Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 158 - Sept. 27, 2010

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
2.4 pounds
639.4 pounds total

Mark Armen - The Bait Tank
Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
2.5 pounds
398.3 pounds total

I'm going camping today, and I'm not going to buy bottled water. I'm feeling a little fanatical this morning as I amass all of our jars and OCEANA water bottles to fill with tap water before I head out.


I've just finished a draft of a YA book I've been working on for almost 4 years. I am stepping away so that when I come back I can take one more look at it before - here's where you knock on wood for me - I send it in to an agent. YAY!
Thank you for all of the emails that I got from people around the country after reading the article that ran in the LA Times last Sat.. I will be highlighting some of the lists, and accounts you sent me of the trash washing up/or being left behind on your beach.

I love to hear from people who read this blog, find it inspiring, or have a story to share about what they are doing. I would like to thank you so much for being in touch. Please don't hesitate to send an email, or leave a comment. I write The Daily Ocean to engage with people about how we are trashing the oceans, and what we can do in our own lives to change that. Let me know what you think!
It was the night of the water bottle. Mark and I found half a dozen in 20 minutes on a stretch of beach about the size of a football field.

People were in the water until after sunset. Like I said, downtown LA was the hottest day on record. I think the summer we didn't have this year tried to come in one day.

I'll be out Friday for another collection. Off to camp with my dog, and to sit on the beach myself.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 157 - Sept. 24, 2010

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
3 pounds
637 pounds total
Tony Barboza, a reporter for the LA Times, wrote a great article about The Daily Ocean. It is up online, but will appear in print in the Sat. edition of the LA Times. Feeling pretty excited, and honored right about now.

Thanks to Tony for writing a clear, well written piece about my blog and adventures since I've started writing The Daily Ocean.
Tomorrow is Coastal Cleanup Day.

Sign up with Heal the Bay to visit the beach and clean it up between 9 - 12. You can do yoga beforehand if you are an early riser, or sample food from local LA food trucks when you are done.

- Kayla Coleman the Care 2 website
Siel of green LA girl wrote up a great post about CCD, highlighting BYO for CCD. Bring Your Own (bag and gloves) for Coastal Cleanup Day. Right On!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 156 - Sept. 22, 2010

Santa Monica Sport Fishing Pier (just south) - Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
2.5 pounds
634 pounds total

Community Count Collection
Thank you to Arleen for coming out tonight! Find her on twitter at: ecogossip
Day 56
Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
2.6 pounds
395.8 pounds total
Hey wait a minute? Didn't I take a picture of this plastic cup on Day 155? Oh wait - I did.

Are you an athlete that loves the ocean and wants to race for a good cause?
Then look for the annual Nautica Triathlon that is held in Malibu every Sept. and sign up next year. Oceana was there this month and they raised over 6,000 dollars to support the work they do protecting Sea Turtles, and getting Offshore Drilling stopped to name just a couple of their vital campaigns. They are the largest non-profit dedicated solely to ocean conservation.
I was proud to be a 2010 Ocean Heroes Finalist this year.

Please sign Oceana's STOP THE DRILL petition here.

I've talked about the BaitTank before. My friend, and sometimes fellow beach cleaner, Mark Armen has invented a cigarette depository that will soon be up in the cities of Capitola and Santa Cruz. Want to help promote shark conservation, save fish and dispose of the "#1 form of marine debris found littering our local beaches and coastlines: cigarette butts?" Then check out the post about Mark's BaitTank on the SAVE OUR SHORES BLOG - INTO THE BLUE.
I found a blog recently that chronicles an artist Anke, living on the Baltic Coast of Germany as she collects plastic and other trash from her local beach to make outrageously beautiful art pieces with it. Her blog is called BEACHED ART, you've got to see her work.
Another person I have talked about a lot on here - and who has her own column to the left on my blog chronicling her cigarette butt collections called Our Daily Ocean - is my friend Danielle who lives near Wrightsville Beach in North Carolina.

Her actions got the attention of a local non-profit dedicated to sea turtles. They have a blog called the Lumina News. In their most recent post, they talk about the liter that they picked up from their beach this summer. 569.74 bags of trash! That is a lot of trash.
It is likely that each bag weighs roughly 10 pounds - so their total would be - 5,697.4 pounds OVER 2 TONS!

Ginger from the Sea Turtle Project recently collected 1.7 pounds of trash in a 20 minute cleanup because she was inspired by Danielle, who was inspired by The Daily Ocean.
Got 20 minutes?
Harry in Maine writes The Flotsam Diaries. Sadly, he broke all of his collection records during his last beach cleanup.
He diligently records his findings on his blog - "A chronicle of human debris. Washed up, blown in, left behind."

The Daily Ocean asks people to write in with their findings on their own 20 minute beach cleanup no matter where they live in the world. Whether you live in the NE, SE, or on the West Coast - the findings are the same - plastics and other liter clogging the oceans.

So far with the help of people participating in the Community Count Collections and my own Daily Ocean cleanups we are over 1/2 A TON OF TRASH and counting.

But not only that - we are connecting an ocean community, spreading the word, taking action and making a difference.

So I ask you - if we are finding the same thing everywhere, then maybe we need everyone to make a difference?

Join us. To start - it only takes 20 minutes.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day 155 - Sept. 19, 2010

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
6.1 pounds
631.5 pounds total
I know that I have bought a few of these before. Not anymore, but I have.

I had the great honor of showing my photographs alongside some of the most inventive artists raising awareness about our trash, and plastic pollution problem working today.
We were all in the Sustainable Works 3rd annual fundraiser last Thurs. night which was a lot of fun.

The first artist I would like to mention is Marina Deb Ris. She has a website called, "Washed Up." Three words appear on her homepage - "BEAUTIFUL, STRANGE, UNSETTLING," and her work is just that. In her bio it says that since she moved to LA 12 years ago she has been running on the beaches, and collecting trash. She started to help cleanup, but then began to keep the trash that interested her to create some amazing pieces of art. Check her out here.
I've definately used that size plastic container to hold my hummus or some other food.

Another artist that I got a chance to meet last week is Julie Kornblum, a fiber artist whose materials range from cut up plastic bottles, vhs tape, and plastic bags. She is, "concerned with what we throw away." Her work combines the ancient techniques of basketry and weaving with, "post-modern" materials. The results are thought provoking and stunning. Here is a link to her website.
I can remember buying a bag of these exact chips.

Last but not least is Todd Bank whose found object sculptures are amazing visual examples of all the interesting, and sometimes unsettling, junk we intend to throw away or gather around ourselves needlessly. His website states, "artwork that transforms ordinary art shows into environmental exhibitions." He is also a writer, oil painter, and installation artist. Check out all of the amazing stuff he is up to here.
And although I haven't smoked in years, I have smoked many in the past.

So after I chased a sea gull away from the Organic Tortilla Chips Bag that you saw earlier in this post, I chased another one away from flying off with this pack of smokes. It seems fitting to give you an update on my friend Danielle's "Our Daily Ocean" project of collecting cigarette butts, and other trash items, from her beach in N.C. with her husband and three kids.

Can you guess how many cigarette butts they have collected in 11 days?
.....I'll give you a minute.

Seriously, you will never guess - - -

But I can change what I buy. We all can.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 154 - Sept. 15, 2010

lifeguard tower just north of the Santa Monica Pier - Santa Monica, CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
1.6 pounds
625.4 pounds total
Mark Armen on left

Thank you to - Mark Armen of Gulpable and The Bait Tank & Jon Frank from Oceana
Day 52
Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
3.2 pounds
372.2 pounds total

Jon Frank & Heather who volunteered at the Oceana table for the Nautica Triathlon

Mark and Jon competed in the triathlon in Malibu this past weekend hosted by Nautica. They joined me last night for a sunset stroll on the beach just north of the Santa Monica Pier to see what we could collect from the sand.

Mark said as we were collecting, "It's all cigarette butts, and plastic bottle tops."
We did find plenty of them. I've been weighing items of trash that I find most frequently to provide some perspective of just how many cigarette butts, and plastic bottle tops equal 4.8 pounds (last night's combined total).
Read on to see the conversions.

An empty plastic water bottle weighs approx. = .51 ounces
A cigarette butt = .01 ounces
A plastic bottle top = .08 ounces

4 lbs. = 126 plastic bottles OR 6,400 cigarette butts OR 800 plastic bottle tops....
Mark is saving fish, and Sharks while cleaning up the streets and beaches with his super cool Bait Tank cigarette depository. Soon you will be able to see them along the Santa Monica pier, and next the world! Sounds funny, but the entire world does seem to have a cigarette butt liter problem that could use Mark's Bait Tanks.
I will never forget watching a local sea gull gulp down a cigarette lighter in front of me. I tried to scare it off to take it away, but instead I succeeded in only making it swallow it down faster so that it wouldn't loose its catch. It was such a bummer.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Day 153 - Sept. 13, 2010

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
1.2 pounds
623.8 total

The world's heaviest Sumo wrestler, Yokozuna, was 620 pounds. He passed away in 2000.
Who's read, or seen, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory? This is NOT the golden ticket. It is a Werther's Original candy wrapper. For the last two days I have seen these strewn across the beach, and even in my local park where I walk my dogs. This park is only 25 blocks from the beach. I find this curious, and well -- frustrating.
Right after I spotted the golden candy wrapper, I saw a sea gull pecking at the empty cigarette pack above. I chased him away, which is the only time I chase sea gulls, and grabbed the pack.
I have taken this shot about half a dozen times this summer. But I thought I would take it again to drive home the point that an empty single use plastic water bottle is such a common occurrence that someone who only spends twenty minutes on the beach will find one nearly every time.
This sign seems to really absolve the city of their responsibility to keep our water clean and free from polluted run-off. Which reminds me, a host of organizations like Surfrider and Heal the Bay will be holding a press conference at Surfrider beach on Thurs. to show support to finally ban septic tanks in the area that have been draining POO into the BU for decades. If you can't make it out in person on Thurs., you can sign Surfrider's petition online here. Heal the Bay also has a petition to ban septics. Sign both!
I may have only collected 1.2 pounds of trash. But this weight included two plastic bags poised to enter the ocean. Each bag weighs approximately 1 ounce. However it does a world of damage once in the water.
Above is bag number 2, which I found right after bag number 1. Within 100 feet of each other.
I love sea gulls. In my opinion, they are an under appreciated bird. I've taken lots of photographs of them during my collections for The Daily Ocean.

I will be showing many of those images at the 3rd annual fundraiser for our local green organization, Sustainable Works which is being held at the Writer's Boot Camp in Bergamont Station here in Santa Monica.

Lots of yummy food from Urth Cafe, a comedian host for the evening, and a slew of silent auction items you won't want to miss. Oh, and did I mention a bar? Here's the scoop on tickets.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Day 152 - Sept. 12, 2010

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
3.1 pounds
622.6 pounds total
I got the chance to hang out at the Oceana table yesterday up in Malibu for the Nautica triathlon. They had a handout on offshore oil drilling. I realize this has nothing to do with Toy Story 3, but I want to highlight a few of their myths vs facts that they so eloquently listed.
Myth: Expanding offshore oil drilling will drastically cut foreign oil imports.

Fact: By completely developing our oceans for oil extraction, the Department of Energy estimates that oil imports would be reduced by a mere 2.5% in 2030 at which point we will have begun exhausting out offshore potential.

Myth: Expanding offshore drilling will significantly lower gas prices.

Fact: The Department of Energy estimates that opening all of our oceans to oil drilling would have no effect on gas prices by 2020 (10 YEARS AWAY!)...

Myth: Offshore oil drilling is environmentally safe.

Fact: The Deepwater Drilling Disaster is an extreme example of a relatively common occurrence. There have been at least eight other spills of 50,000 gallons or more since 2005. In addition, offshore drilling rigs can dump tons of oily drilling fluid, toxic metal cuttings and carcinogens into the ocean simply from normal operations.

OK - that is worth repeating: offshore drilling rigs can dump tons of oily drilling fluid, toxic metal cuttings and carcinogens into the ocean simply from normal operations.

Myth: Renewable energy sources cannot replace oil and gas.

Fact: Renewable energy resources are already replacing oil and gas. Currently, renewable resources generate more than 10% of the United States' electricity and provide the equivalent of more than 5 billion gallons of gasoline for transportation annually.

Want to meet a guy doing all he can to change the way we see using oil to power our cars?

He lives here in Santa Monica, has a wicked sense of humor, and you may have seen him in "Who Killed the Electric Car." GO TO: PLUG IN AMERICA to learn more.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Day 151 - Sept. 10, 2010

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
2.1 pounds
619.5 pounds total
Camden Howitt came to California recently from his home country of New Zealand. I got to meet him when he came out to the Community Count day with my friend Emily who had worked with Camden in the past at Sustainable Coastlines, an NGO in New Zealand dedicated to cleaning up the beautiful NZ coasts. Hey Camden, are you hiring? :D

Here's what he had to say to a few questions about ocean conservation and how he got involved.

What got you started doing beach cleanups?

As an organisation we started off in the Galapagos Islands: a unique marine ecosystem that despite its isolation and relatively small population, suffers from the human impacts just like many other locations around the world. After finding trash washed-up on these isolated shores from places thousands of kilometres away, the scale and extent of marine pollution became evident, and we decided to roll-up our sleeves and start doing something positive about it.

What are you up to now?

We are currently preparing for a series of large-scale coastal clean-up events around New Zealand, to be held in early December. In preparation for this we are traveling around the country, talking to schools and raising awareness about how to take care of our coastlines. We are also in the process of raising funds to help us run these events and to help support our ongoing work -- and have a charity ball coming up at the Hilton Auckland on Saturday 18 September.

Do you see a lot of plastics and single use convienence items littering the coasts in New Zealand?

Of course. Single-use 'disposable' plastics are the items we most commonly find on our coastlines -- even in New Zealand. Plastic bottles, cigarette lighters, food wrappers, toys and jandals are just some of the examples of what is floating around in our seas and ending up on our beaches. But, we're hoping, once this trash gets there, more and more tidy kiwis will start picking it up.
I am pretty sick of these adds by the American Chemistry Council. I should have taken a photo of the little girl in the bike helmet gulping water from a single use plastic water bottle that is on the front saying that plastics are too valuable to waste - so recycle! But all I have to do to get the shot is go straight down to my beach. The ACC has lined the coast in LA with this add campaign. I saw this crushed water bottle as soon as I walked into the Nautica Triathalon area in Malibu today. Disclaimer - I moved the crushed plastic bottle 14 inches so that it would be infront of the ACC symbol.

What are a few things you would like to tell people to help clean up our oceans?

Buy less single-use items, dispose of all litter thoughtfully, reuse items wherever possible, and recycle what's left. And, if you see litter in the street or on the beach, pick it up! That way you leave a place even better than when you arrived.

How has your point of view of the problem of trash in our oceans changed since you started?

The more we look into the problem of trash in our oceans, the more we realise how critical it is to create solutions. But also, more positively, we now see a lot more people getting involved in cleaning-up our coastlines. Once people realise that taking care of our beaches and coasts actually a lot of fun, they tend to start thinking about it differently. We protect what we love, and in New Zealand it's hard to find anyone who doesn't love our beaches!

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Day 150 - Sept. 9, 2010

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
2.3 pounds
617.4 pounds total
This weekend is Nautica's Triathlon and Oceana will be there. I"ll be there 12 - 4 up in Malibu to help gather signatures for Oceana's petition to stop Offshore Oil Drilling. You can visit their website to sign the petition if you are otherwise occupied, or do not live in the area.
Next Thurs. night I will have the great opportunity to show photographs from The Daily Ocean at the 3rd Annual Sustainable Works fundraiser. Prices are very reasonable, especially if you buy before the day, and it goes to a great local organization making direct, practical impact to businesses and individuals.

I'm also saving all the trash I collect off the beach for a week to pile onto a table so people can see just how much one person can collect off their local beach by spending 20 minutes a day. The baby doll above was a real find for the pile. One word - creepy.
Sept. 25th

Heal the Bay needs volunteers for Sept. 25th. Coastal Cleanup Day which happens all over the country, and locally in 60 Southland sites.
You can help remove trash off the beach or along the many waterways that feed into the ocean.

Tens of thousands of Southland residents will participate between 9 a.m. to noon at more than 60 sites, from Compton to Malibu.

Coastal Cleanup Day volunteers have collected more than 1 million pounds of trash in Los Angeles County since the 1990's = the weight of a fully loaded Boeing 747 jumbo jet
(should those things be in the air?!?)
But wait there's more!

Coastal Cleanup Day sponsor Subaru will be hosting special test drive and sweepstakes events throughout the county to benefit Heal the Bay and raise awareness about the cleanup. Among other unique community building activities planned:

Give Back to the Beach - a food truck festival, the LA Craft Beer Crawl curated by food critic Jonathan Gold, as well as a sunrise yoga session and three electronic waste drop-off/recycling collections. For event times and locations, information can be found at http://www.healthebay.org/ccd/whatsnew

"A single day of concerted action and education can make a world of difference." - Eveline Bravo, Heal the Bay

I think I like that quote.