POPS Youth Summit

This past Saturday, November 3rd, Team Marine attended the Plastic Ocean Pollution Solutions Youth Speaker Training, at the Main Street Google headquarters. The event was an excellent opportunity to learn even more about the 20 percent of plastics that are unaccounted for –and end up in our oceans, and our streets– as well as a chance to learn about how to speak publicly about environmental issues. The event was led by Algalita Marine Research Institute representatives Anna Cummins, Lindsey Jurca, Marieta Francis, and Jordan Howard. The team gave an informative power point about plastic pollution, and it’s causes, dangers, and solutions. Every student at the summit was provided with a binder containing each individual slide of the power point, and a thumb drive with a version accessible through a computer, so that we would be able to spread our message with a ready made presentation.

Before lunch, a panel of four activists against single use plastics spoke about their experiences in past years: Captain Charles Moore (founder of the Algalita Marine Research Institute), Mark Wystrach (founder of The People’s Movement, a clothing company that uses recycled materials), Ann Garth (a 14-year-old advocate for plastic pollution solutions), and Marcus Eriksen (founder of the 5 Gyres organization). Each speaker answered questions about what motivated them to continue their fight against single use plastics, and how they started out as environmental activists.

Throughout the day, all of the students participated in public speaking exercises, some led by the Algalita team, and some led by actor Brian Palermo. We were taught how to present ourselves in a professional manner while speaking, and how to structure presentations in an organized manner. We then made plans for future presentations to the City Council of Santa Monica, the Santa Monica Malibu School District Board of Education, and politicians in Sacramento. Students had the opportunity to make partnerships with other student groups who attended the Summit, and plan for joint events. Team Marine members got to know other youth activists, and made many useful connections with other schools in California.

All meals were provided, and students were lucky enough to get a tour of the Google building during the break. All in all, the Youth Summit was a great opportunity to learn public speaking skills, and increase our knowledge of plastic pollution.

By Ellie Reynolds

Riding Currents

Team Marine attended an event at the California Yacht Club in Marina Del Rey, CA on this Wednesday, October 10 following docking of the Riding Currents craft along its ocean journey. Riding Currents is a project started by Billy Dutton to raise awareness about plastic pollution and alternative energy. They have outfitted a 22-foot duffy boat with solar panels and lithium-ion batteries, sailing from Santa Barbara, CA to Ensenada, Mexico, more than 350 miles. They will make the entire journey emissions-free, and along the way, they will collect water samples and drag a trawl behind the boat to collect plastic debris.



Marcus Eriksen, founder of the organization 5gyres, gave a riveting presentation at the event on his travels around the world by boat, finding the high density of plastic pollution in all 5 major oceanic gyres and other patches throughout the seas.

Several members of Team Marine attended the event and our own Matilda Mead spoke about efforts to reduce the use of single-use plastics, while wearing a costume made of plastic cutlery that found its way to the Santa Monica beach.



Finally, we toured the Riding Currents boat and Billy showed us the impressive arrangement of batteries below the seat cushions and the tiny, but powerful, electric motor that has carried them thousands of miles down the California coast.



By Matthew Ware

National Plug-In Day

On Sunday September 23rd, Team Marine members travelled to El Segundo where National Plug In Day was hosted. The Automobile Driving Museum (ADM) is a destination for anyone who loves cars and the role they have had in our lives. On National Plug In Day, a variety of electric cars were displayed. We were presented about how the cars have environmentally sustainable engines.



Also at the event was nationally known teen-icon Jordan Howard. She attended the Environmental Charter High School and is influencing the youth to become more green. With the electric vehicles and highly acclaimed representatives, National Plug In Day created a nationwide observance drawing global attention to the environmental, economic and other benefits of plug-in electric cars.



By Mia Scalise

End-of-year TM party!!

At the end of each season, Team Marine has a potluck party where we sign yearbooks, watch the premier of TM/marine bio slideshow, and announce the winners of the “players’ choice” and “MVP” awards.  Congratulations to Adrienne Hino for  winning the “players’ choice” award and Alexis Saez for being named this year’s MVP.  Even though the 2011-2012 season is over, Team Marine’s fight isn’t! We’ll continue to meet and do great things over the summer!






Thanks guys for such a great year!

Ocean Plastic Underestimated?

Remember when the ocean shores were covered with plastic confetti? Researches now believe the  clear seas are caused by wind driving large amounts of plastic pollution deeper into the sea. A new study has theorized that past estimates of marine plastic pollution has been greatly underestimated. “By factoring in the wind, which is fundamentally important to the physical behavior, you’re increasing the rigor of the science and doing something that has a major impact on the data,” , an oceanographer at the University of Washington. After a study including samples collected from multiple ranges of depths rom the surface of the ocean to as far as 100 feet down, Proskurowski and his team concluded that there is two and a half more times the plastic waste than recorded before.  In high winds, the amount of plastic trash recorded in the ocean could be underestimated by a factor of 27. The scope of the (plastic debris) problem is not just at the very surface but goes down to 20 meters or so, and that plastic is distributed throughout this layer,” Proskurowski said during an interview. Proskurowski and his team plan on publishing their research to encourage other scientists to conduct research of their own and spread the word. 



District Wide Committee Action Plan for Sutainability

February 16, Cassandra Kliewer spoke to SMMUSD District Office for an action plan to be implemented in all the schools of Santa Monica and Malibu school district. The action plan would consist of a committee in SMMUSD that focusses on sustainability.  The committee would inform teachers about sustainability once a month and the teachers would then inform their students.

The Shirts have Arrived!

Hey all- great news! Team Marine has shirts! Team Marine member Ecco Theohar designed the T-shirts herself and they turned out awesome. The shirts arrived in time for a group picture on May 19th when the team met with Kristina Vonhoffman from the Alliance for Climate Education with our VW Bug! This year, Team Marine has taken on the challenge of converting a 1970s VW Bug completely to an electric vehicle!

Plastics R 4 Ever!

Team Marine, with the assistance from Dr. Marcus Erikson of 5 Gyres, helped build three boats made out of thrown away plastic materials that were presented at Algalita’s Plastics are Forever Youth Training and Summit :
The Cola Canoe:
Made out of old two liter soda bottles recovered from donations and SAMOHI’s own dumpsters.
Rethink” Paddle Board:

The “Rethink” paddle board is the epitome of re-using old products to create something beautiful. The board itself was built out of five separate broken surfboards molded into one stand-up paddle surfboard. Every single lighter decorated on the board was given to Marcus by the Midway Atoll Institute. Plastic lighters are one of the many major pollutants of our waters and the lighters seen here were recovered from the sea along with the stomachs of albatross and other animals.
The Straw Boat:
The Straw Boat was made out of about 8,000 plastic straws that Team Marine had been saving over a few years. The boat was designed by our very own eco-engineer, Patricio G, and used bundles of plastic straws glued between bottle caps to maintain buoyancy.
These three boats were unveiled at the Plastics R 4 Ever youth summit and were launched out into the water in Long Beach. Lots of thanks to Marcus Erikson and the Algalita foundation.

Meeting with SMMUSD Board

Team Marine, Heal the Bay Surfrider Club, Malibu’s Eco Team, and Samohi’s Solar Alliance proposed a student-created sustainable policy for the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District to two board members, Ben Allen and Ralph Mechur. All of these great groups realize that SMMUSD is a bit behind the City of Santa Monica in sustainability, and are ready to help the district catch up.

In our draft of a sustainable policy we hope to achieve the following:

  • Bring sustainable products to our school
  • Change the behavior of our students and teachers to be more sustainable
  • Educate those involved with the district on sustainability
  • Improve sustainable water and power practices in the district

The board was very impressed with our dedication, and ensured us that they would try meeting our requests depending on the topic. We’d like to thank the Mr. Allen and Mr. Mechur for taking time out of their busy schedule to listen to our long and detailed presentations. We are looking forward to future meetings with the board.

Lot of Lighters & Marcus Eriksen

Left to Right: Marcus Erikson, Patricio, Nhi, Talia, Aidan.

Yesterday, February 18th, 2011, Dr. Marcus Eriksen of 5 Gyres came to Team Marine to assist him with one of his newest projects. He walked in the classroom with a huge box full of over 1000 lighters. We have previously helped Dr. Eriksen in building a pontoon, named JUNK, to sail in the rough oceans. This time he wants a paddle-board!

Dead Laysan Albatross with Stomach Contents. Note the Lighter!

Every lighter came from the Midway Atoll, many from the stomachs of the Laysan Albatross birds. The Midway Atoll is known for having huge problems with marine debris. 1.5 million dead Laysan Albatross have been found dead on the Midway Atoll; almost every bird has died from starvation because their stomachs are full of plastic marine debris that washes up on shore. We spent over three hours hammering, plying, and smashing these lighters’ caps of.We are working to Dr. Eriksen to figure out how to transform these lighters into a paddle-board. Thank you Dr. Eriksen for allowing us to help you in this awareness-invoking creative project.