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Crookedfinger Art: Sustainable Fashion & Art

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Crookedfinger Art is an expression of my person style and creative impulses. – Kim Cadenhead

Meet Kim! 

Kim Cadenhead is the founder of Crookedfinger Art.  Kim has a unique quirk, two crooked pinky fingers, a result of a genetic glitch.  Her little quirk resulted in the inspiration for her company name, it is an ode to her unique characteristic which she embraces and has allowed her to flourish as an artist with her original artistic style.  Kim is passionate about various medias for art projects.  Her portfolio includes: paintings on canvas, mixed media, handcrafted sustainable products and graphic t-shirt designs.  Kim recently took part in an artist workshop in North Carolina.  The workshop gave Kim an opportunity to grow as an artist and finesse her painting skills.  Her experience there lead to her latest creative endeavor a series of floral paintings on both canvas and repurposed wooden trays— both wonderful works of art for home decor.

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Kim is an artist who is inspired by the environment around her and incorporates the very essence of her surroundings into her paintings, handmade items and mixed media projects.  In my humble option, I view Kim’s most recent floral collection as having a touch of influence from impressionist paintings incorporated with her own modern signature style, blending beautifully together.  Her floral paintings from her 2016 collection are my personal favorites.  Kim sells both original canvas artwork and canvas prints.

Sustainable Fashion and Eco Art

Since moving from Toronto, Canada to the Cayman Islands, Kim has visited local thrift shops to gather materials for her latest sustainable art projects.  It is her aspiration to repurpose materials found locally and transform them in sustainable handcrafted products including: beach tote bags, hand tote bags, messenger bags rugs, pot holders, coasters and even mixed media art pieces.

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It is rather astounding when you take a moment to realize the magnitude of materials available that has the potential to be repurposed and used in a sustainable way.  All of her eco-friendly items are handmade.  Kim’s sustainable art pieces have all been made from magazines that would have otherwise ended up in the landfill.  Kim is an artist with an eco-conscious mindset.  Her sustainable fashion and home products prove that recycled and repurposed materials can be transformed into chic sustainable products.

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Support Local

Kim’s artwork and eco-friendly products are available for sale at Art Nest Creative Studio, at Pasadora Place.  You can also visit Kim at Camana Bay’s local Farmer’s Market on Wednesdays.

Stay Connected

Follow Kim on Facebook, click here

Follow Kim on Instagram, click here 

Visit her website, click here 

 

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Sea of Hope: Preserving the Heart of our Planet

 

Photo Credit: National Geographic

SEA OF HOPE follows iconic ocean explorer and conservationist Dr. Sylvia Earle, renowned underwater photographer Brian Skerry, author and captain Max Kennedy, and their unlikely crew of teenage aquanauts on a year-long quest to secure their future. Deploying science and photography, they hope to inspire the creation of blue parks across an unseen and imperiled American wilderness.

It was an absolute honor to be published in Mission Blue’s Ocean Stories.  Please visit their website to read my full article Sea of Hope: Preserving the Heart of our Planet.  Sea of Hope is airing 15th January 2017 on National Geographic.

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Photo Credit: Ellen Cuylaerts

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Epiphany: How A Family Of Explorers & Conservationists Overcame Their Fears

 

View Epiphany Movie Trailer

A popular definition of epiphany as defined in the Oxford Dictionary is: “A moment of sudden and great revelation or realization.  For me, an epiphany is a sublime moment.  It is an awakening, when your thoughts come into focus and there is a moment of clarity.  The opportunity presents itself as an illuminating thought.  A moment of such great revelation can bring forth incredible things.

I have had the privilege to get to know award-winning filmmaker and wildlife cinematographer Michael Maes and his wife Ellen Cuylaerts, an award-winning wildlife photographer.  They are truly two of the most amazing people I have ever met.  They are inspiring, compassionate, kind, generous, brave and humble people.  I am grateful to know them.  As a family they live intriguing and extraordinary lives as explorers and conservationists.  They explore the world and use their gifts and talents in film and photography to share their passion for conservation with the world.  An underlying message in their documentary Epiphany is the power of film and photography.  I am a firm believer that art whether it is in the form of film, photography, writing or any other genre has the ability to create change and have a positive impact.  The photographs and film both Michael and Ellen share with the world captures stunning encounters with wildlife, marine life and spectacular scenic views of nature.  It serves to remind us this planet is worth fighting for and protecting.  Art has an incredible ability to connect us all on a universal level.

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For Michael and Ellen, film and photography is a means for them to contribute to nature and conservation— a way of giving back.  They use their films and photography to educate, and create awareness about various environmental issues.  A strong image whether captured in a still photograph or a moving picture can evoke emotion, share a powerful message and allow an opportunity for one to be enlightened and enriched.  In particular, a scene in their documentary Epiphany with Whale Sharks captures a collection of beautiful moments spent in the presence of these majestic creatures.  There is utter tranquility within this scene and the Whale Sharks swim gracefully.  The scene showed the majesty of sharks— they are not to be feared but respected.  Other scenes with Oceanic White Tips present the elegant poises and patterns of these sharks as they glide through the water, depicting them beautifully in their natural habitat.  The sharks and divers were able to inhabit the space harmoniously.  It is important to note, the divers still had to remain very vigilant at all times.  Ellen and Michael take great care in the composition of their photography by ensuring they develop a connection with the wildlife during their encounter and allow that to translate in their photography.  By doing so, it creates a powerful image illustrating that there is a story and meaning behind every photograph.  The heart of their photography and film is to remind us all what a privilege it is to live on this beautiful planet and to not take for granted our natural resources, the environment, the ocean and all animals.  There is a great urgency for a united effort and action to happen globally to increase conservation of the environment and protection of all animals.  As advocates for the ocean they are keen to promote awareness of the urgency to protect sharks.  Ellen and Michael use film and photography to promote conservation and help rehabilitate the image of sharks by showing us that sharks are to be respected not feared.  The real fear is a life without sharks.  The reality is if sharks continue to be slaughtered for their fins and their population continues to rapidly decline they will face extinction.  Sharks have been roaming the ocean immensely longer than humans have inhabited the planet.  It would be a great tragedy for sharks to become extinct.  There is no coming back from extinction.

 

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Recently, I had the opportunity to watch their documentary Epiphany a film that is inspiring and moving.  The film left a profound impact on me.  It is a film that I hold dear to my heart, as it was truly special to watch a film friends of mine had made and with such admirable bravery they shared their story with the world.  I implore others to watch their award-winning documentary which is currently available on iTunes.  The documentary touches on a variety of themes: the power of art and film, conservation of sharks, environmentalism, Autism, the unbreakable bond of a family and finding bravery to overcome fear.  Michael and his family are incredibly courageous to share a vulnerable side of their lives and their journey through life with the world.  Primarily, the narrative of the film tells the journey of Ellen and how she finds the bravery to overcome her fear of the ocean.  It is her kids that leads Ellen back to nature.  It is on this journey, Ellen rediscovers her love for photography which allows her to overcome her fear of the water by swimming with sharks and photographing them.  The film also touches on Michael and their kids Margaux and Max leading extraordinary lives with autism.  A takeaway from their documentary is that there is a need in this world to look past each others differences and accept one another as they are.  We are all uniquely different and that is what adds to our individual beauty.  There is a need for society to stop labelling and creating divides due to differences— being different can be a remarkable gift.  A beautiful message within in the film, is the families unbreakable bond.  The diagnosis of Autism running in their family understandably initially created a feeling of isolation, fear and hardship.  However, together as a family they were able to thrive and live out their passions.  All of them having wonderfully marvelous courageous lives.  As a family they inspire us all to live a life of compassion, kindness and bravery.

 

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The power and healing of nature is beautifully interwoven within the story which unfolds throughout the documentary.  Nature serves as a catalyst to connect the family together, strengthen their bond and open doors for amazing opportunities to share their passion for conservation, film, photography and art.  A beautiful synergy is built between the family as they collectively immerse themselves in exploring nature and the depths of the ocean.  A profound message the documentary presents is that Ellen is able to move past her fear of the ocean and develop a trust within nature.  The ocean serves as a bit of a paradox in Ellen’s life, while on one hand it is the foundation of her fear of water, yet on the other, it serves to inspire her to contribute to conservation, follow her passion of photography and connect deeply with her family.  By having nature as an integral component of their lives, the differences within the family does not create walls to divide them, in fact nature bridges the family together and anchors them.  Moreover, through expeditions exploring nature, it brings forth a bravery within each of them to overcome their own personal fears.  Through their conservation efforts and giving back to nature, each of them were able embrace their individualism and remain true to themselves and their passion for the environment, photography, film and art.

Meet Michael Maes

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Michael Maes is a wildlife filmmaker, specialized in big animals and animal behavior. His portfolio (both underwater and topside) covers the polar regions, temperate waters and the tropics. He has a passionate interest for polar bears and Arctic whales.

His work has been broadcast on various national television like Nat Geo Wild, Outside Television, CBC. It also received recognition at a myriad of international film festivals; reflecting the ability to translate the need for wildlife conservation onto the screen.

In 2015 Michael was inducted as cinematographer in the Ocean Artists Society (http://www.oceanartistssociety.org), an organization uniting artists worldwide to raise awareness and protect the marine environment through art. Michael is also a founding Navigator of the Central Caribbean Marine Institute (http://www.reefresearch.org), a leading scientific research centre in the Caribbean focusing on coral reef restoration, research on coral resilience, and ocean education.

More About Michael  

Website michaelmaes.com   (Currently Under Construction)

Check out some of his recent Arctic Work:

 

Q & A with Award-winning Filmmaker Michael Maes

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1. What inspired the documentary and for you to tell this story?

Ellen Cuylaerts; my wife; challenged herself to overcome her fear of water and sharks, culminating her personal growth by feeding those feared sharks. That was the story to which many viewers can relate to.

2. What is the heart of the documentary? Or the core message for audiences to take from watching the film?

Basically Epiphany is a story about all of us. Everyone has his or her fears, everyone faces challenges of life, we can all make decisions to alter our paths.

Epiphany shows the viewer setbacks can be turned into strongholds of life itself.

In short, Epiphany is a story of hope.

3. Did you face any challenges while making this documentary?

Apart from logistical nightmares, the complete lack of privacy for our family during the 18 months of filming was very exigent. Although most of the shootings were at dream locations, we constantly had cameras and microphones pointed at or near us. Especially Ellen as I was fortunate enough to be behind the camera for most of the underwater filming and all areal cinematography.

Next would be the communication between the producer (me) and the rest of the crew. Having autism makes it very difficult to communicate my thoughts; up to a point where I even think I “say” something but I actually only “think” it. That has lead to many difficult situations, frustrations and even words. But, ultimately and always thanks to Ellen, we regrouped and were able to finish a gem.

4. What was one key lesson you learned from making this film?

Don’t think what you say but say what you think!

5. Is there a particular scene in the documentary that resonates with you or has the most significant meaning to you?

To me the most emotional scene in the documentary is at the end where Ellen stands strong among tens of sharks circling her and I (you can’t see that of course as I am filming it) am lying flat on the sand at her feet; filming Ellen from that extreme low angle; all the way up to the water surface; sharks everywhere.

That scene grabs me the most as it portrays in images the fact that Ellen conquered her fear, surrounded by sharks yet she is the one who is in charge! There she stands, holding food next to her body, telling the sharks with her body-language to not come in for the food… she… her… your wife… the mother of your two children… surrounded by sharks… I cannot express how powerful that scene is for a filmmaker who’s the husband of the talent…

As a cinematographer that scene also grabs me as it is – excuse-moi the bragging – simply a formidable shot completed by the genius score of music written by the Belgian musician Eric Bettens.

6. What was your favorite filming location?

Honestly? None! They all had their particular challenges and filmic rewards. A favorite moment I could tell you: a close to two hour dive with only Ellen and myself at Tiger Beach. We were down there without bait or chum. We just wanted to have our Zen moment; away from the fuzzy madness of the production. Did we get rewarded for being there: we had three 12 feet tiger sharks and a bunch of lemons and reefies. A mind-blowing peaceful moment! This footage did not end up in the documentary as the sequences were too long and beautiful to cut. Now that Epiphany is released I will review those amazing scenes again.

7. What do you hope this documentary will accomplish? Or what is your goal or hope for this film?

Of course we want to spread awareness on the sad condition sharks are facing globally. But we also want people to think about their own life and take action if they want to. We want Epiphany to bring hope to those whom are trapped in a fixed pattern, caught in a seemingly hopeless situation.

8. What does the film mean to you and your family?

30 months of blood, sweat and tears.

9. Do you believe film and art has the power to help bring positive changes to the environment?

Many of the world’s environmental issues are far out of reach of most people. Pictures and film bring those issues closer to many, though often in the hard “documenting” way – which is good of course.

Bringing the animals and their world to the beholder in all beauty – nature as it is – makes people see the beauty of those animals. This could lessen the fear of the unknown and invoke interest in the animal or its habitat. Every time I get a message from someone I don’t know telling me some work of mine made him or her get interested in that animal or its environment, is a bigger reward to me than a paycheck.

10. Do you find using art and film as a medium allows you to see the impact and changes in the environment differently, than as opposed to just reading about the issues our environment faces?

As I am a person whom thinks in images, I would believe so. However I feel this question should better be answered by an avid and passionate reader.

More Info about Epiphany 

Website            : www.epiphany.movie

Epiphany on iTunes : https://itunes.apple.com/us/movie/epiphany/id1169290433

Trailer Epiphany                     : https://vimeo.com/156486645

Special Thanks

Special thanks: Photos and video courtesy of Michael Maes and Ellen Cuylaerts

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For The Love Of Animals: Ian Somerhalder Foundation Medical Emergency Grants

 

Photo Credit: Ian Somerhalder Foundation

A truly heartwarming initiative was started by the Ian Somerhalder Foundation (ISF) to aid in the rescue and rehabilitation of animals that have heartbreaking stories of being abused, neglected or suffered a traumatic injury.  These animals are deserving and in need of a second chance.  ISF created their Medical Emergency Program to extend compassion to these animals and assist in aiding to their recovery and wellbeing.  ISF launched their Medical Emergency Grant Program on Valentine’s Day, 2014.  A day symbolizing a commitment of love and compassion towards animals— inspiring others to do the same.  Since the inception of this program, they have helped over 1,000 animals including: cats, dogs, turtles, birds, bats, horses, sheep, cows, sea lions, goats, rabbits, and more.  All have benefited from an ISF Medical Emergency Grant— giving them an improved quality of life, resulting in a touching success stories.  These animal rescues are now living happier lives with their new families in their forever homes. The testimony of these animals show, that animals have an incredible resilience no matter how difficult the hardship they faced.  They also remind of us of the incredible bond animals establish with humans, despite the suffering they endured, once they found a new and loving family in a safe environment they continue to express love unconditionally.

Animals have an exquisitely poignant way of teaching us, through demonstration, how to love and be loved. We learn compassion, as well as expand our perception of the infinite connection to the environment around us, from our creature friends–whether they are furry and lick us, or slither and swim. We owe it to these creatures to provide protection, healing and love. That is exactly why I am so proud that the IS Foundation has launched our first grant program — the Emergency Medical Grant for Animals – Ian Somerhalder

ISF provides grants to both the US and Canada and works closely with dedicated teams of amazing rescuers in various parts of the US and Canada who are on the front line every day finding animals in need of a better life and urgent care.  These admirable individuals advocate on the behalf of these animals.  Animals that receive an Emergency Medical Grant have been found either, abused, neglected or have suffered a traumatic injury.  ISF reviews applications and typically makes a decision within a week.  They then have the money sent out the following week to the treating veterinarians and rescuers.  The ISF Medical Emergency Grant criteria and eligibility can be found on the ISF website, Grant Information Page.  “The purpose of this grant is to provide animal victims a second chance by alleviating their rescuers of the financial stress of treatment so they can focus on facilitating the animal’s adoption into a permanent, loving home” ISF works with individuals, animal rescuers, veterinarians and non-profit organizations seeking to rescue and rehabilitate animal victims.  (ISF)

The ISF Medical Emergency Grants Program has done an incredible job of bettering the lives of so many animals.  Animals that have had the opportunity to recover and rehabilitate now have wonderful success stories inspiring us all to help protect and care for animals in need.  ISF has established a network of dedicated animal rescuers (grantees) and built amazing relationships with them over the past 2 years.  Their collaboration and teamwork has created a positive impact.  An added bonus, the ISF have met so many loving animals that have greatly benefited from their program.  In instances when the animal in need and the rescuer are near by, the ISF take the opportunity to meet with the animal and rescuer(s).  The ISF have shared a plethora of wonderful heartwarming success stories of the animals they have help give a second chance to. To read their success stories visit their grant success page.  Their dedication to provide resources to assist in bringing a life changing positive impact on the lives of animals that have deeply suffered, inspires us all to work together to be a voice for animal victims that have endured a painful hardship.

Must Love Animals

Below are a few success stories of the ISF Medical Emergency Grant

Meet Elsa

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Photo Credit: Ian Somerhalder Foundation

Meet Ozzy

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Photo Credit: Ian Somerhalder Foundation

Meet Twinkle Toes

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Photo Credit: Ian Somerhalder Foundation

To support the Ian Somerhalder Foundation and stay up-to-date with their projects follow them on Facebook and Twitter or visit their website 

The Cayman Islands: A Haven for Sharks & Rays

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Photo Credit: Ellen Cuylaerts

The Cayman Islands has built its name and reputation primarily on being a renowned diving destination.  Pioneers in our local diving community over the last few decades contributed to building our diving industry into the premier operation that it is today.  They recognized the exquisite beauty our underwater landscape had to offer and have since then made it accessible for locals and tourists to recreationally experience and explore the beauty that lies below the surface for themselves.  With a desire to showcase our natural resources comes with a commitment to preserve them.  Our duty towards conservation for both land and the ocean is beneficial not just from an environmental perspective but also an economic one.  Our tourism industry is strongly tied to our island’s natural resources.  Ergo, an obvious reason to ensure that our natural resources are protected.  Last year on Earth Day (2015), the Cayman Islands officially became a Sharks and Rays Sanctuary.  The sanctuary expands across all three islands.  This is a positive step towards ecotourism as many tourists are keen to visit places that are committed to conservation.

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Photo Credit: Ellen Cuylaerts

 

“I’m extremely grateful that the Cayman Islands recognized the need to make the islands a shark and ray sanctuary. Not only will their protected status benefit the health of the reefs but it’s also a strong statement towards the tourism industry which is an important source of revenue. By protecting our natural resources the Cayman Islands puts itself in the the market of the informed and eco friendly tourist making the right choice for the future generations.” -Ellen Cuylaerts

Sharks in the Water

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Photo Credit: Ellen Cuylaerts

By virtue of us standing by and not acting to protect coral reefs and marine life that are under threat there is a very likely possibility that corals reefs will continue to become degraded and even destroyed.  The caribbean has already lost 80% of its coral reefs.  There is an intricate connection between coral reefs and all marine life.  If keystone species such as sharks continue to decrease in population it will have a tremendous impact on the coral reefs and the marine life that depend on the reefs.  A scary thought that should be racing through everyone’s minds is what if I never see a shark in the water again?  Our fear should be driven by the thought of what will happen to our ocean and the ecosystem if shark populations globally continues to spiral down or worse become extinct.  Sharks are a keystone species and are fundamental to maintaining the health and balance of: coral reefs, marine life and the ocean.  Without their presence there could potentially be a devastating collapse within our fragile ecosystem as their role in keeping our “life support” viable is monumental.  Ultimately, we need a healthy ocean as 70% of the world’s oxygen comes from there.  Healthy shark populations means healthy reefs.  Coral reefs support 1/4 of all marine life.  Healthy reefs means a flourishing population of marine life.  This is beneficial for: our ecosystem, recreational divers, snorkelers and for fisherman.  Balance within our ecosystem is key to benefiting the preservation of the planet, as well as a thriving diving industry, tourism industry and fisherman.

We can’t fail to act to protect our ocean and marine life.  The ocean is often referred to as the heart of the planet.  There seems to be a collective assumption that the ocean is indestructible, that no matter the amount of pollution pumped into the ocean it will always reset itself, that there will always be coral reefs and an abundance of fish, sharks and all marine life.  It is as though we cannot fathom the thought that it could all go away one day.  The reality is the ocean like anything else has its limitations.  We cannot keep testing the ocean’s ability to bounce back.  It is evident that the ocean is under an immense amount stress due to climate change and the rapid decrease in the populations of a multitude of marine species.  For instance, sharks and rays are under threat.  Every year, 70 million sharks are killed for their fins (Fin Free).  In comparison it is reported that targeted Manta Ray populations have declined by an estimated 56% to 88% in recent years (Wild Aid).  With this in mind, there is an urgency for countries around the world to declare their waters as a shark and rays sanctuary.  The more protection coverage of the ocean for sharks and rays will by virtue allow for coral reefs, and fish populations to have time to recover and recuperate.  This is beneficial to everyone.

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Specifically to our waters, current research indicated that we have a lower shark population than expected for a healthy reef ecosystem.  This suggests that our waters need an increase in sharks to ensure our coral reefs can remain healthy.  Shark populations recover over a significant period of time and sanctuaries can provide a safe haven for populations to recuperate.  Presently, there are no comparative ray nor shark surveys specific to our region.  It is difficult to state how our population of sharks and rays compares to other islands in the Caribbean.  However, some research conducted by Marine Conservation International (Research Partners of Department of Environment Cayman Islands) suggests that Cayman’s shark numbers are relatively low in comparison to our Caribbean neighbors.  Notably, numbers will vary from species to species.  However, our waters have a fair population of sharks and rays. Both species are being threatened across the Caribbean and around the world.  Protecting sharks and rays regionally will benefit not only our territory but also on a global scale as it encourages other countries to designate their waters as a sanctuary for these magnificent creatures.  It is evident that the protection of sharks and rays needs to be made as a united effort, and the Cayman Islands is doing their part to help in this initiative.  Now that our waters have been designated as a shark and ray sanctuary there is hope that it  will give our shark population a chance to recover.

A Sanctuary for Sharks, Rays & Coral Reefs

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The sanctuary serves as a haven for our sharks and rays. Our sharks and rays are of great significance to our coral reefs and marine environment both ecologically and economically.  Most importantly their protection is needed to ensure their survival —our ecosystem depends on it.

The sanctuary also serves as a means to benefit our island not only from an ecological standpoint but economically.  The protection of sharks and rays has a direct impact on benefiting our tourism industry.  Sharks are a highlight for divers.  Whereas, rays can be seen in a large school at Stingray City located at the sandbar on the eastern side of Grand Cayman.  Protecting our sharks and rays within our region will not only allow for a positive impact on improving the health of our coral reefs but also it will help to maintain our status as a popular diving destination.  Flourishing reefs serve us ecologically but as an added bonus they are attractive diving spots helping our tourism industry and economy.

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Declaring Cayman waters as a sharks and rays sanctuary is a positive step towards ecotourism and beneficial for our islands.  Countries making a shift towards ecotourism demonstrates that we can find a balance between developing the economy of a country but not at the cost of losing their natural resources.  It is possible to use our natural resources and benefit from them and not destroy them —rather there is an emphasis on the preservation of natural resources as they have intrinsic value.  Specific to Caribbean islands our natural resources are everything to our tourism industry which greatly impacts our economy.  For Cayman, we could look at the ocean as the very soul of our island.  Our culture is bound to the ocean and it is imperative that we continue to move forward in protecting our ocean, coral reefs, marine life and natural environment.  Cayman’s transition into ecotourism has helped to establish the Cayman Islands as setting a positive example for other islands in the Caribbean by way of encouraging other islands to consider becoming a sharks and rays sanctuary to increase the coverage of areas that serve as a haven for them.  While, our waters protect a small percentage of sharks and rays in our region, and is making a positive impact, it would be greatly beneficial if other regional countries made their waters a sanctuary.  Alone, we can make a small difference, but together we can make a much stronger impact.  Protecting the coral reefs, marine life, sharks and rays is a global need.  

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Photo Credit: Ellen Cuylaerts

 

This article was also published in Mission Blue’s Ocean Stories please click here 

Love The Ocean: Ambassador for Sage Larock

I am excited to announce, I am proud to be an ambassador for Sage Larock. It was an absolute honor to be asked to join Sage Larock in their mission to help create ocean awareness through sustainable fashion.  Growing up surrounded by the ocean has instilled in me a great love and respect for our oceans.  I am proud to use my voice to help create ocean awareness and encourage others to stay passionate about their dreams, because they can make a difference and help create a positive impact.  I fully support Sage Larock in creating sustainable fashion that is ethically made.  I believe in their mission to utilize sustainable practices to help keep plastic out of our oceans, and transform recycled plastic and recycled fishing nets into new material to create upcycled clothing.  Through collaborating with Sage Larock, I have come to learn so much about the fashion industry.  Sustainable fashion is the way forward.  Redefining and redesigning fashion to be sustainably and ethically made for the betterment of our environment is creating a positive impact.

Sage Larock creates sustainable swimwear inspired by the sea and designed to be ocean friendly.  By 2050 oceans will contain more plastic than fish, a disheartening reality.  Sage Larock is doing their part to help prevent this from happening and by tackling the issue of plastic littering on beaches and polluting our oceans.  Sage Larock transforms ocean plastic debris and discarded fishing nets into upcycled fabric to create sustainable swimwear with the ocean in mind, for the betterment of our planet.  A portion of the proceeds goes directly towards helping conservation by supporting non-profits: NGO HealthySeas.org and NGO Canopy.“

Sage Larock: Redefining Fashion Upcycling Plastic Into Swimwear

Behind all of the glitz and glamour of the fashion world is an ugly side.  There is an incredible amount of textile waste and pollution produced by the fashion industry.  “It is the second highest global polluter of clean water because of its use of toxic heavy metals, formaldehyde, and other toxic compounds” (Sage Larock).  In an era of conscious consumers, and a growing movement to pass on plastic consumers are evaluating their consumption habits.  Some are becoming more interested in how clothing is made.  As a result, they are seeking out sustainably and ethically made clothing.  Sustainable fashion is a game changer, it is redefining fashion and redesigning the way clothing is made.  In particular,  Sage Larock  is founded upon being a sustainable luxury line of swimwear and apparel made in Los Angeles, California.  The ethos of their sustainable clothing is making beautiful swimwear that is inspired by the sea and designed to be ocean friendly.  At the heart of their environmentally responsible approach is reclaiming ocean plastic debris and transforming it into fabric.  This application of upclying plastic waste into material for clothing celebrates the call to action for the fashion industry to consider adopting a circular economy approach.  A circular economy encourages designers to rethink and redesign the way stuff is made.  It allows for a unique opportunity to reconfigure waste into being functional.  It serves to make effective use of resources.  Taking ocean plastic debris and dead stock fabrics which would have otherwise been discarded and turning it into fabric for clothing is one solution to reducing textile and plastic waste.  Plastic never goes away.  Even plastic that is said to biodegrade just breaks down into tiny particles of micro plastics, further adding to the problem of ocean pollution.  By 2050 oceans will contain more plastic than fish, a disheartening reality.  Plastic is harmful to wildlife, marine life and coral reefs.  Sage Larock is working to change this by raising ocean awareness and creating sustainable fashion by transforming ocean plastic waste and discarded fishing nets into upcycled fabric.

It All Comes Down To Design  

When it comes to fashion, the single most important element is design.  Design is everything.  Design is what makes or breaks fashion.  Thus, innovative design methods, such as ecologically sensible approaches is beneficial in the long term.  Sustainable fashion is the way forward, and it just might be at a point in time whereby it is disrupting the fashion industry by making waves resulting in a call to action for change in design and manufacturing practices.  A major design flaw in the manufacturing of swimsuits is that new plastic is constantly being created to produce new material for swimwear.  Taryn Larock, founder of Sage Larock, took notice of this and made it her mission to make something beautiful from this plastic design flaw and the issue of plastic accumulating in our oceans by redesigning swimwear with upcycled ocean plastic waste.  By repurposing plastic debris and ghost nets (discarded fishing nets) into upcycled material creates a solution.  Furthermore, it helps create a positive environmental impact as it supports the removal of plastic off beaches and out of the ocean.  Her sustainable practices help raise ocean awareness and encourages consumers to be more mindful about their consumer habits.  With a love for ocean advocacy at the heart of her clothing line, Sage Larock is proud to partner with NGO HealthySeas.org to give back a percentage of their swimwear sales to help our oceans.  Additionally, they support NGO Canopy, “To ensure endangered forests are not logged to make clothing, and to advance visionary creative solutions for the fashion industry that protect key global conservation areas, which millions of indigenous people and many endangered animals call home” (Sage Larock).

 

Q&A With Taryn Larock. founder of Sage Larock

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1. What is your approach to redefining fashion?

The fashion industry is, behind oil and animal agriculture, one of the most polluting industries on the planet, but also it is one of the most profitable and powerful.

I therefore believe that as a designer in the fashion industry that it is my responsibility to create things that are made in a sustainable and ethical manner, which is sadly not the current industry standard. It is insane to me that most swimwear brands use polyester fabric (which is very cheaply made plastic content fabric) when everyone knows one of the last things our planet needs is more highly toxic plastic that will never biodegrade! I think it is equally insane that women’s clothing brands often leverage cheap sweatshop and slave labor to produce their clothing, when most of these workers (almost 80%) are estimated to be women!

So for us, redefining fashion is all about recognizing that the fashion industry has a real power to create positive change for people’s lives and our planet, and then doing our very best to create things with integrity. I personally have way more respect for other women and our planet than to create more toxic junk just to turn a larger profit or to do things the easy way – I believe we all deserve a lot better than that.

We have set a high standards for ethical and sustainable practices in every stage for our sourcing and manufacturing process, that we are constantly striving to meet. We also see redefining fashion as a great opportunity to connect with and collaborate with women such as yourself to raise awareness and work together to create more good for everyone.

2. Why is it important for consumers to be more mindful of their consumer habits and to consider choosing sustainable fashion?

I think the easy answer is that humanity’s actions are killing our planet, and if we are lucky, our children will have a place to live that has enough clean oxygen for everyone to breathe. It really is as simple as that! If we keep producing and consuming things that are made in a toxic manner that pollute our planet, and we don’t utilize what we already have – like the billions of tons of plastic we have created that will never biodegrade – we are going to be very quickly living in a world with more plastic than fish and one full of toxins. And you don’t have to be a hippy or Green Party member to do the math on that. We should all be extremely concerned, as I believe we are the last generation and group of people who can turn this destruction around.

The much more complex issue is that if the junk is what is most accessible – from GMO food, to cheap, toxic clothing – how are consumers supposed to make choices that are responsible? I believe because of this, people really need to re-think what they need and whats worth having, to get educated about whats going on, and start thinking about the costs associated with their choices.

We have all been conditioned to think that if something is made by XYZ brand, that has all these pretty pictures on the social media, the right celeb is wearing it, and everyone is buying it – then it must have been made in a sustainable and ethical way right? Sorry, but the answer is probably no (unless otherwise stated) given the current standards for fashion manufacturing.

Up until the economic recession of late 2000’s, fast fashion was really not that popular, and in an effort to give a boost to the very bad situation at that time with retail and wholesale sales, clothing companies started to create all those $9 t-shirts, $20 jeans and $30 swimsuits to continue to turn a profit and make certain even those of us who were financially suffering could still afford to consume. To do this – they had to start ramping up production in the least expensive way possible – which in the fashion industry means producing cheap things, almost certainly made with toxic chemicals, and paying garment workers as little as possible.

But I think as a society we are quickly going to have to get that if we are to survive and live on a planet worth living on, we will need to come to the conclusion that what we purchase has a HUGE effect on the world around us – either positive or negative.

3. Do you see the fashion industry adopting more sustainable practices and a circular economy?

I believe the power is in the hands of consumers – which are mostly women – to refuse the bad and demand things made without pollution, slave labor, neurotoxins, and heavy metals. Its pretty great to think that its women who ultimately are so powerful that if we really ask for it – that we could make a massive positive shift in the fashion industry – which is currently valuated at 3 trillion dollars!

Its great news too that we are seeing the idea of more sustainable practices and a circular economy become more popular with brands.

4. As design is instrumental to fashion, what is your approach to designing sustainable swimwear?

We begin our process with the most sustainable performance swimwear fabric out there – made from Econyl brand yarn – which is made from upcycled fishing lines and recycled plastic. We definitely hold sustainability and design to equally high standards in our process. But swimwear tends to be something that is tricky to wear for most women – so getting the fit right to be flattering is definitely very important to us and also making sure we produce the highest quality possible is also top priority.

5. What is your biggest takeaway from your journey of creating sustainable fashion?

My biggest takeaway to date is that Sage Larock has been so lucky to provide a sustainable and ethical option for women, and that we hopefully get to help women feel beautiful and empowered in a world that too often tells us we are not. This is really what it is all about for us – offering an option that women can trust and creating a community that supports women in feeling great about themselves and to make empowered and positive choices for the planet and future generations.

Sage Larock: Shop Sustainable Swimwear

Browse their 2018 collection, click here

 

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Environmental Career Opportunity: The Department of Environment, Cayman Islands

For those of you who are passionate about protecting the environment and have a background in communications and/or marketing there is a fantastic job opportunity with the Cayman Islands Department of Environment (DOE) available.  This job opportunity allows you to merge your dedication for conservation and raising awareness about environmental issues with your creative talents to help create a positive impact in the Cayman Islands community.

About the DOE: “The DoE works to facilitate responsible management and sustainable use of the natural environment and resources of the Cayman Islands through various environmental protection and conservation programmes and strategies.” –DOE

The Department of Environment invites applications for the position of Public Education and Outreach Officer.  CLOSING DATE: Friday February 23rd 2018, click this link to view further details on job description and application  http://www.gov.ky/portal/page/portal/cighome/government/jobs/vacancies?p_id=9999294&p_pagegroupid=1142.

 

Photo Credit: Johanna Kohler

Le Visage: Give With Love, Valentine’s Day Gift Guide

It’s that time of year, when love is in the air.  Valentine’s Day is on the way.  We bet you have your hot date night already planned.  If you need some fabulous gift ideas for this Valentine’s Day, Le Visage has got you covered with the perfect gift guide.  Their collection of gifts for the lady and the gentleman are eco-friendly, ethically made and animal cruelty free.

Gifts For The Lady 

1. The Original MakeUp Eraser, CI$24 

This makeup eraser is a fabulous eco-friendly utensil as it is reusable.  All you need to do is add a little warm water and this ultraist cloth will remove you makeup in a clean swipe.

2. Elemis Body Beautiful Set, CI$52

Indulge in this sweet smelling gift set filled with notes of Frangipani Monoi in the Shower Cream & Body Oil.  This duo of exotic scented skincare products will leave your skin feeling silky smooth and nourished.

3. Sara Happ Perfect Pout in a Box Set, CI$59

A fabulous box set packed with beauty essentials: lip scrub, lip sip and lip mask to nourish your lips so you can stay kissable all day and night.

Gifts For The Gentleman

1. Elemis Instant Refreshing Gel, CI$56

After breaking a sweat in the gym, this muscle reviving body gel is your go-to revitalizer.  It is great for tired legs, muscle tension and perfect for shoulders and neck. It will have you feeling cool and refreshed in no time.

2. Neville Tonic Splash, CI$34

Add a splash of Neville tonic right after your shave. This invigorating face tonic is great for energizing and refreshing the skin. It also soothes for a great post-shave.

3. Cowshed Grooming Wash Bag, CI$41 

Gentlemen, this is the ultimate grooming kit that includes, shaving cream, body wash and moisturizer.  All the essentials you need to keep you looking debonair.

Get Ready, Set, Happy Shopping

The lovely team at Le Visage, Skincare & Cosmetic Boutique are all set to help make your Valentine’s Day shopping a breeze.  They are always more than happy to assist you in finding skincare and beauty products that are a perfect match for you and your loved one.   If your loved one is a fan of shopping and swiping that gift card, Le Visage has gift certificates on hand.  As a beautiful bonus, complimentary samples are included with your gift certificate purchase, so your loved one can enjoy sample goodies at home.  Visit the wonderful team at Le Visage, Skincare & Cosmetic Boutique located at Camana Bay and let the Valentine’s Day gift shopping begin.

5 Reasons to ditch that plastic straw

Spoiler alert, plastic straws are no longer in vogue.  It is the end of the era of the plastic straw.  Many of us have had the last straw (both literally and metaphorically) when it comes to single-use plastic.  Single-use plastics have a significant environmental impact and are polluting our oceans in a major way.  There is a massive amount of plastic floating around our oceans, it is estimated that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is 700,000 square miles, equivalent to the size of Texas!  Plastic waste is starting to take over our oceans.  Divers, surfers, and regular beach goers are constantly finding and removing plastic off the beach and from the oceans.  Our lifestyle of convenience wrapped in plastic needs to be reevaluated, we know that single-use plastic is harmful to marine life, birds and our environment.  By 2050 oceans will contain more plastic than fish.  Plastic is harmful to marine life and coral reefs.  That being said, we need to unite in an effort to change our consumer habits, by switching over to sustainable options.  We can still have a lifestyle of convenience, just in an environmentally responsible way.  The time is now to ditch that plastic straw and quit other single-use plastics.  Even if we start small, by going plastic strawfree, it will add up and make an impact.  Just one small change can make all the difference.

It’s International Strawfree day! Here are 5 reasons to give up plastic straws.

1. Over 8 million tons of new plastic trash ends up in the ocean every year.

Plastic straws contribute to this problem.  Plastic debris and micro plastics are a growing concern for ocean pollution.  There is no away when it comes to plastic.  Plastic bags floating around the ocean breaks down into micro plastics and just continuing to add to the problem of ocean plastic pollution.

2.  Each year 100,000 marine animals and over 1 million sea birds die from ingesting plastic.

Plastic bags in particular, are often mistaken as jellyfish, and turtles end up mistaking it for food.

3. In the US, 500 million straws are used daily.

This is incredibly wasteful.  All those straws tossed out in one day adds up to being enough straws to fill 46,400 large school buses per year.  Furthermore, US consumption is equal to enough plastic straws that could wrap around the earth 2.5 times a day.

4. It takes plastic straws 200 years to breakdown

There is never really an ‘away’ when it comes to plastic. Plastic straws breakdown, but never biodegrade completely.  Straws breakdown into micro plastics which are just as harmful for marine life and the ocean.

5. There is no need for plastic straws anymore, there are sustainable options available.

Paper straws, glass straws, metal straws and bamboo straws are available and are eco-friendly.  Invest in a reusable straw, just remember to bring it with you.

Join the movement to pass on plastic 

You can start off with giving up plastic straws.  Then go from there, and start eliminating other single-use plastics out of  your lifestyle.  Break free from plastic.  Other single-use plastics to quit using are: disposable coffee cups, water bottles, disposable cutlery, take-away packaging, and plastic bags.  For eco tips on going plastic free click here

Le Visage: How to have a simple day and night beauty routine

Many of us aren’t morning people.  Some find the mornings a mad rush between waking up and walking out the door ready to take on the day.  Finding easy ways to simplify your morning routine can make all the difference.  Whether, it is waking up an hour earlier to fit in a morning workout, meditate and practice yoga or enjoy a cup of coffee with a good book before the day really begins, you will find it helps you to accomplish your morning goals.  When it comes to your beauty routine, less is more. A simple day and night beauty routine is obtainable and easy to follow everyday.  Finding that perfect balance of the right products to use to keep your skin nourished and radiant is the first step.  Sometimes all you really need is just a few quality products that provide a variety of benefits.  Simplifying your beauty routine will save you a lot of time in the morning and allow you to have a relaxing night.  All a beauty routine really is, just taking the time to take care of yourself.

A Simple Day and Night Beauty Routine

Your Simple Morning Beauty Routine

1. Elemis Smart Cleanse Micellar Water, CI $41  

This gentle cleansing water is a perfect start to your day and will have you feeling refreshed.  It also works as a toner.  As an added bonus, it is great to use at the end of the day to purify your skin and effectively remove make-up and the daily build-up of skin pollutants.  It will keep you looking radiant from day to night.  Some of the active ingredients are: Organic English Rose water, Chamomile extract, Apple Amino acid, Rosehip seed oil.

2. Murad City Skin Age Defense Broad Spectrum SPF, CI $65

More than ever, it is important that you incorporate the use of sunscreen into your beauty routine to help protect your skin from sun damage.  This 100% mineral sunscreen with Vitamin C that shields skin from environmental damage and has a colour correcting tint, suitable for all skin tones.  Vitamin C is a great boost for nourishing your skin and giving you a radiant glow.

3. Lipsmart, CI $30

This lip balm is an amazing moisturizer and conditioner for lips.  It provides a powerful hydration for your lips all day, perfect for island life.  As an added bonus, this lip balm can be incorporated in your night beauty routine.

Your Simple Night Beauty Routine

4. Elemis Absolute Eye Serum, CI $63

Tired eyes from a long day at the office or a fantastic night out with friends, have no worries.  This eye serum helps reduce the appearance of dullness and puffiness around the eye area.  Keeping the area around your eyes refreshed and hydrated is an important element of your beauty routine.  Some of the active ingredients include: absolute of Osmanthus Dalbergia Sissoo (Indian Rosewood) Wood Oil, Chamomile Essential Oil – INCI: Anthemis Nobilis Flower Oil.

5. Murad Perfecting Night Cream, CI $59

Sleep through the night with no worries.  This night cream is enriched with features of Evening Primrose and Borage Seed oils to help restore and improve as well as diminish signs of aging.  It will keep your skin hydrated throughout the night.

Easy, Breezy, Beauty Routine

Thanks to the wonderful team at Le Visage, Skincare & Cosmetic Boutique your beauty routine just got a whole lot easier.  This easy, breezy, beauty routine will have feeling good knowing, that all their products have been cherry picked and are eco-friendly, ethically made and animal cruelty free.  If you are seeking a customized beauty routine, the lovely staff at Le Visage are happy to advise you on skincare products that will make a great addition to your beauty routine.  Visit them at Le Visage, Skincare & Cosmetic Boutique located at Camana Bay.