Greenwashing: What Is It and How to Spot It

Here’s a hypothetical situation: you’re at the shop and are staring at the wall of cleaning products, trying to decide which one you buy. You see that one brand has an enviro friendly label on the bottle! You keep buying this brand because it claims to be great for the environment, but do you check? No, because they have the sticker so it should be legit… right? Wrong! You then find out that that brand has been greenwashing their customers to improve their sales. Then you see this article by The Blue Scientist explaining what greenwashing is and how to spot it… but if only you read it sooner!

Greenwashing is a term to describe a companies false claim to be environmentally friendly or “green”, either with is products, policies or intent. This is usually a marketing tactic used by many companies in the hopes it will get them more sales. Lying about being green is a horrible thing for a company to do and if caught, will have great backlash from the community.

There are nine ways that companies can greenwash, but I’ll only take you through the most common.


This is when a company makes a claim about being environmentally friendly, but they haven’t explained what that definition means. It will sound good to the consumer, but is too general. A popular example of this is when a product has the phrase non-toxic on it’s label. This needs more clarification, for example, it may be non-toxic to touch, but can be toxic when ingested. Another one is the phrase all-natural. Many things come from a natural source, but that doesn’t mean they are good for you!

Unproven Claims

If a company makes a claim about it’s product, it is meaningless unless it can be backed up with proof. This proof needs to be easily accessible to the consumer, and if the company wont share their evidence, then it is almost guaranteed greenwashing.

The Red Herring

This is the most common form of greenwashing. It happens when a company just promotes a specific part of their product because it is green, whilst ignoring the other parts that could cause an overall negative impacts. For example, if a product boasts about the recycled plastic used to make their product, but not take into account the amount of carbon emissions that making their product actually produces, which overall produces a negative affect.


This is one of my favourites, purely because it shows what we will believe if it sounds fancy enough! A company might write “No CFC’s” on their label. CFC stands for Chloroflurocarbon, and are a major contributor to greenhouse gasses. Although it may be true, it is irrelevant because CFC’s have been banned since 1987.

Now that you know a little more about greenwashing, here’s what you can do about it! The main thing to keep an eye out for are eco labels. These can be super helpful or the source of greenwashing. The labels that you want to look out for are those certified by independent third parties. Here are the labels that you can genuinely trust in Australia, all others I would be a little skeptical of, and many do a little research before purchasing the product.

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Image from:

Making Fathers Day Sustainable

With Fathers Day just around the corner in Australia, I thought I would share some ways you can make it a more sustainable holiday! Not only will I give you gift suggestions, but I’ll also share small ways to help the environment while you celebrate!

1. Swap out the gift wrap for eco friendly alternatives

Normal gift wrap generally has plastic coating, or is made out of glossy, plastic paper. To help reduce plastic waste, you can switch to a more sustainable option, such as newspaper, old fabric scraps, or display the gift in a nice basket! Newspaper might seem a little boring, but you can use the comic section to make it a little more fun!

2. Ditch the newsagent generic cards for something more special

It’s really special to receive a card with a beautiful message written in it, so how about making it 100 times better by getting a card that is hand made from recycled materials, and supports small businesses. For Fathers Day, I would recommend these cards from Biome, as 10% of the profits going towards organisations that protect our environment!

3. Say no to balloons

I will admit that balloons make for a pretty decoration, but it’s one piece of single use plastic a lot of people forget about. There are so many alternatives to balloons that can still brighten up a room! Bunting is a great way to add colour to a room, and can be reused over and over again, for many different occasions! Tissue paper pom poms can be super cute, reusable, and are simple to make!

Environmentally friendly gift swaps!

There are a lot of presents that dads commonly receive on Fathers Day, so below I’ve listed a few, and given an environmentally friendly alternative. I’ve also included links to where you can buy these gifts!


The first image is a pack of socks from Kmart (unsustainably made with no benefit to the environment at all). The second image is a pair of socks from Conscious Step Socks That Protect Oceans. Ethically and sustainably made, these socks give back to the environment by donating to the ocean conservation charity: Oceana. There many other causes you can support by buying these socks, such as educating kids, ending poverty, treating HIV, and so many more!


I know I’ve bought these for my dad a few times over the years! So how about instead of buying Peter Alexander PJs (left image), you buy dad a set made from sustainable materials. The perfect example comes from the Australian brand Ettitude. Ettitude use sustainable bamboo to make the softest sheets and pyjamas (right images). I have the sheets and I can honestly say they’re the most comfortable sheets I’ve ever had, and I’m sure the pyjamas are the same!

Shampoo and Soaps

It’s so simple to make shampoo and soaps more sustainable. Swap your favourite soap or shampoo that comes in a bottle, to a soap bar unpackaged, or wrapped in cardboard! Crew (left image) shampoo is one that my dad uses, and can be swapped with one of Biomes best selling shampoo bars: Tasmanian Real Beer Shampoo Bar (right image)! This is a super moisturising shampoo bar that is extremely popular with both men and women. It is made using Australian ingredients, and buying this product will support two Australian businesses, the brand (Beauty and the Bees), and the brewery that supplies the beer!

Here’s a list of other sustainable gifts below incase none of these take your fancy!

As always, if you have any questions you can ask me via the contact form, or through Instagram.

Sylvia Earle

Yesterday was National Women’s Equality Day, so in light of that, I thought I would share with you the woman that continues to inspire me every day.

Sylvia Earle

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Image from Restorative Leadership: Dr Sylvia Earle – Protecting the Real World Bank

Early in the year 2015 when I was just a first year Marine Science student at the University of Wollongong, I watched the documentary Mission Blue while ironing. If you haven’t already seen it, I couldn’t recommend it enough! It highlights the beauty, and importance of the ocean for humankind, while also sharing Sylvia Earle’s life story. And what a story it is! For a more detailed description of her life, definitely check out Mission Blue on Netflix, but for now, I’ll just share three reasons why she is so inspirational.

1. She was a “mermaid” in the 1970s

In the 70s, Sylvia lead an expedition which saw her and an all female team of scientists living underwater for two weeks straight. Men who had completed a similar expedition earlier were called aquanauts, but the women were called aquababes or aquachicks. Just being a female scientist in the 70s would have been quite difficult, however, these girls showed the world that even though they didn’t have the physical strength of men, they were still able to complete this expedition. They also took this opportunity to show the world how important it is to protect the oceans through the media coverage they were getting for being women.

“They wanted to know things like: did you use a hair dryer, did you use lipstick?”- Sylvia Earle

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Image from 4 News: Sylvia Earle America’s Female ‘Aquanaut’

2. She was the “first women” for two different companies

Being the first women for anything is a major achievement in itself. However, when your life work has ben recognised by two major companies; U.S. NOAA and National Geographic, it is even more special. In 1990, she was hired by U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration as a chief scientist, and in 1999 she become a National Geographic Explorer in Residence. Sylvia was the first women to fill these positions, and little did she know the achievements would keep coming. These however, were not the first “first” achievements in her life, with her holding the record in 1979 for the deepest bottom walk, at 381m.

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Image from Quanta Magazine: Sylvia Earle is Not Done Exploring 

3. She has given the ocean a second chance

This has been achieved through the invention of Hope Spots around the world. These Hope Spots are areas of the ocean that are critical to the current, and future health of the ocean; therefore, providing hope for the future. There are 83 hope sports around the world as of 2016, three of which are in Australia: Moreton Bay (South East Queensland), Coral Sea (Northern Great Barrier Reef), and Houtman Abrolhos Islands (Western Australia). You can find a full list of Hope Spots and take a virtual dive through them here.

“Our past, our present, and whatever remains of our future, absolutely depend on what we do now.” – Sylvia Earle

If you want to learn more about this amazing woman, watch Mission Blue, or check out any of the links below:

Sylvia Earle on How She Became the First Woman to be Chief Scientist

National Geographic Society

Her amazing TED Talk that launched the Hope Spot initiative

DIY: Face Moisturiser

Sorry for the late upload but I recently started a new job at Biome, which is amazing because I am learning so much about natural and sustainable living that I can share with you! I have been working two jobs at the moment, and am currently writing this post while having my dinner. I had planned this post to go out a few weeks ago, but better late than never!

I am slowly phasing out all the plastic products in my bathroom, so when I finally ran out of face moisturiser, I took the opportunity to make my own! After some thorough googling, I found the perfect recipe. Making your own products is such an effective way to cut out plastic from your life. You can use glass containers, or even reuse ones that your old products came in! It can also be a lot cheaper than buying new products every time you run out!

To make this light face moisturiser, you’ll need:

I recently learnt there is a classification system for oils and their effect on your skin; their comedogenic rating. I like this recipe because it uses Argan oil and Shea Butter, which both have a comedogenic rating of 0 out of 5, meaning they wont clog your pores and cause breakouts. Many people use coconut oil as a moisturiser, however it actually has a comedogenic rating of 4, which is fairly high, so I tried to steer clear of that ingredient.

Shea butter is amazing, because it is full of vitamins and nutrients necessary for collagen production, making it a skin superfood! Argan oil is also great for your skin because of its high vitamin E content, but also provides and locks in the moisture from the Shea butter.

Now you know a little more about the ingredients, here’s how you make it:

Melt the Shea butter and Argan oil over a double boiler, and stir to combined. Once this is complete, take the mixture off the heat and add in your essential oils if using them. I used lemongrass essential oil in mine, because it has antibacterial properties, making it great if you’re prone to breakouts.

Once the mixture is complete, there are three options you can take to finish it off:

  1. let it cool at room temperature and it will stay as an oil
  2. pop it in the fridge to cool where it will form a hard, balm consistency (like mine)
  3. let it cool in the fridge until it is starting to harden, then beat it with electric mixers, until it forms a soft, whipped consistency
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Processed with VSCO with a6 preset

And that’s it! This is such a simple recipe, and you can play around with the ratio of Shea butter to Argan oil depending on your skin type. You can also change the Argan oil to a different oil, such as hemp seed oil (comedogenic rating of 0), or jojoba oil (comedogenic rating of 3).

Let me know if you have any questions by the contact form or through Instagram. Don’t forget to tag me in any photos if you try it, I love seeing everyones DIY products!


How To Complete a Waste Audit

A waste audit is a simple way to figure out where you can start reducing your waste. It can be hard to pin point what you’re throwing away the most, and is often why people find reducing their waste so hard. This activity gives you a simple way to understand your waste, an will give you an idea what areas you can start reducing in. I recently completed a waste audit, as I felt I could be doing better, and found out there was a big part of my life that was causing majority of my waste!

When you’re completing a waste audit, you pretty much just write down everything that you throw away, and categorise it into four different waste types:

  1. Edibles and Food and Scraps
  2. Plastic
  3. Other Packaging (tin cans, cardboard ect.)
  4. Other

And it should look something like this:


So when you throw something out, you write down what it was in the appropriate box. Make your sheet an A4 size piece of paper, or even some scrap cardboard, and keep it near the bin so you don’t forget. You can do this for however long you want. I recently did one for a week, and found out that most of my waste was coming from food scraps. So now we’ve started to compost our food scraps.

The idea of this is to show you how much your throwing away, and gives you a starting point to eliminate waste. You may chose to start with the category that has the most items in it, or start small and work your way up! Where you go from there is completely up to you!

As always, any questions can be sent to me via the contact page, or through my Instagram page @The_BlueScientist

The Ocean Action Pod

Throughout my degree, and even now, I always get asked what my ideal job would be. My answer always used to be “something that involved conservation”. Then I graduated, and realised that jobs are hard to find, so I started to be more sensible with what I applied for, and applying for jobs that I didn’t really find exciting, but were sensible options.

Recently, I spent a few days teaching kids (and adults) about plastic pollution with the Ocean Action Pod in Sydney. After this experience, I realised that I need a job where I’m not stuck in an office all day, where I can have meaningful conversations with people, and more importantly, where I feel like I’m making a difference!

img_1092.jpgAt The Ocean Action Pod, we taught kids about plastic pollution through engaging games, and visual representations of pollution. My favourite exercise involved teaching kids about microplastics by using a sandpit. In that sandpit, were heaps of microplastics that the kids would use sieves to find and collect. This taught kids that at a first glance, it looks clean, but when you start digging, you find a whole bunch of plastic pollution. Then you would ask the kids questions to get them thinking, such as “do you think this belongs here” or “is it easier to pick up bigger plastic rather than these tiny pieces?”.

Some kids are really switched on, and their parents are already teaching them about living with less plastic, whereas others are completely clueless about the whole situation. I met an amazing kid named Emily, who started an environmental and sustainability club at her school!


This experience made me feel as though I was making a difference, because hopefully they would then go home to their parents, tell them what they’ve learnt, and live a more sustainable life.


Wrapping up Plastic Free July

What an experience this past month has been! Plastic Free July was definitely a challenge, and made me realise how reliant we are on plastic. Even though the idea of Plastic Free July is to refuse plastic packaging and challenge yourself to live without it for a month, I can’t say I made it the whole month plastic free. There are a few things that I’ve learnt from this past month:

  1. How much I rely on beeswax wrap
  2. Make the most of social media and follow as many zero waste Instagrammers as possible
  3. Plastic is everywhere!

The main lesson I’ve taken away from this experience is that it can be impossible to give up plastic entirely. Even the people who live the most zero waste lifestyle often slip up. At first when I forgot to ask for no straw, or I just wasn’t thinking and bought something with plastic packaging, I was a little hard on myself. But throughout the month, I came to realise that it’s a process, and you can’t expect to cut out every single piece of plastic in a day. This month has been amazing for me, because not only has it shown me that cutting out plastic doesn’t need to be hard, and you don’t need to buy every single zero waste product out there, but also what areas that I can work on.

For me, I found that eating out was where I slipped up the most. Now I know this, I can plan ahead when I eat out, so I can further reduce my plastic. This means taking my own container for leftovers, and making an effort to chose a restaurant that is environmentally friendly.

I will definitely continue living like I’m still in Plastic Free July, not only for myself, but I’ve found it inspires a lot of people when they see how easy it is. So hopefully my journey has inspired you, and as always you can ask me questions by the contact page, or Instagram.

Friends Forever

There are many relationships present in the ocean, between many different (and sometimes completely opposite) animals. In science speak, two animals have a relationship if they interact in some way, with one another. These include; predation, competition, and symbiotic relationships. The main relationship I’ll focus on today is symbiosis, which is a close relationship between two individuals over long periods of time. There are three types of symbiosis:

  • Commensalism- where one individual benefits from the relationship, and the other is unaffected
  • Parasitism- one individual benefits from the relationship, and the other is negatively affected
  • Mutualism- both individuals benefit equally from the relationship.

My favourite example of a mutualistic association between two animals comes from an assignment I did at uni on Heron Island, looking at the relationship between the gobie fish and the snapping shrimp. These two live happily together in the same burrow, with the shrimp searching for food and the gobie keeping an eye out for predators. When the gobie sees a predator, it flick it’s tail, warning the foraging shrimp, and they will both return to their burrow lightning quick! In this relationship, the gobie fish benefits by getting food from the shrimp, who benefits by having safety from predators.


In this photo, you can clearly see the gobi fish keeping a look out from the burrow. The shrimp would be there, but is so small and camouflaged its hard to tell from this photo.

Another mutual association that comes to mind is cleaner shrimp and many species of fish. Cleaner shrimp are like the dentists of the ocean. Its quite amazing how many fish let these shrimps on their scales and inside their mouth to clean parasites, without eating them. These shrimps are very trusting of the fish, and eat the parasites, while the fish gets a free mouth clean. These shrimps have even been seen cleaning humans mouths and skin!


This just shows the ocean isn’t all predation and animals fighting, and there are some animals that get along like best friends! If there are any questions, feel free to email me via the contact page, or find me on Instagram and Facebook.

DIY: Reusable Cotton Rounds

For years I have been using these little cotton rounds to remove nail polish, makeup and tone my face, and they go so quickly because I use around 2 a day, and sometimes more if I’m wearing makeup. Each time I buy these, they come in packs of around 60 or so, and each time, they come wrapped in plastic! I’ve been able to find some reusable ones online made from cotton fabric, but I don’t fancy spending money on them, so I decided to make my own!


I am by no means a great sewer (I didn’t inherit the sewing gene from my Nonna unfortunately) but I thought I would give it a try anyway! And to me it doesn’t matter if the stitches are perfect and even, because they’re just for me and they’ll do the same job even if they’re a little wonky. The one on the right of that photo is the first one I made, and I couldn’t figure out why it was turning out so bad! Then, after a few attempts, I found out that making the stitches closer together was key to a pretty cotton round! The phase practise makes perfect could not be more true here!

All you need is:

  • needle and thread
  • 1/2 a meter of fabric- I choose a cotton wool blend because it felt really soft and you want a fabric thats delicate against your skin
  • scissors
  • a drinking glass



After I bought the fabric, I realised that I could have used an old, soft t-shirt that I never wear, and repurpose it. I would recommend that only if you have one thats nice and soft, it’ll save a bit of money and also save that t-shirt from ending up in land fill! I chose a white fabric because when I take off my makeup, I like to see how much there is left on my skin, and coloured patterns might make it hard to do that.

  1. You want to wash your chosen fabric before you use it so it stretches and is more manageable
  2. Measure out the circle you want by firmly pressing down the glass against the fabric. This will leave a circle imprint on the fabric, letting you cut a perfect circle without having to draw on the fabric first!
  3. Once you have your two circles you can sew them together by using a super simple blanket stitch. If you don’t know how to do that, you can watch a video here. Sew around the edge of the two circles, which will bind them together while creating a very pretty pattern!

These should last you for a long time if you care for them properly. They can be washed with your normal clothes, just pop them into a delicates bag so you don’t loose them in the wash!

If you give this ago, don’t forget to share yours on social media so others see your great work towards reducing waste, and tag me @The_BlueScientist so I can see how amazing you’ve done! Feel free to contact me via the contact page or at my Instagram if you have any questions!

Waves 101

There are so many places around the world that have incredible swell. Hawaii is famous for its rich surfing history, and waves perfect for longboards. It is also famous for having one of the best breaks in the world, Pipeline. But what causes these amazing waves, and how can places like Mavericks get 15+ meter waves? First you need to understand the processes that create waves.

How are waves made?

Waves are generated by wind. Simple as that. For the perfect surfing conditions, you want to be looking at the wind’s speed and duration that it blows on the wave, and it’s fetch (area the wind affects). If the wind is blowing on a wave faster, and longer, while covering a large area, the wave will be big. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a nice wave to ride, it just means it will be big. Most surfers will know that big waves are great, but there is more to the perfect wave than its size.

What makes the perfect wave?

Each surfer would have their own opinion as to what a perfect wave would look like, but majority would says something along the lines of “a clean, open face, with a steep slope, and of course there needs to be a barrel”. Kelly Slater has created the perfect artificial wave in his Surf Ranch, and is a great example of the “perfect wave”.

What causes a barrel to form?

Reef breaks such as Pipeline in O’ahu and Cloud Break in Fiji, and point breaks such as J-Bay in South Africa and even Snapper Rocks here in Queensland are breaks that get pretty amazing barrels. For those who don’t know, a barrel is when the lip of the wave comes around in front of the wave, creating a hollow tube in the wave for the surfer to ride, and is highly sought after in a wave. Like an iceberg, the wave extends deeper than the oceans surface, and plays a huge role in creating barrels. When the wave hits an obstacle, such as a reef, it slows down under the surface, but the top part of the wave continues to move, causing the lip to spillover in front of the remaining wave, giving you a barrel. This is why reef and point breaks are so popular among surfers, because they give the wave an obstacle, creating a nice barrel for them to enjoy!

Mavericks & Nazare.

These breaks are famous for big waves, and big wave surfers come from all around the world to surf these monsters. Nazare in Portgual has the wold record for biggest wave ever surfed, coming in at 24.2 meters. So why do these locations have massive waves, and others don’t? Winter storms provide the energy for massive waves, along with the right wind conditions, having a snowball effect on the waves. But these areas have another feature in common that causes monster waves, and that is the geographical structure of the seafloor. Nazare has the Nazare canyon, and the sea floor of Mavericks is similar, which creates a gradual ramp from deep to shallow water. These features allow waves to draw energy from the calm waters of either side of the seafloor, creating monster waves that only the bravest will surf.

So there you have it, there is a lot of factors that come into creating waves of all different shapes and sizes! I hope you’ve learnt something from this article, because I sure have! Let me know if you have any questions via the contact page, or you can message me on Instagram @The_BlueScientist!

Glass vs. Plastic

Recently, I had a friend ask me a question that I knew the answer to, but I didn’t quite know why. She asked, “if everyone goes plastic free and switches to glass, wont it have the same consequences as plastic”. The answer is no, but why? I went away, did my research and now can give a more detailed answer, and here it is.

If glass is recycled properly, it can be burnt down and made into more glass for future use. This is a continuous cycle, where it can be recycled into itself over and over again without loosing its integrity. Plastic, on the other hand, doesn’t have the same ability to be recycled into itself, and instead has to be burnt down and turned into something different. Recycled plastic is being used to make so many things, such as roads and furniture, by companies such as replas. But, it can never be made back into its original form without loosing its quality. So when you see those plastic bottles that are made from recycled plastic, it would have taken more than one bottle to make it, where as a glass jar could have been made from one recycled jar.

So every time you buy a plastic bottle that doesn’t say otherwise, it will be new plastic, and all new resources, such as water, went into making it. Aluminium is the same as glass, and can be recycled into itself over and over again. There are also some other environmental differences between glass and plastic. Plastic uses two times as much fossil fuels, and seventeen times more water than glass.

So overall, I’m calling it a win for glass, and always try and buy pre packaged produce such as spreads and sauces in jars, and not in sachets or plastic containers. If you have any other questions flick me an email via the contact page, or message me on Instagram @TheBlueScientist.

Shark Nets: Friend or Foe

Shark nets are a common safety precaution around Australian beaches, with the simple idea that sharks will get caught in the net and not go further into the beach, therefore, protecting the swimmers. They are in place at most popular beaches along the east coast of Australia, but do they actually keep swimmers safe? Some might see shark nets as an easy fix, but the issue is much more complex than a net can fix. Lets get one thing straight before I discuss the issue in detail; shark nets don’t stop shark attacks.

How do shark nets work?

They are a long, net system, generally 6m tall and 150m long, creating a semi barrier for that particular part of the beach. Because they don’t span the length of the beach, nor do they go from surface to seafloor, they don’t stop a shark from entering an area. The holes in the net are 50cm wide, large enough to let fish pass through while entangling larger animals. In Queensland, drumlines generally accompany shark nets, and are basically a hook with bait on it, aiming to catch the shark before it can move further towards the beach.

Shark net

A representation of a shark net, taken from the ABC Science site

In NSW, shark nets are only in place for 8 months of the year, and only 14 days per month.

Why this isn’t the solution?

A net doesn’t have any way of discriminating between animals, it is simply a pieces of rope strung together. This means that so many harmless animals get caught in these nets and die. This is known as bycatch, where non target animals such as turtles, rays, dugongs and dolphins, are tangled and killed in these nets. In fact, over 15,000 animals have been killed in these nets in NSW since they started being used in 1930.

In Queensland, this time of year is Humpback whale migration season, and the government refused to take the nets out for this period. This has resulted in Humpbacks becoming entangled in these dangerous nets three times this year!

If so many animals get stuck in these nets, many of which are endangered, there is the possibility that these nets could be luring sharks into the area. There is not a lot of proof to justify this theory, however if true, it would seem these nets are counter productive. Although in the short term, there has only been one fatal attack at a netted beach, but it will take years to find out whether these nets are truly effective.

If this isn’t the solution, then why are they still being used?

Well, the answer is somewhat complicated, but can be summed up in two words; insurance policy. If the politicians remove the nets, and someone gets attacked at a previously netted beach, there will be enormous backlash from the community to make beaches safer. So if the government puts nets there, and someone gets attacked, they can say that they put in place safety measures, and it is still the swimmers responsibility to accept the risks when they enter the ocean.

These nets give a false sense of security to tourists and locals. Even so, we always have to acknowledge the dangers that come with swimming in the ocean, but the reality is that the chances of getting attacked by a shark at an open beach is extremely unlikely, even with the nets in place.

What are the other solutions?

There are so many alternatives to shark nets due to recent advances in technology. Early warning systems are key to protecting swimmers. A shark receiver, or Clever Buoy, is one way to protect swimmers, and works by sending out a signal to lifesavers when a shark comes within a certain distance to a receiver, and they can then close the beach. This obviously only works for tagged sharks, but is a step in the right direction.

Clever buoy

* note the absence of nasty nets that would usually trap other animals

Another possibility is the use of deterrents. Some use electrical signals, (which is the main way that sharks sense their environment), to reduce the probability of an attack. It is still early days with this concept, and therefore is still in the testing phase. You can read more about this method here.

There are also apps, such as Shark Smart, which send you a notification when a shark is spotted, or a receiver from the Cleaver Buoy is triggered, so YOU can decide whether the water is safe. This is another way in which we can acknowledge the risks of the ocean.

But ultimately, we need to enhance awareness and recognition that we share the ocean with sharks. Showing people how beautiful sharks are can really change peoples negative opinions of them. You can find so many people on Instagram, sharing photos that highlight the beauty of sharks, and not their negative, media altered side. Shark Girl Maddison, Ocean Ramsey, and my favourite Matt Draper, just to name a few.

Shark Girl Maddison has also released an E-Book that explains the essentials that you should know when your surfing or swimming, and what to do if you encounter a shark in the ocean.

As always, you can send me any questions via the contact page, or you can message me on Instagram and Facebook!

The Amazing Octopus

If you had to guess, what would you say the closest relative to octopus are?

If you had said oysters, snails or clams then you would have been correct! No no, I’m not kidding! Squids and Octopus are part of the Phylum Mollusca, meaning ‘soft bodied’. They are highly derived members of Mollusca, meaning over time, they have undergone many developmental changes, making them look superficially different to their relatives! However, they share many defining characteristics with the other members of this phylum, including: the mantle cavity, foot, and radula (chewing mouthpart).

Whats the difference between a squid and octopus you ask? Well, their mantle area, which resembles their head, are different shaped, with the squid being more elongated and bares a stiff structure called a pen, that supports their long head. Besides their body shape, their lifestyle if different too, with octopus being more bottom dwelling, and squids living a more pelagic, open ocean life.

squidward and gary

But just because they are invertebrates, that doesn’t make them simple, not at all. They have many characteristics that are actually shared with chordates (us!). These include; highly developed sensory system, large brain, sophisticated eyes, cartilage and a closed circulatory system (compared to other molluscs who have an open circulatory system). Squids have modified the foot that other molluscs, use to move around, into tentacles with suckers that can be used to swim and catch prey. Their complex sensory system, eyes, and chromatophores (camouflage cells) puts them up there as one of the most incredible invertebrate predators in the ocean.

I’m sure many of you have seen videos of squids unscrewing jars and playing with objects, but the most impressive display of how intelligent these animals are comes from Inky the octopus. Inky was part of New Zealand’s National Aquarium, when one day, he got sick of sitting in his tank and escaped. It is believed that Inky climbed out of his tank, manoeuvred his way down a drain pipe, slid 4 meters across the floor, and then into a drainpipe that lead directly to the sea, all of this being done in the middle of the night! Others have been seen climbing over to other tanks and eating the fish inside them before returning to their own tank! Octopus are famous for the ability to escape through small spaces, all thanks to their soft bodies!

Check out how easily this octopus escapes through a tiny whole in a ship!

And this other amazing octopus in Australia that climbs on land during low tide to hunt for crabs!

So next time someone says that invertebrates are simple animals, you can tell them about Inky the octopus, and all their amazing characteristics that make cephalopods so complex!

As always, if you have any questions please don’t hesitate to flick me an email via the contact section, or find me on Instagram @The_BlueScientist. Feel free to share this with anyone else you think would be interested in these amazing creatures!

Week 1 of Plastic Free July

Well well well, these past few days has not gone the way I planned. On the first day (Sunday), I woke up, had my usual breakfast and made myself a cup of instant coffee. But I didn’t have any left, so I stole one of my roommates coffee bags. It was only until after my first sip when my brain had finally woken up that I had realised the plastic packaging around the coffee bag. 8 hours into Plastic Free July and I had already failed!

But I knew not to beat myself up about it, so I kicked on and continued my day plastic free. I made my lunch, did my shopping, and avoided plastic for the rest of the day… until dinner. I ordered a ginger beer while out for dinner, and forgot to say those magic words “no straw please”. And lo and behold, a straw arrived with my drink.

On the Monday I went out to the movies and as is tradition I bought a choc top ice cream. And of course that is wrapped in plastic, so there was another slip up. I think the issue was that I keep forgetting about the challenge that I have set. So to help myself remember, I have set this image as my phones lock screen background.


After that, every time I opened my phone, I got a little reminder and it genuinely helped. Tuesday was the first day that I had not made a mistake and been entirely plastic free! Hopefully this continues throughout July. As always if there are any questions feel free to message me on Instagram @TheBlueScientist or via the contact page.

Preparing for Plastic Free July

This year, I have decided to take the Plastic Free July challenge, where I am aiming to go plastic free for the entire month of July. After doing a bit of research today and preparing for the month ahead, I started to realise how hard this month will be (I guess they don’t call it a challenge for nothing).

Plastic Free July is a challenge that encourages people to become aware of plastic use, to create a cleaner earth for the next generations. It all started in Western Australia in 2011, and now has million participants from 150 countries!

While preparing for how I’m going to take on this challenge, I started to think about the things that I’ll need to sacrifice this month or things that I’ll start making myself. For example, my usual breakfast consists of museli with some milk and yoghurt. The museli isn’t a problem because I’ll just buy it from my local bulk food store, but the yoghurt is something that I’m going to be giving up this month unless I can find it somewhere in glass jar. It’s little things like that which are making me realise I’m going to be spending a lot more time at my local bulk food store than I usually do!

I am aiming to avoid buying items with plastic packaging because I still own a lot of things that have plastic packaging, such as moisturisers and food items, that I simply haven’t used up yet so I figured I’m just not going to buy anymore, but still use the ones that I own, because to me it seems wasteful to throw out something that could still be used.

So here are a list of things that are ESSENTIAL when preparing for #PlasticFreeJuly

  • Reusable drink bottle
  • Cutlery (keep it in my bag just in case)
  • Keep cup
  • Reusable shopping and produce bags
  • Bamboo toothbrush
  • Jars for bulk food stores
  • Reusable spray bottle for cleaning
  • Soap and shampoo bars
  • Reusable containers (for packing lunch or taking to deli)
  • Wax instead of shaving or get a reusable safety razor
  • Beeswax wrap


I think the most important thing for me is to remember why I am doing this for the times where I am feeling lazy or loose motivation. I have found a quote that I can look at whenever I’m feeling unmotivated.

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better, it’s not.” Dr. Seuss’ The Lorax

I’m doing this to prove to myself that I can live without plastic, and I want to show you that you can do it too, and how simple it can be if you put the effort in.

If you feel like you can take on Plastic free July, then sign up at the website here. Their website includes so many helpful resources, such as recipes to make things that would generally contain plastic packaging if you were to buy it at the shops. You don’t have to give plastic up entirely, you can choose to avoid plastic packaging or even just give up the big 4 (bottles, coffee cups, straws and bags). It’s the little things that will lead to a brighter future, so challenge yourself and give it ago! You’ll be surprised how easy it can be when you’re prepared!

I’ll be dedicating every Wednesday for Waste Free Wednesday by doing a weekly wrap up style post to keep you updated with my progress throughout the month!

The Importance of Mending

The other week, I ripped my only pair of black jeans while bike riding around Canberra. It was only a small rip but it was pretty high up the leg, so I felt a little uncomfortable wearing them.

I have written before about fast fashion (if you missed that post, you’ll find it here), and how important it is to buy quality clothes that will last you a long time, rather than buying poor quality clothes that will likely last you a season before they being to stretch or rip. The pair that I had ripped were about $150 and they had lasted me about 5 years, which isn’t that bad. So, the next day, I went into David Jones, found a really nice pair of $200 black jeans, and thought I would spend the money and they would last hopefully a few more years than my previous pair.

But my inner uni student started to chime in, saying “don’t be an idiot, you’re not really about to spend $200 on a pair of jeans?” As I was contemplating this choice in the change room, I remembered reading somewhere how much water it takes to produce one pair of jeans.

7570 Litres of water go into the average pair of jeans.

Let me put that in perspective for you. The average person uses 150 litres of water per day. It would take them around 50 days to use the same amount of water as it takes to produce a single pair of jeans.

So with that in mind, I decided to go home (without the jeans) and fix the rip in my old jeans. Our natural instincts are to go out and replace something that is broken, but could you imagine how much waste would be saved if we fixed things instead? I have no idea how to sew, but I googled it and gave it a go. It might not have done the best job, but at least it will make these jeans last a little longer, and I’ve saved $200!


If you really cant sew, then take it to someone who can fix it! Usually I would give my broken clothes to my Nonna and she would take care of them, but living away from home, that wasn’t really an option. But I definitely think she would be proud of my handy work!

I hope this little post has made you rethink your choices when it comes to replacing broken things. This isn’t just for clothes but can be applied to all sorts of things, like furniture, phones, literally anything!

Don’t forget you can ask me any questions you have or requests for future posts by commenting below, or flicking me an email through the contact page. Happy Sunday!

Being Environmentally Friendly at Uni

It can often feel like a struggle to find ways to bring sustainable habits into your everyday life, so here are a list of ways that you can make your uni life more environmentally friendly!

  1. Bring your own

Starting off with an easy one, bring your own! If you know you can’t make it through a lecture without a coffee, then bring your own reusable mug! Go the extra mile than just a reusable bottle and mug, pack your own lunch or snacks you’ll be saving money and the nasty containers they usually come in! But if you forget to go to the shops, or are too lazy to make lunch, then think outside the box, and consider bringing an empty container to uni to put your bought lunch in.

  1. Wear ethical clothing

Whether you like looking stylish for uni, or just want to be in comfortable clothes, there are so many ethical and environmentally friendly brands out there. I would recommend downloading the Good On You app on your phone. They give ethical reviews of mainstream brands like Witchery and Topshop, so you can be sure the brands you buy are ethical.

  1. Stick to your laptop

Using your laptop instead of paper, will save so much waste, and will help keep your notes in order. Downloading programs like Microsoft OneNote makes taking notes in class much easier, and automatically saves it to the cloud, so you will never lose it. If you find that physically writing notes helps you learn, then there are apps that you can download for your iPad or iPhone that allows you to write notes straight on your devise using a stylus, so it’s like you’re writing on paper.

  1. Walk or take public transport

Not only are busses cheaper than parking, and will reduce your CO2 emissions, but it is nice to have that time to reflect on your day, read a book, or just listen to music. It might take a little longer to actually get there, but I’m sure the time will be spent better than driving around in circles trying to find parking! If you decide to walk or ride your bike, then you are getting your daily exercise in, which is a bonus!

  1. Join an environmental club

At every uni there would be an environmental club, where you can meet likeminded people, and discuss issues that are important and things you care about! This is the best way to make change, by banding together with people who have the same morals, and fighting for change. And if there isn’t a club already (which is highly unlikely), then you should start one!

#WasteFreeWednesday: Bulk Food Stores

The next step on my journey to minimise my plastic waste (after taking the simple steps such as reusable cup, straws, and plastic bags), was to start avoiding plastic in the food that I buy from the supermarkets. This was an interesting and somewhat challenging thing for me to do, and even though I am not fully plastic free, I am cutting down a lot by just shopping smarter and at different shops.

To reduce your waste while shopping, you’ll need:

  • Jars (no need to buy any, old pasta or curry jars will do!)
  • Reusable containers (preferably stainless steel or glass)
  • Reusable produce bags (available here)

 Coles and Woolworths

I do my regular grocery shopping at Woolworths, and find that I save a lot of money and reduce both plastic and food waste, by buying loose produce, and putting it in my reusable bags. I mainly do this with baby spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes. I only buy what I need and will use. If you do decide to do this, I would suggest putting the spinach in a container when you put it in the fridge, because it goes a little funny if you don’t take it out of the reusable produce bag.

Most Coles and Woolies have self serve nut and dried fruit area, in which the same principle above can be used. Just put them in your reusable bag, print of the label as usual and thats it. It saves money because you only buy what you need, whereas with the prepackaged ones, they usually come in such a large size! I also do the same with the bakery section, buy buying two bread roles and putting them into my reusable bag. This again saves food and plastic waste, because I hardly ever finish a loaf of bread to myself!

Another thing you can do, which seems a little daunting at first, but will eventually become normal, is to bring your own reusable container to the deli. This will save those flimsy takeaway containers that you usually get with olives, cheese, and meat! If they refuse, simply tell them that it is not against any law, or health code violation. If you want to read more about your rights to bring in your own container, read this article from Gippsland Unwrapped.

Bulk Food Stores

This is something that I have only started using in the past few weeks, and have pretty much fallen in love with it! It is such an easy way to save plastic packaging, in so many foods and drinks. There are bulk food stores everywhere, all around Australia, the most popular being The Source Bulk Foods. They sell a whole range of foods, such as flour, grains, nut, dried fruits, chips, cereals, coconut oil, peanut butter, kombucha, sweets, and so much more! They have all their food in big tubs, so when you go in, you can either bring in your own jars and containers (make sure they weigh them before you put stuff in them) or use the paper bags they provide, write down the number on the item, and bring it to the front, where they will weigh it again.

The benefit to this, is that you only buy as much or as little as you want! It really is a good way to save money, and reduce food and plastic waste! I often do this with muesli, sweets and rice crackers! And because you can buy flour, sugar, salt ect. for someone like me who bakes maybe once every few months, I can bring in the recipe, and only buy how much it asks for!

I know my readers are mainly based in Canberra and Brisbane, so below I’ve included a list of bulk food stores below:


  • The Source Bulk Foods, Dickson shop 7, 30-42 Dickson Place, Dickson
  • Naked Foods Organic Health Foods, 60/30 Lonsdale St, Braddon
  • Mountain Creek Wholefoods, 14 Barker St, Griffith (Griffith Shops)
  • The Food Co-op, 3 Kingsley St, Canberra


  • The Source Bulk Foods, 404 Montague Road (The Stores), West End
  • The Source Bulk Foods, 3/134 Oxford St, Bulimba
    • Also coming soon to Bowen Hill and New Farm
  • The Produce Wholefood Pantry, 230 Waterworks Road, Ashgrove
  • Fundies Wholefoods Market, 219 Given Terrace, Paddington

Those are just a few, there are so many in Brisbane, so if you want to find one near you, google bulk food stores near me, and google should give you the answer! Thats my next step to living waste free! If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to email me via the contact page, or find me on Instagram @The_BlueScientist


Top 5 Marine Documentaries

These are the documentaries that give me inspiration. Whenever I feel like I’m losing my passion, or are just feeling like I’m on a useless career path, I watch one of these documentaries and it all makes sense again!

1. Blue Planet 1 and 2

There is nothing more soothing than Sir David Attenborough’s voice, I think anyone will agree with that! I love this documentary series because the cinematography is just so beautiful. I can really appreciate how many hours, and more often days, that the filmmakers have camped out at a site, just to get that 5 minutes of film. You can watch the first Blue Planet on Netflix, and the second one at 9 Now.

2. Chasing Coral

This documentary, made by the same people who created Chasing Ice, follows the path of filmmakers attempt to document coral bleaching around the world. It has a really beautiful storyline, and features so many passionate and inspirational people, who want to showcase how serious coral bleaching is, and what happens to the coral. The struggles they go through to showcase this event, and how they continued to keep trying even after so many times is really inspirational. The creator of this documentary has also started 50 Reefs, a plan to save and protect 50 reefs around the world. You can watch this one on Netflix.

3. The Great Barrier Reef

This is another David Attenborough documentary, done in 4 parts. The first is the Builders, which is all about the coral, and how such a large scale reef was built over so many years. The second episode is Visitors, which showcases the animals such as migratory whales that visit and stop by the reef on their journey. The third episode is called Survival, and it explains how so many animals live on the reef, and how each of them has adapted to surviving in a highly populated area. The fourth episode is about how they made this documentary, and shows in detail what I was talking about earlier, all the effort that goes into David Attenborough’s amazing documentaries. This one really showcases just how beautiful the Great Barrier Reef is, and how lucky we are to have this beautiful piece of history in our back yard.

4. Mission Blue

This is one of my all time favourite documentaries, because it is the first time that I had heard about Sylvia Earle (aka my hero). This follows Sylvia Earle’s great achievements in marine conservation. This is an inspirational documentary, but is also a heartbreaking one, going into the ways that the ocean is suffering, mainly through overfishing and plastic pollution. Her insights into these matters will really make you think about how environmentally friendly your life is. It is available to watch on Netflix.

5. Blackfish

This is slightly older that the other two, but has such an important message. It follows the journey of Tilikum, who was a captive Orca in SeaWorld Orlando, how he was captured and his life in the aquarium. Some of you may remember the trainer that was tragically killed in SeaWorld by an Orca, this is the story of that Orca. It uncovers how such large animals are kept in such small tanks, and the sad life they live in captivity. I strongly recommend this documentary, as it really makes you think about the poor quality of life large mammals have in aquariums around the world. This is available to watch on Stan.



The Great Pacific Garbage Patch

#WasteFreeWednesday is here again, and this time, I’m telling you about this phenomenon that is always referred to when talking about plastic pollution. Located between Japan and California, The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is the largest natural accumulation of plastic and other rubbish in the world. This is not the only place in the ocean where rubbish accumulates, there are several others around the world.

To understand why all this rubbish and junk accumulates at certain areas in the worlds oceans, first there needs to be a bit of oceanography talk. So the properties of salt water and fresh water are very different. Salt water will generally sink, because it is heavier than freshwater due to the salt molecules. Colder water is also heavier than warmer water, because it is more dense, creating something called a thermocline. I’m sure most of you have experienced this, when you dive into a pool and the water at the top is obviously warmer than the bottom water.

So cold, salty water will sink to the bottom. This will happen naturally, and is what causes water to be recycled around the planet. When this happens, marine debris gets moved around in these currents. This exchange of water around the earth is helped by circular movements called Gyres. Gyres are created by wind movements across the surface of the ocean and the earths rotation. These ocean currents move in a circular motion, so when marine debris gets caught in the currents, they eventually end up in the centre where they become stagnant and cannot escape.


This image was taken from the National Geographic, and shows the 5 major ocean gyres around the planet, and how much plastic pollution is found within them.

The majority of plastics that are found in this garbage patch aren’t visible to the naked eye. It is mainly comprised of microplastics that have broken down over the years, and create a sort of plastic soup. It is an extremely slow process for land based trash to make its way into these ocean gyres, with trash from the eastern coast of America taking 6 years to reach the patch.

It isn’t just plastic that ends up in these garbage patches, with 20% being made up from old fishing nets and gear from oil rigs or commercial fishing boats.

How do you clean up such a large scale garbage patch? Well so far nothing has been done because it is so far off the coast, that no country wants to take responsibility for it. It is extremely hard to clean it up and would cost more money than any country can afford, because the microplastics are near impossible to collect. And if they did try to collect them with a net, then they would catch a lot of other marine life too.

Now you know exactly what The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is, so when it comes up in news stories, saying it is growing faster than we estimated in 1970, you are more informed about how this happens. Also, this is where most junk that gets washed in the ocean ends up, it makes its way there eventually. So by knowing this, it gives you more of a reason to reduce your use and recycle properly! Thanks for reading, don’t forget you can leave a comment below with any questions, or find me on Instagram @The_BlueScientist

Portuguese Man O’ War

So today I’m writing about something that I learn’t in my Marine Invertebrates class this semester, and I found it super interesting so I thought I would share it with you!

Portuguese Man O’War, are a highly venomous species of blue bottle. Around the coast of Australia, we have the less venomous cousin of the Portuguese Man O’War, Physalia utriculus. They are part of the phylum Cnidaria, which includes true jellyfish and coral! I know many people think they’re jellyfish, which is sort of true, but they are so much more complex than that!

If you don’t know what I’m talking about the picture below is a blue bottle washed up on shore.

blue bottle

After a quick glance many people think that this is one single animal, but they are actually a colonial species. When talking about colonial species, each individual is called a zooid, and the Blue Bottle is made up of 4 different, highly specialised zooids. First, lets have a look at the bluebottles separate parts.

  1. The float (pneumatophore)

As the name suggests, this is what keeps the Blue Bottle afloat. They cannot choose which direction they want to go, they just float with the currents. As you can see, it is sort of shaped like a sail, so they do have minimal control on their movements, by changing the floats shape. Half of the population have this sail to the left, and others to the right, which is believed to ensure that only half the population gets stranded on shore in certain wind conditions, while the other is safe! This float is actually part of one individual, and supports all the other individuals in the colony. This is a living, muscular sac that is filled with gas to keep it afloat. The gas that is used in the float is made internally, and is air like in its chemical properties.

2. The gastrozooids

These zooids are responsible for feeding and digestion of prey that is caught in their tentacles. They wiggle the prey until it is able to fit into their mouth. The food is digested by the gastrozooids secreting a range of enzymes to break it down.

3. The dactylzooids

These make up the tentacles of the blue bottle, that are beneath the surface of the water. The tentacles contain an important single use cells called a nematocyst. They have a hair like trigger, which can detect mechanical and chemical signals. The chemical signals are used to determine if the mechanical signal (something bumping the tentacle) is from potential prey or one of their own species. The nematocyst contains a stinging thread with venom, that penetrates the body of an animal. The threat has barbs or spines which help the thread stay in the prey.

4. The gonozooids

These zooids are specialised in sexual reproduction. Blue bottles are hermaphroditic, which means that each gonozooid will have both male and female reproductive structures.

What to do if you get stung?

As I said, the species that we have here in Australia are not highly venomous to humans, but still hurt quite a bit if you get stung! I have been stung many times, and the pain generally goes away in around 30 minutes.

The treatment for blue bottles has changed over the years. It has gone from rubbing sand into it, to putting vinegar on it, and even to pee on it. These methods are very out of date and shouldn’t be used today. Surf Lifesaving Australia has suggested to remove the tentacles or wash them off with seawater, immerse the sting in hot water until the pain goes away, and try don’t rub the sting.

If you want a visual of all this information, check out this little clip from Blue Planet 2!


I hope this post has showed you just how complex marine life can be, while still looking so simple! If you have any questions, feel free to comment below, email me via the contact page or find me on Instagram @The_BlueScientist.

Why You Should Live Palm Oil Free

Todays post is not really #wastefreewednesday related, but I think its such an important message to get out there now that Easter is coming around. I am sure a lot of you don’t know about the detrimental effects that Palm oil has on the environement, or maybe what Palm Oil even is, so todays #wastefreewednesday is all about that. If you already know about Palm oil then thats great, but for those who don’t, here is a little go to guide explaining how it is made, what are the consequences of the Palm Oil industry, and some changes that you can make to minimise or even take it out of your life.

What is Palm Oil

Palm oil is a specific type of vegetable oil that is harvested from Palm fruits throughout throughout Africa, South America and Asia, with most of it coming from Indonesia and Malaysia. It is found in many foods from chocolate, to peanut butter, and is even used to fry some foods. But I think the saddest thing is that it is used in Nutella and Ferrero Rocher chocolates!

Why is it bad for the environment?

In previous years when palm oil wasn’t in such high demand, it was farmed from established fields. But now that it is widely used in so many different products, companies are clearing massive areas of rainforests and peatlands to create new palm oil plantations. This equates to more than 2.4 million acres lost per year to make room for palm oil plantations.

The obvious problem with clearing large areas of land, is the loss of habitat for native animals, and even the loss of plant species that inhabit the area. An example of an animal who has been pushed to the brink of extinction due to this deforestation is the Sumatra Orangutang. They have lost their habitat, and can now be found hanging around in areas where they don’t have reliable food and shelter.  Peatlands are an important environmental biocontrol, by soaking up water from storms, which will reduce the impact of floods. There is also a large amount of carbon stored in the soil in peatlands, so when it is cleared, carbon dioxide is released.

Clearing these large amounts of rainforest can actually have a big effect on the climate, due to something called albedo. Albedo is the ability for a surface to reflect the suns solar radiation. Rainforest have a low albedo, so tend to absorb more of the sun solar radiation. This might seem like a good thing, that if we cut down the rainforest it will have a cooling effect, but rainforests also retain a lot of moisture. So, it might actually make it a little warmer in those areas. There are also possibilities that clearing rainforests in the amazon could change the temperature in the arctic, but this still needs to be studied more before we can say that is the case.

What can you do?

So now that you know a little about palm oil and the effects it has on the environment, the easiest thing that you can do is just to not buy it anymore. Looking at the packaging of products that you buy that you might suspect have palm oil (margarine, Nutella, peanut butter, chocolate, cookies ect.), and if it does, look for an alternative. A general rule to follow, is that if it contains more than 50% saturated fat, the vegetable oil used will generally be palm oil. I understand that the alternatives might be a little expensive, but even if you just limit your consumption of foods that contain palm oil, or leave them as “treats”, then even that is making a difference. There is such thing as buying sustainable palm oil, but I generally think its just better to avoid it if you can, but if you can’t its always a better alternative.

I also feel that now you are more educated on the matter, you might be more inclined to spend a little more money, because it is going to ethical brands, and even though it might not seem like it is making a difference, it actually is. Palm oil is even in many soap brands, so keep an eye out on that, and always double check what your bar soap is made from!



The Nutella actually says under vegetable oil (palm), and the Ferrero Rocher says vegetable oil, but at the bottom after the may contain traces of… it says *sustainable and segregated certified palm oil.

Palm Oil free brands

Because Easter is just around the corner, here are some alternative chocolate brands that you can buy this week to make your Easter more environmentally friendly.

  • Cadbury! Good news that cadbury milk chocolate, dream and old gold are palm oil free
  • All of Haigh’s Chocolate varieties
  • Lindt bars (note that the Lindt chocolate balls generally have palm oil in them)
  • Pana Chocolate
  • Alter Eco Chocolate (this is a really yummy brand!)

So now that you are a bit wiser about the negative effects of Palm Oil, I hope you make some more sustainable choices when it comes to buy your food. And please pass this message onto others, because I sometimes feel that this message gets lost in all the plastic ocean stuff, and even as a marine biologist, I think it is just as important.

If you know of any brands that contain palm oil, or know of any amazing brands that don’t, please let me know on my Instagram @the_bluescientist or flick me an email via the contact page!



Sharks of Australia

In Australia, sharks are a very common occurrence all year long. A recent study from CSIRO has for the first time accurately estimated the number of adult Great White Sharks as 2210, from along the Western coast of Australia to Ningaloo reef on the North Eastern coast. This study used groundbreaking genetic data through a method called close-kin mark-recapture. Simply put, they take a small tissue sample from the shark, compared it to other sharks, and determined how related all their samples were. This was taken from juvenile sharks, for many reasons, but mainly they’re easier to control and sample. juveniles have genetic markings for their parents, so once the juveniles siblings were found, an estimate could be made for the adult population.

The findings of the study made me think; White Shark populations have remained stable over the past few years, so why does it seem like shark attacks are becoming more frequent?

While shark attacks are rarely fatal in Australia (2.3% of attacks are), they seem to occur more frequently here than elsewhere. This can be the result of many factors; hotter summers, good surf in sharky areas or the cooler waters down south. We also love being by the sea (and who can blame us), with 85% being with 50km of the ocean, and 90% of us putting it as our top 3 most valuable resource. But one thing that is 100% contributing to these attacks, is that Australia is home to the 22 out of the 26 species of sharks that have been document to unprovokingly attack humans, this includes the “Big 3” of shark species: Great Whites, Tiger Sharks and Bull Sharks.

But what makes these sharks so deadly? All sharks have chemoreceptors through their lateral line, and electroreceptors, specially named Ampullae of Lorenzini around their snout. But these three sharks have other special features that make them more deadly than others. Another unique feature of sharks is their rows of teeth. Each tooth in the three rows is serrated making them razor sharp. Once these teeth become too blunt, then it falls out and is replaced by the tooth from the next row! Their scales are also unique to the shark and ray families. Unlike other fish, their scales are forked and overlapping, so in the direction from head to tail, it is smooth, but in the opposite direction is is rough. This specific type of scale is called placoid scales, and makes for some really tough skin. It is also useful for other fish by removing parasites from their skin if they rub against the shark.

Great White Sharks (Carcharodon carcharias)

White Sharks have an amazing sensory system, including their chemoreceptors and electroreceptors, they also have sharp eye sight, being able to see contrasts very well. They are ambush predators, meaning they generally attack from below at speeds of 60km per hour. Because of this high speed, they end up leaping out of the water in an act called “breaching”. This relates to their name, because their belly is white, so when they breach all you can see is their white underside, hence “Great Whites”. This is then accompanied by their extremely powerful bit force, with produces 4000 psi of force (that is a lot, enough to bit through a brick!). Seals are the main source of food for White Sharks, but often, especially in Western Australia and Ballina on the central coast. But often humans are mistaken for seals because of their silhouette.

Tiger Sharks (Galeocerdo cuvier)

These beautiful sharks are named tiger sharks because of the stripy patterning on their body. Contrary to popular belief, these stripes are only really clear in juveniles, and they fade as the shark matures. These sharks have a reputation for being the garbage trucks of the sea by literally eating anything! Some of the various animals that have been found in their stomachs include stingrays, sea snakes, squids and even weird, non-food like things like old tyres and licence plates! Tiger sharks can often be quite unpredictable in their behaviour, making them a little more dangerous than Great White Sharks.

Bull Sharks (Carcharhinus leucas)

Distinguishable by their lighter grey colour and small distance between their eye and snout, they are the third most dangerous shark in Australian waters. Their snout is short because they live in water with low visibility, meaning they can’t see far ahead so they need their snout to be close to their eye for precision when hunting. They are known to be quite an aggressive shark, often being very territorial and have low tolerance for being provoked. What makes Bull Sharks so amazing, is their ability to tolerate a wide range of salinity levels. They generally hang around river mouths, waiting for the low tide to draw out all of the fish from the river. Bull sharks are a common occurrence in the Brisbane River, and have been known to swim as far inland as Mount Crosby (which is roughly 35km from the mouth of the Brisbane River).

So these are three of the most deadly sharks in Australia! But not all sharks are as scary as these three, such as the Black Tip Reef Shark seen in the feature image. These sharks are extremely chill with humans, and will rarely attack if they are unprovoked. This shark was pictured at Heron Island on the Great Barrier Reef by me when I was there on an excursion for uni. They were always around at low tide, waiting for all the fish to spill over into the harbour from the reef. Sharks are some of the smartest animals on the planet and are highly evolved to be top predators, but there is no need to be scared of them!

If you are smart about the times you swim and how you act around them, you will be amazed at how much they don’t care about you. Human-shark interactions are extremely rare, but let me know if you would like another blog post about how to avoid shark attacks, and what you should do if you find yourself in a situation with a shark, or if you would like to know more abut their behaviour and physiology!

DIY: Chemical Free Multipurpose Cleaner!

I have recently come across this amazing, easy, cheap and environmentally safe recipe for a multipurpose cleaner from another eco conscious Brisbane blogger called Jaclyn McCosker! For all you chemical free nuts like me, this recipe is completely non toxic and chemical free, making it safe to use around kids and pets. Because it is chemical free, if you use it in the sink or rinse out the sponge, it wont harm the environment when it goes down the drain. I was a little skeptical about how well it would work, but when I first tried it, oh my god I was blown away!

I live in a share house with three other girls who are always busy with work and uni, so we don’t have a lot of time to spend scrubbing the stove. Another great thing about this product is how cheap it is! We all fit the stereotype of broke uni students, so when I came across this recipe it was a complete game changer for us!

It is so so simple to make, it genuinely takes two seconds and only needs three ingredients!


  1. White Vinegar ($1.20 for 2L)
  2. Half a lemon ($0.72 per lemon)
  3. Water (free!)

The lemon adds antibacterial properties, but for something stronger, you can add a few drops of eucalyptus essential oil. But keep in mind, doing this makes it a little less safe to use around food, however is still an amazing alternative to other store bought brands. The ratio needed for water to vinegar is 50/50 straight into a spray bottle, add the lemon and voila! Its honestly as simple as that! The 500ml spray bottle that I chose to use was from Biome because the amber colour protects the ingredients from light, making it last longer and it was only $4.50!

So the total cost is $0.66 per 500ml, then you have the cost of the spray bottle which can be used over and over again, so this recipe is really good value for money! And to prove how well it works, check out these before and after pictures from my grotty share house:

This has to be my favourite before and after shot because this stove gets so messy and after it’s cleaned, it is so shiny! Usually there is spilt curry and old food stuck on it the stove, so to clean it, I spray, let it sit for 5 seconds, then wipe it away and it comes straight off!

Because I use bar soap, there is grime around the basin and water marks on the tap that come of so easy with this spray.

This before photo was from the morning after we had pre drinks at our house. There was food crumbs and just mess everywhere.

You don’t need to waste money on expensive cleaners now that this is in your life! You’re welcome! Let me know if try it out and how you found it!

Sustainable Seafood

Each year, the average Australian eats 16kg of seafood! It is safe to say that most Australians love seafood! The reason that I personally don’t eat it is because I know so much about fish; how they reproduce, how they coordinate muscles, how and why they behave in certain ways. It is really hard for me to forget all this stuff, so it makes it really hard for me to eat it.


I have nothing against other people eating seafood. It’s a personal choice and that doesn’t mean that other people have to have the same beliefs as me. What I do have a big problem with is unsustainable fishing practises. Trawling is a widely used method that is used to catch a large amount of fish in a small time by towing a large net at the back of a boat. This often results in by catch of turtles, dolphins and juvenile fish, rather than their target species. 20% of seafood thrown out due to by catch each year in the US, which equates to 2 billion pounds.

By catch isn’t the only thing that makes trawling fishing methods unsustainable. Demersal trawling is when a net is towed along the sea floor to catch prawns and fish that live on/near the sea bed. This can damage seagrass and will displace sediment. Seagrasses are an important part of a fishes lifecycle by giving them shelter from predators, and a safe connect from mangroves which they use as a nursery, and reefs. Without this, it takes away their protection, giving them less chance of survival. This will have a domino affect by reducing the fishes survival rate, there will be less fish to catch, resulting in more unsustainable practises used.

Not only is overfishing bad for us because we don’t get as much seafood as we used to, but it also has a massive impact on ecosystems. The two species that are under immense pressure at the moment are Tuna and Salmon. Because they are in such high demand, we are fishing them in higher numbers and at a younger age. The result of catching these fish at such a high rate, is they don’t have enough time to mature. So were not taking fish that are smaller size and therefore haven’t reached their reproductive age yet. This substantially lowers their population size, because now there are less in the ocean that are able to reproduce!

Now, you might be thinking, what can I do about this? Well lucky for you, I’ve come up with some amazing alternatives other than giving up fish.

  1. Sustainable Seafood Guide

This is a handy app gives you an insight into the sustainability of 90 different species of fish commonly found in markets and restaurants around Australia. This app was created by the Australian Marine Conservation Society, so you the information comes from a reliable source. It places the species into three categories: green = good, orange = eat less, and red= say no. If you are after a species of fish that is labelled red, the app will give you an alternative that is more sustainable. This app makes choosing the sustainable option so easy!



i tunes and anderoid accesible

Cost: Free

2. Look for the MSC seal of approval on any frozen fish


MSC stands for Marine Stewardship Council, and is a non-profit organisation that aims to transform markets to be more sustainable in their practises. This label is only applied to products that can be traced back from MSC fisheries, and is classified based on the United Nations best practise guidelines for sustainable fishing, so it is a tick that can be trusted!

3. Choose local over imported

Do you actually know where your seafood comes from when you buy it from coles or woolies? Approximately 70% of seafood that Australians consumer is imported. So maybe next time, try and buy your fish from markets instead. Majority of the time they’ll be better quality, and wont be mislabelled like a lot of the frozen fish found in the supermarket. Make sure you ask questions about where the fish is caught, and the ways they’ve caught it.

4. Use Greenpeace’s Canned Tuna Guide

Canned Tuna is generally pretty cheap and it lasts for ages, making it widely used around Australia. But unfortunately, like almost every other fish, it isn’t always fished in a sustainable way. To find out what brands are doing the right thing, and what aren’t, check out the Canned Tuna Guide. It is free to download, but unfortunately the 2018 edition has not been released yet. However the year is still early, so the information in the guide is still applicable.

So there you go, some handy tips to make shopping for sustainable seafood a whole lot easier! Let me know in the comments if you found this post helpful, or if you already knew all of this stuff!

#WasteFreeWednesday: Sustainable Fashion

With fashion being one of those industries that changes so rapidly, it is important for brands to get their clothes out as soon as possible. They are generally affordable and in style, but with this need to have the latest trends in stock, sustainability is not their priority. With Instagram and Facebook’s popularity growing constantly, many believe that “outfit repeating” is a major sin, with some people avoiding posting two photos with the same outfit.

There are so many things wrong with the fashion industry. Generally, their work and factory conditions are terrible, they are the second greatest polluter after oil, and the process of making clothes uses tons water. Generally, to make one cotton t-shirt uses 3 years worth of drinking water, thats 2700 litres! If you would like to know more about the ethical side of fashion, I would recommend watching the Netflix documentary, The True Cost. It explores the shocking behind the scenes of how the clothes we wear get made, and the impacts it has on so many people.

In terms of being sustainable, it is easy for someone to cut out straws, or plastic drink bottles, but being eco conscious when buying clothing is a lot more challenging. If you want to buy clothes that are sustainable, here is a list from Our Planet of 6 best sustainable fashion brands for women, and a list from Eco Warrior Princess for men. Also, online shops like ASOS have an Eco Brands section with a wide variety of recycled vintage and sustainable brands.

As amazing as it is to buy clothes that come from sustainable companies, I think that it’s more important to actually think about what we are buying, and whether we actually need it. A major part of being sustainable, is shopping for what we need, reducing post consumer waste is super important. It is not a bad thing to buy brands that are less sustainable than others, but make sure they will last you a long time. Many people buy clothes from large retailers like Kmart, because they’re affordable. But they are terrible quality and trust me, they wont last long at all. The Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that 85% of textiles bought buy Australians in 2016 end up in landfill around the country. This can mainly be attributed to one fact; cheap things break.

We can avoid post consumer waste by buying things that will last. Instead of buying a lot of cheap clothes every two months, save that money and buy some good quality clothes that will last. When you pick up a piece of clothing at the shops, just ask yourself, will this last me at least 10 years? If you think it will, then it should be okay to buy.

Emma Watson is an amazing role model for many things, from woman equality to sustainable fashion. What I love about her, is that she uses her celebrity status to drive change. In 2015, she singed up for the Green Carpet Challenge, stating that every single piece of clothing she will wear on the red carpet will be sustainable. @the_press_tour was set up by Emma to showcase and credit all the brands and artists that she wears, from ‘outfits of the day’ to red carpet looks.

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For the last day of the @beautyandthebeast junket we spoke to lovely journalists from Japan, did a reading at Lincoln Centre for local school children, and attended the NYC red carpet premiere. Can’t believe the film opens tomorrow! 🇯🇵📚🌹 Look 1: Custom @givenchyofficial mega bow dress crafted from certified organic silk. @bottletoppers clutch bag made from zero-deforestation, Amazonian leather; developed by @ecoage in partnership with The Rainforest Alliance and The National Wildlife Federation. It also features re-purposed metal tabs. Jewellery @anakhouri, using fair trade gold. Ana plans to travel to Peru with The Alliance for Responsible Mining later this year to share the stories from her supply chain. Look 2: Custom @dior yellow organza dress and cape crafted from certified organic silk in Dior ateliers by Maria Grazia Chiuri. Look 3: @gabrielahearst camisole and trousers. Gabriela Hearst pieces are made in small family-owned ateliers in Puglia and Perugia. Body by @woronstore, a slow fashion brand that focuses on everyday essentials. Each underwear garment is made from Lenzing Modal® fabric, a fibre made from beech wood sourced from sustainable forestry plantations in Europe. @catbirdnyc rings, handmade in Brooklyn. @lauralombardi earrings, handmade in NYC from new, recycled and found materials. Fake fur slippers available on @reformation Boots in photo 8 are leather-free @givenchyofficial. Trainers in photo 9 are @etiko_fairtrade certified GOTS organic trainers. @aglshoes leather-free, vegan bespoke boots in photo 10. Fashion info verified and Dior, Givenchy and Bottletop validated by @ecoage #ecoloves Skin prepped with @mvskincare. Foundation @vapourbeauty and skin bronzed with @vitaliberata. @thebodyshop Lip and Cheek Stain used on cheeks. Lips prepped with @lanolips, made from medical-grade lanolin and is 100% natural and free from mineral oil, PEGs and parabens. Lips are @ritueldefille. The brand was founded by 3 sisters who make 99% naturally derived cosmetics, free from parabens, phthalates, synthetic dyes or synthetic fragrances. Beauty brands verified by @contentbeauty

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She teamed up with Calvin Klein to create this amazing gown for the Met Gala ball 2017. This dress was made with organic materials, and recycled plastic bottles. Even though Calvin Klein don’t have an amazing sustainability rating at the moment, they are taking baby steps to achieve a more eco friendly clothing line, by becoming a member of the Sustainable Apparel Coalition. However, they are still lagging behind with labour conditions and animal care.

In some cases, giving your “out of season” clothes to Vinnies or Salvos is a great idea and they will likely get resold in the future. But so many times, these charity stores are sent clothes that are unsellable, and will likely be thrown out if they can’t be sold. One way you can stop this is to stop donating trash. This means anything that has holes, missing buttons or is just in terrible condition. It is just going to end up in land fill.

The best thing that you can do if you have old clothes in bad condition, keep them and upcycle them. This means making a old shirt into a stylish dress. It doesn’t take much to make something old, look new and fashionable again. If you do this, it also means you will have a new and unique piece of clothing that no one else will have! The whole vintage trend is really in right now, so if you can achieve this look from your old pieces of clothing, then not only have you reduced waste, but you’ll have saved money too!

I have learn’t so much by writing this post, and am definitely going to make some changes in the way I shop. I hope it has inspired you to do the same! I’ll also be doing some DIY posts in the future showing you ways that you can restyle old pieces of clothing, making them look new again!