Ocean Friendly Restaurants

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Team Marine is proud to partner with Surfrider’s Ocean Friendly Restaurants (OFR) program! The goal of Ocean Friendly Restaurants is to reward restaurants for their beneficial practices.

Team Marine members have begun contacting local restaurants to inform them of this great opportunity. Perks of being an Ocean Friendly Restaurant include decals, informational materials, social media promotion, training of staff, and much more! Many restaurants already qualify for most, if not all, OFR requirements.

The three mandatory requirements include:
1. No expanded polystyrene use (aka Styrofoam).
2. Proper recycling practices are followed.
3. Water conservation efforts such as saving water in a drought, no hosing down outside without capturing the water to reduce urban runoff, and/or proper disposal of FOG (fats, oil and grease) to conserve water and help reduce sewage spills.

Restaurants also choose three of the following to implement:
4. Plastic straws are provided only upon request.
5. Only reusable tableware is used for onsite dining and utensils for to-go food are provided only upon request.
6. No beverages sold in plastic bottles.
7. Discount offered for customers with reusable cup, mug, bag, etc.
8. No plastic bags offered for takeout or to-go orders.
9. Organic, local, and/or vegetarian/vegan food options are offered on a regular basis. All seafood must be a ‘Best Choice’ or ‘Good Alternative’ as defined by Seafood Watch.
10. Energy efficiency efforts are implemented where possible

If a restaurant implements all 10 of the qualifications, they are designated as a Platinum Level Ocean Friendly Restaurant!

Yesterday, Team Marine attended an OFR training session at the TOMS flagship store in Abbot Kinney. We met with Josephine Miller from the Santa Monica Office of Sustainability, who gave a great presentation on recyclable food containers. Team Marine was educated on new nationwide OFR criteria and proper recycling practices for restaurants in Santa Monica.

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Some information gleaned from Josephine’s presentation included examples of transitions from plastic packaging to paper packaging, even in franchise restaurants! Additionally, we learned that bioplastics (under #7) are not able to be composted with Santa Monica’s current program — as of now, they need to be composted in a special process. Interestingly, plastics with no number are actually the banned polystyrene (#6).

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We were happy to learn that Santa Monica aims to be a zero-waste community by 2030, with 95% landfill diversion! Restaurant patrons: you are also allowed to bring your own reusable takeout containers and pack your leftovers yourself — no intervention from the kitchen needed.

The link to the City of Santa Monica’s Non-Recyclable Food Service Container Ban website is http://www.sustainablesm.org/container

For more information regarding Ocean Friendly Restaurants, contact a Team Marine member or Surfrider-WLAM chair Emily Swallow at eswallow@wlam.surfrider.org.

World Water Day: March 22

We’d like to give a shoutout to our friends at WAVE club at Marina High School in Huntington Beach for their work for World Water Day! World Water Day is today, March 22! In order to initiate a conversation about water at their high school, WAVE created a large poster to inform students of the status of the drought. WAVE members then invited students to write their pledge to conserve water not only today, but every day.
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Marina High School student Austin Hwang founded WAVE in response to a lack on environmentally focused clubs on their campus. “I started WAVE in order to raise awareness about things from global climate change to ways to conserve water. Our main goal is to raise funds to provide access to clean water in places like Africa and Asia and it has been definitely both fun and rewarding!”
Here are some more resources for World Water Day.
How can you help?
» https://tap.unicefusa.org/mobile: Every 5 minutes away from your phone = 1 day of clean water for children in need!
» https://thewaterproject.org/: Donate to increase access to water in sub-Saharan Africa!
» Conserve water:
  • Turn off your faucet when brushing your teeth
  • Water your grass only when you step on it and it doesn’t spring back up
  • Wash your car only early in the morning or late at night

» Change your Facebook cover photo to raise awareness!

 Why is this day important?
» 1 in 9 people worldwide do not have access to safe and clean drinking water.
» Half of the world’s hospital beds are filled with people suffering from a water-related disease.
» Nearly 1 out of every 5 deaths under the age of 5 worldwide is due to a water-related disease.
» By investing in clean water alone, young children around the world can gain more than 413 million days of health!
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Thank you Austin and Marina High School WAVE for your work! We hope to implement a similar activism project here in Santa Monica!
Visit WAVE at http://mhswave.org/ and follow WAVE on Instagram @mhswave!

Blitz the Bay Youth Summit

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On March 5, 2016, two Team Marine members, Amanda and Christa attended the Blitz the Bay Youth Summit put on by Heal the Bay. The summit took place in Playa Vista near the Ballona Wetlands. The purpose of the summit was to get youth to explore biodiversity and become involved in BioBlitzing, in which a group of people go to a particular area and record species. We were trained to use a new app called iNaturalist to help us BioBlitz. We used the app to record different plant life around the Playa Vista park. Near the end of the day, some members of the Heal the Bay club at Samohi taught us how to do the BioBlitz dance. People are posting videos of this dance (to DJ Snake’s song Bird Machine) to enter the The National Park Service BioBlitz Dance Challenge. This summit was in preparation for Heal the Bay’s upcoming Bio Blitz events and for their club challenge. The club or group to get the most species tagged or the most observations on the iNaturalist app wins the Blitz the Bay Club Challenge. Team Marine plans on participating in this challenge. We would like to thank Heal the Bay for inviting us to the summit and we look forward to attending their BioBlitz events.

 

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Nothin’ But Sand

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On Saturday February 20th, a couple of Team Marine members attended Heal the Bay’s ‘Nothin’ But Sand’ beach cleanup at the Venice Beach Pier. The turnout was amazing, with over 1077 people, and the amount of trash that was collected was even more impressive which was measured at around 292 pounds! As we were scanning the beach we noticed that there was a large amount of plastic bottle caps, small pieces of styrofoam, cigarette butts and plastic straws. One of our captains, Zoe, took photos of the straws we collected for her other club (Reducing Straw Pollution). We also met two 8th graders from Lincoln Middle School who we ended up talking with about what we do and hopefully convinced them to join their freshman year! Cigarette butts were one of the most abundant litter found on this beach, probably because there was rain a couple of days before and they most  washed down from the streets. We spent 3 hours cleaning, and because of the sheer amount of people who showed up, we picked up even the microsystems and the beach looked absolutely beautiful!

Climate Sign!

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On February 5th, 2016 Team Marine was delighted to have Hadley from #climatesign (climatesign.org) come to our meeting to talk to us about the “peace sign of this era.” The climate sign is hand gesture in which the fingers form the letter C, which simply stands for “climate.” Individuals can raise the climate sign as a symbol for the progression to a world without the damaging effects of climate change. One can raise the climate sign when seeing someone recycle, ride a bike to work, or drink from a reusable water bottle. We talked with Hadley about some new ideas that would allow the climate sign to become more well known by the public. Such ideas included the production of stickers, pins and patches, the creation of art murals, and many more. Team Marine is extremely excited about seeing the future of climate sign. This small gesture can consciously remind individuals that changing the Earth for the better is a daily and habitual practice, as well as encourage others to start or continue environmentally beneficial practices. So, don’t be surprised if you see someone raising a C next time you bring your reusable bag to the grocery store.

What a way to go – Bike, Bus, Expo!

 

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On Sunday November 22, 2015, Team Marine attended What a way to go – Bike, Bus, Expo! sponsored by Climate Action Santa Monica. We showcased our cigarette research and introduced our petition to the community for the first time. We had all 41, 922 cigarettes on display, along with our science fair board and newspaper clippings. We went into an auditorium and listened to speakers:  learning about ways to reduce CO2 levels. There were representatives outside for Big Blue Bus, where you could practice putting a bike on the bus, there was Breeze Bikes, informing us of their new bike racks throughout Santa Monica. Our fellow Santa Monica High School club, SSA was also there, talking about their Bike-it Day.  Over all it was a very successful, interesting event!

 

 

Alt Car Expo 2015

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On Saturday Sept. 20th Team Marine and Marine Bio/Environmental Science students, left the Heal the Bay Coastal Cleanup Day and ran straight to the Santa Monica Civic Center to show Volts Wattson. We spent the beginning of the day speaking to people at the event and showing off the new upgrades to the car. Later that day we left a few members to stay outside with the car, while the rest of us went to watch a panel of environmental  celebrities talking about a new movie coming out this spring, My Lunch With the President.  Mayor of Santa Monica Kevin McKeown introduced the panel which included Paul Scott, whom the movie is highlighting, Kelly Olsen, the amazing director, Ed Begley Jr., famous environmental actor, John Densmore, former Doors drummer, and Alexandra Paul, actress and co-founder of Plug in America. All these eco-warriors expressed their love for electric cars, describing their “first times” driving in an electric car among other things. The panel also discussed the movie, after we watched the 8 min teaser.  We cannot wait to see the movie! Thank you to Alt Car for hosting this amazing panel and for allowing us to showcase our car again. Also many thanks Wells Fargo, Left Coast Electric, the City of Santa Monica, and all of our partners!

Coastal Cleanup Day 2015

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On Saturday, September twentieth, Team Marine members attended a Coastal Clean-up Day beach clean up hosted by Heal the Bay. They along with a large group of peers spent three hours scouring the area between lifeguard station twenty and twenty-seven for trash.

The most aggravating aspect of this event was the blatantly negative of human’s on the environment. After the first rain of the season it was particularly easy to see the sheer quantity of items people in our community have carelessly discarded. The sand and sea were overwhelmed with littered cigarette butts, Styrofoam chunks and plastic straws. Each of these items were broken into tiny pieces and scattered along the shore. Completely clearing one square meter of space could take fifteen minutes. While this injustice was disgusting in aesthetic, what is most concerning is that we could not pick up every piece. Many of the pieces were miniscule, making them impossible to locate and easy for marine organisms to accidentally consume. The toxic chemicals in litter, specifically plastic particulates, will surely cause a rift in the marine ecosystem; and therefore the biodiversity and food it currently provides.

While this realization may have caused some dismay, this event was personally motivating because we were able to be part of the mitigation of the issue of plastic pollution. The issue itself has been discussed on many occasions, and it was of course reaffirmed in the emails preceding the event. However, this event was crucial in the way that it allowed people to see firsthand the effect of humans on the environment. A large part of achieving environmental peace is moving towards sustainable habits, and the things we saw at this event were definitely motivators for change.

Commendation from the City of Santa Monica

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 On July 25th, Team Marine members were honored with a commendation from the City of Santa Monica by mayor Kevin McKeown. We received this commendation in response to our research concerning Cigarette Pollution and Mitigation in our city. We were also applauded for our sharing of this research through the Los Angles County Science Fair and the California State Science Fair. Being recognized for our work was amazing , and given a platform to speak out about the significance of plastic pollution was even more so. We are excited for our coming campaign to be based off our research and are happy that the Council is receptive.

End of the Year Sorting Event

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On May 18 Team Marine hosted a sorting event, for all the bottles and cans that had been collected by students in the previous semester. Most of the Team Marine members were at a Science Fair event, but a few stayed and ran the whole event, with about 30 students from SaMoHi and SMC.  Within a couple of hours the plastics, can and glasses were separated and counted and loaded up onto a truck. We collected 110 Plastic, 3,872 Plastic 1, 721 glass bottles, and 2111 cans. Overall it was not our largest haul, but it was still a success and it will make us strive to get more in the new school year!