Thursday, September 24, 2009

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.

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