Wednesday, September 30, 2009

SICK IN BED 9/27 - 9/30



Friday, September 25, 2009

Day 63 - Sept. 24

Beach between Lifeguard Tower 26 & 27 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes.
estimated pounds of trash collected today - 1.2 trash/ .4 recyclable total = 1.6
estimated pounds of trash collected to date - 315
* I forgot to take a picture of the Lifeguard Tower 26! It feels strange to start my post without it.
The plastic in this picture appears almost precious because of the late afternoon sunlight. It's not.
It has been awhile since I found a single use plastic water bottle. I didn't miss them. I do like days like today though, when the weight of the trash collected is so low. Silly questions roll through my head like, "I should have picked a dirtier beach!" Well, this is my local beach, literally it is at the end of the street from where I live. I like the fact that I chose this strip of beach for just that reason.
In an email from Heal The Bay, they posted the results of Coastal Cleanup Day which was last weekend.

CCD 2009 - The Most Volunteers and Trash Ever!
Thanks to your help, Coastal Cleanup Day 2009 was a record breaking year!

At 69 cleanup sites all over Los Angeles County, we had 14,038 volunteers (a new record!) remove 298,686 lbs of trash and 1,726 lbs of recyclables for a record total of 300,413 lbs!

These numbers, extraordinary as they are, can't tell the whole story. Our hope is that everyone leaves Coastal Cleanup Day with a deeper appreciation for our ocean, rivers, creeks, and parks, and a better understanding of the problems they face.

If you follow my blog you may have had enough pictures of backlit children on the beach. I can't stop taking them. I apologize, but maybe you don't mind so much.

It is friday and we are headed to the beach to body surf before collecting Day 63's trash.

Thursday, September 24, 2009


Siel (pictured above) of, green LA girl, came out to interview me in August and collect trash for 20 minutes.

We've put our heads together and decided to co-host an event in October.


She has posted about it beautifully here.
And we have also listed it on the 350 website.
A group organizing internationally to get people to come out and act to help stop climate change.

Oct. 24th is my birthday and the International Day of Climate Action.

Won't you bend over and help us! We'll be collecting trash for 20 minutes.
There are prizes and incentives for all.

Lets get together and brainstorm how we can all do one small thing to change the way we live, and the world that together makes a landslide of difference!
Change starts with you, with us, come along and meet like-minded folks who want to make a difference. (Don't have to be a blogger to join us!!)

Day 62 - Sept. 23

Lifeguard Tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min.
estimated pounds of trash collected today - 1.5
estimated pounds of trash collected to date - 313.4
Is it a balloon, a jelly fish, or a creature from the deep? I think you know the answer....

My local paper is amazing, they run stories about beach closures on the front page.
From the Santa Monica Daily Press today : (they are running a story on The Daily Ocean in their weekend edition. Check their website to read it, they are an online paper too!)

WILL ROGERS STATE BEACH Foul smell causes closure The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health has posted warning signs advising swimmers and surfers to avoid the ocean for a half-mile north and a half-mile south of the storm drain located at Will Rogers State Beach, near Pacific Palisades....more

essay continued from Day 60 post:

But I do this for a few reasons. I feel better when I collect the trash, making it unavailable for marine life to get sick from. I find it enormously satisfying when I chase a gull away from eating a plastic bottle cap.
Sometimes I feel worse after collecting. If the sand is littered with trash that day, usually on Sunday nights, then I am depressed because sometimes I collect over five pounds in twenty minutes. Remember, the stuff I am collecting weighs ounces; cigarette butts aren’t heavy.

Here’s why I keep doing it though. This is my hope. I hope that people see what I am doing physically, or online and it inspires them to do the same. I hope that steady shifts in awareness sink in that cause people to change. And that all of this effort creates a slow and steady climax to the tipping point where people feel inspired to take action around whatever environmental issue they feel passionate about and that this passion becomes contagious.

Day 61 - Sept. 22

Lifeguard Tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
estimated pounds collected today - 2
total pounds collected to date - 311.9
Today was a wonderful, and strange day to be out here. Santa Monica Daily Press came out to photograph me for the weekend edition of their paper. They are an online paper, so if you want to check on Sat. and see the article, click here.
I think I forgot to take as many pictures, or pick up as much trash, but I am very excited they are interested in The Daily Ocean. Thank you SMDP!
I wrote an OP-ED piece for the LA Times, they didn't want to run it, but I still like it. I'll include it in this post starting below:

As We Say Goodbye to Summer How Are We Leaving Our Beaches?

Who can imagine summertime without going to the beach? Even if you don’t live on the coast, just the thought of a beach probably brings to mind pictures of summer. For millions of people the time they spend at the ocean defines the season. Many of us have early memories of being a child there, discovering waves, chasing sea gulls, and building sand castles.

September 20th was the last official day of summer. Over the past weekend thousands of us probably headed out to the beach to enjoy the final moments before fall arrived. Some of us may have participated in “Coastal Cleanup Day” last Saturday sponsored in part by Heal the Bay, and The Ocean Conservation. “Coastal Cleanup Day” is a an initiative to raise awareness about issues of Ocean Conservation, like the huge problem of Marine Debris, by inviting people to participate in a nation-wide beach cleanup.

You may have noticed that we are literally trashing the beaches. Marine Debris is one of the largest problems affecting the health of the ocean. You may have also heard about the North Pacific Trash Gyre, an island of floating trash swirling in the middle of the Northern Pacific that is now twice the size of the continental United States.

How does all this trash end up in the ocean? Storm drains from urban coastal areas lead straight into the water. Without grates over most openings to catch the larger pieces of trash, all the litter that lands on the street gets swept into the sea. And that’s not all. Motor oil, dog waste, pesticides and fertilizers end up in there as well. This is a design that has always concerned me, and strikes me as particularly insane.

But storm drains aren’t the only way these items are getting to into the water. We leave a lot of the same items behind right where we were, on the sand. Recently I saw a California Gull swallow a Bic lighter whole. I was just feet away, and unable to stop it.

As we say goodbye to the end of summer I’d like to ask how are we going to leave our beaches? I am not naturally optimistic. But even though that is often how I feel I think the real question on my mind is that, if you know what is going on, and have informed yourself of even a miniscule amount of the ecological research available, how can you not do something?

I chose to start a one-person beach cleanup as a way to begin. I head to my local beach and for twenty minutes at a time, pick up trash off the sand. It started as a way to protect my own mental health, and has developed into a blog called The Daily Ocean as a tool to raise awareness.

If the same trash appears daily why do I return? Am I really stopping the trash from getting in the water or littering the beach? No, probably not. Let me explain, the trash I take away will only be back the next day. Basically the same stuff will return, and when I say the same stuff, I mean exactly the same stuff. Cigarette butts, plastic water bottles, band-aids, straws, food wrappers, tampons, sanitary napkins, condoms, bottle tops, and the occasional discarded flip flop are the most frequent items I find. And I find them day after day.........

(continued on Day 61 results post)

Teresa of Green Bag Lady, has contacted me and will be sending me bags to use for cleaning the beach, one for my neighbor who gives me single use plastic bags to collect in now, and a bunch for an event I am co-hosting with green LA girl ( ) more about the event in the next post.

She lives in Tenn. and has started a project/blog that gives reusable, beautiful, sown fabric bags away to people if they promise to use them instead of paper or plastic.
So far she has given away 6484 bags to people around the world. So cool!!

Thanks Teresa, click here for a link to her site.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Day 60 - Sept 20

Lifeguard Tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
estimated pounds of trash collected today - 5.8
estimated pounds of trash collected to date - 309.9
Ruby Slippers! There's no place like home. Garen and I spent over an hour in the water today at the beach in front of Tower 26. I had never swam there before, but we checked the Heal the Bay Beach Report card and saw that it was an A even though it is near beaches that have received an F rating.

And besides, I have collected some trash off that beach that I would rather not swim with. I couldn't resist the perfect body surfing waves that roll in there any longer, and it made more sense to me why surfers will risk dirty beaches if there is a nice wave there. Now I also understand why so many people go there.

The water in the bay is warm, especially in September here in Southern California. And the sandy bottom, where perfect surfing and body surfing waves roll in, makes it a really great place to play in the water. After having such a good time there today, I am even more determined to carry on with this project.
There was a festival on the pier today sponsored by the Roots and Shoots Foundation that was started by Jane Goodall. The students of Team Marine at SAMOHI (Santa Monica High School) brought their RETHINK sign to prop up in front of the stage. Their sign, which I have mentioned in this blog in an earlier post, is made from 37, 427 plastic bottle tops, that is 37,427 plastic bottle tops that have not made it in the ocean. Neither did this one.
An old boogie board, soggy, broken and left behind.
On the pier today I met a group of 4th graders and their parents who have formed an organization called PEACE TROOP. They used to be involved in Girl Scouts but have started to do their own thing, and today they worked for Surfrider. I was very excited to meet them. They are invited to participate in The Daily Ocean by coming out for a beach cleanup with me. And Team Marine will look into partnering with their elementary school in West Los Angeles. Today was a great day to be a part of things going on here in Santa Monica, and the greater Los Angeles area.
Hope you enjoyed today, it was the last day of summer. September can be an unbearably hot month here, but this weekend was just right. It is bittersweet to say goodbye to this season and enter into fall, but this is my favorite time of year. It feels full of possibilities, and full of forward moving energy to greet those possibilities as they develop.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Day 59 - Sept 18

Lifeguard Tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica, CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
estimated pounds of trash collected - 1.3/.8 NO RECYCLABLES (Garen helped today, thanks!)
estimated pounds of trash to date - 304.1
Tomorrow is COASTAL CLEANUP DAY. Thousands of people will clean beaches and urban riverways leading to the ocean on both coasts and Hawaii. Will you join us? I am looking forward to seeing what it feels like to be with hundreds of people on my local city beaches between 9 - 12 on Sat. Sept. 19th sponsored by Heal the Bay.
I was recently contacted by Beverly, a reader of The Daily Ocean. This project has inspired her to do her own version when she goes on vacation to Rhode Island in a few weeks.

She has already called the local Surfrider chapter and composed a list of 6 different beaches to visit. She wants to see how much trash she finds on each kind of beach with varying numbers of beach goers. Beverly will share her findings with me and I will post them here as

You can do what Beverly is doing, and send me your photos, weight of trash collected and I will post it here. Thanks Beverly!! Her new website about saving the places you love will go live in a few weeks and I will mention it here with a link. Awesome!!
Our beach as ashtray. Ugh.
ARROWHEAD - I've been reading an article about FIJI water in the October issue of Mother Jones. A reader pointed it out to me and I have to say reading that, and watching the documentary FLOW has brought the issues of who is controlling the world's fresh water and the dangers coming from that to my attention. A main contributor to the dangers are bottled water companies and the environmental damage they cause by adding to the plastic garbage floating in our oceans after people throw their plastic water bottles away, the petroleum they use in making the bottles creating more carbon emissions that cause global warming and the human suffering caused by the companies diverting local water sources away from its people as it pumps their water out from under them causing drought and disease.

An excerpt from this article about Arrowhead - (owned by the Nestle company)

"Nestle is seeking a permit to pipe 65 million gallons a year from a spring in rural Colorado. When critics raised concerns about the effect of climate change on local water supplies, Nestle said it was "illogical" to base decisions on changes "many years in the future."
- HMMM the future is now.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Day 58 - Sept 15

Lifeguard Tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes.
estimated pounds of trash collected today - 3.3 trash/ .1 recyclables = 3.4
estimated pounds of trash collected to date - 302
I watched this You Tube video last night about the Pacific Garbage Patch, or Trash Gyre. This is a topic that makes me loose sleep, seriously. Charles Moore of Algalita in Long Beach CA gave a TED talk about his findings and the solutions, or lack of, to this man made disaster. I have not figured out how to neatly include a You Tube screen into my blog, (would appreciate a "how to" from anyone who knows in the comments section)
So here it the link, Charles Moore, please watch.
Snow White trapped in the sea weed! Oh no! Don't worry, she got out.

As I was collecting tonight someone walked by me and pointed saying, "Heal The Bay, right?"
While I support HTB, I sort of explained what I was doing out there and then just decided to say thanks. I also pointed out that COASTAL CLEANUP DAY IS SATURDAY.
Thousands of people on both coasts and inland will be cleaning up the US and Hawaii. Want to join us? To find out more, click here.
What do you think I should do with all the sand toys that I find, and there are many?
Let me know by leaving a comment below.

My photographs were not very inspired today, I realize this. I think that may be because I watched the sunset tonight, instead of photographing it. After it had set, I walked off the beach feeling peaceful. This made me realize that watching the slow turning of the earth by watching the sun slip behind the horizon makes me feel alive. Maybe it is because I am present in the moment, but time seems to slow, I take a pause and reflect on where I am literally and where I may be in my life in general. All of this happens within a few minutes, but the space I feel around watching the sun set feels like I've just had a refreshing nap. Watching the sun set is a mediation for me. I'll get better pictures tonight.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Day 57 - Sept 14

Lifeguard Tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
estimated pounds collected today - 1.6 - YES!! low low count today.
estimated pounds collected to date - 298.6
Today was all about the plastic bottle tops. I found half a dozen in 20 minutes. Team Marine of Santa Monica High took roughly 34,727 of these plastic bottle tops and constructed a GIANT sign saying, "RETHINK" which they put up in the super busy area of Santa Monica, the 3rd St. Promenade. SO COOL!!
Do you know what MPA stands for? Marine Protected Areas.
These areas of ocean are to be set aside for stressed marine ecosystems to regenerate and stabilize. This idea comes out of the Marine Life Protection Act.
It is a rather big deal that is happening RIGHT NOW that will determine areas off the Southern California Coast to be protected. Meaning -

What are MPAs and how do they work?

Marine Protected Areas have been scientifically proven to protect and enhance degraded ecosystems, including kelp forests and fish communities. They are basically areas of the ocean set aside as safehavens from fishing to protect and conserve marine life and habitat.

The information above was taken from Heal the Bays website, click here for the link.

MPA's continued: Surfrider is also spreading the word. In fact at our next local chapter meeting on Sept. 29th the focus will be all about MPA's

Great news! The year-long stakeholder MPA design process is complete.

The three subgroups (one conservation-oriented, one fishing-oriented, and one cross-interest) each successfully generated a map…so now we are down to the final three maps! Best of all, the key habitats in Santa Monica Bay, including parts of east Point Dume and northwestern Palos Verdes, were represented on two out of three maps!

These proposals will now undergo their final scientific review, and be presented to the Blue Ribbon Task Force meeting in Long Beach, where the BRTF will choose a preferred map. This is an exciting time for the Southern California coast!

So, PLEASE mark your calendars and tell your friends and family to attend the October 20-22 meeting, as we’ll need to fill the room with BLUE.

please leave me a comment or send me an email if you want me to inform you of events and

progress relating to MPA, you can also sign up for updates at Heal the Bay.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Day 56 - Sept. 13, 2009

Lifeguard Tower 26, Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min. - 3.6 trash/ .6 recyclables
estimated pounds collected today - 4.2
estimated pounds collected to date - 297

I forgot my camera today so I found this picture from a past collection day and posted it above because the sunset looked similar tonight.
This has been an off week for me in terms of days out collecting and I can feel it. I had commitments on Wed. and Thurs. night around sunset. Then I got the flu and today was the first day back to the beach.

I gave my plastic water bottles that you can redeem for money to a man on the beach who was collecting them to recycle and make a little extra, and I'm sure necessary, cash. After he asked me if I worked for the city and I said no, he told me I was a good citizen for picking up the trash. I told him it helped me feel less depressed. I'm not sure her understood me.

Yesterday a scary report about staff germs being in the water in Washington State came out. Here is one source from USA TODAY and the other from Yahoo.

"The germ causes nasty skin infections as well as pneumonia and other life-threatening problems. It spreads mostly through human contact. Little is known about environmental sources that also may harbor the germ."
It was found in 7 beach sand samples found around Puget Sound.

But like Garen said earlier today after watching the documentary FLOW, "It is all about solutions." To which I'll add, or what is the f@#$^& point.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Day 55 - Sept 8

Lifeguard Station 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
estimated trash collected today - 3 bags- 1.8/2.4 of trash .6 recyclables = 4.8
estimated trash collected to date - 292.8
The water bottle for Day 54. I was talking to someone in the parking lot tonight who asked me what I was weighing. I explained, trash, and we got to talking. He is a surfer from Nepal who moved here 14 years ago. He was telling me that he grew up without a lot of material things because he is from a poor country. Therefor there was hardly any waste. For example, to get another soda you took your glass bottle in to be refilled. Two great ideas, glass bottles, and refilling them. But they weren't trying to be green, this is conservation out of necessity. I have a feeling I am collecting trash that stems from privilege.
I thought it was a shame that someone left this tiny, stylish shoe. I should have put my foot next to it for purposes of scale. Well let me just tell you, it's for a two year old. Which brings up something I think about a lot.

Why do people leave trash or their belongings behind on the beach?
I have four reasons and one X factor.

1. People are lazy. They think someone else will do it for them.

2. People really do not think about it. For whatever reason, environmental education has not reached, or made an impact on them. They are lacking in awareness to the point that it rarely, if ever, occurs to them that there is a connection between their daily choices and the rest of the world.

3. People have reached a state I refer to as beach bliss. Beach Bliss is the sense that you are in another world on the beach, one that makes you happy and forgetful. Therefor you act in ways here you wouldn't in your own life because you are essentially having such a great time at the beach. Example, they're probably not leaving empty bottles all over their front lawn as they come into the house from work, but they're not in that mindset here. So as they float away at the end of the day, they forget to act responsibly. A stretch at best, but more optimistic.

4. Beach Fatigue. Similar to the reason above, except you have stayed too long and the sun and waves have zapped you energy until it is all you can do to make it back to your car with most of your stuff. my friend Brigid came up with this after hearing my Beach Bliss theory.

X factor - sea gulls. They tear things away from blankets while their unsuspecting owners are away in the water, or dive for "snacks" in the open trash cans.

Open trash cans--something to tackle in a future post. Hint, open trash cans and open storm drains have something in common.

Rubin, the Lifeguard at station 26 tonight, (who is also responsible for coming up with the above X factor) believes that it is mostly reason 1 & 2. And the grossest thing, in his opinion, is when he sees dirty diapers on the beach. Yuck.
Many people talked to me today on the beach. Rubin offered me gloves, a few others said thank you. Which reminds me, Siel of Green LA Girl and I are doing a joint beach cleanup on Oct. 25th. Come join us! There will be drinks, snacks, like minded folks, bloggers and readers and ocean lovers. We're joining forces for a night, come along.


Sunday, September 6, 2009

Day 54 - Sept. 6

Lifeguard Station 26, Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
estimated lbs. of trash collected to day - 2 bags - 5.2 trash/ 2.2 recyclables
estimated lbs. of trash collected to date - 288 pounds
This picture doesn't capture the extent of the trash I saw at the beach tonight, but it tries. I think that my pictures aren't very good this post. Two reasons; I was talking to my friend Brigid as I went, and two, I kept getting distracted because tonight may have been the filthiest I've seen it. If there is going to be one day of the year that the beach gets really trashed, besides July 4th, then the middle day of a long Labor Day weekend is it. I collected just under 2 pounds every five minutes.
Today's single use plastic water bottle. If you go to the Tapped movie website and click on the tab that says "The Issues" you'll get a brief education about BPA or Bisphenol A. It is the building block chemical of hard plastics and it is not good for us. Take a minute and read up if you are interested.

I also ordered the documentary FLOW today online. Here is the link, click here.
Can I resist the obvious song quote from the great Jimi Hendrix, "And so castles made of sand, fall into the sea, eventually." Guess not.
"40 % of all bottled water is drawn from municipal sources." - Tapped the Movie