On Saturday, January the 17th, Ben Allen swore in to become the newly-elected state senator from district 26. The event took place in Santa Monica High school’s very own Barnum Hall and featured a multitude of marvelous music performances as well as a series of speeches acclaiming the senator’s work. Ben, a Samohi alumnus, has always been a strong advocate of environmental protection. As such, a rainbow fills our hearts, for this is a great loss for our city and school district but yet a greater gain for the entire state of California. Thus, we truly hope that he will make a meaningful impact in Sacramento in enacting pro-environment policies and wish him the best of luck as he heads toward a bright – smog-free – future.
In order to estimate the amount of cigarette butts that escape proper disposal and currently litter our oceans, Team Marine conducted two beach cleanups: one on November 20th and another on December 5th of 2014. Both of these cleanups occurred in the area surrounding the Pico-Kenter storm drain. The first cleanup took place two weeks after the “first flush” while the second cleanup occurred two days after a rain. Members of high school and college Biology, Marine Biology and Environmental Science classes also helped with the collection. After collecting the cigarettes, Team Marine weighed, counted and calculated the average amounts of cigarettes. We found that during the first collection 7,642 cigarette were collected while 12,938 cigarettes were collected in the second, leaving the total amount of cigarettes at a whopping 20,580. While we were proud to have collected and recorded so much trash, these astonishing numbers prove that there is a lot of work to be done. And unless we make significant change to the way we consume and dispose of our waste, our predicament will only become worse
Team Marine’s newest member, Cody Walker Kay, has started his eco endeavor early in life. Known as an honorary member of Team Marine that will become an ecowarrior and save the world, baby Cody has been getting lots of love and hope from the environmental community lately. Legends tell of a blessed child, whose touch changes barrels of oil into solar panels. Thanks to Caroleigh Pierce for the generous presents from Klean Kanteen Cody is set for a Klean life!
Come learn more about our plastic footprint at a FREE documentary screening of Plastic Paradise, hosted by Reef Check Foundation, an international ocean conservation group based in Los Angeles, and by Team Marine! Join us at Santa Monica High School in Barnum Hall Auditorium on Monday, October 27 at 6:30 PM!
Plastic Paradise is an independent documentary directed by Angela Sun recording the Great Pacific Garbage Patch that affects Midway Atoll, an island halfway between Asia and America. It reveals some of the effects of the immense consumption of plastic bags that our society indulges in on our oceans and even our health. To learn more about the movie visit their website (http://plasticparadisemovie.com/). If you are in town please feel free to drop by for the movie (it’s free after all) and the panel afterwards. We are very excited to host this at our very own SAMOHI so please tell everyone you know! The film has won twelve different awards and is quickly gaining popularity, so make sure to take advantage of this offer.
On the 25th of July 2014, we, Team Marine, met in Marina Del Rey in order to attend the Sailing through STEM night, where we showcased both our 1971 electric Volkswagen Superbeetle, our newly started cigarette study and recycling game. The event, which took place at the California Yacht club, was composed of diversified stations that incorporated various fields of science through the display of technological advances and real-life applications pertaining to sailing. Our station primarily focused upon the adverse effects of ocean acidification, which aggresses both boats and the shells of calcareous marine organism, and climate change, which could challenge our ability to sail or even survive, on sailing and planet Earth as a whole, as well as solutions to these issues. One such solution, is the replacement of gas combustion engine car by electric vehicles, for these vehicles have a consequently reduced impact on the environment that we cherish. This feat is principally achieved by them being more efficient as to energy input versus output. Moreover, the energy used to produce electricity is shifting toward renewable energy sources.
We presented mainly to a population of younger students interested both in the STEM subject areas and sailing. We spoke fluently about the Superbeetle and our other projects, often discussing the process of converting the car. Those students who attended our station were extremely pleased to learn about the environment; one of them went as far as to state that he was so inspired by our work that he would pursue engineering later in life.
All in all, this event was a wonderful time of rejoicing, for we have had the opportunity to instruct those younger than us concerning the problems –but also solutions- currently plaguing our environment, our world. We would truly like to thank the California Yacht Club for hosting this phenomenal event as well as Jessica Servis for her great work in organizing it.
On Thursday April the 24th, 2014, we went to an art gallery at EarthWE. This exposition, named “no es basura”, was a joint project between environmentalist Peter Kreitler and John Reiff Williams. Photographed trash arranged in an esthetic way collected over a span of 90 days was diplayed there. During the event, we met both local activists and celebrities of the environmental world, including Anna Cummins, the cofounder of 5 Gyres. This art exposition demonstrated to us the high amount of plastic pollution in our beaches. We also were galvanized by knowing the actions taken by the leaders of the environmental movement. We would like to thank the artists, Mr. Kreitler and Williams as well as the EarthWE gallery for hosting the event.
After POPS, we drove from Dana Point to Sacramento for Ocean Day – March 24. There we met our group leader Sarah Sikich from Heal the Bay, who helped us lobby for SB 270 (California statewide bag ban), SB 1132 (moratorium on fracking), and AB 1699 (ban on polyethylene micro-beads in personal hygiene products). We camped out at KOA Campgrounds by night, and lobbied in the state capital by day. We were fortunate to meet other members of the Clean Seas Coalition like Kirsten James (Heal The Bay), Nancy Hastings (Surfrider Foundation), Nathan Weaver (Environment California), and Leslie Tamminen (7th Generation Advisors).
We met with eight very diverse assembly members, from the most liberal Democrats to the most conservative Republicans. We learned a great deal about government as well as policy-making, including the 2 to 1 ratio of assembly members (80) to senators (40), the process a bill goes through to get passed, and the priorities of many Republicans (that they generally value economics over human and environmental health). Although we mostly met with staffers, we met with Assemblywoman Sheryl Brown, Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, and previous mayor of Santa Monica, Assemblyman Richard Bloom. We expressed our gratitude to Bloom for authoring SB 1699 and for his bill that bans orcas in captivity. When a handful of representatives expressed concerns about the ten cent fee for a paper bag and its impact on the lower class, we explained the programs that distribute reusable bags to less the fortunate such as “ Give A Bag” and “Share A Bag“. We divided our overall message amongst team members so each person could contribute their own elevator pitch concerning economic benefits, environmental impacts and effects, and supporting evidence. Our evidence included our bag research results indicating that bag bans do work effectively. Ultimately, we learned that sound science and arguments centered on economics and human and environmental health are what resonate with politicians.
Today we rescued some boxes from the trash bins to reuse them and create Expo marker collections boxes. We decorated them and plan to distribute them to other schools in our district to expand our collection of expo markers. These markers, which are toxic and single use, are thrown away each year by teachers and are not recycled. We, as Team Marine, collect expo markers for a project that will raise awareness and educate people about the abundance of markers winding up in landfills. These boxes will contribute to our large collection and will encourage districts to implement Auspens. Auspens are refillable canisters that have aluminum and non toxic markers made from recyclable materials. These dry erase markers can be bought in bulk for schools and will lead to a zero plastic pollution waste from classrooms. This action of rethinking our plastic consumption even in our districts will draw attention to a greater need of a sustainable policy and will highlight how serious this problem really is.
Check out the Auspens site for more info: http://www.auspen.us/