“The rainforest is like my second mother,” says José Ribamar as he surveys the rich Amazonian landscape around us. “It provides the air that we breathe: we depend and live on the forest.” Clutching a 10-inch machete, he smiles as he wanders off down a dirt-track towards his home, a two-hour walk away. Behind him, children kick a football around a grassy clearing and a man clambers onto his horse.
Ribamar lives in the Brazilian state of Acre and works as a traditional seringueiro – he extracts wild rubber from the region’s native rubber trees. This morning he came to this remote glade in the forest, along with around 20 other local seringueiros, to discuss the future of his trade and the future of his forest. Both have been in danger for many decades due to cattle farming and illegal deforestation. However, thanks to a French shoe company, wild Amazonian rubber is back in demand.
Veja is an ethical footwear brand born in 2005. Co-founded by school friends Sébastien Kopp and François Ghislain Morillion, its goal is to create trainers that are ecologically conscious and fairly produced. Read More
Did you know that three quarters of UK children spend less time outdoors than prison inmates? There is a growing disconnect between the UK's young people and the natural world, and i feel it’s important to acknowledge that young people from BAME households visit their natural environment less often than white children or those from higher income families. I believe ALL young people should have the same access to the natural world and I’m confident those with a traditionally limited experience of the environment can become some of the strongest voices for its protection.
Get Out are a new charity that offer environmental education and outdoor adventure for free to the children of Tower Hamlets – the area with the highest rates of child poverty in the UK. Later this year we will hopefully be taking a group of kids from inner city London to the beach to surf, camp and of course do a #2minutebeachclean. Get Out are also working on Tower Hamlets becoming plastic free with Surfers Against Sewage and growing their own organic veg at the schools. But we need your help! Read More
I just did a calculation that made me feel so sick. I added up the number of flights and air miles I’ve accumulated in the past year to determine my carbon footprint. On my last trip to Brazil alone, to research an ethical clothing manufacturer, I racked up eight flights in eight days, totalling more than 17,000 miles. I’m supposed to be a sustainability blogger – talk about irony.
The Swedish have invented a word for the guilt people like me increasingly feel about their air travel. ‘Flygskam’, which literally translates to ‘flight shame’ in English, means being embarrassed of flying because you’re environmentally ‘woke’ enough to know – and care – that the consequences are detrimental to the planet. Read More
“First one to find a shoe wins!” I yell whenever I arrive at a beach. Along with tampon applicators, toothbrushes and other plastic waste, I seem to find odd shoes washed up on the shoreline so frequently that I've made it part of every beach-clean I do. It's actually quite concerning.
Most shoes are made of complex materials and glues which can only be down-cycled or thrown into landfill. It's a massive, global problem and thankfully manufacturers like Adidas are now seeking to tackle it … Read More
I get asked a lot about what products I use and hear from people looking to become more plastic free, so heres a quick list of my top 10 bathroom must haves. Now you can go wipe your bum and be proud. Read More
This is the fourth in a series of overly honest product reviews. Seeing as you all seem quite interested in the goings on of my lady region I thought I’d throw my armpits into the mix too. I threw a poll on instagram asking who wanted to know more about The Natural Deo Co. and a whopping 97% of you answered “Yes Please I Smell”, so here you are.
And just a quick note to remind you this post is not sponsored, not paid, and no product was gifted (sigh). Read More
It was dark and we were about to jump overboard into unchartered waters. Fortunately, the full moon lit up the shore a few hundred metres in the distance. Our little ‘dhoni’ boat had run aground on a shallow offshore reef in the Maldives and we had to sacrifice ourselves – the heaviest ‘cargo’ on the boat – with the hope that our lighter vessel would rise to safety with the next swell … Read More
As I walk along the litter-laden coastline of my local beach break clutching a beaten-up old surfboard held together largely with duct tape and good luck, I'm resigned to the notion that it's probably time for a new board.
However, I've been navigating the moral maze of being a surfer and environmentalist for several years now, and it turns out being both at the same time is not that easy. The problem is that, although surfing itself doesn't damage the environment, our common practices as surfers can have a huge carbon footprint and consumption is probably the biggest enemy to our oceans: buying a new board leaves me facing an environmental conflict. So I find myself asking: can we even get in the ocean without killing it? Read More
Artificial waves have been around for more than 30 years, but commercially sustainable facilities still elude the industry and remain surfing’s Holy Grail: an environmentally friendly everlasting wave for an endless summer. Kelly Slater’s high-performance Surf Ranch is the latest and arguably greatest attempt to achieve this. It combines the latest science and engineering to create the longest rideable, man-made open-barrel wave in the world, set in Lemoore, California, a farming town 100 miles from the ocean. Ten years in the making, Slater’s wave pool technology allows competitors to surf without the risk of flat spells or interruptions from local sharks (the latter having become more common at recent surfing events in Australia and South Africa).
Is this the future of the sport or are we at risk of destroying the soul of surfing? Read More
On a recent photoshoot in the Maldives with Torq Surfboards, I asked the brand if we could invite some local female surfers. I thought it would be great to add some diversity to the catalogue. When they agreed, I began to realise the scale of the challenge I had set myself. 'How many women even surf in the Maldives?' I wondered. Not many, it turns out.
Naaisha Haneef is one of a small crew of women who surf in the Maldives. Naaisha and I discussed her story on a humid morning between surfs, and the full interview is in this months Surf Girl Magazine. Read More
This is the second in a series of overly honest product reviews, bought to you by some cringe worthy experiences, one mention of my labia and a small amount of credit card debt.
After the disconcerting success of my period pants and mooncup review in which you can read about my grazed labia here, I thought it best to continue on with product reviews that may also be useful to those of you wondering whether to make a purchase or not.
I recently bought a metal ‘safety razor’ and had quite a few questions and requests for reviews about it, so here goes, overly honest product reviews take two.
Side Note: I'm not paid to say this and it is not #spon or #ad. Read More
A lot of you have been asking about my swimwear over the past few months, so I thought I’d update and repost my sustainable swimwear guide. I try to buy everything I wear consciously and not fall into the consumerism trap too often (all though I'm occasionally slip up and find myself on the high street).
Side Note: This is not an ad. I don’t have any sponsors and I pay for all my swimwear, these are just genuinely the brands I wear and love. In no particular order... Read More
This is the first in a series of overly honest product reviews, bought to you by some cringe worthy experiences, one photo of my bum and a small amount of credit card debt.
After sharing my mooncup woes a lot of you requested feedback on my knickers, because, lets be honest now, how many pairs of your regular underwear has aunt flo destroyed? I know, i know. ALL. OF. THE. PAIRS. Including that very favourite pair that I refuse to throw away, even with the stains.
So here goes, the first in the series of overly honest product reviews is the much awaited, worryingly frequently requested, she thinx period panties. I'm sharing this because 100 million girls are missing school just because of their periods. Lets break the period taboo. Read More
I have a love hate relationship with festivals. The issue that leaves me stuck at the checkout wondering whether to purchase the tickets, is that I'm not normally left with good memories of the music, but memories of the sea of crushed plastics underneath our feet. Memories of abandoned tents as far as your eyes can see.
The plastic and waste in general left behind at festivals is heart breaking if you open your sore eyes to see it. In an economy that lists homelessness as a big problem – this seems so wasteful it should be a crime. Read More
I chatted to Boardmasters for ‘Beyond The Break’ - a lifestyle series focusing on surfers who shape the surf scene and beyond; diving into their lives and getting to know them beyond the break.
I really enjoyed the interview and found the questions quite refreshing compared to the normal "What would you take to a desert island?" questions i get asked, so thought i'd share it here also. [side note: i'd take a snorkel and mask, obviously] Read More
While I was in London this week I met up with my friend Matt Barr for lunch, and we had a good little catch up on the whole media farrago I was in over the last couple of weeks.
We discuss some pretty complex and complicated issues about the relationship between surfing and gender, like how the surfing industry tends to publicly support male dominance, how this builds a culture that serves to support patriarchal ideology, and why I feel it's unhealthy for everyone no matter their gender identity or expression. We also talk about the need for a greater diversity of female role models in surfing to avoid the damaging monoculture we are so often presented with, and touch on the complex issue of the people who ask "what about the men?!". Read More
Lets take it slow, be responsible, maybe even commit to a long term relationship? After all, loved things are worth repairing. Read More
Exactly a year ago, I started cold water sea swimming in the wild Irish Atlantic with some of the women in my little village. We called our morning meets #risefierce and it quickly became an addiction, cleansing us of whatever shit we were carrying and keeping us present in the moment, reminding us that while it might be challenging, we are alive and it still feels good…
I've been asked quite a few times what my sustainable travel essentials are. I always travel with a few simple items that mean I can refuse single use plastic, and here they are... Read More
In this podcast myself and Matt Barr discuss my move away from “the dream life”, bikini modelling for big surf brands and travelling the world, to slowing things down and immersing myself in the cold waters of Ireland. We discuss female objectification, the toxicity of gender stereotyping in surfing, and the prism of controversies that come along with it. Read More
Winter has officially begun in Ireland and I am surfing an overhead left point close to our house with no one around. It doesn’t look pumping from the road, its hidden away a little from the beach where the wind feels onshore. After years of searching for a paradise on the lower latitudes I found the wave I was looking for all this time, I had been here as a child in a van with my father and sister, sat on the rocks but had the secret hidden in some soft corner of my mind. Read More