Hi, I'm Yanika. In October, I’m joining eXXpedition, an all-female crew sailing the ocean to collect data on micro-plastics and work with local communities to help create changemakers.
I will be sailing with the team across the Atlantic, through the North Atlantic Gyre, in what is sure to be the adventure of a lifetime.
In this blog, I will post some reflections on the prep for this journey. Remember, if you would like to support me, you can do so here.
The eXXpedition research trip is now two months away and the excitement is starting to build up; one week it felt very remote and the next I was hit by a wave of excitement and child-like impatience.
One aspect I wanted to touch on is the fact this is an ALL-FEMALE sailing crew. Why?
First of all, the plastic and toxins (which stick to plastic) found in the marine environment impact women in different ways to men. Some of these toxins impact hormones and fertility. We want to be out there, collecting data and collaborating with universities to carry out studies so that we can make more informed decisions based on how plastic is impacting our bodies.
Last and definitely not least, women are still underrepresented in sailing and STEM careers.
Less than 30% of the EU STEM workforce is female. We want to empower all young girls to get out there and become explorers, sailors, scientists, engineers and all-round superheroes, if that’s what they wish.
If you would like to read more about this, you can do so at exxpedition.com.
My plastic-free journey
As I prepare for this research trip, I want to make sure this isn’t a one-off event in my life, a wonderful flash in the pan, but part of a change in my lifestyle. One of the areas I’ve been focusing on is the kitchen. Here are a few observations I’ve made:
I was recently in my local supermarket trying to buy some greens to go with my salad.
Every.single.green.leaf.came.wrapped.in.plastic: lettuce, kale, mixed leaves, spinach, you name it.
While one option was for me to bypass the lettuce leaves, I decided to go for a second option: grow my own lettuce! Which I did, and so can you. I grew them in pots over the span of a few weeks, so you don’t even need a garden patch to do it, promise.
Would you like some plastic with your burger?
We got some good sunny days in Wimbledon this summer, so we made sure to have a few BBQs - they’re good for the soul! We tried to have plastic free events, with a strong emphasis on the word ‘tried’. I found it exceptionally hard: Burgers, sausages, hot dog buns, burger buns, crisps, tortilla chips, dips, ice cream… all of these have plastic packaging. Think about it…
Finding plastic-free solutions is easier for some items than others: We made our own hummus (success!) but still needed some sort of crisps/crackers/bread to dip in – we could bake our own bread, but the effort factor starts to increase exponentially. We really need our supermarkets to step up their game and provide decent affordable options.
Apples falling from the sky
Our lovely neighbour has an apple tree which is currently raining apples. Rather than letting them go to waste, we’ve picked them up and made loads of VERY EASY TO-DO hot apple chutney. In 3 months’ time they’ll be ready to eat, just in time for Xmas. My friends now know what they’re getting for Xmas. It’s a lovely, thoughtful and sustainable gift, if I do say so myself. If you do get the opportunity, give it a try. We got the recipe from Abundance Wimbledon - find it here.