Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Day 365 - Dec. 8, 2012

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min. 
.6 pounds
1,333.1 pounds total 

1 cigarette butt

Community Count Day 262 - 39 people
lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min.
22.1 pounds
1,114.3 pounds total 


Forty of us gathered at the end of the boardwalk at 3:00 p.m. last Saturday to do the 365th Daily Ocean beach cleanup. I set my watch for 20 minutes and off we went. The Daily Ocean has taken over 2,400 pounds off beaches around the world, twenty minutes at a time. 

My routine is to take a photo of lifeguard tower 26 to start my beach cleanup report when I update this website. Then I head to the waterline to snag what is just coming out of, or going into the ocean. 

Thank you to my friend Beth for taking some wonderful photographs of the Daily Ocean's 365th beach cleanup. Please visit her website to see her portfolio. She's a freelance LA based photographer.

Writing this post is bittersweet. Last weekend was incredible. We had a party with 80 - 100 people on Friday night. I knew community was one of the most cherished gifts I've received from doing the Daily Ocean, but seeing many of the people I admire and call friends in one place reaffirmed this. 

Looking out over the sand at the crew that showed up the next day was just as great. Like I said on Friday night, the Daily Ocean was a project conceived of for one person to clean their local beach, but I didn't do this alone. 

What did we find? As Bill Price Environmental Biology Professor from Santa Monica College where my husband teaches shows, more of the usual suspects; straws, styrofoam, cigarette butts, and wrappers. 

My friend Michael Yonke, who re-purposes found materials like wood and metal into incredible one-of-a-kind furniture, shows one of the top three items found in the ocean, candy wrappers. 

My friend Kou catered last night, meaning really he made sure the Izze's soda bottles got recycled and cupcake wrappers found the trash. He found a very strange object last time he was out on the beach with me, and today he's done it again. I am not sure what this dagger-looking object is, but I am glad it is off the sand and in the trash. I met Kou the year I mentored Team Marine more directly. I am still honored to be a partner. 

Find out what great environmental work Santa Monica High School's Team Marine is up to!

Laejohnie and Fernanda came out from Santa Monica College's Eco-Action Club. They are going to be doing Daily Ocean beach cleanups of their own. I'll feature their posts here and they will be the first school to officially join the Daily Ocean's next phase! Stay tuned for more information about that. 

After our twenty minutes we weighed our haul. I'd let everyone know before we went out that it was December so we may not find a lot of trash on the beach since it hadn't rained this week and not many people were sunbathing. These are my favorite kinds of beach cleanups, when twenty minutes is dedicated to remembering my dedication to help the ocean and it is more of a walk than a trash collection. But individual effort added up it like it always does and we got 22.7 pounds of trash off the beach in twenty minutes. 

Thank you to all of the people who took time out of their busy weekend to come be a part of this beach cleanup. A few days later I'm still delighted, relieved, and a bit melancholy to see this phase of the Daily Ocean complete. But there's a lot more to come! 

A HUGE THANK YOU TO MY FRIEND DANIELLE WHO WRITES THE BLOG IT STARTS WITH ME. She's committed to doing 365 beach cleanups in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina where she lives. Danielle has already done 170 cleanups, and taken over 50,000 cigarette butts off her local beach. Let's all cheer her on along the way!

I'll sign off this post with my last TIP TO HELP THE OCEAN - START.

That's right. Start whatever it is that you are inspired to do. 
Want to do a Daily Ocean cleanup in your neighborhood and write me about it? You are welcome to. Don't know where to start? Ask me, I am here to help -

I started with one solo beach cleanup in late March 2009 and look what developed from that. It's been a joy to see where the Daily Ocean has taken me so far. You'll never be able to predict just how, and who will help you along the way. 

Millions of people dedicate their working lives, careers, free time, thoughts, money and love to help the ocean every single day. Join us. There's always room for more people who care about the ocean. You're not alone. 

The ocean faces many environmental problems, but there are many, many solutions. 
Let's put our efforts into those solutions together. 

- Ryunosuke Satoro 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Day 364 - Dec. 5, 2012

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min.
3.4 pounds
1,332.5 pounds total 

9 cigarette butts

COMMUNITY COUNT DAY 261 - Arleen McGlade, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min.
1.5 pounds
1,092.2 pounds total


(photo credit to my friend Arleen)

It feels very strange to write the 364th post tonight. Danielle from IT STARTS WITH ME is talking to my husband in the next room after 10 p.m. about the beach in North Carolina where Danielle lives. We are a bunch of ocean geeks and I'm smiling listening to them discuss the shells Danielle saw last time she went on her 20 min. beach cleanup. 

Tomorrow we'll have a party in Santa Monica to celebrate the 365th beach cleanup this Sat. at 3:00 p.m. at lifeguard tower 26. The invitation is open to all and I'd love you to join us. 
There's also a network of people around the world who've written to me, done Daily Ocean style cleanups, contributed to this project and blog, left me a message on Facebook or Twitter, and kept me going throughout the last three and a half years. I have not done this alone. 


(photo credit to my friend Arleen)

Looking at this photo of me weighing Arleen's haul it hits me that I've known her for years now. We met because of the Daily Ocean and have been out on the beach at least half a dozen times since.

(photo credit to Kurt via Arleen's phone)

Although this cleanup project is about one person inserting a sustainable amount of effort into their daily life, it is equally about the community of people that I've met because of it. 
If you've joined me on this journey years, months, or only days ago, I hope you'll stay. In many ways I'm just getting started. We are the people who can change our lives to help the ocean. 
What we do matters and we do it together.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Day 363 - Dec. 3, 2012

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min.
7 pounds
1,329.1 pounds total

9 cigarette butts

TIP #2 TO HELP THE OCEAN - Curious about an environmental problem? 
Learn more about it and tell your friends and family. 

I asked people in a recent photo giveaway what they would like to see the Daily Ocean do that it's not currently doing. One reply was for the Daily Ocean to learn more about storm water runoff, what the city does about it, and take some action around this issue. 

Today I met with the Office of the Environment and Sustainability here in Santa Monica for an overview of what our city does to prevent pollutants, seen and unseen, from entering 
the Santa Monica Bay. 

The short answer is that they do a lot. I saw one of the catch basins or CDS systems that traps trash from the busy downtown shopping district before it goes into the bay. There was plenty of plastics and polystrene containers floating on top of some pretty dirty water. I'm going back in the next week or so for a longer tour. After that I'll cover more about what I learned in an entire post dedicated to the topic.

But for now I'll leave with a reminder for this post's TIP TO HELP THE OCEAN. 

TIP #2 TO HELP THE OCEAN - Curious about an environmental problem? 
Learn more about it and tell your friends and family. 

I've learned so much about the larger issues surrounding beach cleanups because once I saw the trash on the sand I became curious about the bigger issues. There are great non-profit organizations like our local Heal the Bay to help me understand how these issues tie together. A beach cleanup is a great place for me to start and come back to, but ultimately an invitation to engage further with ocean conservation in whatever way you I drawn to do that. 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Day 362 - Dec. 1, 2012

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min. 
4 pounds
1,322.1 pounds total

Community Count Day 259 - Luana, Campell
trash collected for 20 min. 
8 pounds
1,090.3 pounds total 

29 cigarette butts



Today's Tip #3 to help the ocean comes from a comment left on Day 362's post. 


An anonymous reader left a comment full of compliments and questions. They asked about the details of Daily Ocean beach cleanups to give them some direction for their own efforts. This is how the Community Section of my blog started in the first place. A reader asked me if she could do a Daily Ocean style beach cleanup. I said yes right away. You can join us too.

 My friend Danielle of IT STARTS WITH ME came up with OUR DAILY OCEAN that's collected hundreds of pounds for this project as well at over 50,000 cigarette butts off her local beaches in North Carolina! Her efforts were instrumental in getting a smoking ban on the ballot last election day that passed. Share ideas. Start your own thing with your own flare and you never know what amazing changes will come from your efforts!

So to follow my own tip, here's the scoop on how to do your own Daily Ocean style beach cleanup. 

1. How do you pick stuff up, especially tiny cigarette butts? Do you use any tools? Do you wear gloves of some kind? 
I used to use a reusable garden glove and now I have a trash grabber stick that a company sent as a promotion for their product. I recommend a reusable glove.

2.  What do you put the stuff in? If you use a plastic garbage bag, how thick should it be?
My friend Teresa A.K.A. THE GREEN BAG LADY made me vinyl bags with mesh along the bottom so the sand drops out. Find out about her incredible project HERE. But really, any reusable bag that can be washed easily will do. The theme here being reusable so that I don't create more trash by picking it up.

3.  Do you separate the recyclables? I have at times and at other times I haven't. This is one part laziness, which is hard for me to admit, and two parts what I have learned about plastic recycling or shall I say the myth of plastic recycling. My friend Harry who writes the blog THE FLOTSAM DIARIES writes well researched and written posts on this topic. 

4.  Where do you put the trash once you've finished collecting it? I take it off the sand and put it in a trash can in the parking lot. I make sure that if it is a windy day that it is in a bin that's no more than half full because I don't want the contents to be blown out. 

5.  How can you be sure the stuff you pick up wouldn't be picked up anyway by the city beach clean-up tractors? (I know they only get a fraction of what's out there, but I'd like to leave that fraction to them and make my efforts count.) 

This is a great question! I go right for the stuff closest to the water's edge. For example, I love snagging a plastic bag right before a wave comes to carry it off again where it can do a lot of harm. The beach tractors don't go down any part of the sand that slopes so if you head right for the water you're getting what they do not. In Santa Monica they rake the sand in the morning. I go for a beach cleanup around sunset to get what's been left for that day. 

6. How do you weigh the stuff? 
I bought a Staples mailing scale that I leave in the back of my car. I put it on my car just like this when I get back from my 20 min. cleanup and stick the bag right on top to weigh it. 

7. What about hazardous stuff like syringes? 
I've found one syringe with the cap still on so I just threw it away. What would I do? That's a good question..more than 99% of what I find is every day convenience items made from plastic that have toxic effects galore but not for you when you pick them up if you wear a glove. 

8. Is there anything else I should know?
Go easy on yourself. You may feel really inspired right now and want to do a beach cleanup for twenty minutes every week! And your weeks may get really full, or you may not feel like doing it sometimes. Let that all be OK and go when you can. Don't allow yourself to give up because you don't adhere perfectly to your initial intentions. I think the best intention is to do what you can, when you can and remember that every time you do something it matters. Action feels so much better than inaction. Good luck and let me know how it all goes! You are welcome to share your beach cleanups on the Daily Ocean anytime.  

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Day 361 - Nov. 29, 2012

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min. 
3 pounds
1,318.1 pounds total 

6 cigarette butts

(this photo was taken before the rain came - compare it to the one below from the next day)

Sometimes the plastics on the sand blend right into the landscape. You have to look carefully to spot all the fragments mixed in with the natural debris. 
This detail shot is what most of the beach looked like on Nov. 29th. 

I've offered a tip to help the ocean for every one of my last ten beach cleanups. Since this beach cleanup  it has rained enough to flush the storm drains into Santa Monica Bay. This post's tip is inspired by my friend Sarah's picture taken on Friday Nov. 30, 2012 at lifeguard tower 20 next to the Pico/Kenter storm drain. 


(photo credit to Sarah Sikich of Heal the Bay)


Trash strewn across my local beach disturbs me, but it can change. It changes when we come together and decide to reach for solutions. One simple solution is for me not to buy food products in styrofoam packaging. I've quit drinking plastic bottled water too. 

Sound too simple to be the one-two punch solution a picture like this demands? 

In a coastal city of 15 million people, if for one day we all decided to buy one less beverage bottled in plastic that's 15 million less plastic containers likely to end up on the sand. 
We're never alone. We all have dozens of daily choices that impact the world around us. 
We all matter. We can make a difference, in fact we are the only ones who can.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Day 360 - Nov. 26, 2012

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min. 
2 pounds
1,315.1 pounds total 

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min.
.8 pounds

10 cigarette butts


(Jan. 1, 2010)

It's simple - I will give you this photo for FREE - come enter on my Facebook page. 
My friend Bonnie suggested it could be a great holiday gift for a friend or family member!

Singer-songwriter Verity came out for the beach cleanup tonight. She has an incredible voice. 

She moved to Santa Monica just last week. What a great addition to our community. 
She believes in being of service too. Welcome Verity!

Tip #5 to help the ocean - STRETCH YOURSELF!

Perhaps not litteraly stretch yourself although flexibility is a key component to good health.

Tip #5 means CHALLENGE YOURSELF to be bolder with your talents, and creativity for the ocean. 

Your message will reach people in a way that only you can think of. 

Your skills and your imagination are needed to engage and empower people. 

I still don't like using a computer to spread my message. I often feel frustrated at the inconsitencies and glitches that come from being "online" and let's not even talk about Facebook! But I do it because it reaches people. I do it because the message is bigger than me and while I remain uncomfortable being visable, I do it because it works. I have so many connections and friendships all over the world because I took my message online three and a half years ago. 

You don't have to start a blog to stretch yourself. Tip #5 is more general than that, but I ask you, 
can you be doing a little bit more than you are currently doing to help the ocean? 

Can you start with one small challenge this week? 

Maybe it is as simple as starting a Facebook page to invite your friends, family and collegues to get together for a monthly beach or neighborhood cleanup? 

What you think of will make a change. That's the nature of action, it produces change. Thank you!

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Day 359 - Nov. 24, 2012

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min.
6.8 pounds
1,313.1 pounds total 

5 cigarette butts

As I count down my last 10 beach cleanups until my 365 goal, 
I'm giving some of my photographs away for free! 

Please visit my Facebook page to win the above photo - 

Tip to help the ocean #6 - PICK A PLACE AND MAKE IT YOURS

I can feel overwhelmed thinking about how much trash gets into the ocean every year. 

I can't prevent all of that modern detritus made mostly of plastic from getting into the marine environment. I can start where I live. I can take action right where I am. I can do this today.

You may not live near the beach, so why not pick your street, school or local park? Can you spend twenty minutes sometime this week to go on a beach, or neighborhood cleanup? I'll be out there with you, picking up my place. 

I heard Charles Moore say recently that the ocean is downhill from everywhere. 

One of the reasons beach cleanups are effective is that I pick up items I use in my daily life and I have to ask myself, "Am I part of the problem?" 


Saturday, November 24, 2012

Surfrider's RAP Training at Otis College of Art

 I'm proud to be a part of Surfrider's Rise Above Plastics Speaker Training. 
Here is the talk I gave at Otis College of Art this fall. 
Thank you to Juli Shultz for including me. 
And a HUGE thank you to all of the inspiring speakers-in-training
I had the opportunity to meet.



I am thrilled to be awarded this beautiful table. All of the designs from Upcycler are just as stunning. Please visit 

The "Persistent Environmental Excellence Award" is given to a person, or organization for their hard work and tireless environmental effort in their community. Often their work goes beyond local outreach, impacting a global audience. For their dedication, Michael Yonke, a celebrated eco-designer, awards them a handmade one-of-a-kind work. Michael utilizes reclaimed wood and metal materials of unique beauty and quality cast aside by society to create stunning eco-art and furniture. His works embody an energetic intensity from the creation process and meticulous effort. Michael shares these same qualities and transformative powers with the environmentalists he awards. His Functional Art is an award to be lived with, a simple way to say thank you, and one that will last generations. The 1st award recipient is Sara Bayles of The Daily Ocean. Sara has collected over 1300 pounds of beach trash off her local beach. She will finish her 365 day goal in December. Sara photographs, weighs and writes about her beach cleanups at Her photographs become powerful art that inspires, and educates. She’s inspired others world-wide and has shown us how one small section of beach is a snap shot of a global issue effecting coasts everywhere. Thank you Sara Bayles and The Daily Ocean. 

Recommendations for future awards are welcome.

Design notes : Oceanus -i m.Latin. [the ocean , the sea which encompasses the earth]; personif., [the father of the Nymphs]

Day 358 - Nov. 21, 2012

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min. 
2.6 pounds
1,306.3 pounds total

9 cigarettes



1. "like my FB page - here's the link
2. answer a quick question there in the comments section

I will pick a winner at random from all the comments entered. Good luck!

Tip #7 to help the ocean - BUY LESS FOOD IN PLASTIC PACKAGING
Whenever you can, pass on the plastic packaging. This can be a huge challenge especially if you shop at Trader Joe's where this wrapper originated. 

But there are alternatives, lots of alternatives. I use a container from the salad bar to buy bulk nuts at our grocery store. 

When I am really on top of it I have some cloth fruit and veggie bags with me. They are easy to wash and I get to skip the plastic bag that's so readily offered by the roll at the bulk section. 

I have grabbed a plastic bag in the last year even when in my head I rationalized that I do enough, don't I? What's one or two bags? 

Remember my tip was to use less, not hold yourself to a standard of perfection that will make you want to throw in the towel so to speak. I am not perfect, but I grab for the easy plastic bag WAY less than I used to. 

What about even skipping the free mints wrapped in plastic on a co-worker's desk? It seems like a small contribution, but it is a choice and each choice has an impact. I wouldn't say to them, "I don't want your plastic wrapped mint because those wrappers are toxic trash spoiling the ocean!" 

But living by example is enough unless you feel inspired to say something in a way you'd like to be spoken to pre-plastic awareness. 

I try to remember that people love the ocean and that they may not understand the link between their day to day lives and the health of such a vast expanse of our environment. Can I make sure I educate someone to these issues in an inspiring way? Can I speak to them in a way that they will want to learn more on their own? Can I include rather than shame and alienate them? 

Day 357 - Nov. 18, 2012

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
1 pound (of soggy stuffed animal)
1,303.7 pounds total 

Kathleen, Paul, Romi, Sophia, Lisa, Herbert, Charlotte, Garen, and three more kids who joined us!
trash collected for 20 min. 
2.2 pounds
1069.5 pounds total 

19 cigarette butts


Last Sunday three of my friends flew into town for a pre-Thanksgiving visit. One of the first stops we made was the beach to meet up with my friend Kathleen and her family. Along the way three more kids joined us spontaneously. The more the merrier as far as I am concerned. As our group grew we found the usual liter along the sand. More eyes, more plastic to spot and pick up. 

Tip #8  to help the ocean - GET A GROUP TOGETHER AND GO CLEAN THE BEACH.

You never know what you will find! 

A big thank you to my friends and family who spared part of their Sunday to come care about the ocean, have fun together, and soak in the sun. 
From left to right - Romi, me, Sophia. 

Here's an article that ran on Thanksgiving Day on the Santa Monica Patch