Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Day 85 - Dec. 28

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
estimated pounds of trash collected today - 1.10
estimated pounds of trash collected to date - 366.15
A cold, wintery beach here in Santa Monica where the sun sets around 5 p.m.. It is still wonderful to be out on the beach. I've been enjoying my vacation at home playing cards, eating, sleeping, and writing. It feels good to be in the quiet, hibernating mode of the season.
A baby wipe? A household cleaning rag? Who knows, tough on dirt, tough to decompose....
Ah...."straws are for suckers." - The Plastic Pollution Coalition.
I wish everyone a happy new year. See you in 2010.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Day 84 - Dec. 21

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
estimated pounds of trash collected today - 1.14
estimated pounds of trash collected to date - 365.05
This is what I saw when I got to the beach. Today was the Winter Solstice and the sun set around 4:48.
Then I saw this.

The top three types of trash littering our oceans:
1. cigarette butts
2. candy wrappers
3. fast food wrappers, and single use packaging

Our oceans are really suffering. Many ecosystems are. Obviously, I am particularly interested in marine environments. It is disturbing how much plastic trash and other items get into the oceans. This pollution is causing such a problem, that in my opinion, we do not even understand all of the consequences from it, and it is possible that we may not be able to undo what we have already done. In fact, unfortunately more than a little possible we will have to deal with these consequences for a very, very long time.

It is tragic that the cause of the devastation of marine life, marine habitat, and the negative impacts on human health, to name a few problems, are:


Excuse my rant, but I find this very disturbing.
I see plastic every time I am out here collecting. I would estimate that plastic items account for 90% of the trash I collect.
And then there is friend asked me if it is recyclable. I found many answers, but here is the most concise from treehugger blog:

"Seriously, if you want to recycle polystyrene in the US you are pretty much on your own. That's the bad news. The good news is that the Polystyrene Packaging Association maintains a partial listing of industrial entities that will accept waste polystyrene for recycling purposes. If you happen to live near one of them and can get your municipal authority to sponsor something (if a program is not already in place) you could be positioned to do something constructive."

Really, that is the best we can do? I know, how about not make the stuff.
I feel like I was extra opinionated today which is hopefully unusual for Daily Ocean posts. However, I do have strong feelings and ideas about ocean conservation and protection or I wouldn't be writing this blog. So please, bare with me for the occasional more opinionated post. There is a quote I am paraphrasing, from someone I can't remember, (helpful I know)

"If you're not disturbed, you're not paying attention."

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Day Without A Bag

Me, Anna Cummins, and members of the Compton High's Recycling Club sewing and decorating tank top-bags to hand out.

We turned the tank tops inside out and sewed the bottom up, then flipped it right side out, and hold the handles, vwa-la! a bag. REUSE. cool.
These plastic bag zombies performed to Michael Jackson's "Thriller" to spread the message that single use plastic bags and other packaging are a horror. They are from the South Bay and really had their performance down. Being from the generation who got to enjoy M.J. at his peak, I remember watching the world premier of Thriller. I thought it was magic.

Here's a link to a newspaper article about the zombies if you want to learn more: click here
Come on, how cool right?
Can you find the silver glove?
The Plastic Pollution Coalition was there too. Dianna Cohen, one of four founders, had a table with great information about plastic pollution, cool shirts and bottles that would make a good gift during for the holidays, and some of her incredibly beautiful plastic bag paintings that she has been doing for 20 years.
For more on Dianna's artwork: click here or click here and click here
For how to get one of these reusable water bottles and for more information on the Plastic Pollution Coalition- click here
There is also a new video with Diana talking about refusing plastics. So cool, great work!
This is the "Green Santa" from Heal the Bay.
I love California.
For more information on their Day WIthout a Bag event - click here
It is the third year running. Looking forward to next year.
Thanks Heal The Bay!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Megan Kilroy of Team Marine

I'm going to do a little bragging in this post. I work with Team Marine of Santa Monica High. They constantly inspire me. Above is a photo from a newspaper article about the march we did to ban plastic bags in early Sept.. That was taken in front of the Santa Monica City Hall. Makes you smile, doesn't it?
That same weekend we headed out to the Santa Monica Pier to participate in Jane Goodall's Roots and Shoots organization's, Day of Peace. Here is Megan, a member of T.M., showing the girls in the Peace Troop a water sample on loan from Algalita Marine Research Foundation, of the North Pacific Trash Gyre.

This is a clip from the Teen Nick Halo Awards hosted by Nick Cannon. Megan was a recipient this year.
She is quick to mention that there is NO WAY she would be getting awarded anything without
the rest of her friends on Team Marine and the Surfrider/Heal the Bay Teach and Test Club.
But....she is awesome and this week didn't really want to do homework one afternoon so she
went to the beach in Santa Monica near the pier and collected trash for 20-25 minutes
She collected 1 pound and took some good shots. Well, she took clear shots of disturbing amounts
of trash. Below is what she found on her walk that lasted for less than 30 minutes.

Fact - Santa Monica cleans it's beaches daily
Fact - Plastics Are Forever. Yup, they do not biodegrade but break into smaller and smaller pieces until you have plastic soup. /

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Day 83 - Dec. 14

life guard station 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
estimated pounds of trash collected today - 3
estimated pounds of trash collected to date - 363.07

community count -
Day 9 of 365
pounds collected by Kirsten - 2.06
total pounds collected to date - 109.15
This was my view while I was waiting for Kirsten to arrive. Not bad, huh?

Many of you know about the Climate Conference in Copenhagen right now. Here is a great link to see what they have been discussing in terms of the oceans. Sea levels on the rise, ocean acidification, and other pressing problems facing us that tie into the health of our oceans.

"A new website, the Ocean Climate Forum (, will be released on Oceans Day, December 14. This valuable resource for members of the world ocean community introduces some of the issues linked toclimate change in the ocean and ocean acidification, and further gives options for responding to these impacts, including a special section for decision-makers."

Click to visit

Above is a video sent to me from Lisa Boyle, one of the founders of the Plastic Pollution Coalition. Here is a
link to their website for more information on the video and a very eloquent summary of the
problem of Plastic Pollution by another founding member of the PPC, Manuel Maqueda.
Heal the Bay attended a hearing on banning trash from the LA River. They were successful.

Water board moves to enforce ban on trash in L.A. River

Cities along the watershed are required by 2016 to keep all trash out of their storm drains. Those that don't comply will now be in violation of the federal Clean Water Act.

Also of interest is DAY WITHOUT A BAG TOMORROW DEC. 17TH

Sponsored by Heal the Bay, join us to get free reusable bags, and give up single use plastic bags for the day. Here is a link to the Heal the Bay page for more info.

My friend Siel of the blog greenLAgirl wrote an interesting post about this event on her blog this week. Read her post

I'll be helping Anna Cummins of Bring Your Own, Algalita and Livable Legacy transform old tank tops by sewing the bottoms and using the straps as handles to create reusable bags. Come to downtown tomorrow to get one!
This is Kirsten who I met at the Blogger Beach Cleanup. She is a raw food expert and has been offering classes in Santa Monica and the LA area lately to teach people how to make delicious raw desserts and other healthy, yummy, raw foods. Leave me a comment if you would like to learn more about her classes and get in touch with her and I will connect you.

Recently back from Sierra Leone to raise awareness for amputee victims, she dedicates a lot of time to the service of other people, and the environment. Thank you Kirsten for coming out today!

If you would like to join me, just get in touch by leaving me a comment, sending an email, or following me on twitter. I will include you in my post for that day, and add the weight of trash you collected to my Community Count tally. See the information above under the life guard tower picture.

She also kept collecting after the 20 minutes were up. I gave her this bag to borrow from the Green Bag Lady made for me to use in my Daily Ocean project. I thought it was so cool of her to want to keep going. I understand how hard it is to leave anything behind on the beach.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Day 82 - Dec. 13

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
estimated number of pounds collected - 8.2
total number of pounds collected - 360.07
Garen helped me collect today. We got there and found a huge flock of sea gulls that I was able to get close to to photograph. I've included some of these shots at the end of this post.

Today was the first day it didn't rain in 2, 3 days. I lost count. We need the water desperately, but one thing that I find hard about Los Angeles when it rains, is the amount of crap that washes out of the city storm drains, and into the ocean. See below.
Everywhere we looked, the tide line was littered like this. It stretched down the beach in either direction. When I saw these piles of leaves, plastic trash, and other junk, I knew that it was going to be one of those days collecting that involved a lot of deep breaths.......
Recently, Surfrider included a blurb about cigarette butts, and their toxicity in the water. I had read a related article earlier this year, and had been looking for the same information elsewhere when I lost track of which magazine in our house I'd seen the fact. Well here it is, and thanks to Surfrider's ENewsletter "SOUP" for another interesting link.

"Cigarette butts are toxic to fish and should be labeled as toxic hazardous waste, U.S. researchers say. Scientists at San Diego State University say that a single cigarette butt can be enough to contaminate a liter of water and kill half of the fish swimming in it. "

here's the link to the whole article
Okay, so after 12 minutes Garen's bag was completely full. He actually had to sit down and watch me complete the last 8 on my own....

He also noticed that he wasn't as thorough as usual. He estimates that he grabbed about 80% of what he saw when usually we both grab what is there, and then move on. Not today, we were overwhelmed by the amount of trash needing to be collected, and left plenty behind for another time.
This is as far as we got from my starting point of life guard tower 26. Usually I go from this life guard tower and walk south to the next one, and then all the way back again. Today we made it about 40 yards from the first one, and as I said above, left about 20% of the trash we saw in that distance on the beach because it was too small to collect, or there was just way too much to grab in 20 minutes.

Garen and I estimated that there is about 120 yards between life guard towers, and that just measuring the 5 foot area of the tide line on the beach, there was approximately 30 pounds of trash to be collected between each set of towers today. All of this washed in from the ocean after the rain, it looked like.

There is always this much trash in the storm drain system. A good rain just concentrates it together for us to get a look at. Disturbing.
My friend Siel said that she call tell from this blog that I really like the Sea Gulls on the beach. She is right! Enjoy the pictures here and below if you like these birds too. I think they are beautiful, but most people find then a nuisance.
And here is Siel's blog, greenLAgirl, check it out if you've never seen it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Day 81 - Dec. 10

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
estimated pounds of trash collected today - 3
estimated pounds of trash collected to date - 352.05
The beach was a mess tonight. It looked like most of the trash came up from the water. I didn't get halfway to the next tower, and I usually walk down and back in 20 minutes. Tonight was a night that I left most of the part of the beach I clean dirty because there was more than I could collect in 20 minutes. Nights like this are not my favorite.

I thought the little tools on this shoe were priceless. But someone went home without one shoe, making the other shoe...trash perhaps.

Today is the first day back since I have come down with my 4th COLD THIS SEASON. Unbelievable. This blog is about the beach, not my personal health, but I have to say I am going to the doctors next week. 4 cold/flus in a little over 3 months just doesn't seem right. I am tired of having to cancel commitments because I am sick. It is a real drag to feel so behind on things. Blah blah blah, hope all of you who take the time to read this are well.

Going out again tomorrow night with someone I met from the Blogger Beach Cleanup! Hurray!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Day 80 - Dec. 4

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
estimated pounds of trash collected today - 1.4
estimated pounds of trash collected to date - 349.05
What's up wasabi?!!! Yummy chips. Well, there is a meeting in downtown LA this Thursday to:

" The LA regional water quality control board is considering adding a zero trash total maximum daily load (TMDL) for the Los Angeles River as part of the municipal stormwater permit. If passed, it would be a huge victory for the environmental community and significant step in controlling and preventing marine debris from entering our ocean."

I'll be there, and if you are interested in going just leave me a message in the comment section at the
end of this post.

I have to confess that I am a little out of step with my blog/project. Last week I only collected twice. I feel the need to re-energize my efforts. I think that stamina is important when I look at the goal I have set for myself with The Daily Ocean. I'm hoping that if I cop to my displeasure with my efforts here, I'll be able to get back on track a little more. Let's see.
I'd like to highlight a blogger and her blog that I think is realistic and effective in her continuing efforts. That is Beth Terry of Fake Plastic Fish. Check it out!
Dianna Cohen, one of the founders of Plastic Pollution Coalition, sent me a link to an article about how CU Boulder has begun discussing banning plastic bottled from their campus. They have also installed "Hydration Stations" for students to fill up their reusable water bottles. Anyone remember water fountains? Sounds like the same thing to me, and a good idea.
Here's the link to read more
G2 Gallery in Venice on Abbot Kinney has some seriously beautiful wildlife photography. Sat. night they had a benefit to help The Last Straw fundraise for their mission to go to the North and South Atlantic Gyre, a speaking tour down the east coast, build a boat from plastic straws and sail it across the English Channel and down the Siene and do this all in two and a half years. Anna Cummins and Dr. Marcus Erikson have started an organization called Living Legacy and this will be their first project. They have a cool new website too called 5gyres.

Anyway, G2 Gallery gives 100% of its proceeds from the sale of the artwork and photography to help environmental organizations. Cool place! Here's a link