I moved to the San Juans in 2016, after accepting a job at the Visitors Bureau, and brought my values of environmental stewardship with me. Through my work, I got involved with the Stewardship Network of the San Juans and the Leave No Trace team. It was a natural fit, since I have a background in natural resources and sustainable tourism. Since starting my job at the Visitors Bureau, it has been my goal to provide guidance for our visitors on how to treat the Islands gently.
The phrase “plastic free” is about making choices. It’s little decisions that we make every day, like the kinds of produce I buy at the grocery store, the skin care products I use in the morning, and the items I get online from Amazon – looking for the least amount of packaging. It’s also about looking at the items I use on a regular basis, and phasing in alternatives for common plastic products, such as replacing Ziploc bags with Bee’s Wrap. Even adapting to pandemic life hasn’t changed the commitment, it’s just changed the playing field a tad. Since there’s currently a prohibition on reusable bags at our local grocery stores (a fundamental habit), I take the cart out of the car and bag them there (thank you Katie Fleming for the tip!). I won’t claim that I make the perfect, most eco-conscious choice every time, since sometimes a girl just craves a Snickers bar. But there’s always tomorrow.
One of my favorite activities is wandering on the beach, watching for wildlife. It’s hard not to notice the bottle caps and scraps of Styrofoam mixed in with the pebbles and driftwood. Leaving it there just doesn’t seem like an option. I generally carry a bag in my car so I can pick up what I find, but a couple of times of month I make a dedicated effort to comb the beach and pick up litter. All part of keeping the habitat clean for the wildlife that makes the San Juan Islands so special.