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

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.

Holiday 2017/2018 Issue

Baja Blooms: The Gardens of Los Colibris Casitas front coverHappy Holiday from Journal del Pacifico!

Thank you for all the wonderful compliments on our special Fall issue cover by Bruce Herman of Luz Gallery. This issue’s front cover features a botanical illustration by Dr. Esmé Hennessey. You can read more about Dr. Hennessey in Bryan Jáuregui of Todos Santos Eco Adventures’ story, “Different Continents, Same Problems”—which also has photos of some of Baja’s ‘local’ plants by Kaia Thomson, excerpted with permission from Baja Blooms: The Gardens of Los Colibris. Baja Blooms was edited and produced by Journal del Pacifico’s Janice Kinne, and is available at El Tecolote Bookstore in Todos Santos and Allende Books in La Paz.

Tim Means of Baja Expenditions, La Paz, Baja, Mexico

Tim Means of Baja Expenditions

“Go Together: It Takes a Village to Save a Peninsula” tells the incredible history of Tim Means of Baja Expeditions’ 40-year vision to spend the rest of his life exploring and preserving the natural world of Baja California Sur. At 73, Tim continues to share the inspiration he has found here, and his desire to preserve the health of these unique local marine and desert ecosystems.

This issue also has information on two very popular events: The Palapa Society of Todos Santos’ Carrera de Todos Santos 5K walk / run and the Todos Santos Artists Studio Tour. Both are fun and support worthy local causes.

Padrino Children's Foundation staff

Padrino Children’s Foundation staff

Also in this issue, is a feature on the Padrino Children’s Foundation (PCF) and the important work that they are doing for the Todos Santos / Pescadero community. Their mission is to promote wellness for the community and provide access to professional medical care for underserved children in Todos Santos and the surrounding area. To do so, PCF collaborates with health professionals and organizations that provide medical evaluation, treatment, medical aids, and family assistance. Read more about it and how you can help.

La Posta del Oasis in Todos Santos serves World cuisine—conventional, vegetarian and vegan—featuring fresh, local organic vegetables, fish, seafood and meats. They also have special event nights and wine flights with dinner.

Rancho Pescadero is offering two Yoga, Surf & Nutrition Retreats at the end of March and May. More than your average yoga and surf getaway, they offer practical advice on mindful eating from a nutritionist; participants learn how to nourish the body for optimal energy while engaging in what it means to eat mindfully in today’s fast paced world.

La Misión Restaurant and Sunset Bar at Hacienda Cerritos, situated on the point at Cerritos Beach, is now open to the public after 4 pm, for lunch and dinner, cocktails and breathtaking sunset views.

Carlito’s Place Restaurant in Pescadero, is newly remodeled and expanded, with an outdoor kitchen, sushi bar, and martini bar. Carlitos prepares Asian fusion and farm-to-table seafood, poultry and steak specialties. Check out their daily happy hour!

Dos Marias Spa, in Pescadero, invites you to come and enjoy a truly relaxing experience at their beautiful spa, nestled in a traditional rustic location near the beach.

Mini Super Munchies’ famous Tuesday Night Open Mic/Music Jams, with amazing food, wonderful people, and rocking music takes place from 5 to 9 pm, every Tuesday until spring! All ages are welcome.

La Bohemia Baja Hotel Pequeño, in downtown Todos Santos, has a daily happy hour, a local artisan market Thursdays, live music Fridays, and lots of fun events this December and January. See events for more details. Ask about their pool pass!

The popular Noche de Super Salud, delicious plant-based dinners, will return this season at Pura Vida Health Food Store, La Fuente Winery (formerly The Tasting Room) and, La Bohemia Baja Hotel Pequeño. For dates and times, check their Facebook page. They are also excited to announce Prana Foods and RAWHigh—their new assortment of food to go, available for delivery in Todos Santos, at Namaste Yoga Centro and other local markets.

Surf Casitas, on the beach in Pescadero, is located in a gated private beachfront property on San Pedrito Beach. They have six casitas with a shared kitchen. Just step out of the front gate and on to the sand!

Corazón de Té, on the otro lado in Todos Santos, is re-opened daily for breakfast, waffles, smoothies and tea.

We are very excited that Chocolates La Laguna has re-opened in time for the holidays! Their luxury handmade chocolates and truffles are always a popular gift, or treat for yourself. You can also find unique, handmade gifts for yourself and those you love at Étnica, Nomad Chic, Tony’s Arte, Décor y Muebles in Todos Santos and Allende Books in La Paz.

Looking for a fun time on Christmas Eve or the New Year’s Eve weekend? Check out our events page for parties, music and good times at La Esquina, Gallo Azul, Posta del Oasis in Todos Santos and the Oasis Bar & Grill and Cerritos Beach Inn in Pescadero.

Holiday 2017/2018 Issue of Journal del PacificoDownload Holiday 2017/2018 in PDF format

See you with our next issue in the new year! The deadline is January 10, 2018.

JDP Fall 2017 news

Journal del Pacifico Fall 2017 cover by Bruce Herman

Journal del Pacifico Fall 2017 cover by Bruce Herman

We at Journal del Pacifico are excited to be back for our 7th season promoting Baja Sur and informing visitors and residents about its rich history, environment, and unique qualities. We look forward to sharing area and business information, events, enlightening stories, exciting adventures, and stunning photography with you this season!

Once again, Luz Gallery has supplied us with this issue’s fabulous cover and interior photographs by Bruce Herman. Bruce was our “On the Cover” artist for the Holiday 2016/2017 issue. You will find his biography online in that issue and see more of his recent works at the Luz Gallery in Todos Santos. Luz Gallery also has more prints of vintage maps like those in Geography of Hope, Bryan Jáuregui of Todos Santos Eco Adventures’ fascinating tale of Jesuits, Indians, and El Camino Real in Baja California Sur.

House Geckos by Kaia Thomson, Todos Santos, Baja, MexicoThis time of year with the heat and rains, the desert is alive and green, and our resident lizards can be seen scurrying about. This issue, Kaia Thomson of Todos Caballos, gives us a glimpse into their lives and their survival adaptations, sharing with us her marvelous photographs and knowledge.

The first annual Fiesta Día de Muertos Todos Santos takes place in the historic district, November 1st through 4th, with a parade of Catrinas, Day of the Dead altars, live music, gastronomic fair, a fashion show, a photography contest, and a special performance by Tania Libertad. For more information visit: https://fiestatodossantos.com/ or Facebook: Fiesta.TodosSantos

This November, The Palapa of Todos Santos celebrates the grand opening of The Palapa Learning Center and Elena Poniatowska Community Library. You can read how after three years, this dream became a reality in our article this issue. You can also help the dream continue by donating to their scholarship fund for local children.

You can now see artist Brian McGuffey’s light-hearted and thought-provoking works at Bésame Mucho Bazaar in Todos Santos and Pez Gordo in San José del Cabo.

The successful Women Awakening conference is back at Cuatro Vientos this December 1st to 3rd. This year’s theme is Reclaiming Your Power. See our article for more information.

The 5th annual Todos Santos Writers’ Workshop (TSWW) will take place January 27 through February 3, 2018 at Casa Dracula on the otro lado of Todos Santos. This year, they’ve added a poetry workshop. Christopher Merrill, director of the International Writing Program at the University of Iowa, will be returning to TSWW as its inaugural instructor. Chris’s latest book, Self-Portrait with Dogwood, is being widely well received. You can read more about the workshop and one of Christopher’s poems in this issue.

Attention Foodies: the Garden Restaurant at Rancho Pescadero is now open to the public Sunday afternoons with a full menu and their Sunday specials—Mole de Rancho and Barbacoa. Thursday through Sunday, you can also enjoy sunset cocktails with farm fresh tapas on their patio. For reservations, email: Rancho1@ranchopescadero.com

La Bohemia Hotel Pequeño, in downtown Todos Santos, has daily a happy hour, a local market, and lots of fun events this November and December. See events for more details. Ask about their pool pass!

Ana Delora’s Hair Salon is now located at the Whitesands Spa in Todos Santos. With over 18 years’ experience, Ana is bilingual and provides men’s and women’s haircuts,  dyeing, shaves, and pedicures.

Mini Super Munchies, well known for its famous ice cream sandwiches, micro brews, and Tuesday night Open Mic music jams has a new exciting addition to the shop this season, DoTerra Essential Oils—therapeutic-grade essential oils, natural skin care products, and supplements. They will be offering free classes to learn how to use essential oils in your everyday life. Check the Facebook page: Mini Super Munchies for events and Baja Essential Oils class schedules.

Slow Down Pescadero is a community effort looking to save lives through the placement of speed limit signs, education, and enforcement. For more information, visit their Facebook page: Slow Down Pescadero

Want to get away for a few days? The four-room bed and breakfast Casa Kootenay in La Paz is only a few steps from the Sea of Cortez. Enjoy the waters with a standup paddleboard or kayak that come as part of the package and turn your vacation into an adventure!

MaxiHome Nursing Services are now available in our area. They provide long- or short-term homecare, help with the elderly, IVs, injections, and more. See their ad for contact information.

Baja Blooms: The Gardens of Los Colibris Casitas front coverYou won’t want to miss Dr. Esmé F. Hennessy’s talk at the Centro Cultural in Todos Santos on December 1st. Her paintings of Baja plants serve as the centerpiece and chapter headings for Todos Santos Eco Adventures latest book, Baja Blooms: The Gardens of Los Colibris Casitas, which also features the extraordinary photos of Kaia Thomson and book design and production of this latest book by Janice Kinne of Journal del Pacifico.

We’ll see you with our next issue, Holiday 2017/2018 with more of everything you love! Deadline is November 10th.