Kasia (26) and Jacek (26) , Poland
Interview conducted in Hotra, Faial Island, Azores
I was walking down the pier towards the R Heritage Too commenting to captain Bruce that my interviews thus far were not very demographically balanced. When I approached older couples the male tended to answer question and the woman would walk away. I also worry about making single woman uncomfortable by approaching them for an interview.
An open water ocean racer had pulled into port a few days before and the crew was spending a few days in Horta to resupply and unwind before resuming their Atlantic crossing. In front of the immaculate racer, a young woman named Kasia was reading on the pier, she was joined by her husband Jacek. Their words follow.
What is your favorite part of living in Poland?
We like being close to our families and Poland has wonderful nature. Lush forests and the Baltic sea. This year was a great year for mushroom hunting in the forest. We like the North of Poland the most because it is close to the sea.
What is your least favorite part of living in Poland?
The weather in the fall and winter. It is damp and cold.
Do you see the changes in the natural world where you live?
For sure. The weather has changed a lot. Summers are getting hotter and winter is not so cold. We have only had one normal winter recently. That was 2 years ago.
How do you think these changes will impact Poland?
It will definitely impact the temperature and will likely have an impact on plants and animals. The fisherman tell us that there are less fish in the Baltic sea. We are not sure if this is due to changes in the weather or over-fishing.
Can you give me an example of something you are doing to reduce your impact on the planet?
We are really concerned about plastics. We see it on the Baltic beaches and also at sea. We live in a small flat and we noticed that the two of us were generating a lot of plastic waste. We are making an effort to reduce this. For example, we use refillable water bottles and have special bags for when we go grocery shopping.
Both of today’s climate change discussions seem to drift away from the topic of changes to the natural world to worries about plastics. While walking beaches here in the Azores, plastics are apparent. Styrofoam, sandals, fishing buoys were clearly visible. I was surprised to find in recent reading that smaller less visible particles may be even more problematic. I do like clothing made from synthetic blends, there wrinkle resistance and fast drying are ideal for life on the road where a sink might be your washing machine. However washing these breaks down these materials which inevitably end up in our rivers, lakes and oceans. Some references are attached below. It makes me curious as to how much energy it takes to create clothing from synthetic material versus natural fibers like wool and cotton. Both materials are sure to have good and bad aspects and will give me much to ponder in long days on the sea.