Saturday, August 29, 2009

Day 50 - Aug 29

Life Guard Station 26, Ocean, Park Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min.
estimated pounds collected today - 2 bags of trash 2.5/3.3-1 bag of recyclables .5-tops - .1= 6.4
estimated pounds collected to date - 272.9
Last week at work Garen was shown a documentary called FLOW.

"Salina, (the director), builds a case against the growing privatization of the world's dwindling fresh water supply with an unflinching focus on politics, pollution, human rights, and the emergence of a domineering world water cartel."
This was my close call of the day. Almost picking up someone's used panty liner with my bare hands. Thankfully I paused and got out a tissue to pick it up without touching it. The funny, (or very gross), thing is, is that the panty liner had already washed "clean" into the water.
Garen found another blog for me to tell you about, it is called Stop Nestle Waters. org there is a trailer on this blog for another film called Tapped. Please take a couple of minutes to watch it if you are interested in the rising debate against bottled water.
Garen came out to help today. I walk slower, and honestly get a little lazy, when he is there to help. I let him pick up the slack. He also says that he doesn't belong in the community count because well, he's my husband. Somehow that made sense to me, even if it isn't very scientific. Anyway, this is what the two of us collected in 20 minutes. And since I am more apt to let him bend down to unearth the cigarette butts when we are together, maybe it actually isn't that much more than I would get on my own. Yesterday, for example, I collected 6.5 pounds by myself. Basically he did everything today. Thanks Garen!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Day 49 - August 28

Life Guard Station 26, Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
estimated trash collected today - 2 bags - 4.2/2.3 recyclables = 6.5
estimated trash collected to date - 266.5
There was the most unbelievable sunset today. I think it was from the forest fire that is raging through Angeles National Forest here in Los Angeles. I have added about twice as many pictures to my blog tonight. I got lucky taking photographs earlier, it is really hard to screw up shots of that amazingly beautiful sky. This blog could be labeled trash and sunsets, but I hope you'll bare with me, they are both in need of documentation.
There was a blood red sunset today, and then I found this in the sand. I debated whether I wanted to post this picture. I have found tampon applicators, but not the actual tampon before. It disturbs me not only to see this in the sand right after I had looked at the beautiful sky above, but to wonder why it was there. Had it floated in on the tide, and if so was there a lot of toilet waste that had been flushed into the Santa Monica Bay recently?
I've started to talk to Ben Kay at Santa Monica High School who is the leader of Team Marine, a club there devoted to ocean conservation and environmental activism. I hope that we can join forces. We were talking yesterday about the need for water bottle manufacturer's to attach the bottle tops to the bottle. Until, we both agreed, we get rid of the bottles all together. I think I may keep a count of how many tops I find, and keep them for this year. That could be persuasive to influence companies to change. I like thinking of small gestures that add up to have greater influence. I think I'll do this.
My least favorite thing that I have seen on a day out collecting was a sea gull who swallowed a lighter just like this right in front of me before I could get to it.
A mermaid.
The moon and clouds.
I was surprised when I found a leading article in the AP on the Yahoo site about the Pacific Trash Gyre, a swirling mass of trash and plastics twice the size of the continental United States. I've read articles that say it is twice the size of Texas, but that was true years ago, it has grown.
Click here to read more. I am glad to see that this topic is getting the buzz it needs.
The 25th Coastal Cleanup Day is coming on Set. 19 where thousands of people come out from both coasts to clean the beach. I'll be doing that, maybe with Heal The Bay. The day after will be a festival for the Day of Peace on the pier in Santa Monica hosted by Roots and Shoots, a foundation started by Jane Goodall, it is going to be an incredible weekend. The festival is completely free so join us.
California Coastkeeper Alliance. Check them out!
Waterkeeper Alliance. Check them out too!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Day 48 - August 26

Life Guard Station 26, Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
estimated pounds of trash today - 2 bags, .7 of which was recyclables
estimated pounds of trash to date - 260.9
The Surfrider 25th Anniversary Meeting at Duke's in Malibu was awesome last night. Glen Hening who founded Surfrider gave a power point presentation on how it all began and brought us up to today. There was a great band and really good fish tacos. A raffle closed out the evening. Garen and I wanted to win the stand up paddle board, alas.
At the meeting they announced a bunch of campaigns that are really making a difference. One that I was interested in was the Teach and Test initiative (testing ocean water quality) that is going on with at Santa Monica High School. It is called Team Marine, I love it! I met a woman named Renee that will hopefully help Garen and I get involved. Click here to link to their site

Garen and I got to discussing ideas we have to form a non-profit out of The Daily Ocean one day. We want to base it on the theme that you can take huge environmental problems facing the ocean and on a daily basis, do one small action that will lead up to make a huge accumulative impact. Like the phase of the moon is barely visible day to day, until one evening you realize it is full again, these small changes add up to make a difference. He's a Marine Biologist so we're thinking water testing for bacteria to prove that beaches closer to a source of pollution are actually impacting people's health. It is an assumed idea based on very reasonable assumptions but the hard data to stand up in a court for example is not often there.

"When you're an activist it helps to be really pissed off," Glen Hening said of a colleague last night jokingly. At which point Garen laughed and patted my knee. Sure, I've got some of that and I think Glen is right, but I also think it helps to be steady and thoughtful.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Day 47 - August 23

Life Guard Station 27, Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
estimated pounds collected today - 2 bags - 2.7/1.3= 4
estimated pounds collected to date - 258.4
The tide was waaaay out today. The way the early evening light was reflecting off the usually covered sand was beautiful.
Garen had to help me collect today because I had forgotten to change out of a skirt I'd worn to his parents house earlier in the day. A Marilyn Monroe impression was not what I was going for.
This is a seat cushion from a boat maybe? Someone had decided to stomp up and down on it, but not drag it to the trash. If I had added the weight of this out of place upholstery in all its water soaked glory, I would have shot the days tally up by at least 20 pounds.
Thanks to Surfrider's Soup, e-newsletter that I get weekly, there was an article about how our ocean temperature is on the rise. Click here for more info and to read the article from the New York Times.
"Average temperatures of waters at the oceans’ surface in July were the highest ever recorded, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said."
The Daily Water Bottle.
Well speaking of Surfrider above, they have a campaign called Rise Above Plastics. You can find out more about what they are up to at their monthly meeting tomorrow. I will be attending the 25th anniversary meeting Tuesday the 25th, at Duke's in Malibu off the PCH (Pacific Coast Highway). Festivities start at 7pm, there's a speaker and music, and I will have a few minutes somewhere in there to talk about The Daily Ocean to drum up local support to come collect trash with me. You know you want to come!!!

You don't have to be a surfer to attend. I'm not, I just think that what Surfrider does for our beaches and oceans is something to be a part of. Seriously, if you are local, come along.
Lets talk about Global Warming again. A cheerful subject I know. There are many opinions about this topic, but few could argue anymore that it is not happening, and if you are one of those people you probably were not drawn to read this blog.

There is a cold water current that travels across the Arctic and keeps harmful pollution circulating thru that area. Because of melting Arctic ice and other factors mentioned in this short article we may have:

"WITHIN 60 years the Arctic Ocean could be a stagnant, polluted soup. Without drastic cuts in greenhouse-gas emissions, the Transpolar Drift, one of the Arctic's most powerful currents and a key disperser of pollutants, is likely to disappear because of global warming."

This is actually Life Guard Station 26. For anyone paying close attention I usually lead my posts with an image of this LGS, but today chose a picture of LGS 27 instead. I collect between these two points. This was the way the beach looked as we walked out at 6:35 p.m. yesterday. Not bad.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Day 46 - August 19

Life Guard Station 26, Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
estimated trash collected today - 1.3 lbs.
estimated trash collected to date - 254.4
I was so excited on the way home from collecting today that I only weighed in 1.3 pounds. I called Garen to share my excitement. "Isn't that great," I said. His reply, "Yeah, a cloudy day in the middle of the week is good for the beach." Rats, I thought. I had just felt hopeful and was perhaps in shock that I had come away with so little trash that I hadn't had the chance to reflect when I called home. "Or, " he said, "your blog is working and no one's throwing trash on the beach anymore." HA! If only.
Sarah Fain, a fellow writer and blogger, left me this article to read on a previous post. Thank you Sarah. I said I would share. Here it is, click here for full article. It made me think about the price of bottled water to our environment, and to the communities that it comes from.
Read Sarah's blog, Starfish Envy.

Nowhere in Fiji Water's glossy marketing materials will you find reference to the typhoid outbreaks that plague Fijians because of the island's faulty water supplies; the corporate entities that Fiji Water has—despite the owners' talk of financial transparency—set up in tax havens like the Cayman Islands and Luxembourg; or the fact that its signature bottle is made from Chinese plastic in a diesel-fueled plant and hauled thousands of miles to its ecoconscious consumers. And, of course, you won't find mention of the military junta for which Fiji Water is a major source of global recognition and legitimacy.
This is not a great picture, or should I say that it falls short of illustrating what I meant it to. What I wanted to convey was complete overwhelm. Sometimes at the tide-line, the sea weed is pushed together and tangled with trash. Today I came upon a patch that was so thick with plastics and other artificial items that I picked what I could, and had to leave the rest.
Many people talked to me today. That isn't always the case.

- 2 people asked me what I was doing and asked to see what was in my bag. They commented that trash was everywhere, even on Mt. Mc Kinnley. I agreed, crest fallen, and walked away to pick up more. What else are you going to do?

- 1 person thanked me.

- 1 person asked if I had seen his lost head phones.

- 1 person said thank you as I handed them the Daily Water Bottle for it's cash refund. Her was diligently searching through trash cans for similar recyclables.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Day 45 - August 16

Life Guard Station 26, Ocean Park, Santa Moncica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
estimated pounds of trash collected today - 4.5 trash, .9 recyclable = 5.4
estimated pounds of trash to date - 253.1
The Daily Water Bottle. If you follow my blog, you may be getting sick of pictures of single use plastic beverage bottles. Well, me too. Wish they weren't there to snap a shot of, but there's a multitude, and what better way to illustrate that than repetition.

It's all about the branding is the message of this picture I believe. Sure, less plastic, but here's a lovely fact:

I got these facts from a website called cafepress, you can design your own metal, reusable SIGG bottle there. Check it out. I may do it for the Daily Ocean.
Siel, of la Green girl blog, had a good point on friday when she interviewed me. Not all of the cigarette butts found on the beach are from people who are smoking them here. Urban run off is a big problem. When it rains, which is seldom here in Los Angeles, the contents from all the storm drains dump into the ocean. For example, if you empty your ash tray into the gutter in Pasadena (40 miles from the beach), eventually, it's going to get into the ocean. This system of drainage always strikes me as surprisingly short sited. Anyone else agree?

I'd like to see grates on all these openings in the street. That spray painted dolphin you see while walking along saying "Don't Dump Drains Lead To Ocean" isn't kidding. Wish it was.
Very expensive sun screen someone left behind that just got trashed.
I may have said this before, but the only way I feel comfortable taking pictures of people at the beach is by backlighting them so they become anonymous. If you follow this blog, you may also be getting tired of pictures like these. Sorry, I'm obviously not done taking them. I like these photos because it makes me remember how much people love being in the water, and that's a good thing.
Light + Water = Magic

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Daily Ocean Interview by Siel of green LA girl blog

Siel interviewed me for her blog. CLICK HERE to read her post about The Daily Ocean.
She joined me for Day 44 and was the first person to start the Community Count tally of beach trash and kick off the count down. 364 days to go. Who wants to join me next?

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Day 44 - August 14

Life Guard Station 26, Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min.
estimated trash collected today - 4.4
estimated trash collected to date - 247.7

Community Collection - Siel of green LA girl Blog, came out to interview me and was the first person to collect trash as part of the Community Collection Pounds Of Trash Tally.

Come and join me, for real! Get in touch, email me, follow me on twitter - I "tweet" when I will be there - or collect at your own local beach and send me pictures, how lbs. you collected in 20 minutes, and your thoughts, I'll post it here at The Daily Ocean Blog.

community collection - Day 1 - 1.1. lbs. - 364 Days to go!

The Daily Water Bottle.
Siel helping me collect beach trash. She came out to see what I'm doing, and lend a hand.
OK - It is curious to me that people put band-aids on at the beach. The water renders them useless, but I'm assuming that this one was intended for use here. I think that together we found 4 - 5 used band-aids in the sand today. Yuck.
Forget something? When I smoked, I would sometimes save a half smoked butt for later, especially if I was running low in my pack. So much care was taken not to stub this out in a way that could not be salvaged later. It was carefully wrapped in the cellophane, but forgotten. I wish they'd taken as much care to take it off the beach with them when they left, as they did to save it for later.
Siel and I talked about the interconnectedness of all of our actions, and how this impacts our environment. We have the privilege of living in Santa Monica, CA. Our city is environmentally minded. This beach for example, is dragged daily for trash, the trash cans (there are 8 - 10 on average between Life Guard Stands) are emptied daily, and still I collect 1 pound of trash from this beach every 5 minutes, which will only be back the next day. So what is the answer? It is not enough for people in Santa Monica to take care of their beach alone, there needs to be awareness at the root of the problem. The root is global, we all impact one another.

For now the best I can come up with is spreading awareness and inspiration. If you are here reading this blog, this is my answer, what's yours?
This is a picture of the joint collection that Siel and I did. Having her come out with me made me examine every step of what I do. For example, I only recently committed to having a separate recyclables bag for plastics, and aluminum cans. Today when we finished I didn't feel good about using single use plastic bags to collect the trash in. These too can be recycled in most places now, and I thought that sending one more to the dump along with the trash might not be such a hot idea.

So I talked to Garen about it and he reminded me that I often pick up disgusting, or unsanitary things. If I were to use a canvas reusable bag to collect and then dump the contents into the trash can when finished, my reusable bag would get pretty nasty, pretty quickly. I could make the effort to wash it often I suppose.

If you have read this far, and have an opinion, what do you think? Leave me a comment.
Plastic or Canvas for my collection. I'd like to hear your thoughts.

Day 43 - August 13

Life Guard Station 26, Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min.
estimated pounds collected today - 3.9
estimated pounds collected to date - 243.3
This is the first thing I saw as I stepped from the sidewalk, to sand and the wooden boardwalk to the beach beyond. The Daily Water in every collection, at least. I later gave it to a man going thru all the trash cans, and looking in the sand for recyclables. By our house in a neighborhood of Santa Monica called Sunset Park, people start going thru the trash at 4 a.m.. If they wake me up I get upset. But should I be? Of course no one wants to be awoken before dawn by clanking bottles and rustling trash, but out of financial necessity they are scraping together extra income and recycling in the process.
This is a picture of the tide line on the beach. Part of my "strategy" when collecting is to follow along where the water dumps seaweed, straws, plastics, balloons and other trash into a tangled pile. Sometimes it is hard to tell what is natural from trash, straw from feather. Unfortunately it doesn't take long to spot the garbage, but often twice as long to unravel it from the rest. Disclosure - some seaweed has gone straight into my bag, adding natural material into the tally of trash pounds, but only when everything is so intertwined it looks like a trap for some unsuspecting marine animal to get strangled in once the water takes it back to sea.
The Santa Monica Pier. Heal the Bay, a local marine conservation organization in Santa Monica publishes a beach report card. Can you guess what the beach around the pier gets? An F, almost every time. Heal the Bay is listed in my links section, or click here.
I get a magazine called Orion - Nature/Culture/Place. In the July/August 2009 issue I read something I want to share here:
On page 1 - From the Editors