Saturday, October 29, 2011

Day 229 - Oct. 27, 2011

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

There's a group of guys who come together for rugby a few times a week around sunset. Lots of different people enjoy this stretch of beach. I find it really sweet that so many locals consider it their own place. The ocean and beach belong to no one and everyone all at once. 

I have to watch my step if my head's in the sand while collecting trash, crossing in front of their line can mean being mowed down.

I'm a fan of these granola bars. Recently, I've enjoyed a couple after a body surf in the morning. But the evidence of my quick snack carries on. Where are my wrappers? An LA landfill being buried?

There's a story behind this picture...shall we make up our own? Two students went to get frozen yogurt after school. They took it to the beach. After enjoying their snack, one of their father's pulled up in a yellow lifeguard SUV, being as his job is head of the LA County lifeguards, and told the kids to hop in the back. One of them knocked the container they'd enjoyed their yogurt out of while climbing in, the spoons spilled onto the sand, and they drove away without noticing. 
OK - it needs work, but you get the idea.

A splintered plastic cup. 

A sandcastle in the making. 

A surfer taking a wave all the way in during an extreme low tide. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Day 228 - Oct. 25, 2011

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

My new camera needs a thorough battery charge. I got to the beach, turned it on, and it promptly turned itself off. SO...for tonight's post I looked back through my photographs for doubles of what I collected earlier. My attempt to make lemonade out of the situation illustrates a good point. Night after night, I find the same old thing on the beach, time and time again, with a few colorful, or disgusting exceptions. 

The sun was almost gone tonight, but I found a Red Bull can just the same. 

The crushed water bottle with no label that I found on the beach tonight looked like it was filled with either very yellow sea water, or you take a guess. I left it there. I know. I felt terrible leaving a plastic water bottle on the sand, but I am not collecting nondescript bodily fluids. I have to protect myself. 

What a shocker that I collected clear plastic wrappers/bags tonight just like I have on many other occasions. The picture above is one of maybe a hundred I could have chosen. 

And Styrofoam...

cigarette butts...

balloon string entwined in sea grass and seaweed...

and this guy? NO! This is Kona. I couldn't resist putting in a picture of one of our beloved dogs on a recent trip to Morro Bay. Kona is a kick ass camper. 

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Day 227 - Oct. 21, 2011

My friend Teresa of GREEN BAG LADY (who has sown and distributed over 17,000 fabric bags around the world!!), designed, sewed and sent two bags for beach cleanup collections. She thought of the idea after meeting with Richard and Judith Lang artists who have been collecting plastics as they wash up on their beach in the SF Bay area for over a decade. She made 4 for my friend Danielle from the blog IT STARTS WITH ME (Danielle often takes her three kids to the beach with her) and the two up top in the photo are for me! Mesh in the bottom for the sand to fall out, and vinyl for easy cleaning make these bags the perfect beach cleanup companion. 

Want to take one out? Come join me for a local cleanup and I'll add your weight to the Community Count which has over 800 pounds collected around the world and counting! In large part to Danielle! 
Thank you Danielle and Teresa!

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

My new LUMIX camera is rockin'! 14.1 mega pixels at Costco for under $100?! That's just silly. 

Next Sat. there is a FREE night of music and winetasting to benefit HEAL THE BAY. It is at TRiP on Lincoln and here are the details to EXCLUSIVELY LOCAL. Looks like fun! I'll be there. 

Band-aids + salt water do not mix. 

Halloween is around the corner. Maybe candy wrappers are on my radar more as the holiday approaches, or they do start to drift onto the beach frequently around the 31st. I assume people stock up and snack up on their mini-bars pre-Halloween. These wrappers find their way into storm drains and voila! SNICKERS on the sand. I've seen 2 or 3 SNICKERS wrappers this week. 

I like this shot. 

Yes, I like my new camera. 

With sand escaping through the mesh, my total weight was lighter than usual. 
An ingenious, yet simple idea. Good ideas often are both. Thanks again Teresa. 
I will proudly use the Green Bag Lady beach bag for all future cleanups. 

Friday, October 21, 2011

Day 226 - Oct. 20, 2011

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

My camera is still broken. We are going to Costco later this afternoon to shop for a new little one to replace my trusted Casio of seven years. It felt odd picking up at the beach last night without the ability to photograph any on my findings. But then I got the idea to look back through my collections to see if I had done a beach cleanup on Oct. 20th last year, or the year before.

Jackpot! I'd done a beach cleanup for the last two Oct. 20th's! And not only that -- I found a plastic bottle top today to match the one depicted above found on Oct. 20, 2009.

And a Ziploc baggie today, just as I'd found one in 2009. See the theme developing here?

I went earlier yesterday than I've been going out lately. The ocean didn't have this illuminated steely-silver quality, but the sun was about the same height in the sky. It was overcast last night too. I rushed straight home from the beach to sweat it out in a yoga class my teacher Tara Judelle led. She's visiting from Bali, and I haven't practiced yoga since...the last time she was in town. 

She threads a theme through every class. We'd eaten dinner Tues. night and she'd told me that the theme for that day's class was perseverance. Perseverance in service to help the world. 
I sighed as I told her how The Daily Ocean would likely take me another year to finish if I kept up my average of 1 cleanup every 3 days. 
(I missed 4 months straight out of last year when we sailed from Chile to Tahiti researching plastic micro-pollutants on phyto-plankton). 
Tara said that it didn't matter. 
That my job was to do, not think about it. 

Last night's class theme was gratitude. It occurred to me during class that every entry on The Daily Ocean is an expression of gratitude for the ocean itself, the people I have met through writing this blog, and the many ways my life has changed since I took a bag to the beach with me in March, 2009 to collect some trash by myself.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Day 225 - Oct. 18, 2011

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

This could be the last great photo that I take with my faithful camera. I took a shot during sunset and well, the image was riddled with lines and the lighting bleached out. Sad. Sad. Sad. I have had my 7 mega-pixel Casio for too many years to remember! Canon Elf coming up. Think I may stop at Best Buy on my way to the beach tonight. 

Am I missing something? Bulldogs? It's not lost on me that this is some kind of paraphernalia pouch...but for what? Not like it matters. Plastic is plastic is plastic. 
The LA City Bag Ban is heating up! Here's the latest. 

In uncharacteristic style, I answered an editorial from a local resident in our paper. They hadn't seen a plastic bag in the front page photo of the First Flush and they had something to say about it. 

First Flush is the nasty "flush" of everything that has been steaming the summer away in the LA storm drain system. During the first substantial rain of the season, the storm drain contents are released into the ocean. 

I went out and collected trash during First Flush and got nearly 11 pounds in 5 min. Here's what I had to say back to the individual who accused the Santa Monica City Council of "drinking the kool-aid" when they banned the bag...

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day 224 - Oct. 11, 2011

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

4.7 pounds is a little more than half of what I collected the last time I was out, but it's still not great. Especially when my collections consist mainly of miscellaneous kinds of plastic film. For example, the clear cellophane wrapping on a pack of smokes... 

So 4.7 pounds of fraction-of-an-ounce materials is well, a hell-of-a-lot of plastic trash strewn all over the beach, blending into the environment like it lives there. 

My friend told me recently, "You sure make that trash look good." And I take what she says as a compliment, however the trash does not look good to me out here over a week since the First Flush of S^&*T through our city storm drains. 

A bit of good news though - Gov. Brown signed the Shark Fin Ban for the state of CA. Hurray!

We are going to Morro Bay this weekend for the annual fall SMC Marine Biology Class Semester Field Trip. We're getting there early before the students, and we're bringing one of our dogs. I think I'll spend some time sketching. I'm going to start doing some linoleum block printing soon. 

And the bonus picture of the day is the full moon rising behind the beach.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Day 223 - Oct. 7, 2011

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

I enjoy setting up a shot, playing with the camera for a few seconds during a cleanup. But yesterday, after I looked up from this photo, I noticed the trashed beach from Tuesday's heavy rain. 

I quickly took a few more shots to get the gist of the damage and got to work. Some nights, I race against the clock, head down, a possible scowl on my face. I wonder what I look like to people framing the perfect sunset in their lens? 

Foul, trash strewn beach brought to you in part by Nestle...and Coke, and Pepsi, and...

Tuesday during the First Flush rain, I collected 21.9 pounds in 20 minutes, making 9 pounds look like a lightweight night.

But 9 pounds is still 9 pounds and three days later...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

FIRST FLUSH! Pico Blvd. Storm Drain - Oct. 5, 2011

Pico Blvd. storm drain
trash collected for 20 minutes
21.9 POUNDS!

It rained in Santa Monica today. It was the first solid day of rain we have had in months. Fall has arrived, and with it what we call the First Flush. The First Flush is when all the crap that has been backing up on the city of Los Angeles storm drains gets flushed through to the ocean. Yummy. 

One of the first piles of trash I saw was this mound of plastic bottles collecting in a corner behind a fence where I couldn't reach. 

Next was this image. It amused me to see so many recreational balls gathered. I imagined how many pick up games saw their end when the ball dropped into a gaping storm drain hole in the street. 
Had they spent all summer pent up in the sweltering heat, waiting to be released today?

But that was the end of my amusement. Multiply this stretch of beach for as far as the eye could see. 

Some foam with your noodles?

The water raged to the ocean. 

It looked like you would be swept away if you ended up in that river of refuse. 

Behind me, the storm drain, and a few fancy - like-400-dollars-a-night-fancy hotels...

In front of me, the Santa Monica Bay which is now trashed for days. 

I started my 20 minute timer once I'd taken these photos.

In 5 minutes I had collected 10.3 pounds


5 min. - 10.3 pounds

the remaining 15 (after I had to empty my bag teaming over with trash) 
11.6 pounds - total - 21.9 pounds. 

That's over a pound a minute. Not to mention the weight of the bacteria hitching a ride in the foam on my clothes, or other funk stuck to my boots. Did I mention the smell???

When I saw my friend Dan later, he said there had been a sewer spill up the street earlier in the day.