Survey is now closed

The on-line survey component of my study is now closed. Thanks to all who participated by sharing their perceptions. Please feel free to contact me via email if you have any comments, opinions, or ideas about consumption and sea turtle conservation.

Plastic Literature

I recently finished reading a book called “Plastic Purge: How to Use Less Plastic, Eat Better, Keep Toxins Out of Your Body, and Help Save the Sea Turtles!” by Michael SanClements.  He has some enlightening facts in this book.  For example, did you know that the creation of one of the first polymers was due to a billiard ball company competition looking for alternatives to the use of ivory?  Apparently, this particular company and others within that time wanted to find alternatives to the use of animal products including sea turtle shells.  An intriguing paradox now that plastics have become a source of concern for sea turtle health.  Along with the history lesson, he highlights the importance of plastics in the creation of our modern world, from the use of plastics in the Manhattan Project to the introduction of plastics in our everyday use by making products such as nylons and food storage devices cheaper and more attainable.

Book cover.
Photo credit:

In my opinion, considering the topic, SanClements takes a fairly balanced and realistic view in this book, often reminding the reader about the good that has come from plastics and how integrated it has become into our everyday existence.  The second being crucial as people tend to think of bags and water bottles and do not notice plastics in clothing, in to go coffee cups, in everyday tools and products, and even in the stickers on our fruit.  Without plastic our lives would look and be completely different.  However, he is also very clear in that our current use of plastics is not only harmful to the planet and its resources, including flora and fauna, but also for our own health.  I learned that even the receipts that we receive from stores can contain BPA.  Plastics really are everywhere!!

I cannot help but wonder what was the most startling plastics discovery you have every made?

The strength of this book is how he provides realistic, everyday things that any person can do to reduce plastic within their lives and reduce the amount of waste that they generate from it.  He makes the reader feel that even small steps can make a difference and although he speaks to a wide array of ideas with varying levels of commitment and effort, he repeats that any change towards plastic reduction is positive.  His focus on the impact of plastics on the health of the reader and their loved ones is a useful and effective tool when asking people to make changes and foster sustainable behaviour.


Souvenirs and Gifts

A sea turtle magnet from the Outer Banks, North Carolina.

A friend recently returned from her vacation to North Carolina with a sea turtle magnet for me. I have definitely noticed that my sea turtle collection has grown dramatically in the last year. I have received sea turtle photographs, stories, t-shirts, bags, stuffies, necklaces and now even a magnet.

What is the most memorable sea turtle-related gift you have received or given? Why is that gift so memorable or important to you?


You do not expect to hear about turtles in a place like Saskatchewan, Canada. However, during my recent visit home, I spent the night in a community called Turtleford.  It is located close to both the Turtlelake River and Turtle Lake in what could be described as the central west of the province.  How did so many turtle references appear in a place that does not have any turtles?  Although two species of turtles can be found in southeast Saskatchewan, they are by no means an iconic species in this area.

Some of the names in, and including, Saskatchewan and Canada find their roots within First Nations’ languages, legends and/or myths.  Sure enough, Turtle Lake, which is the source for both the town’s and river’s names, was named after a Cree legend about a monster living in the lake.  However, I cannot find an explanation about how that legend exactly links to the word turtle.  Nevertheless, turtles have become a central, unifying theme for this area. For example, their town mascot is Canada’s largest turtle named Ernie and the local Chinese restaurant is named Golden Turtle.

I had to stop in to meet Ernie as I drove through Turtleford, SK.

Are there any areas/communities/bodies of water named after turtles in your area?  Do you know how the name came to be?  Do turtles reflect in the community’s image and/or spirit?

Remarkable Moments

A friend shared a link with me to a video of a sea turtle being rescued.  The film maker and the diver felt that the sea turtle said ‘thank you’ by swimming back.  It appears to be quite a remarkable experience for them.

Have you ever had a moment like this?

I shared the link through my Facebook page as well.

Caring and Consumption

Caring and its connections to consumption is a theme written about for many years now.  Daniel Miller’s work is often quoted and cited within these works.  One of my favourites come from Jeff Popke (2006) who writes: “Instead, Miller insists that the everyday practices of shopping are often suffused with ideals of love and care, such as the mother who passes up dozens of garments until she find just the right one for her child, both appropriately stylish and within budget.  ‘It is possible’, he suggests, ‘that people appropriate this plethora of goods in order to enhance and not to detract from our devotion to other people’” (p 508).

How has caring played into your consumption decisions lately?

Consumption during Canada Day and other Celebrations

Happy Canada Day!  Happy July 4th!  Happy Independence Day! Ramadan Mubarak!

photo credit:
July 2, 2014

Holidays and celebrations often revolve around food. Traditions can span generations or be just a few years old, some alter over time; however, food is generally the constant.  In my family, Canada Day coincides with the good old BBQ hamburger.  We have adapted tradition to include veggie burgers, smokies and hotdogs, but most everyone eats a burger.  The evening ends with watching the fireworks from the boat while eating chips, cheese, homemade sausage, homemade pickles and crackers along with the consumption of a variety of beverages.

And food is not just tied to holidays, when you think of anniversary celebrations, there is most likely a connection to consumption. My friend’s birthday is not complete without cheesecake.  My dad’s birthday is connected to a chocolate cake made from a family recipe in my grandmother’s tube pan (not to be confused with a bundt pan). If we eat that cake at any other time of year, I automatically associate it with my dad.

My Dad’s cake this year. The extravagant use of candles and multiple coloured icing is also part of our birthday traditions, but that was added after my daughter was born.

Tourtiére, or meat pie, is a traditional French Canadian dish. My family is unique in that we eat it with mustard, many people use ketchup.
Photo credit: on July 2, 2014

From birthdays to holidays like Christmas or Ramadan; what, when and where you eat is intertwined with ceremony. I spend Christmas with my parents almost every year and when I haven’t, I missed my mom’s tourtiére.  Mom and I take a weekend during Advent and bake Christmas treats; not only does it bring people over to eat our baking, but we look forward to the time we spend together during our yearly baking marathon.  I have friends who participate in the fasting component of Ramadan.  My hats off to them because fasting from sunrise to sunset in northern Canada takes an enormous amount of commitment.  Not only do we seem to talk about food and other consumption habits more when they are fasting, I suppose because awareness is hightened, but the eating before, after and during (when the sun goes down) are a big part of the holiday.  I have been lucky enough to be a part of some of these meals.

You can buy these sandwiches or some version of them at many gas stations in Canada. In northern Saskatchewan people travel to find services and because everything is spread out. Eating on the road at gas stations has become a part of life for some.
Photo credit: on July 2, 2014

Sometimes food is tied to people and memories more than ceremony, although new ceremony and traditions can start because of these ties.  My daughter’s father has passed, but to this day I cannot think of jerky, moose meat, Hygaard sandwiches and chilli without him coming to mind.  We have a tradition now that we eat at least one of these foods when we go to visit his grave, on his birthday and on Father’s Day. When my bother-in-law’s mother passed away, our family came together to take over the food traditions she had utilized to help him deal with the loss.  My mom canned peaches and pears, he started making borscht and cabbage rolls for his kids, and my mom and I added whipped shortbread and other baking for him at Christmas.

Please feel free to share any of your food traditions.  Do you have a food selection that reminds you of someone? What do you eat on Canada Day or Independence Day?

Survey is Ready

I am pleased to announce that the survey for my research project on consumption and sea turtle conservation is ready.  If you are interested in sea turtle conservation, I would love you to participate.

Please use the following link to access the on-line survey.

As a thank you for helping me with my project, I am donating $1 US to the ISTS student fund for each completed survey.

Be aware that by completing this survey you are agreeing to participate in this research project. As your name will not be attached to your survey responses, I may not be able to remove your survey if you change your mind about your participation at a later date.

  • Please take as long as you need to complete the survey.
  • Please feel free to skip questions that you do not wish to answer.
  • Please feel free to stop at any time.

Thank you for your time.

Survey Running Late

Happy last day of May!

When I came to the 34th Annual Symposium on Sea Turtle Biology and Conservation in New Orleans, I was not far enough along in the research process to begin administering the survey and, therefore, had stated I would send a link out in May 2014. This has not worked out.

During the Symposium, I had some great conversations about different areas and ideas around consumption. Being a responsible researcher, I want participants to get the most out of my work, and therefore, decided to amend my survey to reflect some of those conversations. Unfortunately, those amendments are taking longer than I had hoped to flow through the process.

As soon as the survey has been approved I will post an announcement. All you will need to do is email me your address and I will send you the link to participate.

If you have any questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to ask.

As well, I am more than eager to converse or trade correspondence around consumption and sea turtle conservation, so please feel free to leave a comment or email me at

Take good care!