December 2019 Update: Happy Holidays!

I find December to be a wonderful month for so many reasons. People are full of light and happiness, hope and love, and that spirit carries us forward into the New Year. It is a season of traditions and generosity, and it is one of the reasons that I believe it to be one of the best seasons of the year. For me, the holidays always bring me back to The Oyster Thief, because the idea for my novel came to me on New Year’s Day.

I am so grateful that I was able to flesh out the idea of an oceanic wonderland, and turn my imagination into a book in people’s hands.

(Photo Credits to Elizabeth @bookishconnoisseur; Irene @my_magicalbookish.corner; Tina @tbretc)

These days, I often find myself retreating to the couch with a cup of tea and a good book. Reading is an activity that can be enjoyed any time, in any place, and is good for the soul, but it seems to feel especially good on snowy days. Depending on where you are in the world, you may not get snow at all, but here in Canada, snow is one of the things we are famous for!

EUROPEAN UNION BAN ON PLASTIC

Next year, one of the things I want to do is reduce my plastic use—and I hope you consider doing the same.

I recently read that Canadians throw away over 3 million tons of plastic annually, and that less than 10% of it is recycled. The less we use plastic, the less we throw away.

But it’s hard. Sometimes really hard. Plastic is a part of the modern lifestyle and is pervasive in products—from their packaging to their make-up itself (and plastic is even in women’s make-up products).

I believe that government and business involvement is crucial in creating long-lasting change. Fortunately, it’s starting to happen. The European Union (EU) took an important, decisive step this year to protect ocean and land by banning and restricting plastics.

Single-use plastic cutlery, cotton buds, straws, stirrers, and polystyrene cups will be banned in EU member countries by 2021. In addition, product packaging will warn consumers of environmental damage they do by disposing of things incorrectly. A “polluter pays” principle will be extended to manufacturers of fishing nets so that companies pay the cost of nets lost or tossed overboard at sea. You can read more about the upcoming changes here.

THE COLDEST PLACES ON EARTH

Given the season, I’d like to share with you some fun facts about winter. Fortunately, I don’t live in a place that has snow year round, but in places like the Arctic, there is always at least one layer of ice. In fact, there are three different types of ice that cover the Arctic Ocean. (Polar ice doesn’t ever melt, but it can be as thin as two metres in the summer and as thick as fifty metres in the winter!)

The Arctic has an average temperature of -34° C in the winter, while in the summer the temperature can be as high as 12° C. In the Antarctic, the winters are much colder, with an average temperature being below -40° C. Are you wondering how fish and other animals survive in these environments? For some, the answer is anti-freeze.

(Arctic Cod – Photo Credit to Joachim Muller)

Anti-freeze in the bodies of fish (such as the Arctic Cod) makes sure that if any small ice crystals form in the blood due to contact with ice, they cannot spread through the rest of the body.

On that note, I hope you stay warm and cozy this winter! My best to you and yours this holiday season.