Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day 308 - July 27, 2012

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min. 
6 pounds
1,160.2 pounds total

4 cigarette butts

I got nothing. Usually, some spark of inspiration comes from seeing the photograph up. 
I can only think it's so stupid to have a plastic container for 12 or so Pringles. 30 seconds of snacking encased in plastic that's never going to biodegrade.... 

Last weekend's Ocean Park 26 Surf Contest had reusable water coolers instead of bottled water. Congratulations to all the participants, and organizers!

Sometimes I wonder if plastic trash on the beach in Santa Monica is so common place that we walk right on by without seeing it. Does enough pepper the sand to make us visually immune? 

Next week is HANDS ACROSS THE SAND - support a cleaner energy future and say no to Off-shore Oil Drilling by literally joining hands across the sand of your local beach. Their site will let you know where the closest location is, or how to start your own hand-joining event. So cool!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Community Count Day 245 - Sat. July 14, 2012

Community Count Day 245 - Catalina Londono-Carder -
Coronado Beach, San Diego, CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
15 ounces

The Community Count total as of July 26 - 1,007.4 pounds


That's over a ton of trash off beaches world-wide, 20 minutes at a time. And as Catalina said, 

I'm looking forward for my next trip to the beach to join Sara's clean up project again. 20 minutes doesn't cost anything, and I believe it makes a difference, meantime we are enjoying the beach."

"At one point I saw a bottle of Gatorade and decided to take a picture before I picked it up, and when I looked trough my viewfinder trying to get the composition I noticed a dead Pelican right next to the bottle. Here is the photo (I didn't arrange the shot, the bottle was right next to the pelican), even if I have no clue what caused the pelican's death, 
I thought it was ironic.

So last Friday, while my friends and I enjoyed Comic-con (I like comic-con, but tons of plastic came out of there, one of the streets full of banners even smelled like plastic, comic-con big bags, a lot of advertising and disposable tableware and water bottles where used during that week.) 

I went to Coronado Beach to join Sara's project and spend 20 minutes collecting trash, I didn't get much in weight, a little less than a pound (15 oz), But I was surprised how much trash I found, including, some straws, cigarette butts, 3 Gatorade bottles, several water bottles caps, a couple of bags and 3 glow sticks, among other pieces of plastic

Even if I am aware about plastic and trash on the beaches, and I'm always picking something up when I find it, the Beaches I have visited in California seem pretty clean to me. 

That was until I start following Sara and The Daily Ocean project. Now the beach doesn't seem as clean as before. I find lots of plastic and trash everywhere, even at places where garbage cans are close.

Thank you Sara for the inspiration and for all of the effort in this project.

Thanks for your efforts Catalina!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Community Count Day 235 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
9 people came out! (Kit, Bruce, Karen, Kevin, John, Mike, Dave, April) 
and two more turned up just as we finished! Thank you to Mariko and Patty as well!

9.7 pounds 
983.5 total pounds for the Community Count 

THE DAILY OCEAN COMBINED TOTAL = 2,137.7 pounds of trash off beaches world-wide!

A big thank you to Dave and Kit. Dave (in the background) will be moving to Kauai in a couple weeks. We'll miss his laid-back, warm and inclusive spirit but he'll fit right in where he's going! 
Good luck Dave and thanks for coming out this morning!

(Bruce, Kit and Karen)

They made sure I got a good look at a piece of steel re-barb pipe that would have really stung banging one of us in the head, or ankle, or worse when we took to the waves after the cleanup.

This cleanup is in preparation for the 2nd annual Tower 26 Surf Contest and Luau that starts tomorrow. Here's a link to the info on FB. Kevin, the organizer, has put a lot of heart and soul into the event. Thank you Kevin. He also has a brand called Tower 26 of great clothing and other cool gear, so check it out! This event brings all us surf dogs together for a weekend of community and easy-going competition. Come on down! The action is between Tower 26 and 25 starting early - 7:00 AM and going until noon. Then the same again for Sunday. 
Body surfers go first! Woot! 

And if you're lucky, you might win one of Kit and Bob's beautiful wave trophies - hand carved and painted by these two local artists and killer body surfers. Awesome.

We were commenting on how their wasn't a lot of trash out on the sand this morning. Then one of us strode over with this load, and I realized he'd gone out first while the rest of us were still blabbing.

 He was the reason for our lighter load. He'd just cleaned up! So the pound or two we took off the beach after him had washed to shore in the 10 min. head start he'd had.....

As you can see, there's a plastic water bottle in his trash bag. The contest won't be handing these out. We've chosen to go another direction and got reusable water coolers. Bring your own water bottle, or use a paper cup we'll provide tomorrow if you're thirsty!

Why not just recycle plastic water bottles and be done with it?

1. Most of CA "recycled" plastic water bottles actually get shipped over to Asia in tankers where they fill up landfills in a lnad far-far away. True! 

2. Plastic bottles that don't sit in landfills, or end up in the ocean, gets remelted (emitting toxins into the environment as they do) and then made into an inferior plastic product like playground equipment, which once broken and has reached the end of its life will then add to our overflowing landfills. 

Curious where I got the info.? Watch BAG IT and TAPPED for more scoop!
Or go to Surfrider's RISE ABOVE PLASTICS web page for info. too.

It really does matter what each person chooses to do in their day-to-day. 
In fact, it is exactly these actions that change the world. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Community Count Day 234 - Megan Van Dyke aka Mom

My mother is a beautiful photographer. She helped tag Horseshoe Crabs and participated in a Surfrider beach cleanup in Conn.. Here are some of the shots she took of her experiences. 
Enjoy! And thanks Mom!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Day 307 - July 17, 2012

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
2.6 pounds
1,154.2 pounds total 

1 cigarette butt

There's a Surf Contest at Tower 26 this weekend and it is going to be a really fun, local event. Our organizer Kevin has put his hard work and heart into it for the second year in a row. Thanks Kevin!
I got two reusable water coolers today so that we won't be handing out bottled water, even though I am sure we could have gotten some donated. The picture above, and the hundreds of others I have from other cleanup nights, is why Kevin and I decided to let The Daily Ocean sponsor the reusable water portion of this weekend's craft service. Come on down, and grab your reusable water bottle along with your board shorts and towel when you do!

We also won't be serving the reusable water out of any of these. 

Friday morning is a beach cleanup. Here's the events Facebook page for all the details!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Day 306 - July 13, 2012

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min.
3.4 pounds collected
1,151.6 pounds total

1 cigarette butt

Sometimes there's so much trash out here, I just want to say FORK IT! I couldn't resist. 
Reminds me of the great documentary BAG IT: Is your life too plastic? It starts with one man questioning where all these "disposable" plastic bags go? And goes deep down the plastic rabbit hole from there. Told with humor, researched and well thought out, I highly recommend you at least watch the trailer. 

Every once in awhile, my photograph says it all. 

Lyrics to the Jimi Hendrix classic come to mind, "Castles made of sand fall into the sea eventually." Unless they're made of styrofoam...I've read estimates that this cup will still be around in some form in a million years. Did your mouth just drop?

The monsoon clouds covering our neighborhood in a humid blanket sure make an impressive sunset.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Day 305 - July 10, 2012

lifeguard 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min. 
3.5 pounds
1,148.5 pounds total 

cigarette butts 5

The first LA area BLUE DRINKS started last night. We'll meet bi-monthly for the ocean. That's right, people with an interest in helping the BIG BLUE come on down! You're welcome if you work for an organized NGO, are an environmentally-minded business owner, a creative filmmaker, photographer, blogger, get the point. You want clean oceans, we want you to come down and meet us. 

This blue marble is in honor of Wallace J Nichols, an ocean hero, marine biologist and environmental advocate who started the Blue Marbles project. Can we help him get a blue marble through every pair of hands on the planet? I think we can. Why not? From space our planet looks much like this blue marble. It's been said that perhaps we should have named Earth Water since our gorgeous planet is about 80% covered in it...

Find out more about "J" Nichols, become a Blue Angel of his to help his collaborative efforts and innovative work for the employer he always wanted to work for, the ocean. 

There's plenty of plastic bags that need to be taken off our sand before they can do more damage in the ocean. Want to help? Come do a Daily Ocean cleanup with me. Come meet me at the next Blue Drinks. Here's the Blue Drinks Facebook page. 

Thanks to Anna Cummins of 5Gyres and John Bates of The Blu for putting the event together! Whoot!

What's your plastic footprint?

A sunset sky over the Santa Monica beach parking lot....this photo inspired by the Blue Marble project while picturing what Earth looks like from space.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Day 304 - July 8, 2012

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica
trash collected for 20 minutes
2.9 pounds
1,144.7 pounds total

0 cigarette butts

Watermelon is synonymous with summer. It's strange to think that from this spilled snack, one of the two items will never fully biodegrade. The watermelon might tempt local gulls, but this cup, if blown into the water will add to all the plastic which is:

"...the dominant material littering the ocean, and its proportion consistently varies between 60% and 80% of the total garbage in the ocean."

If set adrift on the ocean, this cup will break into smaller and smaller pieces because of wind, rain, and sun but will never fully biodegrade. It is easier to stop this cup from going into the water than to clean up the micro-plastic particles it will become. 

Because, "Going to the ocean to remove floating plastic particles is like standing on the top of a skyscraper with a vacuum cleaner to remove air pollution. 
It's a plastic soup over two-thirds of the ocean." - RISE ABOVE PLASTICS, SURFRIDER

Better yet, let's go back one step further and reduce our use of single-use plastic consumption. There's no better place to start than with plastic bottled water. Here's THE STORY OF BOTTLED WATER.  
I urge you to watch. It explains so much I didn't know about bottled water. For example:

Most bottles from the USA are shipped to Asia and melted in open-air facilities adding pollutants to the air, water supply, and bodies of the local workers.

Most bottled water is taken from a municipal water source and sold back to you. In other words, it is the same water coming out of your tap, but you are paying for it again. 

On a night like this, I think about why we come to the ocean, what people get from a day on the sand. I imagine that their sense of wonder gets renewed. Meeting the ocean where it joins the land lets you interact with an elemental place. The world underneath is veiled from your view. It draws back to reveal tiny critters, shells and treasures for a few moments. Another wave comes in, restoring its mystery until it recedes in a rhythm all its own. The beating heart of our planet. 

The ocean takes on the brilliant gold of the setting sun. It reflects the sky, creating shades of blue too varied to name. 

The ocean allows you to meet nature head on. While two brothers watched for the approaching surf, I remembered jumping the shore break when I was a kid. This place we all enjoy is timeless. 

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Day 303 - July 6, 2012

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min.
5.6 pounds
1,141.8 pounds total

5 cigarette butts

The first item that greeted me from the sand was a Joe Camel stub - a.k.a. cigarette butt. Do they still have Camel Cash? As an underage smoker in the early 90's, I was their target audience. Collect enough "cash" glued to the back of a Camel's pack and you too could get a hat, duffel bag, etc. 

And the next trash item I found was only feet from it's destination. In defense of the person who left it there, the trash can was brimming over with the remains of the day. That's a joke. There's a phrase that applies when you go camping, "pack it in, pack it out." 

A woman left a comment today saying that for years she's done a beach cleanup where she lives. She estimates that she's collected over 15,000 plastic bags alone. She goes on to admit there's no end to it, the beach cleaning that is. And that a solution eludes her. 

I've felt the same way on many occasions. But after reading her comment, I realized I believe that there is a solution. I have to. It may not come in my lifetime, or in our children's, but I believe that we'll see what we're doing to our planet and change. We already are. 

I believe that what I do today effects that eventual tomorrow. I believe that every time I refuse a single use plastic bag, bypass the bottled water, and reduce my own disposable plastic packaging habit, it makes a different. I believe that every person who sees this blog or asks me about my beach cleanup is changed. Maybe the change isn't immediate, maybe it sinks in somewhere into the back of their mind, maybe the change I believe in will come person-by-person. I believe a solution is to change myself. As a wise man who I admire greatly said, 
"Be the change you want to see in the world."

What if we all believed that and then acted like we did? 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Day 302 - July 4, 2012

lifeguard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min. 
4 pounds
1,136.2 pounds total

6 cigarette butts

I was worried heading out on July 4th. Many people in Los Angeles from all over the region come to the coast to see Marina Del Ray's fireworks. What would I find? And how much? Well, I am happy to report that I collected my average - 4 pounds. 4 pounds is still 1 pound every 5 min. of very lightweight  mostly plastic items, but it is not what these kids found the day after the 4th last year:


I know there's a picture of a plastic water bottle above, but this quote from the Monterey Herald about their city's bag ban was too succinct not to re-print here:


Happy 4th of July!

While the low cloud ceiling may not have made for great fireworks viewing, it sure contributed to a stunning sunset.