As a company, we feel that our environment is a driving factor in the pursuits we love and the main inspiration in the clothing we make. We understand that it's almost impossible to complete cut back on all our carbon footprints, but we wholeheartedly believe in leaving our world better than we found it. For all of us today, that's a monumental effort. New for 2019 on the blog, our friend and colleague, Rick Crawford from Emerger Strategies, will be giving us a little insight in to making our world better even if bit-by-bit. Nobody wants to be yelled at or shamed for their environmental actions, but we do want to make everyone aware, even if in a lighthearted way. Introducing: Don't Ruin It For The Rest Of Us with Rick Crawford.
"Leave It Better Than You Found It"
I was born and raised in Savannah, GA, currently reside in Charleston, SC. Additionally, I have had the good fortune to live in some other incredible places, like Jackson Hole, WY, with its jaw-dropping jagged granite peaks and Snake River Cutthroat trout. I have also been lucky to visit some unique corners of the world pursuing my passion for traveling and fly fishing, such as the Bahamas, the South Pacific and a few other places which have tropical red, orange, and yellow flowers, exotic birds, white sand beaches, clear blue water and silver bonefish. (Something about islands, bonefish and a few cold indigenous beverages gets me every time!) However, one thing that is becoming increasingly common no matter where you live, or have the opportunity to travel, is the growing plastic pollution problem.
I remember going on one my first camping trips on a barrier island off the coast of Savannah, GA when I was around 11 years old. If you are not familiar, the barrier islands off the Georgia coast are completely undeveloped, majestic and filled with a variety of live oaks covered in grey Spanish moss, tall pines and cabbage palms with undeveloped coastlines as far as the eye can see on the Atlantic side. Anyways, upon stepping foot on the island we found empty beer cans, plastic bottles, cigarette butts and plastic bags surrounding the camping areas from former campers, and that was twenty-fiver years ago. Fast forward to today in Charleston, and all you have to do is find the high tide mark and you will find a variety of floating plastics and Styrofoam entangled in the dead spartina grass. When my wife and I checked off a bucket list trip to Tahiti, Moorea and Rangiroa in the South Pacific, I kept smelling a funky burning smell as we explored the paradisiacal islands and almost every home had a fire burning. I asked around and discovered that they have no waste management system, so all trash, including plastics, is burned. I’m no doctor, but those fumes can’t be good for anybody. Additionally, when I went to Abaco Lodge in the Bahamas, I learned that while they do have a waste management system, they have no cost-effective way of recycling any single-use plastics, so everything is sent to the dump. Fortunately, Abaco Lodge has eliminated single-use plastics from their guiding operation preventing thousands of single-use plastic water bottles from entering the dump, but the rest of the island sends their plastic waste to the landfill. The problem with sending all trash to the dump is when hurricanes hit, a lot of that trash from ends up in the oceans, which is all part of the plastic pollution problem that has led some researchers to estimate that there will be more plastic (by weight) than fish in the ocean by 2050.
What’s my point? Well, I didn’t know it at the time, but during my first camping trip twenty-five years ago on Williamson Island off the coast of Savannah, I learned my first lesson about conservation…”leave it better than you found it.” It’s really that simple. As anglers, we have a responsibility to protect what we love, and I truly love the Lowcountry, especially during the spring and summer with its expansive marshes filled with vibrant green spartina grass, nutrient-rich brown waters and oyster clusters that provide habitat and sustenance for my favorite inshore species, the redfish. I guess my point is that we live on a big beautiful planet filled with breathtaking mountains, awe-inspiring shorelines and a variety of fish species to pursue, so let’s take care of of the planet by leaving her better that we found her!
[Header photo by Lawson Builder]