Monday, March 29, 2010

Day 109 - March 28

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica, CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
4.1 pounds
433.2 pounds total

1.7 pounds
212.6 pounds total
Tracy of Recycled Bride (which is an awesome website you must check out if you haven't) and I went out on the beach Sunday night to find it well...trashed. We walked out discussing how lucky we were to live in Santa Monica where the weather can be in the 80's in March, and where people appear so healthy by enjoying our great beach environment. Then I remembered that great weather means a greater amount of trash to collect.

Tracy was shocked. She should be. "Why aren't there lids on those trash cans so the sea gulls can't drag out all that trash?" she wondered out loud.
Good question.
Money is one answer, and complacency is perhaps another.

Although I do think that Dean Kubani who runs the Santa Monica City's Office of Sustainability and the Environment is amazing and dedicated...
Birds eating more styrafoam. I think that I found the same thing last time I was out. Tracy was again alarmed, and well, again she should be, right?

"What happens to the birds if they eat that stuff?" she asked me.

"Nothing good," was all I could say.

Hmmm...a net washing into the water like this, might sink, but it looks to me, that it could become a bit of a death trap to the marine life that got entangled in it. I again came across an article I think worth rementioning from Surfrider's ENewsletter, THE SOUP. (You can sign up on their website.)

It's not just beaches in Southern California that are suffering from being trashed as we know -

"About 3,000 items of litter are strewn across every mile of U.K. beach at any given time, according to a study released by the Marine Conservation Society. MCS Beachwatch Big Weekend 2009 results were collected by 4,655 volunteers who went to their favorite beach in late 2009 and not only removed the litter, but also recorded what they found. The haul included 7,393 plastic bags, 16,243 plastic bottles, 17,712 fishing nets and 70,546 small plastic pieces."

The Daily Ocean turns 1 year old today. How could this be you may be asking since I am not close to being done?

A year ago, (see day 1 here), I really didn't understand what I was getting myself into. I thought about some guidelines for myself and decided to put this one important rule in place:

1. I collect on 365 NON-CONSECUTIVE days. Life isn't perfect. I thought. I may have to go out of town, or get sick which I can tell you both happened in the last year. For example, I went on my honeymoon.

I wanted to create an example with The Daily Ocean for people to see that they can make a difference by adding environmental activism that they are passionate about to an already full life.

Then I realized that collecting trash, and starting this blog was a great platform for me to pass on what I was learning and thinking about as I went along. A year ago I just knew I needed to do something.

I was right. I am here to report one thing that I have learned for sure in the last year, which is for me action feels a lot better than in-action.

If you have found yourself following The Daily Ocean I want to say thank you. I look forward to what is to come.

My yearly average for beach cleanups was 2 - 3 times a week. Still a lot more than most people, but not at all unmanagable.

Thank you also to all of the people I have met through the Community Collection Count portion of my blog. You have truly inspired me.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Day 108 - March 26

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
1.7 pounds
429.1 pounds total
There is a huge plastic bottle manufacturing plant in Corpus Cristi Texas called Flint Hills. In that city, the birth defect rate is 84% higher than the state average. I learned this from watching TAPPED. If you want to find out more, you can now buy it on DVD by visiting their website, and watch tons of free trailers too.

The fact I mentioned above is significant because when you buy #1 PET labeled plastic drinking bottle, you are not only ingesting carcinogens from the benzene and other chemicals that leech into your beverage, but you are contributing to the noxious gas emissions from the plant that is making those bottles, and poisoning the communities that live around their factories.
I've mentioned before that styrafoam is banned as a take out container in Santa Monica. But our city is at the end of the pipe, so to speak, meaning that the Santa Monica Bay receives all the trash from the storm drains for the entire city of Los Angeles where styrafoam is not banned.

This is a picture of what to me looked like beak marks and bird "bites" from porbably some foraging sea gull who now has a belly full of this stuff. But they aren't the only animals eating styrafoam. Check out 5Gyres blog to see a post about how some folks out to dinner, found stryafoam bits ingested in their clams. Wow.
I met a woman by phone yesterday, Sophie, when I was with Team Marine at SAMO high from

Go to their site to check out their trailer, and sign up for an assembly on climate change to come to your school!

"ACE is a national nonprofit dedicated to educating America's high school students about the science behind climate change and inspiring them to do something about it—while having fun along the way. Founded in 2008, ACE is headquartered in Oakland, California, with offices in New York, Washington, DC, Los Angeles, Chicago, New England, Denver, Atlanta, Houston and Austin."

Thursday, March 25, 2010

TAPPED - March 24, 2010 SAMOHI

TAPPED the movie at Santa Monica High School
presented by Team Marine and The Daily Ocean

After the screening, many of the students gathered in the loby of Barnum Hall to take a picture showing our solidarity against Bottled Water and for TAPPED!!!

We counted 125 +/- in attendance
Afterwards, we asked people to sign our pledge to REFISE USING SINGLE USE PLASTIC WATER BOTTLES - with 80 signatures so far, that is a pretty good show of support!

These pledge posters are now up in Mr. Kay's Marine Bio Room, so if you forgot, or didn't have a chance to sign yesterday, you can still sign!!!!

We would like to add these signatures to the TAPPED, "GET OFF THE BOTTLE CAMPAIGN" as the director Stephanie Soechtig and her Line Producer Sarah Olson, continue on their 30 DAY/ 30 CITY tour across the USA! Find out more: TAPPED

Day 107 - March 24

life guard station 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
2.1 pounds
427.4 pounds
Today we showed the movie TAPPED at Santa Monica High School, and wouldn't you know it, the first kind of trash that I found on the beach was a PLASTIC WATER BOTTLE.

fun fact I learned from TAPPED: if you leave your water bottle in the sun, then drink the water in it, you have an even greater risk of leaching Benzene, a known carcinogen, into the water you are about to drink. Hmmm.......bottled water is supposed to be a "healthy choice" right?

No, turns out that your paying for tap water (40% of all bottled water comes from a municipal source) that then comes to you in a plastic bottle that leaches cancer causing chemicals into it.

Oh, but not before you pay an 1000% mark up for this now contaminated tap water.....
Talk about total insaninty!!! Reminds me of the tobaco industry.
Plastic....check out this blog that I really like with a link to a cool video about the, "The Story of Bottled Water." - LESS PLASTIC MORE LIFE - started by:

This is a graphic picture of shark fins gathered after the brutal practice of Shark Finning.
Let's put an end to this insanity, shall we?

It was very dark by 7:08 when I arrived at the beach. I felt exhilirated after seeing TAPPED with 125+/- people, but I have to say it is easy to feel as dark as this weather about the future of our environment when I come to terms with the size of the David and Goliath fight we have on our hands against plastic pollution.

What's the option though?
There is none, and so as my friend and co-founder of the Plastic Pollution Coalition
Manueal Maqueda says, "Onward!!!!!"

Friday, March 19, 2010

Day 106 - March 18, 2010

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
4 pounds
425.3 pounds total
You can imagine my surprise when I turned on YAHOO this morning and saw FOX NEWS talking about the perils of trashing our ocean floor.

There was a study from Monterey to Long Beach of the ocean floor and what kinds of trash lay strewn across it. Well, as you can imagine, the findings weren't good.

From kitchen sinks, to unexploded military bombs the place is well, trashed. They went on to suggest how to prevent this from continuing to happen since recovering these items might prove more toxic to marine life than leaving them alone. I think we know the answer, but it was oh so fun to hear a FOX news anchor tell us.

But don't take my word for it, WATCH THIS.

Team Marine has done it again!
Watch their YouTube Video on their recycling program for Life Straws.

My friend at KISS MY COUNTRY blog has done it again! Read her engaging interview about Loggerhead Turtles being rescued by the 100's off the beach in JUNO BEACH Fl.
More about the screening of TAPPED at Santa Monica High School next Wed. the 24th of March at 4:00 pm. Bring your friends, bring 10, 20, 30 people, we can fit them all and everyone will still be FREE!!!

Why should you come? Read a message from the Director Stephanie Soechtig below:


Because we are taking on some of the media’s biggest advertisers (Nestle, Coke, and Pepsi) we cannot rely on traditional outlets to get the word out. One of our favorite talk shows couldn’t discuss Tapped on her show because Pepsi is her largest advertiser. So the time has come for us to call on our supporters to help us spread the word about the dangers we are facing and to protect our rights to access
clean drinking water!!

Together, we can make a difference!

As those of you who have seen Tapped already know, bottled water is really a microcosm for some much larger issues facing our country: the world water crisis, the free-reign given to chemical corporations to use cancer causing agents in our products, the social injustice that effect minority communities across America, and
plastic pollution.

It’s time to take action!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Day 105 - March 16

Want another really good reason you should come? Because it is FREE so that:

"This movie is scheduled to be shown in Maine - but Nestle is trying to buy up all the tickets and make sure as few people see this film as possible."
- July 3, 2009 Susan the Bruce Blog

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
5.7 pounds
421.3 pounds total
Drew Albenze, the Chair of our West Los Angeles/Malibu Surfrider Chapter worked with a team of animators to create this short film. It rocks, I've seen it, spend a few seconds and watch.

Greenwashing. Do you know what that means? Or when that is happening to you?

Let me explain. It is when companies like Coca Cola try to divert responsibility from changing their environmentally damaging habits by slapping on some "green" looking advertising onto their products.

See the example above. Let's talk plastics for a second. See where it says "Plant Bottle"?

Fact - just because this plastic bottle was made from a plant based polymer plastic does not mean that it will bio-degrade, like the logo suggests, into dirt. In fact, it probably won't even make it into a recycling bin, (well this one did because I put it there, but you get the point)

Fact - bio-degradable - means that it belongs in a municipal composting facility. To date, I know of 2! One in Sun Valley, and one in the Bay Area. You think LA really sorts out all of their "compostable plastics" to get sent to Sun Valley? Yeah, I don't have to answer that for you.

Fact - to COMPOST ANYTHING EVEN FOOD, you need at minimum 135 degrees Fahrenheit, air and sunlight. Do you think those conditions occur in a regular landfill? Or in the ocean?
NO, they don't so really this "plant bottle" will see the same fate as it's cousin plastic bottles.


Sylvia Earle, famed Oceanographer, Aquanaut, Marine Scientist, and Ocean Activist won the 2009 TED prize. Watch her acceptance speech here. I re-watched it yesterday for inspiration while writing. She starts and ends her (this isn't a spoiler), speech by referring to "tomorrow's child" looking back on today, right now, and wondering why on our watch we didn't do something to save the dolphins, and whales, and ocean while there was still time?"

Here's something you can do, come to the FREE showing of TAPPED the documentary about the bottled water industry and so, so much more.

TAPPED - March 24th Santa Monica High School 4-6 pm. Bring everyone that you can.

First you have to know, then you care, then you can do something about it." - Sylvia Earle

"Tapped examines the role of the bottled water industry and its' effects on our health, climate change, pollution, and our reliance on oil."
Ahh warm weather brings back the people who bring the bottles back.

I don't think that it is a coincidence that over the winter, I rarely found a plastic water bottle on the beach. There were less people to be out enjoying the sunny days on the sand. Yesterday was 83 degrees here in Santa Monica, and well......I collected 8 plastic bottles in 20 minutes.

World Water Day is March 22nd, to kick it off the Director of TAPPED, Stephanie Soechtig and her Producer Sarah Olson will be driving across the country in a glass truck. Asking you to trade in your plastic water bottle for a KLEEN KANTEEN ONE! That is if you promise to

"Also beginning World Water Day, our Line Producer Sarah Olson and I will be embarking on a 30 day 30 city cross-country “Get Off the Bottle” tour. We’ll be driving a glass truck across the country, trading people their empty water bottles for a pledge to reduce their bottled water use. All those empty water bottles will go in the truck with the goal of ending the tour in New York City onEarth Day (April 22nd) with a truck full of bottles and the pledges of thousands! We’ll have our tour route mapped out on the website and you can follow us on Twitter as well as our daily blog from the road."

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Day 104 - March 13th

Did you miss the screening at SMC? Want to come to this one?

It's FREE, bring 10, hell bring 50 people. We've got Barnum Hall at Santa Monica High and it seats a huge amount of folks. Around 500 I believe. We want you there.

FaceBook it, Tweet it, Blog it, and don't forget to come!!!
life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
2 pounds
415.6 pounds total

Plastic, plastic everywhere.

This week I can't help but think about the Sushi sting that took place in my backyard. Right on the heels of the Oscars, the team of people who made The Cove have uncovered that The Hump restaurant, less than 2 miles from my house, has been selling illegal whale meet. Sei Whale to be exact was served up on the menu, and guess what THEY ARE ENDANGERED.
Carl Safina weighs in on the killing of dolphins for food in this article.

The main problem with killing marine mammals — a much bigger problem than whether a small amount of killing is sustainable — is that it is cruel. Every real advance in human thought has had to do with expanding our circle of compassion. Cruelty to animals seems to parallel cruelty to people. So, I think the international condemnation of the dolphin killing is fair enough. There is no denying the fact that it is brutal business.
I'm going to end with this link to some stunning pictures of dolphins at play in the waves.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Eat Right to Keep the Oceans Clean

Claudia Kousoulas recently sent me a post to add to The Daily Ocean's Community Collection Count. Afterwards, I asked her to write about what she saw during her beach cleanups and how this has influenced her thinking about the food she chooses.
Claudia has a fantastic website reviewing Cook Books called Appetite For Books.
Below I have posted her insightful piece about how seeing so much plastic food related trash on the beach made her rethink, and recommit to a sustainable approach to the food she chooses to eat.

In my recent Miami beach clean-up, I realized how much of my trash was food related—wrappers, bottle caps, and bottles. It made me think twice about my own kitchen and what eating habits will generate less waste.

· I stopped buying bottled water a while ago when I learned that the EPA has tougher water regulations than the FDA. Taps water has fluoride, is certainly cheaper, and doesn’t generate mountains of plastic refuse. I use a refillable bottle if I really need to take water. But I’m not trekking through the desert and not really in danger of dehydration.

I shop at the farmer's market where the food is fresh, local, even inspiring, and isn’t over-packaged. Like most shoppers, I bring my own bag and if I start bringing a clean dishtowel, like No Impact Man does, for cheese or bread, my only trash could be compost.

· I already shop the outside aisles of the supermarket, says Marion Nestle. That’s where they put the produce, meats, fish, and dairy—real food. An apple doesn’t need as much packaging as a pop tart. Don’t forget to bring your re-usable bag!

· I’m going to bag the baggies. A year’s worth of plastic sandwich bags: $17.92, a reusable sandwich cloth sandwich bag: $5.00, clean oceans: priceless.

· I hate that deodorant in a sealed plastic container also comes in a box, sometimes with a plastic insert. It has more to do with display than security. Now I like a beauty treat as much as the next girl, but I try to remember that yogurt makes a great facial masque and olive oil is a good hair conditioner. And no mystery chemicals.

Claudia Kousoulas

Monday, March 8, 2010

Sarah Schumm joins the Community Count

The Community Collection Count - Sarah Schumm
Bay Area, CA
March 5th, 6th & 7th!
trash collected for 20 min. a day
14 pounds in 3 days
210.9 pounds collected in 29 days
An email arrived in my inbox with the title, "Seems I'm not alone.."
This made me curious. As soon as I started to read Sarah's email though, I understood exactly what she meant.

It means a great deal to me to know that there are other people out there, concerned for the health of our oceans, the conditions of our beaches, and every time I hear from someone else wanting to contribute to my Community Collection Count, it renews my hope. We all need hope.

Sarah explains what she is up to in her own words below:
I've been keeping a video blog about trash on Ocean Beach since January. In late December or early January of this year (even though I'm on the beach every day I don't remember exactly when it started) tons (actual tons! not exaggerating) of trash washed up on the normally clean shores of Ocean Beach. I tried to pick up two bags every weekend.

Shortly after I started, one of my friends gave me a video camera and it seemed like the obvious thing to do was start a video blog. I've been picking up and documenting the trash I've found since. The oldest piece I can accurately date is over 11 years old! But some of it is probably even older.
I set up little "Challenges" and make picking up the trash kind of a game:
picking up only one type of trash, picking up only one color of trash, picking up trash between two landmarks, that sort of thing.

The day before I read about your blog my plan was to walk beween two landmarks 7 blocks apart, picking up only bottle caps. I was out for an hour and a half and made it only one block. I wish I had a weight for you, it had to be at least 10 pounds, probably more. I don't know if it was my mood or what, but after only getting one block in over an hour and collecting probably well over a hundred, maybe hundreds of bottle caps, I really wish I had counted, I sat down on a log and made an entry for my video blog, quite literally on the verge of tears.
I was feeling hopeless, the trash seemed insurmountable. Only my closest friends and maybe possibly a couple random people even saw my video blog. I had told myself that if I saved just one bird, one otter, one seal, If I could convince just one person to cut back on plastic or give up bottled water, it would all be worth it, but at that point realizing I couldn't even make a dent in JUST bottle caps it seemed like there was no way that even if I spent the rest of my life picking up trash I was going to make a difference. I didn't even bother to post the entry. It was almost embarrassing watch myself and see that the trash reduced me to tears.

I think it was actually the next day that I read about your blog in Making Waves! Like getting the camera in the first place, it seemed like a sign that I should keep going. Even though I already knew there were other people just like me doing as much and more, when I read your blog I felt connected to them and it got me excited about doing the project again. I posted the entry about the bottle caps, and now I'm determined to keep picking up and documenting trash and blogging and improving my rather rough film making skills.

Here's a link to her blog

Thank you Sarah, hope this is the first of many posts I'll add to The Daily Ocean featuring your projects and contribution to the Community Collection Count.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Day 103 - March 5, 2010

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
1.5 pounds
413.6 pounds total
Does this look like it was forgotten at the beach? Probably not. SO much personal hygiene trash washes ashore. I find it very odd. Dental floss picks? Hmmm...
The Teach and Test Club at Santa Monica High School just launched a mentorship program. They're inviting Middle School students to come to their school on a Sat. and go through the whole process of testing the ocean water. Here's a post about it from their blog.
I really like Greek Yogurt. In fact, I know that I have bought one of these very containers from Trader Joe's in the last year. But tonight I found yogurt in a glass bottle! Thrilling!

When grocery shopping I try to find items that aren't packaged in plastic. Manuel Maqueda of the Plastic Pollution Coalition pointed out to me that glass packaged items usually come from more local sources because the shipping cost of glass is higher. By switching back to glass packaging we may also be making the choice to buy our food locally, which is also a good thing. Less plastic, eating local, and saving the world one glass yogurt bottle at a time.

TAPPED the movie at Santa Monica College

Next Thursday night, March 11th, Santa Monica College is hosting a screening of the movie




“Tapped examines the role of the bottled water industry and its’ effects on our health, climate change, and our reliance on oil.”

Sponsored by the SMC Associates and the Plastic Pollution Coalition, the night is free and open to the public. Director Stephanie Soechtig will be there to conduct a Q&A after the screening.

Grab your friends and family, tell your co-workers, and spread the word!

The information uncovered by this film is so important that you won’t want to miss this opportunity. It will change the way you view the water you drink forever, which is a good thing.

Did you know:

  • 40% of bottled water is drawn from municipal sources?
  • The water gets filtered, put in a bottle and sold back to you for 1900x the cost of tap water?
  • Only 20% of the bottles are recycled…the rest ends up in landfills and the ocean.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Day 102 - March 3, 2010

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
3.2 pounds
412.1 pounds total
*disclosure for todays weight - found 2 full unopened Bud's in the sand - heavy!

In case you thought that is was just our beloved Pacific that was turning into a plastic garbage dump, here's the research from the Sea Education Association on the Atlantic ocean, and the results aren't good. As Surfrider's Soup ENewsletter said,
Beth Terry of the amazing blog, Fake Plastic Fish, was interviewed by ABC. She's a powerhouse example of the will to change your life to reflect the change you want to see in the world.

Dr. Carl Safina has been speaking out on behalf of the Blue Fin Tuna for decades. Here's his latest op-ed piece in YALE 360 highlighting the importance of the upcoming meeting in March that may determine the future of the species, or their extinction.