Monday, July 26, 2010

East Coast -- West Coast Trash Talk


Rob Rector of MERR - Marine Education Research and Rehabilitation - Institute in Delaware and I met because of Oceana's Ocean Hero Contest this year. We both loved being a part of it.

The Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster (it's not just a "spill") happened during the contest. Many people felt devastated and helpless, (still do) but if they looked at Oceana's website they were directed to look at all kinds of ocean activism, most especially this year's winner IBRRC.

The International Bird Rescue Research Center are in the gulf right now helping oiled birds survive this tragedy. Here's a direct link to what they are doing. Their efforts are tremendous.

After the Ocean Hero Award Rob and I decided to try to find ways to work together. Here's one way that we came up with. We did a joint beach cleanup for the Community Collection Count part of my blog. Want to contribute? Leave a comment and I'll catch you up on what to do. It's pretty simple. You just do a Daily Ocean style cleanup near you, or while on vacation and send me your findings. Below are the results from our:

EAST COAST -- WEST COAST TRASH TALK (Rob aptly named it)

Last Sunday night, on our respective east coast and west coast beaches, at sunset we went out for about 20 minutes to see what we could find. Below is one of the many cool videos he sent me to introduce Nate and Maya - his ridiculously cute, and smart kids -
the Ocean Heroes of the night.

"The stats- Collectors: Maya (6) and Nate (4)

Time: 8:10-8:35

Area: 2 blocks on Rehoboth Beach DE

Amount collected: 6.5 pounds

Total: 321.5

Fun had: immeasurable" - Rob Rector, MERR

The picture above could be of the beach down the street from me. An orange peel and a plastic bottle top-twisty-thingy are everyday finds in California as well.

I found a plastic water bottle, and lots of gulls too. See my collection results for the day.

Ahh..chap stick. For me it was one of those plastic disposable objects that had infiltrated my life so seamlessly until I became aware of single use disposable plastics. Now I see them...and oh so many other objects like it.

Thank you to Nate, Maya and Rob for participating in cleaning up our beaches, but just as importantly for raising awareness about the trash -- mostly plastic and single use -- that is flooding the oceans. It's like the chap stick, once you see it, you see it everywhere.

Even if you don't live by the coast, all "drains" lead to the ocean eventually. In the meantime, if you look around your neighborhood, do you see plastic water bottles, cigarette butts, and plastic bags littering your streets? If so, want to do something about it?

Biggest object: A beach chair (I did not include this with the weight, though,as I left it in the trash there. No room on my bike).

They didn't even get to finish their Cherry Coke!

Thank you Rob for all the short videos you took of Nate and Maya. It really feels like we are all right there with you. I hope that the people who are reading this post enjoy them as much as I do!

Day 134 - July 25, 2010

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
4.8 pounds
547.4 pounds total
We really need to get some lids for the trash cans here in Santa Monica.
I picked all of this up, but how long did it take for the gulls to drag it back out?
There is a blog called Responsible Plastic that I would like to mention. It is written by David Mc Kay as, "an attempt to make sense out of the plastic in my life." His motto - "Nobody said it was easy..." In his latest post he asks himself just how far he is willing to go to get plastic out of his life?

Thank you David for asking yourself these hard questions, which in turn asks us to think about it too.
Here is a link to Team Marine of Santa Monica High School's Youtube channel. With over 20 environmental videos it is really worth checking out.

I'm getting psyched up to meet next year's new members, and see some familiar faces from 09-10, but I will really miss the crew that is off to college who are about to take the world by campus at a time! Good luck guys!!

This looks like an underwhelming piece of trash left on the beach. It's not even made from plastic! Shocker. Here's why I am including it in today's post:

I was collecting some trash around the people who were still on the beach, which always makes me feel slightly uncomfortable, but I just carry on. Anyway...I noticed the woman sitting behind this receipt on a towel, waiting for her husband to get out of the water, and perhaps wondering what the hell I was doing? Sometimes this happens...people will stare at me until I look up, then they turn away, or often say thank you.

So, I was hoping that she would pick up the trash in front of her when she left. I didn't want to bend down at her toes for her, I thought I'd give her a chance to clean it up herself since I was sure she had seen what I was up to.

But she didn't. This is not to shame her. Maybe she thought that I would get it, which I did. Maybe she didn't see it. I think that most people are used to a certain amount of trash on the beach. We've become apathetic to it. But seeing her leave the crumpled receipt in the sand made me think of a very important question, "If not me, who?"

If I leave the responsibility to the next person, who is to say they won't do the same?

If I want to save the ocean from trash -- mostly plastic -- then perhaps it is up to me?

If not me, then who?
Not Arrowhead. You may think I am being too hard on them for calling them out on their "Green-Washing" campaign, but am I? I don't think so. Especially after I watched TAPPED THE MOVIE and FLOW.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day 133 - July 23, 2010

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
4.5 pounds
542.6 total
The Nautica Triathlon is coming up on Sept. 11 and 12th. Oceana will be there, and so will I. Interested in registering?

I'd like to do a beach cleanup with the participants, and volunteers. Want to join us? Let's leave Malibu a little cleaner as a small thank you for the beautiful environment that will provide the athletes with a chance to compete.
This sand toy stands out in stark contrast to the beach for more than one reason. Sure, it's neon orange, but it is also...plastic.
Visit the Smithsonian Ocean Portal Blog for tips on how to take care of the beaches and oceans we enjoy in the summer months. of my least favorite finds on the beach. Water wins the war over sticky adhesive yet there are plenty of people out to prove that theirs will hold where no other band-aid has held before.
This Sunday Rob from MERR (Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation) will collect trash off his local beach in Delaware that gets a lot of use in the summer months. I'll do the same here in Santa Monica and report back both of our findings here on The Daily Ocean.

MERR was a finalist in this years Ocean Hero Contest from Oceana. We connected through this honor, became friends, and have committed to working together in the future. Like minds have to stick together.

MERR is an incredible program. Rob said they recently found a dead Northern Right Whale though. Right Whales stay close to the surface and move slowly. Therefor they were named, the "Right Whale" to hunt for. Now it just means that they are casualties for shipping accidents. Very sad. But they take care of lots of other marine animals, spread awareness and ocean love. Check them out!

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Day 132 - July 21, 2010

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

trash collected for 20 minutes
2.1 pounds
315 pounds total
Someone lost their STORM TROOPER! Well, I have him now. He didn't end up as sea gull food.

While reading a back issue of ORION magazine, I came across an article called, "50 SIMPLE WAYS TO GET OFF -- If you are in love with the world, fall in love with trying to save it." Some of the tone of the article didn't strike a chord with me, but I wanted to share a tid-bit or two that did.





After our 20 minutes of trash collecting my friend Anita said that it was harder to do this than she thought it would be. She mentioned that her quads hurt, although I usually find it's my back that takes the tweak of it all, but she also said, "It must be hard to enjoy walking along the beach if you did this enough."

And I thought about how I was happy that it was cloudy this week. It meant that not as many people would be out on the beach. That meant less trash streaming into the ocean. When I realized what I was thinking it made me a little bit sad.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Day 131 - July 17, 2010

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
13.2 pounds
528.9 total
13.2 pounds sent me around the park on my bike just after dark, which is not recommended, to blow off some steam. Then into my living room for a variety of sit-ups, crunches, push-ups and other energy releasing activities that made my dog further question my odd behavior.

One good thing about tonight's collection was a girl of about 12 came over to thank me saying that she hopes that she could do something like this in the future. Pretty cool. I told her to grab an extra bag when she went to the beach next time, thanked her, and gave her a big smile.

When I got back to the parking lot I wanted to stop strangers standing by their car smoking cigarettes to ask them if they could guess how many pounds of trash I'd found in 20 minutes. 13 pounds! I wanted to yell at them while probably adding an animated, "Can you believe that?"

I refrained.
Since the poundage and pictures speak for themselves here, I am going to infuse the rest of this post with some positivity. (Especially in light of the fact that the "oil cap" is "leaking" sigh :< )

1. One of my favorite blogs, Kiss My County, has come out with a post about Rachel Carson. The post asks us to think about whether or not the famed female environmental/writer/scientist would have been part of the newly formed BOEMRE (Bureau of Ocean Management, Regulation and Enforcement) or whether she would have turned in her Wildlife Fish and Game governmental uniform for a Greenpeace membership if she were alive today. Interesting to think about.....
2. My friend Keely works for Roots and Shoots in San Fransisco. Roots and Shoots is the environmental youth organization founded by Jane Goodall. Keely sent out an email last week to announce to her friends and family that,

"This week Jane Goodall celebrated 50 years of research that started in Gombe in Tanzania. This CNN video talks about Roots & Shoots and makes me really happy! I am very proud to be a part of her work." (check out the video - link highlighted in the sentance above)

I want to walk to entire coast of California in a couple of years. Check out the people who make it possible to find a trail from tip to tail. Their website is the hub for all things Hiking Coastal California.

I'd like to collect trash for 20 minutes a day while walking, keep it, and assemble a trashy sculpture at the end so that people can see a fraction of what lines our coasts, and what one person can do about it. Want to help?
The Smithsonian's Ocean Portal - is a wealth of resources on all things "Blue Planet." From music videos to sections just "for Educators." You will find amazing information here about the oceans. Brought to you by the National Museum of Natural History, the Ocean Portal is amazing!

Lastly - Danielle of It Starts With Me blog, sent me this link to the Karen Beasley Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center 30 minutes from her house. They recieve no state or federal funding!

Who doesn't feel better by helping a sea turtle? Knowing that people are dedicating themselves to this work makes my day. It can even help me smile on a day when I collect 13 pounds of mostly plastic garbage off my local beach in 20 minutes, and learn that BP's "oil cap" is leaking.......

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Day 130 - July 16, 2010

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min.
5.7 pounds
515.7 pounds total

COMMUNITY COUNT COLLECTION - Danielle, Aaron, Chase, Claire, and Henri
DAY 36
5.4 pounds
312.9 pounds total
Arrowhead water... There's a saying I learned growing up - "IF CAN'T SAY ANYTHING NICE, DON'T SAY ANYTHING AT ALL." This phrase would apply to my feelings about bottled water. However, keeping silent about the damaging environmental impacts of bottled water is not an option.

- if you filled a plastic water bottle about 1/4th of the way up with petroleum, that is approximately how much it takes to make the plastic bottle.

- why do we continue to buy products that are used for minutes and their packaging sticks around forever ? (plastic is fairly new - 1970's - some estimates are 1,000 yrs. for breakdown, mostly we are learning as we go)......

- oh yeah - and it is 10,000% percent mark up to buy bottled water then fill up at the tap in your own house. buy lunch for 10$ or 1,000$

see TAPPED - the movie for more details.
Danielle - from Wilmongton NC - is a fellow blogger who I met online. Her blog - It Starts With Me - is great! She is visiting her college roomate for the week in Corona Del Mar so she braught her family up for the evening to have dinner, and come on a cleanup with me.

Thank you to her, her husband Aaron, oldest son Chase, Claire (pictured above), and Henri for joining me on the beach last night.

As Claire picked these glasses up her father said, "Not everything you find out here is trash, huh?" to his daughter who then turned and very nicely modeled her new find for me.
As we were collecting, the topic of finding "loaded" dirty diapers at the beach came up. I mentioned how I had written finding a dirty diaper into the story I am working on well before I found my first diaper on the beach in real life.

The one pictured above is diaper number 3 or 4.
3 or 4 too many.
From R to L - Henri, Claire and Chase with another find. A perfectly good umbrella. They also found many sandtoys that they are hopefully putting to good use today, and a beach towel.
Garen and I tried to go to the beach today.
First - we tried to go to the local cafe, "Rose Cafe" on the boarder of Venice and Santa Monica. The parking lot was full.
Excuse me - first we tried to go to the beach pictured above - parking lot full, then the cafe and then to "Lily's" on Abbot Kinney because there is cheap validated parking behind it.

Well save yourself the favor of following our lead and DO NOT GO TO LILY"S RESTAURANT. 50$, a horrible soggy snadwich, and a ridiculously long wait while we watched everyone else eat later, we got back in the car to go to the beach in Venice.
The beach back in our hood

I love our neighborhood, but Southern California in the summer is SO crowded that Garen and I are dreaming of the day when we can move to a more remote part of our beloved state coast. We finally gave up, and came home....but it sure feels good to be back on The Daily Ocean. Going out again tonight to collect some more trash from our local beach.