds for the rest of the year  to continue working on our beach clean ups and educational programs and we will also be raising funds to donate to a recycling project run by a foundation called Kahre which is helping the communities affected by the 2016 earthquake.

So far we’ve raised only 270 AU dollars out of the 1300 that we were aiming for ,so we need your help again. We were hoping to get some sponsors in Ecuador, but with the economic crisis that the country is going through, we haven’t been very successful there either.

If you could please spare some change and support our gofundme campaign , maybe share among your friends, we would appreciate it so much! I’ve shared the link of the campaign bellow. Thank you for following our journey and for all your support always.

https://www.gofundme.com/mingasporelmar

Isabel and Mick

Finding treasures amongst rubbish (I.M. Recycled continues on…)

During our first two weeks in Tortola we couldn’t believe that we hadn’t found that much rubbish on the beach. We were happy to see that, but we had our doubts on whether we weren’t looking in the right places. Of course we were visiting all the touristiest beaches on the island and all of these were protected bays where the swell and currents don’t really bring to much rubbish in.

We then talked to Majel, the lady where we are staying at and she gave us a few tips on where to go. On the last day with our rental car, we made the drive to the east side of Trelly’s Bay and we were actually excited for a minute (because we knew we could find lots of bottle caps for our mats) but then sad and disgusted by how much rubbish there was everywhere.

We walked the whole beach, picking up as many bottle caps as we could and we saw all sorts of things; from boat seats, to deodorants, to big nets full of plastic bottles; it felt like instead of walking on a beach in the Caribbean we were in the middle of a landfill.

On this particular clean-up we were not only after bottle caps for our doormats, but we kept our eyes open for useful things for our boat. Unfortunately the ocean has now become, thanks to our consumerism and disposable societies, a big shopping centre( for the right people), where one can find all sorts of things like, thongs, dresses, t-shirts, buckets, spray bottles, toys, brushes (for scrubbing), and many other things..so every clean-up session is like a treasure hunt, where you never know what you may find!

These are a few treasures that we’ve found

On 20 September was International Clean-Up Day so I went to the Ocean Conservancy website to see if there were any groups in Tortola joining the clean-up. I got an email for a lady called Jasmine who was supposed to be the contact person for Tortola but didn’t hear back from her.

Mick and I were still willing to do a clean-up so we went to the next place Majel had suggested to go for rubbish, Peter Island. This island is a 20 minute ferry ride from Tortola. Once we got to the island, beautiful place full of palm trees and white beaches, we walked across the island to get to its east side. We found again, plenty of rubbish there, too much rubbish for Mick and I to be able to pick up, so we grabbed what we could and then spend the rest of the day enjoying the island.

 

 

After that weekend, Jasmine, the contact person on the Ocean Conservancy website emailed us, apologizing for being away sick but informed us that there was going to be another clean-up led by the Filipino community on the weekend. She invited us to join them and even offered to pick us up and take us to Road Town that Sunday morning.

We had to wake up at 5am as Jasmine was picking us up at 6am sharp. When we arrived to Road Town, a part of the Filipino Community, approximately 30 people, were already cleaning up the rubbish. We quickly joined them and we started making new friends. They were all curious to know why we were there, so we told them about our doormats and showed them some pictures that were on our phone.

After an hour of picking up rubbish they told us to join them for breakfast. They had brought so much food and coffee; they were all talking to each other, happily and loudly sharing their food with us. They told us there are around 300 Filipinos in the BVI and most of the people we talked to really liked living here because they said it’s pretty similar to the Philippines.

It was fantastic to see this tight community in action, getting involved and trying to make a difference. But even in groups like these, which are out there, getting their hands dirty, picking up other people’s rubbish and helping the environment, there is still a message to get across, and for me, one of pivotal importance: We should not only concentrate on recycling and joining groups for clean-ups but we should also think about reducing our rubbish production; there we all were filling up bags with rubbish we were collecting, while on the other hand, we were drinking from our plastic water bottles and being served our coffees and breakfast in Styrofoam containers.

It was a very fulfilling morning anyway and Jasmine offered to give us a ride back to another area where we continued, Mick and I, picking up more rubbish. Jasmine is a local woman who has been organizing and taking part of the clean-ups and educational talks since 2001. She was very friendly and even introduced us to the principal of one of the local schools and talked to him about us coming to do a talk in the next month or so.

This last week has been really exciting for us. We finally got in touch with Charlotte McDevitt, the Executive Director of Green VI, a non-profit doing all sorts of wonderful things to help the environment here in the Virgin Islands. One of their projects is to recycle glass bottles, and turned them into new things like pendants, glassware, and beautiful adornments. They also run different educational programs in schools and are passionate about helping the islands take the right steps towards a more sustainable future.

For Mick and I, it was a very inspirational meeting, because Charlotte is so passionate about her cause and so involved in it. We talked for over an hour about our project with the bottle caps and the possibility of working together with Green VI to do some talks around the local schools about plastic pollution. They also have a great little shop in Cane Garden Bay, one of the most popular beaches here in Tortola, so we left a few of our mats there to be sold. http://www.greenvi.org/

The more time we spend doing our doormats and walking this path, the surer we are that this is what we want to spend our time doing. I think we CAN make a difference, we CAN start conversations about the problem with plastics and the terrible pollution in our oceans, we CAN make people think about our impact to the environment. I think there are lots of good things coming from this and I’m very excited.

 

I.M. RECYCLED goes to school!

We’ve been really busy since we’ve been back from Colombia.

Feria Bonaterra

Last Saturday 16th of August we had the opportunity to be a part of “Feria Bonaterra”. This is an organic market organized by a local school in Guayaquil called “Unidad Educativa Balandra” and it happens usually every two weeks. It’s a great initiative and the first one like this happening in the city, that promotes organic farming and buying directly from the farmers.

They not only sell the most amazing fresh organic produce, but they also have on offer a variety of natural products, handcrafts, yummy organic food, live music and even yoga classes. Ever since we heard of it, we knew this would be the perfect place to bring the “I.M. RECYCLED” mats and show our project to the community. If you live in Guayaquil, don’t miss out on the next Feria Bonaterra. You can find them on their facebook page where they post what products would be on offer and the dates for upcoming markets. https://www.facebook.com/feriabonaterra

That  same Saturday I had a yoga workshop so I couldn’t be at the market myself, but thankfully my good friend Ana Maria gave us a hand and went to the market with Mick; that way she could talk to the people in Spanish and explain what we were doing with the bottle caps and why. We also got two signs printed with information about the 5 gyres in the ocean, the North Pacific Garbage Patch, the real problem with plastic and what we can all do to lessen our impact on the planet.

We thought it would be a good idea to wear some kind of uniform for the event, something that would represent what we are doing and what we stand for. We looked through our clothes and thought what better way to promote our message of caring for the environment than wearing our Patagonia t-shirts with the logo “Life Simply”.

This is not only a good motto to live our lives, but also by wearing these clothes we’re backing up a company that, in our opinion, is leading with a great example the way to do business. Their mission statement is: “Our goal is to build the best product, causing no unnecessary harm. We donate our time, services and at least 1% of our sales to hundreds of grassroots environmental groups all over the world who work to help reverse the tide”.  To learn more about the projects they are involved in, you can visit their website http://www.patagonia.com.au/about/.

We had a great day at the market, with many people approaching our stand and asking questions about our project. We got a lot of positive feedback and Anita and Mick did a great job.

Talk at the kindergarten of the Colegio Aleman Humboldt

Today we had an amazing morning. We went to the kindy of my old school to give a talk to almost 90 kids about the problem with plastic and what they could do to help. We loved it and, I think the kids also enjoy it.

We had prepared a power point presentation, full of pictures of beautiful clean beaches, next to dirty beaches full of plastic. The children obviously didn’t like the dirty ones. Then we showed them pictures of animals affected by plastic and it was amazing to see the kids so impressed and sad by those images.

The children had made some musical instruments using recyclable materials so to finish the presentation we sang a song with them about being friends with the environment. Mick played the ukulele really well and I tried my best at singing; it was so much fun!.

The children were very much involved, putting their hands up all the time, saying all the good things they were already doing for the environment and they sang really well too. We had an amazing time. We’d like to thank Martha Ycaza for helping us make this happen and to the Colegio Aleman and all the teachers involved today in our presentation.

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