Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Hypocrisy of the 'Yoga Cruise'

Wanna go on a 'Yoga Cruise Ship'?

(a typical sight in our harbour every summer, these ships are seen above most buildings.) 
(Photo from 'Cruise Halifax')

Yep, the Yoga Industry machine has reached new levels of irony and hypocrisy with this trend, touting 'holistic' and 'sustainable' which are utterly negated by the following word: 'cruise'.

All summer Halifax receives a weekly change up of various, disgustingly large, cruise ships from around the world. I watched them come in, spewing black clouds of pollution, larger than McNab's island, every week from my office window. I heard the ridiculous 'When You Wish Upon A Star' horn from the monthly Disney cruises. The shear pollution that each ship represents is staggering and disgusting.

Small Floating Cities... of Pollution:
Cruise ships are like 'small floating cities'; and the waste and pollution they generate are comparable as such. In one week, a typical sized cruise ship generates around 210,000 US gallons of sewage, 1 million US gallons of gray water, 130 US gallons of hazardous waste, 8 tons of solid waste and 25,000 oily bilgy water (wiki and EPA). Except these cities pass the same path of ocean over and over again all season long.

Sewage dumping:
Cruise ship waste control regulation is flimsy, poorly regulated and filled with loop holes. Unlike the air travel industry, cruise ships are allowed to dump waste water, sewage, runoffs into the ocean. How ironic that these same cruises depend on the beautiful, clean ocean waters to attract customers while they pollute each time they pass through.

Increasing the Dead Zones:
Some steps have been taken to help regulate waste dumpage, but it's far from ideal and food waste is still a free for dump (David Suzuki, 2010). As Dr. Suzuki explains, at about 10,000-25,000 leftover meals being dumped each day, the food decomposes and acidifies increasing nutrients that starve the ocean of oxygen and help create 'dead zones' (scary 'dead spots' in the ocean where nothing lives, these spots are growing).

3x Carbon Emissions:
Then we have those monstrous, black smoke spewing stacks. According to a 'Friends of the Earth' report by Dr. Ross Klein, cruise ships tend to discharge 3 times more carbon emissions that airplanes, trains and passenger ferries. Certain cruise lines (for example Alaska) are attempting to decrease sulfur air emissions by a laughable 0.1 percent.

All this just for ONE WEEK of vacation.

Yoga Cruises?
After reading all the damage a cruise does to our environment, oceans and planet health, the phrase 'Yoga Cruise' is almost laughable in it's irony.

Instead of tag lines like 'Holistic Holiday at Sea', 'Gourmet vegan meals' and 'meditate in a quiet serene environment' they should read:
'Come practice asana while beneath you tons of raw sewage is being dumped into the ocean'
'Meditate on how we're all connected while the black sulfurus clouds reach all others'

Seriously? Who are they kidding? 

If you really want a Caribbean get-a-way, consider an eco-resort and offset your flight's carbon emissions. Or put on some fabulous Caribbean music, make some delicious organic fruit trays and chill in your flip flops at home. Whatever floats your non-cruise boat.

article copyright of EcoYogini at


  1. Setting aside the hypocrisy of the idea of a yoga cruise, being trapped on a boat with thousands of other people for a week doesn't seem like a vacation to me.

  2. I really enjoyed this post and appreciate how you are not blinded by "green washing" and things that call themselves "eco" or "yogic." Your post led me to David Suzuki's site and I discovered his graphic on oil sands. It was interesting to see that he did a "fantasy versus reality" comparison as I am currently working on a series on my blog by that same title.


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