Friday, October 30, 2009

Beverly's Beach Clean Up - Day 5

This is the last post of one of my reader's, Beverly, who took me up on the Community Count Challenge and spent most of her beautiful Newport, R.I. vacation picking up trash from the beaches she researched by contacting the Rhode Island Chapter of Surfrider.

Beverly is an example of someone who has been really inspired, and her efforts go above and beyond what I could have hoped someone to do.

But you can contribute to the Community Count too by:

1. going to your local beach and collecting trash for 20 minutes.

2. take pictures of the trash and what you see along the way.

3. weigh the trash

4. send me the pictures, how much you collected, and your thoughts and I will post them on The Daily Ocean.

You can also come to the beach in Santa Monica if you are a local and help me collect.

I post the time I am going out on the day and you can see this by following me on Twitter, , or looking on my blog towards the upper right of my home page for the information. You can come once, or as much as you like.

The Community Count has:




Again, thank you so much Beverly! You have inspired me to keep going with The Daily Ocean

and have been such a huge supporter. I really appreciate it.

Third Beach (Middletown) October 6: 2.8 lbs. (Rusty Pipe: 1 lbs.) collected

The last beach on my list. Third Beach is one of several beaches on the Sakonnet River in between the Norman Bird Sanctuary and the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge, and on this sunny afternoon it’s a boater’s beach. There are boats moored in the harbor, and kayakers out on the water.

I watch a gull take a clam shell from the water and hold it in his mouth, moving around the shore and out into the water. I’ve never seen that before. The gull’s not in a hurry and proudly paddles by the other gulls, his prize in his mouth.

I walk along picking up pieces of plastic, some plastic bottles and pieces of cans. Not many child’s toys here. This side is for boating, in and out. It’s a little rocky at mid-tide; hard to sit or play. I see a rusty pipe and put it in my bag.

I finish picking up a few more pieces of plastic, and then reach down for what I think is Styrofoam but turns out to be shattered clam shell. That’s happened at each beach, and I leave the shell pieces on the sand. I weigh my final bag of trash and it’s 2.8 lbs. including the rusty pipe which is 1 lb.

Driving away I head up to the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge to see what’s there. It’s a drive through tall sea grass and up a hill – a beautiful view overlooking Third Beach on one side, and Second Beach and Sachuest Beach on the other, with the pavilions of Atlantic and Easton’s Beaches further in the distance. A great end to my beach cleanup project – the chance to see some of the beaches I’ve visited from a distance.

Beach Cleanup Impressions:

My strongest impression from the beach cleanup project was plastic – plastic everywhere. Children’s toys, sandals, pieces of many things, bags, parts of cups, plates and containers. It’s easy to forget something at the beach – it’s in the sand, the wind blows something away, you’re distracted. It’s hard to change behavior and hard to keep beaches clean without taking away the joy of the beach. But being careful about what you bring and what you leave help keep any special place clean for all.

Second Beach in Middletown and Gooseberry Beach in Little Compton made me think about dogs at the beach. It’s great to see owners and dogs at the beach – great for the owners, great for the dogs. But doesn’t this affect the beach? I’d like to learn more, and I’m sure that dog owners would too.

Perhaps one message from this cleanup project is to have respect for the beach the way you have respect for anything you love. Maybe that means coming to the beach with items in cloth bags, and reusable containers for drinks and food, not throw away. Curbing your dog when you’re at the beach. Small changes that add up to cleaner beaches and cleaner water. I’m glad for groups like SurfRider and Save The Bay that remind us beaches and water are fragile systems that need our support and care.

Beach Cleanup on Future Vacations:

I enjoyed this project from beginning to end – meeting Sara and responding to her suggestions, working with SurfRider Rhode Island, visiting all the beaches, experiencing them from a trash collection point of view. The thank yous from other beachgoers were very encouraging. I’ll plan to do the same project when I’m in Florida in January, and again on Hilton Head in April – there are SurfRider chapters where I’ll be going. I invite other vacationers to do the same when they travel to beaches they love. I know that Sara will be glad to post your pictures and your thoughts.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Day 71 - Oct. 29

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
estimated pounds of trash collected today - 2.4
estimated pounds of trash collected to date - 332.1
If you'll look closer, you'll see that the label says, "No Junk Promise."
Except is junk, or trash, or litter, or plastic, or a problem, or a bummer.

But speaking of food, just got an email from The Blue Ocean Institute founded by Dr. Carl Safina, who is a Marine Scientist and Ocean Conservationist on the east coast.
He does a lot of speaking and political lobbying to help save the Atlantic Blue Fin Tuna that is nearly extinct. He's also the author of some amazing books like, "Song for the Blue Ocean."
OK, anyway you can tell I like this guy.

Here's the new program:

Green Chefs, Blue Ocean (GCBO)is a joint project of Chefs Collaborativeand Blue Ocean Institute.
GCBO is the first comprehensive, interactive online sustainable seafood training program developed jointly by culinary professionals and marine conservationists.

I may be dating myself, but who doesn't associate Reece's Pieces with E.T.!

This also brings to mind Halloween.
I don't know what to do this year about trick or treaters, and the treats.
Let me explain.
Candy wrappers are the third most common type of trash polluting the oceans.
This year we moved to a neighborhood that may be swelling with little tricksters tomorrow night, and while I could just not answer the doorbell, (seems like a poor option), I don't want to hand out small candy bars with all those wrappers!
So then what, apples? No, couldn't stand being the "healthy" treat lady, gross.
This is a Willet (Willett?) bird. They remind me of a small Egret.

I talk about Surfrider a lot. And let me say it again, I am not a surfer, but I am a member because I love how they work towards protecting our beaches, and coastal waters with their various programs.

One I have been looking into recently is the Ocean Friendly Gardens program.
If you live in a coastal area, and have a yard or garden, there are certain plants to plant that:

- take less water.

- grab more soil, therefor protecting the ground from eroding away when it rains and making it into the ocean.

The soil contributes to what is called Urban Runoff. Los Angeles is 90% concrete and therefor 90% impermeable.

When it rains here, (as infrequent as that is), the water rushes to the ocean picking up everything along the way, that's Urban Runoff.

If you plant an Ocean Friendly Garden, you contribute a lot less to the problem. Less stuff heading for the ocean, less pollution, and all you have to do is get some plants that usually don't need more than a very small amount of water.

Surfrider's Ocean Friendly Garden's program has a whole lot of workshops for free coming up in the LA area. Why not go to one?
I love to see the Sea Gulls on the beach at sunset gather together on the sand and face west to watch the show.
They do this by the hundreds, like a herd of cows that naturally orient themselves north, these birds stand together looking at the sun until it drops below the horizon.
Not a bad way to end the day, and by doing this it makes me think that they know how lucky they are to be able to witness a Pacific Coast sunset on a daily basis.
There may be a more scientific, zoologic explanation....but I like to believe they gather together like this simply because they want to.

Two Eco-Organizations I want to highlight

PineMark is a personal Green Certification Program.
I took their suggested 8 minute online survey that gives you an overview of all the areas of your life that you can apply sustainable principles, and therefor cut down on your carbon emissions.

I learned a lot too. Like:
"DVR and Tv combined consume more energy per year than your refrigerator, and Americans produce enough trash to equal the weight of the Empire State Building EVERYDAY."

It was a good reminder that in every area of your life, small conservation efforts add up to concrete differences that have a cumulative effect. Nice work to the guys that started PineMark. Below is some further description from one of the co-founders Joe Magee:

"The PineMark certification displays your eco-friendly life. We send you an official seal (sticker and soft seal for online), a PineMark grocery tote, and you access all the exclusive discounts in our marketplace
When you apply for the certification please use the "dailyocean" code for $10 off for the readers of The Daily Ocean"
It is 39$ per household and 29$ for an individual.

A great way to build a community and you get perks for your efforts and certification
from a number of environmentally conscience vendors.

F.Y.I. - "BU" stands for MaliBU and the iconic Surfrider Beach.

November 5th marks a big day for the Surfrider Foundation. I found out at our West Los Angeles/Malibu chapter meeting this week, that Surfrider has been trying to get the city of Malibu to clean up the water at Surfrider Beach for 15 years!!

"What causes the pollution? We know that commercial and residential septic tanks in the Malibu Civic Center area are a significant source of pollutants into Lower Malibu Creek, Malibu Lagoon and ultimately Surfrider Beach. As a result these areas are all included on the US EPA’s list as impaired for recreation. Impaired. For recreation. At Malibu.": WLAM/Surfrider Chapter website

Next week in downtown LA: (go to WLAM/Surfrider website for more details) there is a public meeting with the The LA Regional Water Quality Board. An arm of the EPA.

So you know, (and maybe I can say it since I am one small project and not a major nonprofit, the people presenting at Tues. meeting were gracious enough not to mention who lives in the Serra Retreat Center, but I'm not).

The Serra Retreat is one of the major polluters to the beach. It is about a mile of secluded celebrity estates near across from Surfrider Beach. Their septic systems routinely fail and their dookey flows into the water there, where not only surfers go, but families, tourists, kids. Gross.

Serra Retreat Residents include: James Cameron and Mel Gibson.

You think they have enough cash to upgrade their septic systems? Ridiculous. And for 15 years now. So please join us with your support. The WLAM website (link above) has an online petition you can sign too. Or come to the meeting!


The LA Regional Water Quality Board is the ‘buck stops here’ agency *mandated* to protect resources (like Surfrider). Around three thousand people turn out to the Trestles hearings and it worked! Our physical presence is needed to make sure that the Board knows that the public care about, appreciate, and value this important area.

    Thursday, November 5th / 9am / Metropolitan Water Board / 700 N Alameda Street (
    Google Map)

Day 70 - Oct. 28

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
estimated pounds collected today - 3.2
estimated pounds collected to date - 329.13
It was incredibly windy today, well for the last three days. I like this time of year though, so it doesn't bother me. When I walked out onto the beach I thought that there wouldn't be that much trash left for me to collect, that everything had already blown into the water.

But then i remembered how much gets buried into the sand, and I quickly realized I may find some interesting pieces of trash that the extreme weather had revealed.
I found the usual:
-plastic wrappers
-bottle tops
- tons of cigarette butts
- food wrappers
Nothing interesting about any of that stuff.
Ah, Starbucks...why don't they have recycling for plastics in their stores? Have you ever noticed how many clear plastic single use drinking cups with lids are crammed into their trash bins? I might try to get them to take on some recycling initiative. Anyone know someone who works for Starbucks at the corporate level? Want to help me?
Styrofoam - It is banned in the city of Santa Monica, yet I got some to go from the Novel Cafe up the street the other week and my yogurt came in a styrofoam container. Siel knows of a link that you can report businesses who still use styrofoam in the city of S.M.. When I find out, I'll pass on the information.
Windy? Doesn't it look like someone propped this metal trash can on its side like a make-shift goal? Maybe they did, but I like to think it might also have been the strong winds that have swept through here lately.

I was reading greenLAgirl yesterday and Siel had posted about a really cool project.

Take your picture with your hands in front of you fanning out to look like a whale's tale and send it in. Your support will be counted.

You can submit your whale tail photo here.

If you want to come support this project in person and you live in Santa Monica:
next Sat. on the 3rd st. promenade at 1 pm at Lush Cosmetics, the actress Kristen Bauer from True Blood will be there to talk about this project, take some pictures and has a giveaway for the first 100 people to RSVP. email:

Can't be there in person? Help support Whale's and a new bill for Whale Conservation that is being put through congress right now by downloading animal ring tones from IFAW

Just a couple of people out today. At sunset it was me and a few sea gulls. As I've said in earlier posts, I like their company so I didn't mind. There is something soothing about being on a beach that feels like you've got it all to yourself.

And if you haven't seen this before, the NRDC has a really incredible campaign for the oceans. Go here to find out more.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

The Peace Troop Cleans the Beach - Oct 25

Life Guard Tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min. by 11 4th grade girls and their families!
estimated pounds collected today - 9
estimated pounds collected in Community Count to date -
I met the Peace Troop last Sunday night on the beach to collect trash and as the sun sank lower towards the Pacific.
We first met at the Roots and Shoots Day of Peace back in late Sept.. They came to the Santa Monica Pier to help work the Surfrider booth and that is where I was lucky enough to meet them.
The Peace Troop formed to give their 13 members who joined a chance to learn more about environmental issues, and volunteer in different capacities to make a difference.
I think the Girl Scouts might not have been anywhere near as green minded as these girls wanted to be.
Sometimes we found beautiful things on the beach.
Our only wish when we saw this sand sculpture was that it wasn't a real Sea Turtle!
Here are a few suggestions of environmental organizations that have programs with kids in mind.

The NRDC - this link provides over 50 other links organized by the different environmental issues they cover. An incredible resource for any teacher, parent, or kid.

Heal the Bay - has an aquarium on the Santa Monica Pier with a kids corner!

WWF - your child wants a pet, but you can't have one? Well adopt one of these real ones. And the best thing is they don't have to move in with you. In fact, umm.. they probably shouldn't.
Can solutions be as small as cleaning a beach together as a family?
Do solutions also need to be as big as the upcoming conference on climate change in Denmark this December?
Small efforts accumulate to larger results, and big efforts make sweeping change.
Both approaches are needed, and welcomed.

Want to come to a beach cleanup with me like The Peace Troop did? Sure! Just ask, I'm there. My email can be found on my blog or just leave me a comment below this post.

Two Peace Troopers down by the surf at sunset.
My sincere thanks to all the girls that came out that day and the parents that came with them. This weekend was a really special one for me. One that I will remember for a long time. Thanks for being a part of it, for your effort, smiles, and concern for the environment. I hope to see you all soon!

Thank you ecycle

Friends forwarded other friends about last Sat. Blogger Beach Cleanup and Brenda from eCycle decided to post about The Daily Ocean on her website.

I was sent the link to the article and was really stunned that she had taken so much time to cover my project in entirety. I can't say thank you enough for passing the word.

Hopefully one of the effects The Daily Ocean will have is that people will come up with their own ways to help the environment by deciding to do something that feels manageable and fits into their daily life.

That they start where they are, commit to a simple act that doesn't feel overwhelming and build on it.

The Daily Ocean started with me one day grabbing a bag and driving down the road to my local beach to collect trash......

What can you do today? What can you start?

Read Brandy's post here.

Look at their site, eCycle is a great idea: Printer Cartridge, Cell Phone, and MP3 Player Recycling.

Know anyone who has one of those? Brilliant, thank you!!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Blogger Beach Cleanup - Oct 24

The Blogger Beach Cleanup: An event that we hosted (Siel of greenLAgirl, and myself) as part of Bill McKibben's project to inspire events on Oct. 24th, International Day of Climate Action to raise awareness about Global Warming and the climate crisis.

120 people signed in, Garen counted 140.
trash collected for 20 min.
estimated pounds of trash collected: 39

green LA girl has extensive coverage of prizes awarded and sponsors that provided us with give aways here.

I have tons of pictures to share below, thanks to my friends Emma and Sophie, that I have posted below along with links to some of the environmental organizations that came out as part of our event.

A special thank you from us to the Green Bag Lady who gave us bags to give to people who showed up for the beach cleanup. Please check out her blog and project. She has given out over 6,500 fabric bags to people who pledge to switch from paper, or plastic, and use fabric!
Fabric that she gets donated to her to create her sustainable bags.
Here is part of the Sustainable Works crew picking out cigarette butts from the sand. Check out their site and see if want to attend one of their workshops that help you get further along the green spectrum from where ever you are right now. Start where you are, smart. Thank you for coming!
My neighbors Fred and Mary. Thank you for coming out and being part of our larger community. They have already contacted me about coming out next week to collect. You can too! Follow me on twitter or look at the upper right hand side of my blog where my twitter feed is posted and you can check when I will be out there next.

I usually tweet what time I will be collecting at the beginning of the day. Join me and I'll add the tally of pounds you collect to the Community Count Challenge. See that tally at the top of my blog.
Jessica Ridenour, editor of, a big green community with feature articles, blogs, and tons of wonderful, informative, environmental information. Thank you for bringing the family out and collecting trash with us on Sat.
Evan Kopelson from Green Media News is a really well informed website with news articles and videos covering a range of topics from CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility), climate change, sustainable business and personal responsibility.
He is also in a video that Eco Vegan Gal put together. View it below.

Thank you Evan for coming and shooting video yourself. And thank you Whitney for taking the time to post this video to youtube and being so cool and supportive. I hope we can all collaborate in the future.

Thank you too to the guys from Green Guys Media. Three friends who:

"The Green Guys will be the catalyst that fuels the public’s knowledge and acceptance of green technologies through outlets ranging from syndicated television programming to non-profit environmental organizations."

So many more people turned out than expected. They brought their families, friends and I think we even pulled a few people in off the bike path and beach. A sincere thank you from us to all of you who participated.
We weighed everyone's collection and then with the help of my friend's son Daniel, we made a huge 350. Daniel's father, Dan, has a really cool blog called the Climate Community. Check it out. He finds people from all over the world doing amazing things to help our environment in many creative and powerful ways.

Thanks to my husband Garen and Siobhan from Heal the Bay for weighing the trash. Siobhan went to three or four events that day, I lost count, talking to people and hauling beach cleanup supplies as she went. I really like what Heal the Bay does. If you don't know about them, check them out here. Thanks for helping us with the cleanup Siobhan!
That's Bryan Koch of Net2LA, a social media expert who started his company to help nonprofits get organized utilizing social media to help them expand their support base.

"Net2LA helps Los Angeles–based nonprofits—and those working toward nonprofit status—actively engage their base and find new supporters through community-empowering technology. We meet every month alternating between educational Support Sessions and partnership-building Happy Hours.

Follow us on Twitter @Net2LA"
Thank you Garen. That's my husband Garen, the man with the clip board. He is a Marine Biology professor at Santa Monica Community College.
As Evan help us his video camera and counted to three, we all screamed

Siel and I have already made loose plans to do another one as I get closer to completing my 365 days of cleaning my local beach.

Hope you had fun, or if you missed the chance to come, you'll join us for another one.

And lastly, Siel of greenLAgirl really pulled together a community of people that supported the Blogger Beach Cleanup and made it all possible. Thanks Siel!

Monday, October 26, 2009

Peace Troop Cleans the Beach - Oct 25

If Saturday's Blogger Beach Cleanup wasn't enough, Sunday the girls from Peace Troop came out to the beach to do another cleanup.

I have more pictures and reflections to share in a longer post that will be up by tomorrow, but I wanted to put up a quick picture and say thank you so much for showing how much you care! Peace Troop Rocks!

They collected 9 pounds in 20 minutes.

Blogger Beach Cleanup Success! Oct 24

Thank you to everyone who came to the Blogger Beach Cleanup. I will have a longer post with pictures and details up by tomorrow. This weekend was non-stop and has spilled over to Monday. Sorry if you have checked my blog and not found more info. on our cleanup, but please come back Tuesday for lots of pictures, etc.! We collected about 39 pounds of trash, good work!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Blogger Beach Cleanup Today

Blogger Beach Cleanup 3

Come join us this afternoon at the beach in Santa Monica and be a part of events for pm at the end of Ocean Park Blvd. Signs will be posted to follow.

And it is my birthday, what a cool present for me to be part of Day for International Climate Action. I love the coincidence.

Thanks again to Siel of green LA girl for co-hosting with me!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Day 69 - Oct. 22

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
estimated pounds collected today - 3.6
estimated pounds collected to date - 326.11

Blogger Beach Cleanup 1
There was a delay in the decision of the Blue Ribbon Task Force to recommend a map for the Marine Protected Area's. Yesterday was supposed to be the day, but they "blinked" as Mark Gold says, director of Heal The Bay in Santa Monica. Read what he had to say about this on his blog, Spouting Off
Sylvia Earle also weighed in on the MPA decision by writing an Op-Ed piece for the LA times. Read it here.

"People who are against protecting crucial areas of the ocean say that doing so will lead to economic disaster. In fact, the disaster is already here: There aren't enough fish left. Protected zones in the Channel Islands, the rest of the California coast and the other 50 countries in the world that use them haven't caused the sort of economic upheaval predicted by opponents. It's interesting to note that the most extreme opposition to MPAs occurs in places that don't have them yet." - Sylvia Earle
The beach was covered in a soft, thick fog last night when I went down there at sunset. I was enjoying the change in atmosphere from the usual Southern California sky. Don't get me wrong, watching the sun set over the pacific is one of the highlights of my life, but the ocean/beaches shifting faces all have a beauty of their own.

If you live in the area, please join us tomorrow at 4pm for the Blogger Beach Cleanup! I can't thank Siel of green LA girl enough for her organizational powers and hard work in putting together this event.