Thursday, July 31, 2014

July 29, 2014 - Beach Cleanup #375

beach cleanup #375
tower 26 - Santa Monica, CA
trash collected for 20 min.
4.4 pounds tonight
1,386.1 pounds total

It was so exciting! I hadn't found ANY empty plastic water bottles until I spotted this one, and then another and then 3,4,5,6 in all. I'm doing better making sure all of my beverages on-the-go come in glass containers in the last few weeks. I've passed my favorite coconut water several times by now and resisted. It might seem strange to read that last sentence if you've just found The Daily Ocean. The thing is, do you know where the packaging for your disposable products goes when you're done? I know I'd never leave my plastic coconut water bottle on the beach but would it go for a long ride on a container ship to another country? Say what?

THE STORY OF BOTTLED WATER VIDEO illustrates just such a journey

Styrofoam cups make great cheap sand castle molds. They are flexible, and well, cheap. 
But they make poor bird and fish food. Broken down into tiny fragments, the small pieces look exactly like fish eggs, a favorite food for many fish. I've seen too many cups such as these with bird beak scrapings all down the side, and holes torn through. 

The SCBWI (Society for Children's Book Authors and Illustrators) Summer Conference starts tomorrow. I feel like a big kid brimming with excitement that I get to go!

Thursday, July 24, 2014

July 21, 2014 - Beach Cleanup #374

beach cleanup #374
tower 26 - Santa Monica, CA
trash collected for 20 min.
4.5 pounds tonight
1,381.7 pounds total 

I had the privilege of speaking to 90 high school students at UCLA last week participating in the People to People Ambassador Program, Film and the Arts. What I love about sharing the story of The Daily Ocean is that I have to get really honest. I have to say what I believe about this complex issue of ocean health through the lens of beach cleanups, and stand by it. My audience is savvy. I have to "come clean" in the Q and A.

"So what do you do when you want a cup of coffee?" asks a student.
"If I have remembered to bring my reusable mug, that's what I use. If I am really tired, I just get a cup of coffee," I answer. And the truth is that even though I do not use bottled water in my daily life, coffee is another issue. I did not buy a plastic bottle of water this week, but...

I did use one of these. I could blame it on being a tired mommy. I could allow myself the exemption, and I do. I think sometimes that I pick up enough single use plastic trash, I'm allowed to indulge on the occasional convenience item! 

And there's the crux of it all. 

These items are so convenient that for as much energy and effort as I put into being aware of the products I use in my daily life, it is still all to easy to grab for the convenient option. I do not live a plastic packaging free life. 

A note about my photographs - the camera in my phone that I now use for cleanups (it's a timer and a camera all in one!) lays a large green dot onto my shot that I can't stand. I've been cropping it out. Cropping anything from the frame is new and now a necessity. I never cropped a shot for my entire 365 cleanups.

 I also haven't mastered the simple focus feature on my phone that makes my photos slightly blurry when I look in my computer. This really bothers me. I will make every effort to get better, or revert to my Nikon COOLPIX collecting dust in my desk drawer. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

July 13, 2014 - beach cleanup #373

beach cleanup #373
tower 26 - Santa Monica, CA
trash collected for 20 min. 
4.7 pounds tonight
1,377.2 pounds total

I track how many plastic water bottles I find on the beach by using the ONE+ONE app from my phone. After every beach cleanup I upload the data right there in the parking lot. It's a pretty cool app and community that could use your support. Here's their website. 

My six-month-old daughter Willow is playing in her portable crib beside me as I post this week's collection. I was feeling down on Sunday after facing another dirty beach scene. But when I left the sand a little kid about three years old said hi to me ten times in a row. You couldn't help but smile. Reflecting on last Sunday night's cleanup, and looking at Willow right now, I don't need another reason to trek out there next Sunday. At the risk of sounding cliched to the max, the desire for our children to enjoy the ocean like I have is a good enough reason for me to carry on. 

I'll be speaking to a group of high school students staying at UCLA over the summer tomorrow night. I'm really looking forward to sharing The Daily Ocean's story with them. I love working with students. If you would like me to come talk to your class, club, business, or organization go to for more information. 

Friday, July 11, 2014

July 10, 2014 - beach cleanup #372

beach cleanup #372
tower 26 - Santa Monica, CA
trash collected for 20 min.
3 pounds tonight
1,372.5 pounds total

Community Count - Heather
1.4 pounds tonight

Daily Ocean Combined Total - 2,488.2 pounds off of beaches around the world

This week's beach cleanup came later than usual for a couple of reasons. First of all, my husband was out of town and I'm not sure how comfortable I am taking our baby Willow out for a cleanup alone, especially when mommy is picking up dirty stuff and her little immune system is only five months old. 

Second, our community had it covered. I saw this on Sunday, the night I usually go out, and was pretty psyched to see folks meeting up that morning where I do all of the daily ocean cleanups. I need to email the organizer to find out how it went!

It's difficult to come up with something new to say about plastic on the beach. I see so much of it. This morning when I was in the ocean, my hand stroked through the water and came up with pits of plastic wrappers...

What comes to mind as I ask myself why I keep doing this is that I love this place, this beach in particular, and I love the ocean, this little patch right here, and so I keep showing up to take the trash away that doesn't belong, to swim, to soak in the sun, to marvel at the sunset, and remain grateful for this big beautiful earth with all the complexities that exist here. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

June 29, 2014 - beach cleanup #371

beach cleanup #371
tower 26 - Santa Monica, CA
trash collected for 20 min. 
7 pounds tonight
1,369.5 pounds of trash off this beach total

I find many, many plastic beverage bottles of all kinds. I find too many. I also occasionally drink iced green tea out of a plastic bottle. I found it really easy to grab one when I took time off from doing regular beach cleanups after my daughter was born. 

I went to Starbucks last night. I wanted to try their new Fizzio or something drinks. It's summer. I was thirsty. I would recycle it. Oh wait, I don't believe in plastic recycling (if you'd like me to explain leave a comment) Well, just this once...This was the conversation in my head. 

But I'd just done a beach cleanup the night before and so I reached for a glass bottle instead of ordering a fancy Starbucks drink that comes in a plastic cup. Glass is truly recyclable. I recycled the bottle at home. Direct content with the items found on the beach forces me to make different choices in my day-to-day life. It's one of the reasons I think beach cleanups are effective. 

We're never going to clean the entire coastline, or even the entire beach in one night, but every day we are going to go buy stuff. And the stuff we buy, the choices we make, create change. 
So how about next time, just today, or tomorrow, glass over plastic?