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Nature is my Gym: 5 Sustainable Essentials For Your Workout

I love a great workout that makes me break a sweat.  There is nothing more satisfying.  Nature is my favourite gym. I love being outdoors.  In the spirit of setting fitness goals and stepping up my game when it comes to workouts, today on the blog we are sharing 5 sustainable essentials for your workout.  This is where sustainable fashion meets the gym.    

1. Reusable Water Bottle

Staying hydrated is imperative when you are doing a workout.  Especially, if nature is your gym, it can get pretty hot outside.  Always have your reusable bottle on standby.   

2. Reef Safe Sunscreen

Hello sunshine! No matter if you are running, holding a plank for 30 seconds or swimming in the ocean, don’t forget to put some sunscreen on.  Living in the Caribbean you can’t help but think about the ocean.  With this in mind, it is important to choose reef safe sunscreen options.  Coola sunscreen is available at Le Visage at Camana Bay. 

3. Sustainable Fashion: Sustainable Swimsuit

 

Who knew swimwear could be so versatile?  This just in, swimsuits make a great workout top.  Great for pilates and yoga.   My personal favourite is sustainable luxury swimwear by Sage Larock.  Their commitment to sustainable fashion and creating ocean awareness is noble.  Sage Larock’s fabulous swimwear is made from recycled ocean plastic debris and drift nets.  Furthermore, “We use only sustainable fabrics such as organic OEKO-TEX® certified cotton, Italian upcycled swimwear fabric, which is made of recycled fishing nets and plastic debris recovered from the ocean, and extra soft hemp jersey, which is grown and produced without any chemicals”(Sage Larock).  Sage Larock is also partnered with NGO HealthySeas.org to give back a percentage of their swimwear sales to help our oceans, and also NGO Canopy to ensure endangered forests are not logged to make clothing (Sage Larock). 

4. Sustainable Fashion: Eco-friendly Leggings 

When it comes to your gym wear it’s all about the leggings. Sustainable Fashion Alert! Your workout wardrobe just got a whole lot cooler.  Sustainable leggings made from recycled plastic bottles are a real game changer.  These super comfy leggings are available at Activ Angel from the  Niyama Sol collection. 

5. Sustainable Fashion: Eco-friendly Sneakers

 

Hit the ground running with these sustainably made sneakers by Parley and Adidas.  Interesting fact, each shoe is made from 11 plastic bottles and recycled materials. Essentially, 95% of each sneaker is made from Parley Ocean Plastic and the remaining 5% is made from recycled polyester.  The inspiration comes from tackling marine plastic pollution such as, removing plastic debris and litter off of beaches, out of the oceans and intercepting plastic before it ends up in the ocean. The plastic bottles and other items collected at beach cleanups is upcycled into recycled materials used to make the shoes. 

 Photo Credit: Lori- Ann Speirs 

NB* Brand Ambassador for Sage Larock.  Brand Ambassador for Activ Angels. 

Miss World Cayman Islands 2018: Kelsie Bodden Be Kind to the Environment

The newly crowned Miss World Cayman Islands, Kelsie Bodden is embarking on a journey of raising environmental awareness during the Miss World competition held in Sanya, China and the Miss World “Beauty with a Purpose” project.  Kelsie’s personal motto is: ‘Go in to the world and do well, but more importantly, go into the world and do good.’  With this in mind, she is doing just that.  Kelsie is using her reign as Miss World Cayman Islands as a platform to work with local environmental non-profit organisations in the Cayman Islands, as well as within the local community to raise awareness about local environmental issues.  Her passion for the environment expands to her personal blog KelsieBodden.com with an all new series, “BE KIND TO OTHERS & BE KIND TO THE ENVIRONMENT,” In the first blog post of this new series, Kelsie discusses her dedication for protecting the environment and the local environmental organisations she has teamed up with alongside Miss World Cayman Islands.  Here is an excerpt from the blog post, “There is only one Earth and we want to be able to enjoy it’s many treasures now and in years to come. Earth provides us with the necessities we need to live. Sometimes we take these resources, like water for granted but its time for us to show mother nature the respect she deserves” (Kelsie Booden).  To read more of her article, click here.  A message that reminds us of the great importance and responsibility we all share in protecting the environment and being environmentally responsible.  There is no planet B, we must take greater care of the planet.  

Prior to winning the Miss World Cayman Islands Pageant 2018, Kelsie along with other Miss World Cayman Islands contestants went on an environmental tour around the Cayman Islands allowing the contestants the opportunity to connect and engage with local conservationists and gain a better understanding of local environmental issues and conservation efforts. Highlights of the tour included special guest speakers: Johanna Kohler from Shark Conservation Cayman, Andrew McGovern from Ambassador of the Environment The Ritz Carlton, Grand Cayman (Developed by the legendary Jean-Michel Cousteau), Douglas Cameron and Paul Lankford from The Lodge & Peripheral, and Kafara Augustine from Health City (Conservation and Sustainability practices).  Overall, the contestants had an eye-opening experience learning about shark conservation, coral reefs, plastic waste, plastic upcycling projects, sustainability and conservation.  Kelsie reflected on the environmental tour by saying, “On our environment tour, I quickly learned that we can all be “Ambassadors of the Environment”.  As I listened to all of the presentations (by Eco Diver Reef Foundation, Ambassadors of the Environment by Jean-Michel Cousteau, Shark Conservation Cayman and the Gentlemen of Peripheral) one recurring topic was that Cayman’s ecosystems both on land and our marine life have always been envied by others, with this in mind it is important that we help sustain our uniquely beautiful islands!” A heartfelt message that encourages us to not take our precious ecosystems for granted.  It encourages us to all think of ourselves as “Ambassadors for the environment” whereby we can all actively do our part to help preserve precious ecosystems, protect the environment and work alongside local conservation organisations.  Director of Miss World Cayman Islands, Pamela Ebanks-Small found the eco tour to be “Very informative and opened my eyes what we can be doing.”  

Kelsie Bodden Representing the Cayman Islands at Miss World Pageant 2018

An empowering and inspiring message from Kelsie Bodden. 

Stay Connected with Kelsie Bodden and Miss World Cayman Islands

 

For all things happening with Miss World Cayman Islands and Miss World Cayman Islands 2018 winner Kelsie Bodden join them on social media.

Photo Credits: Miss World Cayman Islands & Kelsie Bodden

Welcome To Sharkphoria

What is Sharkphoria? Sharkphoria is a science based Patreon channel dedicated to creating shark awareness and to share marine biology content through videos. The person behind Sharkphoria and creator of the videos is a marine biologist and shark researcher, Johanna Kohler, based in the Cayman Islands. As part of the non-profit collaboration, Shark Conservation Cayman, Johanna studies the local shark population which is also part of her PhD. Her shark research interests include shark behaviour and ecology, shark reproduction and human-shark conflict mitigation.

By becoming a Sharkphoria Patron, anyone can now step into Johanna’s world and join her on the journey to a PhD in shark research as she is not only sharing fun, science based shark video tutorials, but also exclusive insights and first hand experiences.

Sharks are one of the most misunderstood creatures.  Many people fear sharks as a result of blockbuster movies and sensationalizing media.  Media, which continues to give sharks a negative reputation, doesn’t help.  According to Johanna, sharks are not something to be feared, but rather respected. What is truly terrifying is the paramount decline of shark populations globally and the thought of a future without sharks.  For many shark conservationists, the common goal is to change the public perception of sharks and show them in a new light— highlighting how truly fascinating and important sharks are.  Johanna’s 8 years of experience in shark research and working with sharks together with her undying passion for these animals and her job, make her the perfect shark advocate. If you love sharks or want to learn more about sharks, even if you are scared of sharks, then Sharkphoria is an excellent resource for amazing shark content and marine biology background. 

Watch the Sharkphoria Trailer and Watch the full Welcome Sharkphoria Video here.

 

Love & Support Sharks and Shark Research

Donate towards the cause.  Patreon is a website and crowd-funding platform which makes continued financial support for creators and their projects possible. The idea behind it is that many people add to one pot to directly support individual creators which enables them to continue their work. The goal of Patreon is not the once-off donation of large sums but rather smaller, consistent financial support to keep a project alive. The payment may be for a video, song or short story depending on the creator. Johanna is creating videos for Sharkphoria Patrons. Her different tier options provide different benefits in addition to the paid post (i.e. video). Check out her tier options, there is something for every wallet with lots of different perks.

An Interview with Johanna Kohler

  1. What does Sharkphoria stand for?

Sharkphoria the combination of the words “shark” and “euphoria”. I made it up. It’s my word for the joyful feeling I get deep inside when I see a shark.

  1. What kind of content can viewers expect?

Become a shark expert! Sharkphoria is a science based Patreon channel that lets you step into my world of shark research by becoming a Patron. Ever wondered what it is like to be a marine biologist, a shark researcher or just want to know more about sharks and the ocean? 

With 8 years of experience I’m creating educational and fun content revolving around sharks, research, diving, the marine environment and my PhD journey. There will be tutorials, field trip expeditions, vlogs and much more.

  1. What inspired you to start this project?

My vision for the channel is to provide high quality, informative content to the Patrons. I see Patreon less as a donation platform and more as an opportunity for everyone to subscribe to university level content for a small donation. Doctorate degrees often include a teaching component and I consider this a good opportunity for me to share my knowledge. 

I’m German and started out as dive instructor. I did my undergraduate at the University of Cape Town (marine biology | oceanography). For 3 years I’m based in the Cayman Islands where I work for Shark Conservation Cayman. People ask me questions about marine biology, the ocean, fisheries, sharks, shark research and field trips all the time. 

Many are interested in the marine environment, even when they don’t live near the ocean, and want to know how it all works but not everyone wants/is able to take the route to go to university and study marine biology. It is however important for us that did, to share our knowledge with the public in order to do effectively work and conserve the marine environment, including sharks. 

Via the Sharkphoria channel, everyone is able to become a marine biology and shark expert. It doesn’t matter where you are, whether you live by the sea or inland, no matter what your job is, whether you are in school or working in an office, the videos are online and accessible worldwide. The public perception is the biggest challenge we face in (shark) conservation. We need to work together. Sharkphoria via Patreon allows me to that! 

  1. How is my patronage helping sharks?

For less than the price of a cup of coffee per video you get access to university level shark and marine biology content and to conserve sharks. First of all, by subscribing and helping me to continue my work you not only educate yourself but others as well. Raising awareness and outreach helps sharks.

But it doesn’t stop there. By signing up you are supporting my scientific work as well. The research funding doesn’t cover my living expenses therefore I need your help to continue with the research and conservation efforts. 

  1. What is your PhD thesis on?

My PhD thesis is on the behaviour and relative abundance of sharks in the Cayman Islands with special reference to the Caribbean reef shark. The Caribbean reef shark is endemic to our region which makes the population more vulnerable and research, to understand their population dynamics, of high priority.

  1. What is your favourite shark?

Tiger shark – They are incredible. They are the fourth largest shark, they travel super long distances and their teeth have a funky shape. Oh and I love their pattern, simply stunning!

  1. What’s your vision after your PhD?

After the PhD, I’ll continue to follow my passion to study sharks and to share my knowledge with others in return. My goal is to use our research to develop better ways to protect sharks and the marine environment so future generations are able to benefit from and enjoy the ocean like we all do now.

  1. What is your favourite or most memorable shark experience?

This is hard, every shark experience is a great memory. I guess the most impactful experience was my first ever shark encounter. I was snorkeling in Australia when two large bull sharks showed up. It changed my life forever! 

Resources

Johanna Kohler

Shark Conservation Cayman

Sharkphoria

Sharkwater Extinction Review

We are honoured to have a guest post written by Julia Barnes.

I was a little nervous to watch Sharkwater Extinction. I knew it would make me emotional. Rob Stewart has been my hero since I was 12. Losing him was devastating and I didn’t want to relive his death. But I was also excited to see his new film, so I attended the premier at TIFF. Hearing his voice and seeing him on the screen, I found myself smiling all the way through. Sharkwater Extinction is not a sad film. It is overwhelmingly inspiring, filled with Rob’s passion and energy. It’s a film that will make you realize you can change the world.

Rob’s voice is a constant throughout the movie. His narration guides you through the story as he and his team investigate the trade in endangered shark species, uncovering corruption, deception, and mafia rings. There are plenty of dangerous, heart-pounding moments. At one point Rob goes into a ship’s freezer, alone, with a camera, to film piles of dead sharks. It would have been too easy for someone to close the lid on him and lock him in the freezer. Later, when Rob is filming driftnet fishing in California the fishermen start shooting at him and his crew. 

Rob risked his life again and again for sharks, motivated by a deep love of this misunderstood species which comes clear in moments of stunning cinematography and close, intimate interactions between Rob and the sharks. In this film, Rob shows you the softer, gentler side of sharks. He lets you see how they can be playful and shy.

Some of the most beautiful scenes include Rob freediving with great hammerheads, his favourite species, and oceanic whitetips, sharks who have a reputation for being one of the most dangerous. His peaceful encounters demonstrate that sharks are not the monsters the media has portrayed them to be. 

Although Rob changed the perception of sharks with the original Sharkwater and inspired many people to fight for them, sharks are facing more threats now than ever. Sharks are being renamed and fed to us, they’re being added to products like cosmetics, fertilizers, pet foods, and livestock feed. In Sharkwater Extinction Rob goes to a grocery store and finds shark in 30% of the products he tests genetically. He also finds that even products which are labeled as “shark” are not forthcoming about which species it is. 

Over 150 million sharks are being killed every year. Sharks don’t have much time before they face extinction. These beautiful predators are crucial to the ocean ecosystem. Sharks have kept the ocean in balance for 450 million years. Now, their future depends on us. 

Sharkwater Extinction is a rallying call to action, infused with Rob’s optimism and his belief that everyone can be a hero for a species they love. Rob is proof that one person can make a difference. His footage has already lead to the banning of drift nets in California. Now it’s up to us to take on Rob’s mission and create a world that’s beautiful for all species. 

Guest Article by Julia Barnes

Julia Barnes is the award-winning filmmaker behind Sea of Life. For as long as she can remember Julia has been passionate about the natural world, but it wasn’t until she was 16 that she realized the world she loved was in serious jeopardy. After watching Rob Stewart’s documentary Revolution and learning that the world’s coral reefs, rainforests and fish are expected to be wiped out by the middle of the century she was compelled to take action. Film was the most powerful weapon she could imagine so she picked up a video camera and set out to make a documentary to raise awareness about the biggest threats facing the ocean. Julia is continues to work on new environmental documentaries and short films.

Eco Eats: Thanksgiving Favourite Eats

 

Thanksgiving Day is one of my favourite holidays! A wonderful time for friends and family to come together and make new memories during a fantastic dinner.  It is also a time for reflecting on what we are thankful for.  It’s always been a tradition at Thanksgiving Dinner and/or Friendsgiving for everyone sitting around the table to say one thing they are most thankful for.  Through all the good and bad that has happened this year, there is still so much to be thankful for.   

When it comes to the holidays, the main attraction is always the dinner table garnished with chic decorations and tasty treats.  ’Tis the season to start whipping up in the kitchen some old fashioned favourite holiday dishes.  Here are some of our favourite Thanksgiving side dishes, drinks and desserts.  Whenever possible, support local.  Some local favourites making their way to our Thanksgiving Dinner are Coconut Marshmallows from Powder Monkey Gourmet Treats and Cayman Thanksgiving Tea from Tea Time in Cayman 

Blood Orange & Cranberry Sauce 

 

Ingredients: 1 bag of cranberries, 1 cup of water, 1/4 cup of brown sugar, 1 blood orange

How To Make It: Heat cranberries in water on medium heat.  Add in brown sugar, orange zest and blood orange juice. Stir until sauce has melted into jelly and is bubbling in pot. 

Kale & Pecan Savoury Salad

 

Ingredients: Kale, 1/2 cup pecans, 2 teaspoons butter  (allergy friendly), and 3 teaspoons brown sugar.

How To Make It:  Add butter to pan on medium heat.  Add in pecans and brown sugar, stir for a couple of minutes and then add in kale.  Cook 3-5 mins.  

Butternut Squash with Coconut Marshmallows

 

Ingredients: Butternut squash, garlic powder, 2 teaspoons butter (allergy friendly), rosemary and Powder Monkey Coconut marshmallows.

How To Make It: Season butternut squash with garlic powder, rosemary and butter.  Roast butternut squash for 45 mins at 350 degrees.  For the last 8-10 minutes add in coconut marshmallows to melt into butternut squash. 

Whiskey Chocolate Bomb with Coconut Marshmallow

Ingredients: Chocolate ganache, Jack Daniel’s Whiskey and Powder Monkey Coconut marshmallows.

How To Make It:  The chocolate ganache is a family recipe (Sorry, the recipe is under wraps). Place your own chocolate ganache into a whiskey shot glass, add a little whiskey and top with coconut marshmallow from Powder Monkey.  Let it sit for 10 mins for the whiskey to infuse into chocolate and marshmallow.

Cayman Thanksgiving Tea made by Tea Time in Cayman

 

Nothing like a delicious cup of tea served at the end of a fabulous dinner party.  Cayman Thanksgiving, premium loose leaf tea by Tea Time in Cayman is a holiday favourite!  Brew tea as per instructions on packet or to liking.  Personally, I like to add in a little almond milk.  Enjoy, xo 

 

Wishing you all a wonderful Thanksgiving Day, xo

5 Reasons Why You Should Adopt A Rescue Animal

As a proud pet parent of two rescue fur-babies (cats) Kiwi and Sparta, I can wholeheartedly say they have truly enriched my life.  My boys are the best part of my day.  I can still vividly remember the day I brought home Sparta and Kiwi, we were an instant family— they found their human.  There is an inexplicable bond between people and their pets.  I have often wondered about the life Kiwi and Sparta had before they were rescued and adopted.  Kiwi was only 4 weeks old when I adopted him.  It breaks my heart to think he was separated from his mother and family at such a young age.  He has grown up to be a little bit of a mischievous one.  He is a little charmer, absolutely loves to socialise and be at the centre of attention.  His brother, Sparta was a year old.  It was evident that he had been rescued from a negative environment.  My heart sank, because Sparta has such a gentle and adoring demeanour about him.  I can’t even begin to fathom how there are people in this world that can be cruel to animals.  Sparta still shows a little hesitation around people.  That being said, for the most part he rebuilt his trust with people.  Luckily, from the first day he seemed to have a sense he had found his home. Sparta is an ever curious cat—as they are.  Unlike Kiwi who loves everybody, Sparta has his favourites.  One lesson rescue pets teach you again and again is that animals have this extraordinary ability to love unconditionally.  Even rescue pets that have been through horrific circumstances still find it within them the capacity to love and embrace their new family. 

 

1. Adopt & Save A Life

Adopting a rescue cat or dog is essentially giving them a second chance at a better life.  It’s heartbreaking to think of the reasons a loving dog or cat has been dropped off at a local animal shelter.  The reasons can vary, maybe they were found as a stray wandering the streets, their owners moved to another country, their new home doesn’t allow pets, the animal developed a medical condition, the animal was removed from an abusive home or they were dropped off abandoned.  Whatever the reason, they deserve better and a chance at finding their forever home and a family.  Yes, by adopting a rescue pet you are saving a life, but it is also life changing for you.  Animals will permanently make an impression upon your heart.  They truly become a member of the family.  Adopting a rescue animal is a commitment. 

2. Help Reduce The Strain and Overflow of Animals in a Shelter

Animal shelter’s unfortunately have limited space.  By adopting a rescue cat or dog you not only give them a home, but you allow for a homeless cat or dog to have a place to be cared for until they are adopted.  Most animal shelters rely solely on donations.  So, adopting animals also helps reduce the financial strain for shelters.  

3. You Become a part of Something Meaningful

There is an incredible community of people who have adopted rescue animals and also volunteer their time to continue to help local animal shelters.  Rescuing animals is a noble cause.  I have met some of the most amazing people from volunteering at our local Humane Society.  Great friendships and of course I know even more lovely rescue animals. 

4. Pets are the Best Medicine

Pets are amazing at boosting your mood and bringing genuine joy to your life. Their love is unconditional. Studies show that animals can contribute to a positive impact on your mental and physical health.  There are specific breeds of dogs that are perfect for work as a service dog.  Other dogs are being trained to be therapy dogs.  I remember during exam week in university, puppies were brought in to help students reduce their stress and anxiety before sitting an exam.  Cats are great at giving cuddles— it’s their way of giving a hug when you need it most.  Animals are just amazing like that.    

5. You can be a Foster Pet Parent

Fostering a rescue pet is just as important and meaningful as adopting.  There are different reasons an animal may need to be fostered.  For example, lack of space in the shelter or needing help with medical care or rehabilitation.  Even if your pet parenting time is temporary, you have still given a rescue animal(s) a loving home and contributed to making a positive impact in their life. 

Some great local animal shelters that are dedicated to rescuing animals. Cayman Islands Humane Society, CARE- Cayman Animal Rescue Enthusiasts , and PAWS Cayman.