Saturday, August 29, 2015

August 28, 2015 - Beach Cleanup #381

beach cleanup #381
tower 26 - Santa Monica, CA
trash collected for 20 min.
5.3 pounds
1,405 pounds total

After talking to someone yesterday about speaking at the Long Beach Aquarium for a private event in October, I got a bust of energy to go out for a beach cleanup. 
It had been awhile since I felt the inspiration to go out. Not that I don't love The Daily Ocean, I do. But juggling motherhood, and writing doesn't leave me with a lot of juice to go down to the beach around sunset. I emphasize doing what you can with the time that you have. And perhaps I have to accept that in the last year and a half (my daughter is 19 months) I haven't felt like donating a lot of time to this. That has to be okay. It's over six years ago now that I started this beach cleanup project. My life has changed a lot in six years. How about yours?

When I think it's been pretty quiet for awhile in The Daily Ocean area of my life, someone will contact me about my work. It's just the energizing force I need. I am reminded that I love doing this. 

Five people stopped to thank me last night as I did my cleanup. One woman had a little pile she'd collected that she was going to throw away later. I added it to my bag for her. People care. It's a great feeling when I'm reminded of this. 

If you live in Southern California, it's too darn hot this week. Why not pack a reusable water bottle rather than a plastic one when heading to the beach this weekend? It's one simple, clear way to make a difference. 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Beach Cleanup and Biodiversity Project Windward High

On May 16th I met students from Windward School at the Venice Beach Pier for a cleanup.
Their project is Plastic Pollution in the biodiversity of Los Angeles. 

We found the usual suspects.

(Ava, Juliana and Zander)

Halfway through our cleanup our bags were pretty full. 
Our total was 17 pounds collected from the beach 
in 30 minutes by 8 people. 

Meet "Trashy the Turtle" made from about 200 pieces of trash off of Venice Beach. 

They presented their biodiversity projects today and invited me to come check it out. I was happy to come by to support their thoughtful and inspiring project. Thanks for including me! 

(Sophia, Mirabelle, Ava and Juliana)

Congratulations on a job well done. Thanks for adopting a beach. See you at the next beach cleanup!

Monday, May 4, 2015

April 25, 2015 - Beach Cleanup #380

beach cleanup #380
tower 26 - Santa Monica, CA
trash collected for 20 min. 
.5 pounds
1,399.7 pounds total 


The winds were whipping over the sand. I didn't expect to find a lot of trash. I was right. This is my kind of beach cleanup. See the small plastic-looking round shapes with blue along the bottom? These are By-The-Wind Sailors jellyfish, or Velella velella's. More on the mass stranding of them below...

All along California's coast there are thousands of these little jellies littering the sand. Here's a National Geographic article with beautiful photos of the BILLIONS that have washed up along the United States West coast over the last several weeks. This happens every three to six years says their article. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

The Daily Ocean featured on KCRW radio

The KCRW radio interview link 

Brigid Kelly produced this radio piece about The Daily Ocean that aired on our local NPR station last week. I'm so grateful for the thoughtfulness and humor she highlighted. She did a fantastic job. Here's more about Brigid. Thank you!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Mary's Community Count Beach Cleanups!

My friend Mary chose The Daily Ocean to fufill community service requirements for her college course. You can do this too! Just let me know and we'll arrange it. 

Thank you for inspiring me to do beach clean-ups. I'm so glad you created The Daily Ocean. It was such a learning experience. My favorite things are when people would say thank you and we would share a moment as complete strangers over the love for the Earth and Ocean. 

I loved when me picking up trash would inspire other people to join in. 
Just like how you have inspired me. Good is contagious.

The hardest parts were finding a way for it to fit into my schedule, but the 20 mins always gave my mental mind a break. It's just 20 mins! 

I am much more conscious of trash in general now, and I do not think I will stop doing these mini beach clean-ups. I think they are very good for the soul. Even during midterms and working 30+ hours a week while going to school full-time. When I'm stressed out about classes, etc it would just feel really good going home knowing that I did something right that day.

Sometimes the world can be overwhelming and its hard to stay open when seeing all of the Ocean's pain because I love it so much. It is such a relief to know I am able to do something, even as small as it is to ease a little of the weight.

Total weight cleaned up:

33 pounds!!!!

Here are my notes on them:
Daily ocean
1. Miami- 4lbs
2. Emmamar- 2lbs
3. The point- 1 pound 12 ounces
4. The pier- 1.75 pounds
5. Surfers point- 1 lbs
6. Surfers Point- 17 oz
7. Solimar- 13.5 lbs
8. Surfers point- 1lbs
9. Surfers point- 1lbs
10. State beach- 3 lbs 12 oz
11. Surfers point: 2 lbs
12. Malibu- 1lbs

Monday, January 19, 2015

Jan. 9 - First Cleanup of 2015

beach cleanup #379
tower 26 - Santa Monica, CA
trash collected for 20 min. 
3.1 pounds tonight
1,399.2 pounds total 

Our daughter Willow did not pick up any trash. She hung out with her Dad while I picked up our loot. 

We found the usual suspects….

and some more of the same...

But being together out on the beach at the beginning of the year doing a cleanup was wonderful. 

We were a little busy last year. If you have ideas for how The Daily Ocean could grow beyond beach cleanups please contact me.
@thedailyocean on twitter
the daily ocean - fb
or leave a message below. 

Happy New Year to you all! May it be a healthy and happy new year for our oceans too!

Friday, October 31, 2014

Inspiration to change the world from Austria

Liana emailed me a link to her class film project this week. She took on the topic of plastics in the ocean and overflowing in our landfills. Her message is simple and super inspiring. Great work Liana! If a high school student in Austria can see this clearly, there's hope for change. Please pass along.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Sept. 28, 2014 - Beach Cleanup #378

beach cleanup #378
tower 26 - Santa Monica, CA
trash collected for 20 min. 
2.5 pounds tonight
1,396.1 pounds total 

A whole month slipped by between cleanups! I am still figuring out how to be a new mom with enough energy to do anything once I put little Willow to bed. Luckily, the sunsets are earlier and earlier. It felt great to be out. It felt great to get less than 3 pounds of trash when my average is 4. 

BLUE MIND by Wallace J Nichols is out and on the NYT Bestselling list! 
"...HOW BEING IN, ON, OR NEAR WATER CAN MAKE YOU HAPPIER, HEALTHIER AND BETTER AT WHAT YOU DO." There is an online book group reading it together. Find it on FB at #BLUEMIND J is leading the discussions.

I KNOW I am happier for getting in the ocean this morning and for seeing the sun set Sunday night. In fact, I had a brainstorming session after I took this picture for a story that may be pretty darn good. 

Friday, August 29, 2014

August 24 - Beach Cleanup #377

beach cleanup #377
tower 26 - Santa Monica, CA
trash collected for 20 min. 
2.6 pounds tonight
1,393.6 pounds total

One plastic item I found as much as water bottles are single use plastic bags. The CA State bill (#SB270) to ban these bags statewide is coming up for a vote in the Senate today. Would you like to help? If you use twitter please copy and tweet:

@SenLouCorrea will you be a voice for a cleaner, greener #California and say #YesOnSB270 so we can #BanTheBag?

We don't do this alone. You may have noticed that my weight for tonight is about half of what I normally get. A man who went by me faster than I could stop and thank, picked up a significant amount of trash off of the beach when I got there last Sunday. 

This morning, I met two women who started a MEETUP to pick up trash from the beach. What a great idea! Maybe you want to start one in your area. I said thank you and we got talking. So many people care about the ocean. Sometimes this reminder is just what I need to keep going. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

August 18, 2014 - Beach Cleanup #376

beach cleanup #376
tower 26 - Santa Monica, CA
trash collected for 20 min.
4.9 pounds tonight
1391 pounds total

A familiar scene in the summer...

My husband was in Hawaii doing research for 2+ weeks, I went to a four day writing conference, and then took care of our baby Willow until he got home late last week. All of this is to say that motherhood takes precedent (happily) in my life. AND It felt good to get back out onto the sand while Garen put her to bed at 7:00 p.m. on Monday night.

I only collected two plastic water bottles! Two is not as good as none, but better than the many I find.

While Garen was at HIMB he learned from whale researchers there that whales close their ears when they emit their loud songs and sonar. Some sounds whales make are as loud as navy sonar tests! SO why doesn't it hurt them? Well, they "plug" their ears first. What if the navy sent a test "beep" before the big blast? Would this "heads up" serve as a warning for the whales and dolphins in the area to literally cover their ears, and therefor spare them the pain, disorientation, and death that comes from our naval sonar testing? Researchers are working to convince the government to adapt their testing based on their findings. How cool!

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.