Saturday, May 29, 2010

Day 124 - May 29, 2010

Why I collect plastic trash from the beach, and try to spread awareness about the detrimental environmental impacts that it has on us, on marine wildlife and on the planet.

photo courtesy of Wallace J Nichols.

There are to many examples of what motivates me to write The Daily Ocean to include in one post, but I've included a few of them here.

A baby sea turtle has roughly a one in 1,000 chance of making it to adulthood. Sadly, this turtle ate the two plastic bits that you see to the side of the photograph and it killed him.
life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
3.4 pounds
491.5 pounds total

The above video is of Manuel Maqueda of the Plastic Pollution Coalition and a team of people that went with him to visit Midway. Midway Atoll is part of the outer chains of the Hawaiian Islands leading west into the pacific towards Japan and one of the most isolated locations in the world.

Science knows that over 90% of the plastics out there are under 10 mm in size.

We can't combat the monstrous problem of the plastic pollution in our oceans by cleaning it up. This is a falsity that does not make any sense. Beth Terry, who writes the blog Fake Plastic Fish, recently reiterated something that Capt. Charles Moore of Algalita said on the Colbert Report when he was on recently being interviewed about the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch."

Basically he said - trying to clean the gyre would be like trying to bail out a bath tub with the tap still running.
Here are 10 things we can do about it though courtesy of Team Marine
in their video called the "10 R's"

Please also go to 5 gyres to learn more about all of the oceanic gyres that are clogged with trash and what we can do about it.

The 10 R's by Team Marine from Green Planet on Vimeo.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Day 123 - May 25, 2010

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

In the short video above I called the Pacific, "my ocean." I quickly corrected myself realizing that it is not "my" ocean. Now as I sit here to write up last night's collection I want to take that back. It is "my" ocean, and "your" ocean. Although I do not live on the Gulf of Mexico, it is "my gulf" too. I think Wallace J Nichols put it well in his Huffington Post article,

This wrapper was completely intact with no candy inside. I thought a hollow, perfectly wrapped wrapper was rather strange. Say that 10x fast...

Even cute crabs are pollution when they end up in the ocean and are made of plastic.

You've got to see what these guys are up to. Surfer's Healing and their online store
Here is a link to my post that I did about them a few days ago. They are totally inspiring.

Almost a straw a minute tonight. W-O-W...

From "Oceans - The Threats to Our Seas and What You Can Do to Turn the Tide"

"The United States burns more than 20 million barrels of oil a day, about the same as the industrial behemoths Japan, Russia, Germany, China, and India COMBINED."
- Caught in the Same Net - Carl Safina

Friday, May 21, 2010

Day 122 - May 21, 2010

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park Santa Monica, CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
3.6 pounds
486.6 pounds total
I bought the book, "Oceans - The Threats to Our Seas and What You Can Do to Turn the Tide," in the Sacramento Airport bookstore last Wed.. It is the companion text to the film, "Oceans" produced by Participant Media and edited by John Bowermaster.
A quick aside - GO SEE OCEANS!

From Carl Safina's new book, "The View from Lazy Point"

"People are using the world's fishes, forests, soils, freshwater, and other resources about 25 percent faster than the world can replace them. It means, basically, that the world would be broke if it we weren't borrowing so heavily from the future."

"Ahuwale ka po'okela i kau hana ia ha'i"

translation: It is through the way you serve others that your greatness will be felt.

Surfer's healing contacted me thru twitter and sent me these photographs from their project to make 1,000s of Leis with kids.


"In Hawaii, a lei is given as a celebration of one person's affection for another. The lei above was hand-made by children in Hawaii with autism along with their family and friends."
"Hawaii Behavioral Health, an agency that provides services to students with autism in school, home and community settings coordinated the lei project so all participants could receive a special lei."
"The materials used for the leis was provided by Kini Beach, a company that collects discarded beach mats, floats and body boards from beaches and resorts around Oahu. These items are recycled into raw materials for a variety of hand-made items. This lei is not only a gift of love, it reminds us to be good stewards of our natural resources.

Wear it with Aloha!

"A'ohe hana nui ka alu'ia"
(No task is too big when done together.")

Thursday, May 20, 2010

May 19th - Clean Seas Coalition Lobby Day

The Cleans Seas Coalition is, "a growing coalition of environmentalists, scientists, California lawmakers, students, and community leaders pushing California to strengthen laws reducing trash in California's seas and on beaches. The Clean Seas Coalition was formed to make the Ocean Protection Council's pollution reduction commendations a reality."

Thank you to Surfrider WLAM Chapter for helping me get there! I was proud to represent Surfrider. Denise Erkeneff from the South Orange County Chapter of Surfrider was there too.

This past Wednesday, the Clean Seas Coalition, Heal the Bay, and Seventh Generation Advisors gathered a group of people together in Sacramento to lobby for the bill AB1998.

Assembly Bill 1998 is written by Santa Monica Assemblywoman Julia Brownley and co-sponsored by Heal the Bay.

It asks that single-use plastic bags be banned at large retail pharmacies, and grocery chains by 2012 and by convenience stores by 2013.

If you forget a reusable bag you can buy a paper bag made from 40% post-consumer recycled material for as little as 5 cents.

Reusable bags will be available to purchase at the check out as well. These bags will go through a certification process overseen by Cal Recycle that will ensure that these bags are made from non-toxic materials, printed with non-toxic paints, and can be used at least 100 times!

Sound good? We think so. Below are some F.A.Q.s about plastic bags and AB1998 that you may be wondering about from, "Frequently Asked Questions on AB 1998" written by Heal the Bay.

single-use plastic bag I found on the beach in Santa Monica, CA

"Why not just increase recycling of plastic bags?

We cannot recycle our way out of this problem. Less than 5% of plastic bags are currently being recycled in CA today."

We use 6 billion plastic bags annually in Los Angeles County alone, even with the best recycling rate, which is a 2/3 rate, we are still left with 2 billion plastic bags entering our storm drains, and eventually making its way into the Pacific.
single-use plastic bag I found on the beach in Santa Monica, CA


single-use plastic bag I found on the beach in Santa Monica, CA

We're not asking CA to go out on a limb. "China, Mexico City and at least 40 other countries and municipalities around the world have banned plastic bags (representing at least 25% of the world's population.)"

single-use plastic bag I found on the beach in Santa Monica, CA

"Will all plastic bags be banned under AB1998?

No. Bags used to carry produce, bulk items, raw meat, or other items to the checkout would still be available."
single-use plastic bag I found on the beach in Santa Monica, CA

"Single-use bags wreak havoc in our aquatic environment. Just a few weeks ago, a dead gray whale washed ashore in Seattle with 20 single-use plastic bags in its stomach."

My group for the day in Kevin De Leon's office, Assemblymember, Forty-Fifth District and co-author of AB1998.

From left to right: Kirstin James Water Quality Director from Heal the Bay, Keely Gerhold Staff Intern from Clean Water Action in San Fransisco, Angelica Salceda Legislative Aide to Kevin De Leon, me, and Nick Kline Canvasser from Clean Water Action.
Crystal Quezada Legislative Aide for Assemblymember Steven Bradford, Keely Gerhold from Clean Water Action, Kirstin James from Heal the Bay, and Nick Kline from Clean Water Action.
Ocean's Day April 2010 with Assemblymember Mike Feuer and Team Marine from Santa Monica High School.

We were in Sacramento for Team Marine's spring break last month to accept the Ocean Hero Award from the Clean Seas Coalition.

On Wed. our group dropped into Assemblymember Feuer's office to thank him for his continued support of AB1998. He was unfortunately busy, but I wanted to include this picture as a thank you for his support.
So why did we all go? Obviously to support AB1998, but also:

"That even the smallest actions count. Not only does every tiny action matter, but in the long run, it is the only thing that matters." - Roz Savage, British ocean rower, UN Climate Hero, Ambassador for, and inspirational woman.

Roz is rowing across the third leg of her Pacific Ocean crossing. If she can do that, we can go to Sacramento.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Day 121 - May 21, 2010

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
3 pounds
483 pounds total
I'm supposed to be packing for an overnight to Sacramento, but I had to get this done first.
I will be lobbying with the Clean Seas Coalition, and Heal the Bay to support Santa Monica Assemblywoman Brownley's Bill AB1998 - which proposes a ban on single-use plastic bags.

Surfrider is also helping me get to Sacramento to represent their Rise Above Plastics Campaign. You have to see their site, the opening short animated video is amazing!

Please go to Oceana and take the Ocean Hero Pledge, then vote for one of the 2010 Ocean Hero finalists. It is a tough choice, but I hope you'll support The Daily Ocean. I'm one of the six! Voting is only open until May 26th. PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD.
Also Oceana gets 1$ for every pledge. Even more of a great reason to vote!!
It started to rain while I was driving down there, but the sun peeked out at the end. It had been a few days since I'd been able to get down for a collection. I miss the beach if I am away from it for more that a day or two. I hope everyone has a place they feel like that about.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Day 120 - May 10, 2010

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


To everyone who sent out a message through twitter, posted to Facebook, or made a donation to get me to Sacramento to lobby on May 19th for Assembly Bill 1998 - CA Ban the Plastic Bag law that is in crucial need of support right now.

As I write this, my request for help has only been live on my site for about four days, and I have only 25$ to go before my trip is covered!! (I am an as-of-now unpublished YA author who quit my job in Sept. to hash out final drafts of my book-in-the-works of three plus years, "Calliope and the Heart of the Sea.) So as you can imagine, our family budget does not include impromptu political trips to the state capitol. Once again, a HUGE thank you!

My first find out on the beach today was a plastic bag, which only confirmed my need to go.

I saw the movie Oceans last Sunday night. For those of you who, like me, were disappointed by Disney's Earth, please have faith and go see this movie!

If, you are also like me, and have seen all of the Blue Planet, Planet Earth, and now the Life series, you will see new footage in Earth that will blow your mind. Yes, I am that much of a nature geek, and you know what? I also love Star Wars 4 - 6, Lord of the Rings the books AND the movies, and Star Trek. It is my personal view that people who are drawn to these complex stories are not "geeks" - they just have great taste!

Drinking straws, oh drinking straws, how I find you by the dozens, oh drinking straws.....

Mark Armen of Gulpable's message on plastic straws

Three cool things happened today out on the beach while picking up...mostly plastic trash from the sand.

1. As soon as I got there, 2 dolphins leaped out of the water close to shore while playing. Is there anything better than seeing that at the beach? I see dolphins there, but I've never seen them leap out of the water before at lgt 26.

2. I got a chance to talk to a woman briefly about The Daily Ocean and agree with her that one of the only things that brings us hope that we will stop the plastic pollution entering the oceans, is when we know that other people care and are doing something about it.

3. Mark Armen of Gulpable was running on the beach when he stopped me to introduce himself. Our mutual friend Lindsey Jurca of ECHS, and Surfrider had introduced us in an email. He is a fellow Santa Monica resident kicking some butt to find solutions to "micro litter entering the ocean." Find him on twitter, and at his website. And watch him above in the quick video we shot about straws.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Send Sara to Sacramento to Ban Plastic Bags

Heal the Bay's Day Without A Bag in downtown LA last year

Make no mistake, plastic bags are scary!
We use 6 BILLION in Los Angeles County alone.
Most of them end up in the Pacific.

That's why I want to go to Sacramento with Seventh Generation Advisors and the Clean Sea Coalition to lobby for the BAN THE PLASTIC BAG BILL now stuck on the Assembly floor.

They've sent out a call for, "All hands on deck..." to attend.

Team Marine and other students from Santa Monica High School, fall 2009

We marched from Santa Monica High School to our city hall building, and then down the most populated shopping area, the 3rd Street Promenade chanting, "BAN THE PLASTIC BAG & BOTTLES."

The march happened at the beginning of this school year when I met Team Marine through Surfrider's Teach and Test program. They have all been a major inspiration for me. I'm so proud to know them.
I didn't anticipate that I would be going back to the state capitol so soon. To get there though, I need help. I feel very strange asking, but last fall I quit my job to finish my YA book, "Calliope and the Heart of the Sea." Although I am happy with the progress I have made on it, working from home as an unpublished author has left little wiggle room in our family budget.

Here's my Sacramento budget:
Southwest round trip ticket - 285$
Best Western 1 night - 125$
ground transportation - 70$

If you can donate 10, 15, 20 dollars, whatever you can, every bit counts, through the donate button found on the right hand side of The Daily Ocean, that would be wonderful.
It is a secure link that goes straight to PAY PAL.

If you can't give monetary help, which I totally respect, maybe you could pass a link to this post on to people who could help in that way.

Plastic bags do not make me smile. Californians Against Waste estimate that the U.S.A. uses 84 billion plastic bags annually."

I'm sure that most of the people reading this would like to go to Sacramento themselves, but can't break away from their busy lives. Send me instead! I'll go and represent all of us.

Watch Team Marine's incredible documentary, "The 10 R's" if you would like more information on the harmful impacts that single use plastics, of all kinds, have on the environment and thank you!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Day 119 - May 7, 2010

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
6.1 pounds
476.7 pounds total
WHY? :

"You cannot solve this problem by voluntary measures. We use 6 billion plastic bags per year within LA County alone. So even if you had the best recycling program in the world, which is a 2/3 recycling rate, you're still going to end up with 2 billion bags left over."

- Mark Gold, Heal the Bay from Team Marine's 10R's Documentary. WATCH IT BELOW!!

Even if only half of 2 billion bags ended up in the ocean, that would be a billion bags per year entering the Pacific JUST FROM LA COUNTY!

I would like to join the Clean Seas Coalition and Seventh Generation Advisers in the State Capitol to help them lobby for the bill that will ban Single Use Plastic Bags in California!

If you would like to donate 5, 10, 15, 20$ to help me get there, please see the donate button on the right hand side of my blog, and pay securely through PAYPAL. thank you!!

Countries that have implemented legislation to charge a fee for the use of plastic bags, or have banned them outright are: (find out more at reusable bags dot com)


As you can see, this is not the only thing littering our beaches and polluting the ocean. Wonder why Gov. Schwarzenegger decided to veto the Senate Bill 4 which met no opposition in the California House or Senate, that would ban smoking from California State Beaches and Parks?

Anyone who lives here knows how scary fire wild fire season is....
(insert loud cough here and say B*&%SH*&^T)

Friday, May 7, 2010

Adventures in Video Blogging - Day 118

For the few of you who read Day 118 listed below, I apologize for the repetition.
I am just so excited that I finally figured out how to upload video to YouTube,
and then to my blog.

I know, I know...a fifth grader could do that in half an hour,
well let me tell you that before I thought of The Daily Ocean, I never would
have thought I'd become a blogger. I still don't have Face book, etc. What's the saying, "Necessity is the mother of invention." I feel that way about navigating the world of social media. So to me, this is a feat!

Come on a Daily Ocean Cleanup with me.
The three videos that follow are the beginning, middle and end of Day 118, May 4th 2010.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Day 118 - May 4, 2010

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

There is a blog that I just found called, "The Plastic Ocean," that is doing what I thought to do when Sunchips came out with their "100% Compostable Bag", compost it. Here's the link in case you want to follow their progress. Should we place some bets??

This artist is looking for pictures of "beached marine plastic objects." He's raising awareness about the severity of our plastic pollution crisis in the oceans by ammasing a world wide catalogue of images. I think I'll send him this one. Here's the site if you want to check out his project, and/or send in a few of your own images.

I need your help - Video Blogging. Is it me or is it a giant pain in the a**. I spent WAY too long trying to upload video using Quicktime onto my Blogger blog. Any blogspot bloggers out there who have the technique down and wouldn't mind sharing their trade secrets?

thank you, thank you in advance!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Plastic Cups with Environmental Messages for KIDS???

Below are two pictures from a concerned parent, and reader of The Daily Ocean,
Wendy Chambers AKA goldensgreengirl.

She contacted me a little while back with these thoughts:

I thought you might be interested in this story:

A couple of weeks back I was visiting a family member in BC, Canada... at a restaurant named Kelseys.

I asked for a orange juice drink for my daughter and they gave me this cup.

I was totally astounded, this cup is made of polypropylene and has a depiction of abundant marine life on it !!! endorsed by Discovery Kids

- my first thought was this is a total contradiction and then this turned to anger...... I need help or advice in finding out how these marketing companies can get it sooooo wrong and get away with this producing this plastic cup with this image on?

The "funny" thing was that on the very next day while walking on the beach with a friend in Santa Monica, I found the cup pictured below.
It says on it - "BE GOOD TO THE EARTH - IT'S OUR HOME" - sponsor unknown
A group of woodland creatures has gathered around this red-headed boy, and brown haired girl to plant a tree. Other characters that have joined are two recycling bins with big smiley faces (creepy), and windmills in the background. WOW.

So I will ask you the same question. How do we influence corporations to stop "getting it so wrong" when it comes to environmental advertising geared towards the youth, and well polluting the environment at the same time?

Sarah Nan - from Florida Community Collection Count

My friend Debbie put me in touch with her friend Sarah Nan in Florida. Above is a picture of what her local ocean view is.

She has emailed me pictures, and an account from a recent river cleanup that she did. Reading is believing. I've attached her email to me below in parts.

"I just did a clean up in March at McCoy's Creek in Jacksonville, Florida for the 15th Annual St. Johns River Celebration.

This creek flows into the St. Johns River and then flows into the Atlantic Ocean.

We pulled out 24 tires, a mattress, box spring, two shopping carts, and 23 large bags of litter (six of those bags were nothing but plastic bottles), a very large tv, a bike, and a semi- truck hood out of the creek . This all came from one tiny area (about 900 feet).

I am also doing a cigarette scan tomorrow around a local hospital that has banned smoking on campus, and have a very bad cigarette litter issue that needs to be addressed. The last scan at the hospital, we had picked up 10,000 butts from a small area, right next to the river. - (really? wow that is just totally absurd!!)

Sarah didn't weigh her findings, but I am adding this post to the Community Collection Count anyway. Thank you Sarah for your hard work, and enormous effort. I hope to post more from your Florida cleanups in the future!