Putting a bear in a plastic bag? Thats a violation of the Endangered Species Act! The school is already a place whereplastic expo markers thrive as an invasive species, and now the plastic has been introduced in an alternative form: plastic wrap. This vile deleterious polyethelne product has infultrated the campus premusis and threatens all forms of wildlife. The last of these fluffy bears can be saved, if measures towards eliminating the plastic products are increased.
On Saturday January 31st, 2015 Team Marine members Kimberly Fuentes and Julian Apter, along with Andres Orellono went to the Heal the Bay headquarter in Santa Monica to participate in Phone Banking. For those of you who do not know what phone banking is, it is when volunteers call constituents of a city to see what their knowledge of the No on O Campaign was and encouraging them to oppose drilling in the Santa Monica bay and keeping the ban that we currently have on oil drilling in place. It was interesting to make these calls and hear the concerns and overall opposition to drilling in Hermosa. This was a new experience for the Team Marine, but we loved helping out our amazing partner, Heal the Bay. This is only one of the several phone banking events that Heal the Bay is holding, which is only one part of many similar events in their “Keep Hermosa Hermosa” Campaign. This campaign is working to raise awareness regarding the harms of oil drilling in the Santa Monica bay. Although (as Team Marine members found out) many people find opposing this “common sense” their are still several people that do not oppose the drilling. This is because they do not fall in the direct fall out zone of negative impacts associated with oil drilling. However, what they do not realize is that a highly potential oil spills would be catastrophic to the entire community. As we saw in the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill of 2010, when these spills happen not only does it destroy the marine environment and take a long time to clean up; it also kills beach tourism and negatively impacts the economy. There has also been some worrying due to the $17.5 million fine that the city would have to pay if they kept the ban in place, but rest assured because this would not raise taxes not the residents. Hermosa has been preparing money for this situation for a while now. Many thanks to Sarah Sikich and Randi Parent for helping us accomplish all the calls too!
We hope that everyone who is a registered voter in Hermosa Beach turns out to vote on March 3rd in support of our “Keep Hermosa Hermosa” and do not forget to vote No on O!
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!
January 17 marks the first beach cleanup of 2015 for Team Marine! Marine Bio and AP Environmental Science students attended the event with us raising our numbers to about 15. The event took place at Will Rodger beach, but a few of us went up the road to clean up the bluffs as well, since there was a higher concentration of trash there. Rui Tsuno, was one of our most active, important cleaners. His young age, 3 years old, did not hinder the amount of trash he picked up, as he ended up picking up the most trash out of the entire event! He is an environmentalist in the making, showing off his own Klean Kanteen and showing enthusiasm about saving our planet. Heal the Bay announced that approximately 400 people showed up, and when we left the beach looked close to paradise!
Team Marine is proud to announce that we have hit a memorable milestone. We reached 1 million page views! As a team we would like to thank all of our website viewers, to those who have been continuous followers of our blog, to those who stop by once to check us out. We are overjoyed to know that the things we do have reached so many people , and that we can see our eco message spreading around the globe ( if you scroll down you can see where in the world people are looking at the website). So thank you to everyone who has helped us achieve this amazing accomplishment! Hmmmm…Maybe we can even reach 2 million views soon!
On Friday December 12, we received bags from the Chico Bag company as a part of their Random Bags of Kindness project, special thanks to Andy Keller , Sierra Norton, and Nau Mazari. We were given the bags because of our hard work over the last eight years regarding SB270, the statewide plastic bag ban . We were honored to receive the bags as a token of appreciation, particularly because we expect nothing in return for our efforts! It is wonderful to know that our work is not only recognized but somtimes rewarded by our fellow sustainable community.
On November fifth Team Marine received the leadership award for “Student Engagement” from the Green California Schools and Community Colleges. Nine members represented the Team at the Pasadena Convention Center ceremony, dressing formally for the occasion. We were honored to listen to and learn about the past and future project plans of some of the most commendable environmental leaders in Californiafs schools. We listened to representatives from Oceanside School District, San Bernardino Community College District, College of the Desert, Cerritos College, Coastline Community College, Pasadena Unified School District, Tiffany Chen and Blackford School as they presented their thank-you speeches. Being there inspired ideas of our own as well as thoughts of implementing similar changes in our own school. The projects that most intrigued us included adding more solar panels and water-efficient landscaping to our campus, as well as drafting zero-waste plans to help minimize waste output. We are extremely grateful to have won this Award and to have become more connected among our eco-community, so we would like to give many thanks to Green Technology for making it possible.
On October 31,2014 (Halloween) at approximately 11:55pm Santa Monica was blessed with rain! Being in this serious drought, we were relieved to finally get such a downpour. However, each year as the first rains come normally in the month of October or November those rains bring with it the “First Flush”. This phenomena is when these first rains sweep all of the trash down into the storm drains then out and into the ocean. What trash remains is simply littered on our beaches. For years Team Marine has continuously gone out to document this at our local Pico Kenter Storm Drain and on Halloween when we noticed it really started pouring we activated and sent out an urgent message to all members to get to the beach ASAP! It was difficult to get there since it was Halloween and we were all over the place enjoying some healthy fun but that wasn’t going to stop us. We successfully got 3 members and some of their friends to get down to the storm drain as well as Mr.Kay who was the first one there! They were there documenting the huge amounts of trash going endlessly through the drain as it created a huge channel with its powerful flow leading directly to the ocean. Sadly, it is nearly impossible to capture this trash since the pull of the water is enough to pull us in as well and our safety is always first in these situations. It is truly a shame because we have roughly estimated that at least 2,000 pounds of trash goes through during first flush because there are no boundaries for storm drains and it not only collects the litter from Santa Monica but also some parts if the greater Los Angeles area.
Fast forward about 10 hours a greater portion of team marine members go out to the Pico Kenter Storm Drain for an emergency clean up. We were there for about 5 hours in total and although we filled nearly 6 trash cans with all of the cigarettes, candy wrappers, straws, Styrofoam, plastic bottles, and other miscellaneous items all of our efforts was not nearly enough to make a difference in all of the trash that was littered on the beach. Not to mention all of the trash that made its way to the ocean and will probably be mistaken for food by marine organisms. We know how impossible it is to capture all of this trash once it passes the storm drain so we propose a solution: deploying a boom net at the mouth if the drain so that it stops the trash as it arrives there and then machines can (to put it simply) vacuum it up. We have repeatedly offered this solution to our amazing city and we hope that this year we can all collaborate successfully to deploy it.
Even though this would greatly decrease the amount of trash that makes itself into our oceans every year we want to make clear that this is not a permanent solution. The solution is the end of production of single use plastics and the only way to do that is to refuse single-use plastics! If you make the change today and choose to refuse these products then the industries will have no choice but to stop producing them and switch to a more renewable and sustainable product.
Here’s to more rain and with it a cleansing of single-use items!