Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Day 5 - March 15, Valdivia, Chile

This is the Valdivia Botanical Gardens attached to the Universidad Austral de Chile campus. There was very little trash to be found as we wandered through the grounds, inhaling the clean air that is a rarity for us in the Los Angeles area. 

While we are enjoying our time away, we are reminded of the enormous disaster developing in Japan because of the earthquake, tsunami and the nuclear power plant experiencing severe damage. HERE ARE "7 SIMPLE WAYS TO HELP" from MASHABLE.

My friend Mark Armen is in the Green Awards. He invented a cigarette butt depository that attracts butt liter to combat the, "OVER ONE BILLION CIGARETTE BUTTS SMOKED IN THE U.S. EACH DAY." Watch his video and please, PLEASE, vote for him. The 25K grand prize would go a long way to helping him solve the often over looked, "top item fouling communities and polluting water across the globe."

Here is a massive dose of HOPE. The students of Coyle Middle School in Texas have come up with 18 custom websites and/or facebook pages illustrating creative solutions to Plastic Pollution. I am just blown away right now. If every school had a teacher like Jim Manley, or Ben Kay of SAMOHI to inspire their students, we would be in pretty good shape!  

Congratulations, and thanks for the inspiration to all the students who put in the long hours to create the websited and fb pages. I can't wait to read each and every one. If you would like to find the entire list, go to Bonnie Monteleone's blog, "The Plastic Ocean Project." Bonnie, you are so inspiring as well! Thank you.

As you may know, the state of Oregon has a bill to ban single use plastic bags written by State Sen. Mark Hass. Hass turned away an offer from Hilex Poly Co. to build a "recycling plant" for plastic bags in his state in return for killing the bill...and a few other requirements. In a letter to the company's CEO Hass said, "Oregon is not for sale." Phew! Read all the details on OREGON LIVE.

There are times when writing The Daily Ocean astounds me. One of those moments was when I logged onto facebook the other day (which I rarely do..) and found a message from the writer of "THE PISCES DREAM SEEKER," Tara. She has been collecting trash from the beach, weighing it, and blogging about such crucial topics as shark finning and the outstanding activists behind the 5 Gyres Institute who we are about to join. Thank you Tara for the inspiration. I highly recommend adding her blog to your list of must read online reading!

In 2006 a film was released called, "A Crude Awakening: The Oil Crash." The fantastic blog, STAND FOR LESS asks us to increase our ENERGY I.Q. by highlighting this film as a must see. The floating bag in the photograph above is made from oil. In a world that is run on a scarce resource like petroleum, should we be making bags as easily discarded as this one out of the dwindling supply? The answer is obvious. 

I'm sitting in Moro Cafe writing this post with shaking fingers from too much strong espresso, catching up on back logged articles I've stashed in my email inbox. The problem with this is that I find myself with too much subject matter. But one article that comes to my mind of special importance is the press release from PepsiCo. about their 100% "plant based bottle. 

Manuel Maqueda weighed in on today's article found in the LA Times saying, "This is greenwashing. Period."
He explains:
-these bottles are PET, "as toxic, as wasteful, and as polluting as ever."
- "bioplastics" are also synthetic polymers; it's just that plants are being used instead of oil to obtain the carbon and hydrogen needed for polymerization."
- he warns that manufacturing these types of plastics may be DIRTIER than using petroleum!

For more information he gave two links:
1. Earth Island - the "bioplastic labyrinth"
2. Environmental - producing these types of plastics is dirtier than using oil

Algalita Marine Research Foundation has come out with a study on how smaller fish (Lantern Fish) in the pacific are ingesting plastic because it mimics the size and texture of plankton as it breaks down. Lantern fish are deep sea dwellers that are the common food for Tuna and Mahi-Mahi. Their study will be presented at the NOAA Marine Debris Conference later this month in Hawaii.

How many fish, or plastic for that matter, do you think this Cormorant has eaten living in the Calle Calle river running along the city of Valdivia?