Say No to Plastic Straws!

No Straws logo, Todos Santos, Baja, Mexicoby Bryan Jáuregui

There’s a sucker born every minute. That’s right. There’s a high possibility that you are personally a sucker, an even greater probability that most of your extended family members are suckers, and it is almost certain that your circle of friends and acquaintances suck too. How could we know such a thing? Simple mathematics. The United States is home to roughly 325 million people, yet the country uses 500 million plastic straws per day. That is to say, each person is using on average of 1.5 plastic straws per day. And that’s just one country. As a species, we suck on a global scale.
Of course, the thing that really sucks is that a huge percentage of these plastic straws are ending up in our oceans. The Earth Institute of Columbia University estimates that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is twice the size of the continental United States. Of all that garbage, an Ocean Conservancy study concludes that fully 60% of it consists of items that society terms “disposable,” plastic bags, food containers, plastic bottles, and plastic straws. The Ocean Conservancy estimates that a plastic straw, used for 15 to 30 minutes to consume one drink, can take up to 100 years to decompose. A plastic bag that you use for 15 minutes to transport your purchase from store to home, can take 150 years to decompose. Plastic bottles can take up to 450 years.

So, that sucks, but why should us suckers care? Turns out plastic, it’s what’s for dinner. A recent study by the Ryan Institute concludes that 70% of fish in the North Atlantic have ingested plastic. Another study by Ghent University in Belgium estimates that shellfish lovers are eating upwards of 11,000 plastic fragments in their seafood each year. That plastic straw that seemed so harmless in your drink at lunch could actually come back to haunt you in your seafood dinner. And that’s the thing: plastic is personal. Which is why towns across Baja California Sur, including Todos Santos, Pescadero, La Paz, Cabo Pulmo, and Los Barriles are taking a stand against plastic straws and other single-use plastics. Baja is a strip of land bounded by two oceans, so what we do in our towns has an immediate impact on our oceans. Baja is the place where five of the world’s seven sea turtle species come to nest (sea turtles mistake plastic bags for their favorite food, jelly fish, and die from ingesting the plastic; plastic straws also get stuck in their nostrils and air passageways); it is home to 39% of the world’s total number of marine mammal species (sea lions and others are getting entangled in plastic bags and packing bands, and dying from infection or strangulation); it is where one third of the world’s whale and dolphin species spend their time (a dead sperm whale was recently found with 29 kilos of plastic in its stomach); it is a critical part of the Pacific flyway and home to over 430 bird species (National Geographic states that 90% of sea birds are ingesting tiny bits of plastic that they lethally mistake for food); and the Sea of Cortez alone is the home of 891 fish species that supply over half of Mexico’s fisheries, from whence we get our seafood dinners. So, ridding the area of single-use plastics is a deeply personal matter for residents of Baja. Says Mayra Victoria Gutierrez Sandoval, leader of the Déplastificate movement in Baja Sur, “Every time you personally consume a piece of plastic, you have to be personally responsible for what happens to it. That is the only way to eradicate the problem.”

Teresa Egea, Manager of Gardens, Sustainability & Spa at the hotel Rancho Pescadero and its Garden Restaurant, firmly believes in taking personal responsibility for reducing the use of plastics. “My philosophy is to practice the R’s, which are not only reduce, reuse, and recycle, but also reinvent and redistribute. I came to Rancho Pescadero six months ago and wanted to reinvent the use of the popote (straw). Our mixologist is from Oaxaca, where he developed a project of plant-based straws created by local communities with local plants, specifically Arundo donax, a type of cane. These straws are very beautiful, washable and reusable, and our guests love them, not only because they are enjoyable to use, but because they represent a sustainable alternative to plastic, and redistribute income away from plastic producers to local communities. Moreover, since we switched from plastic straws to the cane straws, our straw costs have declined by 2.5 times—it is a very profitable option and therefore a sustainable option for the business as well.”
Marimar Higgins, owner of La Esquina restaurant in Todos Santos, has long been a proponent of no popotes and eliminating single-use plastics. “We are serving straws less and less, and the ones we do serve are made out of paper. Almost all of our to-go containers are biodegradable, and we charge five pesos for all to-go items to make people think twice before taking away.”

Michael and Pat Cope of Michael’s at the Gallery restaurant gave up popotes and plastic water bottles long ago as well. Reflecting on such trends, Jürg Wiesendanger, owner of Hotel Posada La Poza says of the Déplastificate movement in Baja, “It is like banging on an open door.” And that is the exciting thing. While the movement to rid Baja of single-use plastics is gaining new momentum, restaurants like Posada La Poza’s El Gusto! gave up plastic straws a while ago and are currently evaluating how best to continue their forward momentum. Plenty of local companies are charging ahead. Alma and Manny’s, a much-loved local restaurant, stopped giving patrons plastic straws a year ago. New fish taco restaurant Santo Chilote not only doesn’t offer popotes to its patrons, it offers a discount to diners who bring their own takeaway containers. Landi Ortega eliminated popotes at her restaurant, Landi’s, over a year ago; Chef Sergio Rivera eliminated them from his restaurant La Casita a month ago; the Hotel Guaycura and its restaurants are celebrating their first popote-free season; and El Refugio owner Rachel Glueck has never had a popote on her premises. Feliz Ramon Vazquez Guluarte recently implemented a new program at his coffee shop, Cafélix, and now uses only compostable straws and glasses and environmentally-friendly take-out containers. Joella Parsons, owner of Pura Vida, is doing the same. Other businesses like La Morena, Fonda El Zaguán, La Santeña, Que Rico, Gallo Azul, Caffé Todos Santos, Café Santa Fé, Los Adobes and Cerritos Surf Town are actively working on their strategies for eliminating single-use plastics.

The Todos Santos Restaurant Association (Canirac) is totally committed to the movement. “To protect our oceans, sea turtles and other marine life, each restaurant that belongs to our association is committed to eliminating the use of plastic straws as a first step to becoming “green” restaurants. Our goal is to replace all single-use plastics with products made of compostable materials. The restaurant industry is united with the other sectors to make Todos Santos a town without single use plastics.”

That, most emphatically, does not suck! So next time you’re in a restaurant in Baja California Sur, don’t be a sucker. Ask for your drink “Sin popote por favor.” The sea turtles thank you!

RESOURCES FOR LOCAL BUSINESSES AND COMMUNITY MEMBERS:
For more information on the Déplastificate movement in BCS please visit their Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/DesplastificateMX/

If you’re a local business looking for suppliers of non-plastic solutions to your business needs, and/or artwork and other informational tools for your employees and clients, please email Mayra Gutierrez at ponguinguiolalpz@gmail.com or Bryan Jáuregui at tsecoadventures@gmail.com

For recycling solutions in Todos Santos and Pescadero, please contact Alex Miró at:
https://www.ecorrrevolucion.org

No plastics campaign, Todos Santos, Baja, Mexico

Cheers to One Year!

Todos Santos Brewing tapsTODOS SANTOS BREWING’S 1st ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION

by Jen Crandall

Image may contain: textA year ago, in June, Liz and Ted Mitchell opened the doors of Todos Santos Brewing and since then have shared a lifetime of beer, laughs, and memories with locals and visitors alike! After starting off strong on their opening day–serving the amount of beer they had planned for the month in the first three hours–they’ve made and served over 12,000 liters of beer. This is a remarkable feat considering they run a single-beer barrel system, meaning they brew 100 liters at a time. They’ve sold over 300 growlers to date, so guests can take their favorite beers to enjoy at home.

Todos Santos Brewing regularly has fifteen small-batch brews to choose from, plus four non-alcoholic beverages, and three rotational or guest taps. They are predominantly an “ale” house with varieties from Summer and Blonde Ales to Brown and India Pale Ales. Not to mention their gluten-free alcoholic ginger beer.

A few months in, they opened their kitchen offering a menu of gastro pub food, with the specialty being gourmet hamburgers (and many other delicious dishes). Their fabulous chef, Erick, came over from the mainland to showcase his fusion of traditional Mexican fare with “gastropub” food–he’s now offering a weekly special–find out more on their Facebook page!

Liz and Ted are proud to have participated in several competitions this past year and came away with awards for their Dizzee Lizzee Summer Ale at the Copa Cerveza; and for the Gaslamp IPA, Dizzee Lizzee and Brown Owl Brown Ale at the Baja Sur State competition.

The friendly staff is very focused on creating a sociable environment for all their guests and friends. They feature fun weekly events such as Friday Night Trivia and the Sunday Sessions live music showcasing talented local musicians. And they’ve newly started “The Brewer Talks” sessions every Saturday for those who want to know more about their beers and brewery.

Liz and Ted add, “We’re so grateful for the warm welcome we received from the very start and love the support we continue to get from our local community here in Todos Santos. Come for the beer, stay for the experience!”

Join Todos Santos Brewing the weekend of June 8, 9, and 10 to celebrate “Cheers to One Year!”

Friday, June 8, 6 pm: Trivia Night with pint-sized prizes, the topic being: Beer & Todos Santos Brewing!

Saturday, June 9, 1 pm: they’ll tap their Celebration Ale–a habanero-cacao porter.

1 – 6 pm: join DJ Dimitri Kota in the beer garden for music, games, and prizes.

7 – 9 pm: “Beergustation Celebration Dinner” a food and beer pairing dinner with five courses; sign up at info@todossantosbrewing.mx

Sunday, June 10, 2 pm: “The Brewer Talks”: a tasting session of all taps plus a brewery tour, hosted by Ted & Liz.

6 pm start: “Super Sunday Sessions” hosted by the fabulous Jenelle Aubade, featuring a range of local talented Sunday Sessions musicians including David Red Buffalo, Divier, Anibal Cota, Liiroi Douglas, Zoë Dearborn, Angelina Wolf, Steve Keys, and more!

Todos Santos Brewing is located on Alvaro Obregón between Militar and Rangel in Todos Santos, #74 on Todos Santos map. Open Thursday to Sunday, 1 to 9 pm. For more information, events and weekly menu specials, visit their Facebook and Instagram.

 

March

March

This year’s Todos Santos’ Historic Home Tour takes place on Sunday, March 4, from 10 am to 3 pm. This one-day event benefits the educational programs of The Palapa Society of Todos Santos, A.C. Tickets may be purchased on the day of the event at the Centro Cultural located on Calle Benito Juárez. Admission is 300 pesos or $20 USD. Docents are on hand at each site to offer more information.

The tour coordinator, Paul Bumann says, “We have over 25 historic sites including private homes, hotels/inns, municipal buildings, the mission church, and sugar cane processor. Experience sites thoughtfully restored to reflect the uniqueness of the days before electricity and telephone. Open just once a year to the public, these magnificent homes and buildings allow you to soak in and imagine the tranquil elegance of Todos Santos over a century ago. Be sure to bring your family, friends, neighbors and architects.”

New this year is an optional “Find the Saint Challenge.” Todos Santos (translated All Saints) has several statues of saints around town cleverly perched in niches on the exterior of buildings. Find and mark all of them on a map and you will be entered in a drawing for a commemorative painting by renowned artist, Erick Ochoa. It’s a fun way to look up and notice all these little treasures around town. Also new this year, several restaurants will offer discounts on breakfast and lunch to wristband holders while you are in town for the day.

For more information visit www.palapasociety.org

Keenan Shoal photography at Gallery Ezra Katz in Todos SantosTodos Santos resident, Keenan Shoal, provided our cover photo as well as the interior shots for the start of the Historic Home Tour article and the Camp Cecil on Isla Espíritu Santo on our La Paz Beaches page. You may remember that Keenan’s stunning Pacific Ocean view from La Poza hill was our cover for the Summer 2016 issue of Journal del Pacifico.

March 10, 5 pm, you can see more of Keenan’s photography at the cocktail reception in the the new garden gallery at Gallery Ezra Katz in Todos Santos.

March 10, 6 pm is also the first anniversary party for Bésame Mucho Bazaar in Todos Santos. Stop in this fun event and check out the fashions, jewelry, artwork and more!

March 16 and 17, check out The Baja 100 art walk/drive—a fun event downtown Todos Santos with participating galleries with new artists like Brian McGuffey, specialty shops like Nomad Chic, restaurants and bars. Each month different local artist donates a work to be raffled to raise funds for local charities. Check out the The Baja 100 Facebook page for updates, a map, and more information.

We will see you next with our Spring issue. Deadline is March 5.

Valentine’s Day

photo by Keenan Shoal for Journal del Pacifico

photo by Keenan Shoal for Journal del Pacifico

Are you ready for Valentine’s Day?

Chocolates La Laguna, behind the bookstore in Todos Santos, has just the right treat for Valentine’s Day. If you’re looking for a Valentine’s night dinner, there are delicious options available at Pura Vida, La Esquina and Garden by Rancho Pescadero.

There are also great gifts available for men and women at Nomad Chic and Étnica in Todos Santos.

Todos Santos resident, Keenan Shoal, provided our cover photo for the Winter 2018 issue well as the interior shots for the start of the Historic Home Tour article and the Camp Cecil on Isla Espíritu Santo on our La Paz Beaches page. You may remember that Keenan’s stunning Pacific Ocean view from La Poza hill was our cover for the Summer 2016 issue of Journal del Pacifico. You can see more of Keenan’s photography at Gallery Ezra Katz in Todos Santos.

Dr. Jon P. Rebman, Baja, Mexico

Dr. Jon P. Rebman, Baja, Mexico

In this issue, Bryan Jáuregui of Todos Santos Eco Adventures, interviewed Dr. Jon P. Rebman, renowned author of the Baja California Plant Field Guide, about the ‘lost plants of Baja.” It’s a fascinating look into the search for Baja California plants that have not been collected or scientifically documented for decades. He covered part of the territory near Loreto by mule with Trudi Angell of Saddling South.

Also, in this issue, Kaia Thomson of Todos Caballos shares her story and photos in The Banana Chronicles with a bunch of fun facts and fabulous pictures.

Café Santa Fé is celebrating its 28th anniversary. I remember meeting Paula and Ezio Colombo when I first came to Todos Santos in 1993 and marveling how such a small town could have a restaurant of this calibre. As Michael Mercer wrote on the occasion of their 20th anniversary:
In late 1990, when the Café Santa Fé opened, there was one restaurant in Todos Santos, a modest Mexican place called the Santa Monica. There were no art galleries (apart from Charles Stewart’s living room). Very few tourists, even fewer gringo residents.
“Our first night, we had 15 or 20 people from the trailer park,” Paula remembers. “One dish, a putanesca.” Everyone loved it, but the peso had just been devalued and no one could afford to pay. “So that night was free.”
Eight years later, they are still serving perfect pastas, pizza, salads, seafood and local meats.

Artist Carlos Diaz Castro is well known for his vivid paintings of Baja and ranchero life. You can see more of his work at his Diaz Castro Studio & Fine Art Gallery on 5 de Mayo in the historic district of La Paz.

La Misión Restaurant at Hacienda Cerritos is now open every day for lunch and dinner, from noon to 9 pm.

Carlitos Place in Pescadero has added Chinese recipes to their expanded menu– Peking duck, Mongolian beef, sweet & sour shrimp and chicken, beef broccoli and fried rice. Cooking classes are coming soon too! See our feature in the issue.

Kimberly’s Supermarket & Café on the road to Cerritos Beach has groceries, coffee and snacks from 7 am to 8 pm. And Shakas restaurant next door, will be open soon!

Sugar Shack is also now serving snacks, including birria, wings, guacamole, onion rings and more and have expanded to outdoor seating in the back.

Las Olas Recovery provides personal attention for their clients’ addiction solutions with medically assisted detox and 24-hour care. Results are their ambition. See their ad for more information.

La Curandería Health and Wellness Centre in Pescadero has lighthearted, Community Yoga Saturdays at 8 am. 100% donations are given to different area groups. Also, at La Curandería, you can enjoy Hesed Najeera’s deep, holistic massage and Ayurvedic bodywork.

Do you drive on the beaches? Do you know it isn’t legal? The Friends of the Todos Santos Dunes ask that you please show some respect for the beauty and magic of Baja and help protect the sea turtles nesting and hatching. You can read more about how the coastal dunes are an important part of the ecosystem in the article in this issue.

by Keenan Shoal for Journal del Pacifico

by Keenan Shoal for Journal del Pacifico

We hope that you enjoyed the Todos Santos’ Artist’s Studio Tour! The next fun tour will be the Todos Santos Historic Home Tour on March 4. Both give a different view of the pueblo mágico and benefit the programs of The Palapa Society of Todos Santos, A.C.

The Baja 100 art walk/drive is another fun downtown Todos Santos event. Check out the The Baja 100 Facebook page for updates on their March events.

Don’t forget, you can see the current issue and every issue online. We will see you next with our Spring issue. Deadline is March 5.