>Recycling at the Rose Bowl!

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Team Marine and Marine Biology students from Santa Monica High School

After a morning of recycling on New Years Day, “our total was 2147 plastics, 1300 cans, and 453 glass“, according to Jane Davidson of the Polytechnic School in Pasadena, CA. Team Marine worked alongside San Gabrielino High School, UCLA, and SaMo’s Marine Biology students to recycle trash left behind from Pasadena’s Rose Parade. We rocked out “Ask Me Why I’m Recycling” T-Shirts, signifying that we were recycling for LifeStraws. The LifeStraw is a portable water filtration system that prevents common diarrhoeal diseases from sickening less fortunate people in third world countries. We had a great time helping fellow Eco-Beasts make SoCal a greener, cleaner place.

>California Youth Leadership Summit

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The CAYLS (California Youth Leadership Summit) took place at The Ocean Institute in Dana Point, CA. Patricio, Alexis, Natalie, Echo, and SJ attended the summit.
 
Day One (Nov. 19th):
Each group (except Team Marine) gave a 2-3 minute presentation on their group’s history, future plans, and basic info. We then decorated past Roots & Shoots t-shirts. Before bed we had smores by the fire. We decided to sign up for two workshops and yoga.
 
Day Two (Nov. 20th):
Participated in yoga, ate a great breakfast, and attended the workshops we signed up for. Some of the workshops available were: 
  • Creative outreach through music (attended)
  • How to tailor a project to different age groups, 
  • Problem solving (attended)
After attending the our two workshops, we visited the various Ocean Institute labs. We were able to  learn about the growth process of moon jellies (Aurelia aurita), find and identify different marine organisms,  dissect a mackeral, as well as test the Institute’s water acidity, salidity, and temperature. Afterward, we were able to go out to sea on the RX explorer. Using a mud grab, we tested the surrounding water’s mud quality, and searched for benthic organisms. Many different types of phytoplankton and zooplankton were seen. Later, we ate dinner and watched an eye-opening presentation on blue whales, by famous whale videographer Earl Richmond.  Steve Creech spoke about the Wyland Foundation’s conservation programs. Team Marine then hosted a screening about our 10 R’s and gave a presenation on what we’ve done so far. We also talked a little about the EV project. Afterwards, Mr. Kay gave a presentation about how to make your own team be as successful as Team Marine. Then we snacked on more smores and slept!
 
 
Day Three (Nov. 21)
 
After yoga and breakfast, we were led on an amazing hike. We hiked to a habitat that the Institute had been maintaining, and we combed the surrounding area for items that did not belong. Some items found were plastic as well as glass. There were broken beer/soda bottles everywhere! Because of the rain, some debris were covered in mud and were harder to spot. SJ even stumbled upon an animal’s skull! We hiked back down to the Institute, took a group photo, and ran over to the tide pools. It was a great day for tide pooling, because the tide was very low. We saw ochre sea stars, sea anenomies, chitons, limpets, and hundreds of muscles and barnacles. It was amazing. After three amazing days in Dana Point, it was time for Team Marine to say goodbye.
 
A huge thanks to Roots and Shoots, The Ocean Institute, and all the volunteers and speakers at the CYLS 2010!

>DC Group Update

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Team Marine with Professor Somerville
Team Marine was invited to go to the Aquarium of the Pacific to hear a lecture from one of the leading climate change scientists, Richard Somerville, on November 17th, 2010. Team Marine had dinner with Somerville, then listened in to his lecture on climate change. It was a humbling experience to Kou, Jesse, Saundra Jay, and Morgan who attended this event. We all realized there is much more to learn. We would like to thank Alicia Archer, Professor Somerville, and Coastal America for this great opportunity.
On Sunday, Team Marine went to the Aquarium of the Pacific to learn about their upcoming trip to Washington D.C. in February. However, that doesn’t mean that there wasn’t any fun while we were there. Early in the day we took part in a tour, which took us to the back of the aquarium’s exhibits, .We met and interacted with many of the animals there. Just through seeing the mixture of terrestrial and marine animals, we were able to see that the two were dependent on each other. Because of this, if climate change destroys or alters one of them, the other would be affected in turn. Afterward, we sat in for a seminar showing us how to project our vision towards different groups of people. Thank you to Alicia for a great day at the aquarium.

>The Last Straw

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Team Marine members recently collected and sorted about 20,000 straws to donate to The Last Straw Program by the 5 Gyres Institute and the Algalita Marine Research Foundation. The goal of this program is to build a fully functional boat out of single-use straws, in order to spread awareness about our oceans’ transformation into a plastic soup. Single-use straws are unnecessary and contribute to our planet’s massive problem with plastic pollution, so do not use them!

Team Marine’s Gas to Electric Beetle Conversion

Team Marine’s mechanics have been working on converting a gas-guzzling 1971 Candy Red Volkswagen Beetle into a zero-emission electric vehicle.

The Whole Gang with SAMOHI’s Lesson on Wheels

Our Team’s car committee has been created, and currently meets every Tuesday and Thursday in Santa Monica High School’s Auto Shop. A million thanks to our Auto Guru, Mr. Cox, for allowing us to work in his shop.

Here are some updates on the project:

  • The engine has been taken out and we have just recently detached the clutch from the engine, which we need for the electric motor to attach to the transmission.
  • We ordered the yoke and motor plate; these are the main components in attaching the engine to the transmission.
  • We took the dimensions of the engine and the back of the car (where the motor will go) and theorized where the batteries will fit.

We are still researching what type of battery will be best for the car and budget we are currently working under, but are already getting our hands dirty. We also need to pick a name for the Beetle; comment with suggestions!

>ZERO Emissions Race

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Ian and Morgan with Future Vehicles

Team Marine members were able to see zero emissions vehicles of the future on November 19th, 2010. The ZERO Emissions Race teams met in Santa Monica to show off their state-of-the-art electric creations. These plug-in electric vehicles will help us cure our addiction to oil! Paul Pearson of Gas 2 Electric Conversions talked with us about the operations of these cars, as well as the nature of the race. The three cars are not actually in a race, but actually on a world tour. They visit popular cities and educate the public on the benefits of switching to EV. Sounds good to us!

>Help fund Sarah and Garen’s 5 Gyres Trip!

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Fellow eco-beasts Sarah Bayles and Dr. Garen Baghdasarian will be joining 5 Gyres Institute on a trip to the South Pacific Gyre. The team will sail from the Chilean coast to Easter Island, and will research how plastic pollution in our oceans affect zooplankton populations. Sarah will blog about their entire trip to keep us all updated. The trip is expensive due to the complexity of research to be conducted, and we have committed to helping them fundraise!  

Eco-Beasts: Sarah and Garen
You can help too. Just take five minutes to donate $5 or more. Every dollar counts! Find Sarah and Garen at The Daily Ocean

Donate directly by clicking here: Donate $5

>Victory for our Beaches and Oceans in LA County!

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                                              Laurie Gould of Pasadena dresses up at as Plastic Bag Monster, Photo by Gary Friedman

Today, on November 16th, 2010, history was made as the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted 3-1 to ban single-use plastic bags in LA County. This ban will cover about 1.1 million residents of the area, making LA County the biggest municipality to ban the plastic bag in the country! Stores in the affected area will be prohibited from providing single-use plastic bags to its customers, but have to the option to provide paper bags for 10 cents each. Plastic bags for produce and meat will not be banned for sanitary reasons. This ban will severely reduce the SIX BILLION plastic bags per year that are currently being used by the county. Team Marine is so proud of the board for supporting the ban, and hope that Santa Monica officials will follow.

As an update, the City of Santa Monica has postponed their decision on banning plastic bags even further. Their last proposed date was November 23rd, which was announced after Team Marine’s march.

>Team Marine as Mentors!

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                                Kou Collins talking to a group of environmentally-minded students at USC

Team Marine was given the opportunity to assist student teams participating this year’s QuikScience Challenge, a collaboration between QuikSilver and the USC Wrigley Institute, on Thursday November 11th, 2010. We brought our fleet of plastic monster costumes, as well as educational material involving sustainability, anthropogenic impacts, water purification, etc. Team Marine has been quite successful in past QuikScience Challenges, and decided to a year off from competing to mentor other environmental teams. Thank you to the 100+ students who came out for the event, as well as our partners over at QuikScience.

 Team Marine’s fleet of PLASTIC BAG MONSTERS
(from left to right; Patricio, Maykel, Nicho, Echo, and Alexis)

>Support LA County’s Ordinance to Ban Plastic Bags

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History will be made November 16th. Please join Heal the Bay to support our Board of Supervisors as they vote to ban plastic bags in unincorporated Los Angeles County. With a population of over a million people this will be the largest municipality in the country to ban the use of plastic bags.  

When: November 16th The Board can postpone any agenda item at their discretion.  We will provide any updated information on our website.  Please RSVP and we’ll keep you updated on any changes.
Where: 383 Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration, 500 W. Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012
Time: Our Bag Ban Rally will begin at 8:30am-9:15am on the steps outside the hall. The meeting will begin at 9:30am