Dictated by Roz at 22.07 Tarawa time and transcribed by her mother Rita Savage.

Position:  -06.56893   148.59792

I have several management-type books on the iPod such as Blink, Switch, Drive, and various other one-syllable, one word, one verb titles that seem to be mandatory for the genre.

Half of them seem to be little more than a sales pitch for you to get the author to come and speak at the company conference, but today I have been listening to Switch by Dan Heath and Chip Heath and this has actually been very good and got me thinking about things we could do to create a culture that is anti-plastic in its disposable forms

The book talks some real sense about how to Switch away from poor habits and into good ones, a subject that fascinates me in its environmental applications.

A couple of case studies, particularly struck me. In the first the objective was to introduce the conference to the designated “driver”, originally a Scandinavian idea in order to reduce drunk driving. They recruited the help of various TV show screen writers and suddenly designated drivers were popping up all over TV land, including, appropriately, Cheers.  And now, ta-dah, it is a well established part of our culture.

The second case study took place in Tanzania where the spread of Aids was exacerbated  by the problem of “sugar-daddies”  who would bestow favours on young girls in exchange for sex, usually unprotected. To change the culture they created radio-ads in which the sugar-daddy was depicted as a rather sleazy character who was left looking foolish when a sympathetic waitress helped his young date to escape from his clutches.  The name of the sugar-daddy character entered the national language as synonymous with “pathetic old guy who has to pay girls to keep him company”, and the practice declined.

So this got me thinking about how to do something similar with plastic disposable items. It makes me wince when characters in books are portrayed using plastic bags. Maybe we could write to any authors who commit this sin to ask them to specify reusable bags in their next novel. Or maybe we could coax several soap opera screen writers to drop in a few scenes where people are using reusable bags for their groceries. I am not well up on American soaps but in the UK it would be a cinch to do so.

Any slogans to suggest? Don’t be trashy? Plastic fantastic? I’m sure you can do better than this – after “the save the whale, drink some ale”  suggestion – I have high expectations. Ideas please!

Other Stuff: Looks like my oars are nearing the end of their natural lives.  On one of them the spoon has started to split from the loom and the carbon fibre wrap on all of them is flaking and peeling. They’ve had a hard life with extensive exposure to salt water and intense UV, so it’s not really surprising.  Maybe I’ll cut the spoons off and save them, though.  They are rather beautiful with wood of different colours laid into a feather pattern. They would make nice gifts for some of my sponsors.

Lots more ships today. I’m getting quite used to them now. Tonight as I ate my dinner I divided my attention between some particularly beautiful pink glowing clouds to the north and a procession of three container ships. All part of the scenery.

Some odd conditions today, choppy seas and winds from a strange direction as local squalls passed through. Over all, another day of satisfactory progress.

As of tonight, 186 nautical miles to go.

Nova’s News:

Be on Roz’s Facebook Fan Page and Website:

By the end of this row Roz will have spent over a year alone at sea in a space smaller than a jail cell, more isolated than a Tibetan monk.

Why? Because we can no longer ignore the pollution and environmental damage to our planet.

How can you help? Send us a picture of yourself using a reusable shopping bag to gorozgo@gmail.com and we will post it to Roz’s Facebook Fan Page.

We are aiming for 365 photos symbolizing Roz’s year at sea to let Roz know that she is not alone, that her message is making a difference. Three of the best photos will be drawn and posted onto Roz’s website, so be creative!

Another way you can let Roz know that you are following her journey is by making a contribution in the dollar amount of the days she has been at sea, one month and counting so far. “The energy of your support does reach her out at sea.”

Also take advantage of Roz’s Ebay Store sale. We are offering 10% discount on Roz’s reusable shopping bags until the end of the month. Also available in UK – ask for details through Contact (top line of page)


  • Hi Roz,
    I’ve been watching the vessel traffic like we had talked about but unfortunately they don’t seem to track traffic in your area. I found another source and they only show one ship, the Iron Yandi, which has already made it through the cut.
    On the plastic front I think you are spot on. I’ve been seeing lots more TV coverage for reusable shopping bags and on commercials for stores. The hard thing with products like bottled water is unlike “sugar daddies” and “designated drivers” bottled water is a product and big money is behind that. Big money companies are always a tougher vessel to turn.
    Wishing fair winds, calm seas and safe travels between all the shipping traffic.

  • I’m working on ideas, Roz. When you get back to land, you should research the ways that HIV prevention and safer sex have been successfully promoted. Our tendency to buy plastic stuff that we’ll throw away without a thought to what happens to it afterward seems like a behavioral epidemic to me.

  • It’s all well and good to change the culture around use of plastic bags & containers, but don’t merchant ships dump their trash directly into the ocean? My husband worked on them some years ago and that was common practice then.

    Where we live (Washington State) there’s city and county recycling programs for plastic bottles, bags & containers, and grocery stores give cash discounts for customers using their own bags.

    It still doesn’t solve the problem of all the *non* recyclable plastic (and styrofoam) being used in commercial packaging…

  • Thanks Kenny for your attempt to watch the shipping in the area where Roz is. I gave up on looking at Shipwatch when I found that they only tracked ships that had registered with them. In some ways I feel that Roz may be safer with ships around – perhaps less prone to pirate attacks. A catamaran was boarded and the owners held at gunpoint recently, but that was a lot further north west than where Roz will be going. Rita.

  • I have just looked at http://www.mtspng.com/ which mentions that they are awaiting Roz in Papua New Guinea. Sir Peter Barter of the Madang Resort is proving to be a tremendous help in preparations for Roz’s arrival, much of it based at the Medang Resort which will be hosting her stay in Madang. He is not alone, of course, there are other local people too offering help and a warm welcome. Rita.

  • Ran across this blog by accident and am appalled by the ignorance of it. Don’t normally comment, but I couldn’t let this one go. Not sure who signed you up to decide what constitutes a “sin”. You have more plastic in your boat and being used on this row, why isn’t that a “sin”?
    – “It makes me wince when characters in books are portrayed using plastic bags. Maybe we could write to any authors who commit this sin to ask them to specify reusable bags in their next novel.” –

    Plastics are essentially petrol chemicals or oil. Plastics are used in many, many things (not just bags and bottled water) people use each day such as polyester (clothes/carpet/curtains/candles wax/ wax for milk cartons), in important medicines such as the active ingredient in pain reliever medicines ( acetylsalicylic acid), and even in boat resins to keep them afloat.

    Obviously you have no idea about plastics in the real world. The real issue is that people need to reduce, re-use, and recycle. Recycling materials uses far less energy than creating them. Recycling one plastic bottle saves enough energy to power one 60 watt light bulb for six hours.

    You obviously have no real knowledge or credibility/credentials to speak on environmental issues and can’t really believe anyone with common sense in the general public would sign up for this malarkey. I can think of a number of other ways to support environmental awareness without being as staggeringly selfish and stupid as rowing. How about donating the money to the cause, for example. Or taking your professional expertise and working directly (or volunteering) for a group. Oh wait – that won’t make you the center of attention. Get off the high horse and join the little people in the land of reality.

  • Looks like Thomas has not been around very long! I would be very interested in one of your oars! They are very beautiful, and would go very well with the paddle from Hawaii on my wall. Maybe you could auction them off? I am on Abaco Island this weekend, there is very, very little plastic on the beaches here, and it is so beautiful too! Sometime you might drop by here on your travels, it is heaven on earth. Excellent snorkeling right out the back door! I have rented a moped instead of a car, but I am the only one I have seen so far! Best of luck getting to Madang, and hope to see you in Australia!

  • Thomas: If you have only now found Roz’s blog you cannot have any idea how much history she has with this issue. I suggest that you read her blogs from at least the start of her Pacific row and preferably also her book.

    If you lack the time for that then at least read her blogs for this leg of her row where she describes the (largely) plastic trash she rowed through

    Roz has influenced many people in many countries, including some who have considerable influence in their spheres.

    If you seek to criticise someone, at least make sure you know something about that person beyond your initial impresssion.

  • Oops, sorry, I though I was posting an image, not a link! It pertains to Thomas and my irritation at what appeared to be arrogant judgment without having read about Roz’s history and blogs. Please forgive the post–there isn’t a delete button to get rid of it once submitted!!!

    I’m still (quietly) here, rooting for you, Roz, and impatiently waiting each day for your blog post to go up. Still, also, looking for more ways to reduce/reuse/recycle and spread the word (and having a little success here and there).

  • Claire’s point is very imortant. No-one is seriously proposing to ban plastics; the problem lies in the way that waste plastics are disposed of. Because they are not bio-degradable they must be recovered and either recycled or sequestrated so as not to cause harm. A reduction in consumption helps, obviously.

  • Wow, Thomas, thank goodness you came around and set us all straight. My god what were we thinking!
    Kidding aside though, do the rest of us the respect of reading some more of this story, Roz’s writings, and the related sites she refers to in her podcast, etc. You’re so right about lots of plastics, everyone agrees. Clearly we could use your passion, just temper it with a little humanity and some context. I think you’ll see that what is motivating all of us is a common goal of cleaner oceans and a cleaner planet. Roz is rowing to call attention to this goal and it works.

  • When I first read your request for a slogan, I was baffled. Joan’s was the last comment posted. Two of her phrases jumped off the page at me: “throw away without thinking” and “behavioral epidemic.” Something there, but what? Intuitively, I knew they were somehow the answer to the plastic conundrum: Plastic is such a wonderful invention … but something has gone horribly wrong. http://j.mp/OurTodayIsForever illustrates the undeniable devastation from plastics that have slipped out of our control ….

    It has taken my subconsious all day to sort it out — frankly, I am glad I was not around to get pulled off course by the turmoil Thomas tossed our way. I think I have a phrase worth considering …

    Treat life with fairness, through PLASTIC AWARENESS

  • Roz, you know I wish I was there wherever, the obvious “couch potato” is to physically defend your honor and suddenly it dawned on me, a pretty, intelligent, lady that can row even 8 hours a day is well suited to defend herself! 🙂 And may times you row more hours and you are making such an impact and bringing the sin of intangling and destroying what God trusted to us to protect and use wisely, so that future generations may have an equal chance if not better! Obviously we have stepped on the toes of someone who cares more about a paycheck that others! But remember, mosquitoes are always with us, sucking up our blood and only giving disease in return! …….very proud of you Roz!

  • I know that the focus recently has been very much on the issue of our carelessness with plastics and the terrible cost to the environment and the oceans, but I want to say that another arena in which we can make a difference is with young “expecting” parents considering what type of diapering (if any) they plan to do with their baby. Every baby wearing “disposable” diapers goes through approximately 5,000 before they are potty-trained and the vast majority of those diapers (often with their contents) go straight into the landfill. In many countries babies wear no diapers and their mothers become as attuned to their elimination needs as they are to their breastfeeding needs, resulting in a much less environmentally costly approach. Some families in north America are using “diaper-free baby” principles, while others select a diaper service, or cloth-diapering, as a way of reducing waste. Those of us who can work directly with young people, or can share relevant materials through social media can do so much to raise the question of using disposables with a generation that has (for the most part) assumed this as the norm. Just another thought about a way to address a big contribution to how we harm our environment and a way to start mitigating that particular form of damage.

  • “Plastic fantastic” is a good assonantal phrase which, while in my opinion less pejorative in connotation than one might wish, should engender interest in your cause oxymoronically. I call myself a writer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *