Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Day 201 - Feb. 23, 2011

**my guess is that this pink plastic wrapper held a valentine's day gift**

life guard tower 26 (in the background...) - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
2 pounds
759.3 pounds total 

This photograph was taken about twelve feet from the one that you see above it.

My friend Siel of green LA girl gets all the credit for posting about this quiz from the website called re-nest - abundant design for green homes. 
Answer honestly. "We've been there too..." 

How long to you think this plastic bottle has been tossing about in the ocean? There were micro-colonies of algae, a few shells in and on the bottom of the bottle, and other misc. sea life threads hanging on. 

Bonnie - of the blog The Plastic Ocean Project and ocean activist extraordinaire said to my friend Danielle who writes, It Starts With Me, that "beach cleanups are gyre cleanups." I like that. It makes a lot of sense. 

Who knows how long this plastic bottle kicked around for before it got spat back out onto a beach? 
Did it make it to the middle of the North Pacific Gyre and back? 

Well, the good news is is that it is out of the water now. 

If you have read The Daily Ocean before, you know that I have a thing for birds. Crows on the beach are my most favorite. Crows are quick witted, and gregarious. I imbue them with so much personality that when I see them on the beach I feel as if they must have come down for a purpose. 

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Day 200 - Feb. 21, 2011

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
1.7 pounds 
757.3 pounds total

JEN & DENISE - thank you! (follow her on twitter, check out her nutrition knowledge)
trash collected for 20 minutes
3.4 pounds 
699.2 pounds total

DISCLAIMER - Garen got a RX filled from his doctor for a new seasickness medication that is supposed to make you sleepy. We were told to take one before our trip to make sure that we can function well while taking it. Today is my day and post may be less energetic than usual. It made Garen sleepy-ish...It is making me VERY sleepy. 

Can you tell the difference between the photo on the right, and the photo on the left? (insert Jeopardy music here while I give you a moment)

The arm on the left is Denise picking up a black single-use plastic bag minutes before Jen, on the right, found her own. 
Same beach. 
Same day. 
Two people. 
Same destructive trash.

Oh look, another one! No, Jen did not drop hers on the sand and then step next to it. Nope. This picture was taken of a DIFFERENT black plastic bag only seconds later, which was lying next to a freshly made footprint that I saw being made.

Jen and Denise found this Flying Disc on our way off of the beach. We joked that it was their consolation prize from the ocean. 

This is a joint effort. To illustrate that point, I got contacted be a woman named Kanna who is involved in Sea Pulse films, and has a troop of Plastic Zombies. Yup, you read that right. Here is a link to the post she wrote for Valentine's Day, where she included a photograph of a balloon that I'd taken last year. 

Her project is extremely cool - Dance 4 Oceans

My friend Siel of green LA girl, who also writes for Mother Nature Network among many other blogs, wrote about a 20 Minutes a Day Challenge that was proposed by Michael Nobbs of Sustainably Creative.

I think he might be on to something...

What would you do with 20 minutes? My 20 minutes has gotten 755+ pounds of trash off of the beach. Who knew?

Be part of Ocean Voices, a collaborative project between Wallace J Nichols and sound artist Halsey Burgund who along with the voices of 1239 voices and counting have creative a visionary project for the oceans. People from around the world have recounted their personal experiences with the ocean, and have then been set to music. You can add your voice!

And check out this video put out by NPR/PBS from July of 2010 at the Museum of Science in Boston that let's us hear one of their enchanting performances. 

This was the last item of trash we found when we were back in the parking lot. So this is the last picture in my post. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Day 199 - Feb. 20, 2011

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
8 pounds 
755.6 pounds total

trash collected for 20 minutes
4 pounds 
695.8 pounds total

The Daily Ocean combined total - 1,451.4 pounds

There's only 17 days left until we fly to Chile to meet the boat to take off with the 5 Gyres Institute to sail to Easter Island, and then on to Tahiti. As you can imagine, this is taking a lot of my mental energy. SO...I thought I would share with you what the last bit of preparation looks like for us. 

- We found a house sitter last week! Jacob will be living here for two and a half months with our cat Meera. He was a member of Team Marine last year and took Garen's Marine Biology class last fall at SMC, so it feels great that we both know him. This was a big thing off of our minds. 

Garen has been talking to GUMP Station - a marine lab run by UC Berkley in Tahiti - about shipping our water samples to the lab in the US to be tested for nitrate levels. Apparently, we can find dry ice in Papeete, and we should just take the samples home on the plane. Another big thing crossed off of our list. 

Garen tested this prescription for Sea Sickness medication from his doctor yesterday to see if it makes him too drowsy. I have to try it out tomorrow. I'm doing too much driving today to mess with my level of alertness. This RX works for Garen, making him drowsy but functional. I am crossing fingers that it is the same for me. This would be another HUGE thing taken care of for us. 

We are waiting for a check from the Santa Monica College Foundation so that we can buy our plane tickets home from Tahiti in May. MAY! I think we found a flight that will allow us to have an 8 hour lay over in Oahu, which would enable us to see Garen's friends Angel and Judy. Angel married us. That would be cool. Cross fingers that the flight is still open in a few days when we pay our credit card down and can book the tickets.

Today I am waiting to hear from my dad in New York City who should be going into his Oncologist's office in about 30 minutes to go over his MRI, bone scan and another test whose name I don't remember.   
Hopefully, I will get good news that he can come out for a visit before he starts radiation. This is occupying the most space in my brain. He may be here Sat. of Sun. or he may not be able to make it....we'll see. Glad I get to distract myself with lunch at Thyme Cafe with Siel. 

This was a more personal entry than most, but I thought it might be an interesting perspective to read what two people are going through to cross most of the South Pacific. My hope was to make something that feels abstract and far away, tangible and relatable. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Day 198 - Feb. 16, 2011

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
6.3 pounds
747.6 pounds total

If you have found The Daily Ocean, or read it regularly and have not stumbled upon The Flotsam Diaries then please check out its latest post - CROSSROADS. I hope Harry doesn't mind the comparison, but something struck me today while I was reading his blog. 

"Last March, I took the red pill. And there's no going back. Now I have to decide what the Flotsam Diaries will mean, going forward. I believe we're here to make a difference. And, somehow, I know this is a place where I can make a difference."

I started The Daily Ocean in March of 2009. Maybe there is something about March? When I started, I had no idea if this little blog would make a difference, but like Harry, I believe that somehow, "this is a place where I can make a difference." Thanks for the inspiration Harry. 

It was a very windy out on the beach. We had the odd rainy day today in Southern California which cleared the skies, brought the wind and made me nostalgic for the north eastern weather that I grew up in. Well, I was nostalgic for about10 minutes until I could no longer take pictures because my fingers were frozen. I knew that it would be chilly out there today, but I also know that there would be plenty of trash to collect because of the rain. And I was right. 6.3 pounds is 4 pounds above my winter average when we have had dry weather.

Heal the Bay is launching this cool new program - MPA WATCH - BE A MARINE PROTECTED AREA STEWARD. The first session is March 3rd at the Santa Monica Pier Aquarium at 6:30 pm. 

Garen and I are a BLUEANGELS for Wallace J Nichols. And here is one of the many reasons why. Only two months into the year, J sent out an email to his BLUEANGELS (people who support his work with tax deductible monthly donations of any denomination so that he can work for the ocean - the only thing he ever wanted to do)

Here are just a couple of the creative, innovative and outrageously cool projects that he has in the works.
After reading this list, you will want to become one of his BLUEANGELS too.

and much, much more!!

Thanks to Google Alerts, I found a blog that I've never read before that had included The Daily Ocean in a recent post. The title of the post is, "ONE PLASTIC BEACH DOWN, SO MANY MORE TO GO. This blog is written by the University of Oregon Humanities Dept.. I am glad to see the issue of trashing the ocean is taken seriously in the mainstream academic world. 

The moon over the beach in Santa Monica tonight. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

Community Count Day 111 - Manhattan Academy, Feb. 14

40 people
trash collected for 20 min. on Manhattan Beach
2/3 of a pound average per person
24.4 pounds total


We fanned out on the beach, forming smaller groups to scan the sand.

On Oct. 30th of 2010 I came down to their school for our first beach cleanup. This student found a bottle under the pier that day. He remembered collecting it with his friend who was absent this time. Same beach, different day, same stuff.....

This bottle cap looks like it has been through the ringer, so to speak. Seeing it reminds me that our trash, and especially plastic trash, can float around out in the ocean for days, months, years at a time never biodegrading. 

The insides of a student's bag shows me the same things that I routinely find in Santa Monica. I know that I have picked up a Mc Cafe plastic cup off of the beach sometime in the last year. AND straws.....countless.

We weighed our collaborative collection after our 20 minutes were up. Then I brought up the top three items that I find on the beach which we had discussed back at the school before heading out. 

I asked the group to raise their hands if they found cigarette butts. Now I didn't count, but the group looked unanimous. Their teacher had showed them the short film, "It Starts With Me" which features my friend Danielle's 20 min. beach cleanup in Wrightsville N.C. Her latest tally of cigarettes collected is 

We talked about solutions to the beach liter before we took this picture. I said that sometimes I feel overwhelmed thinking about how much trash is getting into the ocean, and so I need to remember that there are solutions, although they might not fix our problem overnight. 

solution to cigarette butts: They said, "don't smoke."
solution to plastic water bottles: They said, "use a reusable bottle of your own." I added that stainless steel was best. 
solution to the 7 BILLION plastic bags we use in LA County in a year: They said, "reusable bags."

These solutions seem so simple, could they really work? I certainly hope so. Shifting our daily habits impacts our own lives, the lives of those around us, and ultimately the world. It may sound like a grand statement, but is it? Is it really that simple? I guess I believe it is, or I wouldn't be writing this blog.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Day 197 - Feb. 11, 2011

life guard tower 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 min. 
1.5 pounds
741.3 pounds total

Have you heard of this campaign? PLUCKFASTIC - genius!

Another campaign I am in full support of: SHRIMP SUCK 
WHAT? I know, I know....I like eating shrimp too, but did you know?


Shrimp is the #1 seafood in the U.S.

But, eating shrimp can be among the worst things you can do to the ocean and to coastal communities.

Trawling for shrimp catches + kills more sea turtles than any other human activity.

Bottom trawling and farming for shrimp can destroy the ocean.

Seriously, you don't want to be a part of that." - from Shrimp Suck website

It is the winter of styrofoam. I have one thing to say about sytrofoam: I AM FREAKIN' SICK OF IT! 

I'd like to talk about Michael Sprague. This is what his description reads on Twitter: 


 His company is called Trout Head Waters. They are all about river, stream and wetlands renewal. 

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Day 196 - Feb. 8, 2011

life guard 26 - Ocean Park, Santa Monica CA
trash collected for 20 minutes
10 pounds
739.8 pounds total

I pulled over before driving into the beach parking lot to grab this plastic bag. If you look along the curb in the picture to the square cement patch in the grass, you will notice a hole in the sidewalk at the edge of the street. The bag would have probably ended up in that storm drain. I could get the bag now, or later, I thought. The beach was close, but I saved the bag a trip.

I really don't know what to say about straws. Well, I do. I find too many off them. Do we really need them? If I did feel like I needed a straw, couldn't I find the time to buy a reusable one made from stainless steel? I tell you what, I've never found one of those on the beach. 
Plastic straws...I've found countless.

With two minutes left in the collection for the night I noticed this beach chair. I was going to walk right by, but then I asked myself why this broken chair was not also trash? I didn't want it to be trash, I didn't want to carry it across the sand, and neither had the owner who once it had gotten crushed, didn't want to haul it off of the sand either. 

So I grabbed it. I took it to the parking lot, weighed it and realized that I was going to have to take it home to deposit it in the dumpster behind our house. If I left it next to a trash can, wouldn't it be almost the same thing as abandoning it on the sand?  

Was not too thrilled to put this chair in my car. How had it gotten crushed into the fully open position in the first place? I quickly moved on to another thought....

The chair came home with me, added 8.2 pounds to the night's collection, and ended up in the dumpster. 

"emotional incentives, when combined with economic incentives, present a formidable team for biodiversity conservation" - Wallace J Nichols

Tuesday, February 8, 2011





Materials: Fabric 100% Recycled PET, Carabiner 97% Recycled Aluminum, Cord 100% Recycled PET, Cordlock 100% Recycled Polyurethane

Dimensions: Bag 13.5" x 14.5" Pouch 4" x5.5" (approximately)
Washing: Machine wash cold and hang dry.

The Sling rePETe™ is our response to your popular request for a messenger-style bag.
Like many of our rePETe™ products, the Sling rePETe™ is manufactured of 99% recycled content. A printed list of recycled materials used in manufacturing appear on the inside of the bag and backside of the pouch.
- curtesy of the Chico Bag website


Materials: Fabric 100% Recycled PET, Carabiner 97% Recycled Aluminum, Cord 100% Recycled PET, Cordlock 100% Recycled Polyurethane
Dimensions: Bag 19" x 15.5" Pouch 3.5" x 5" (approximately)
Capacity: 40 lbs.
Washing: Machine wash cold and hang dry.

This new addition to the ChicoBag™ brand combines the attributes of two of our most popular selling reusable bags, the Original rePETe™ and the Vita™. This fashion-forward lifestyle bag is designed to wear on your shoulder and is manufactured out of 99% recycled materials.