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!
It was a success! October 27th Plastic Paradise movie screening brought in a huge crowd filling the bottom floor of Barnum Hall with interested adults, children and students. This event was made possible because of Team Marine and our partner Reef Check who helped us out. The movie brought reactions from the crowd that was audible and seen through their shocked or disgusted expressions. The movie brought attention to plastic pollution that the whole world is constantly creating and how we can prevent our own impact by changing simple things in our lives. There was a section on the Pacific Garbage patch and how the gyres bring millions of tons of plastic pollution through Midway Atoll, the island halfway across the Pacific Ocean where Albatross nest. At the end of the amazing movie, a panel went onto stage and spoke, even answering some of the audiences questions. The panel consisted of the director of the movie Angela Sun, Surfrider Foundation Graham Hamilton, co-founder of 5 Gyres Marcus Erikson, the Director of Reef Check Foundation Gregor Hodgson , founder of Algalita Captain Charles Moore, and finally our own captain Kimberly Fuentes. Angela Sun, the producer of the movie had Klean Kanteens, cool shirts and signed copies of the movie that could be purchased, as well as a prize after a person followed plasticpdise on social media and pledged to say no to single-use plastics for 2-weeks ( the prize was a bamboo toothbrush). Captain Charles Moore was at the front desk at the beginning selling signed copies of his book “Plastic Ocean”. Our new partner Reef Check had a stand at the front too. The whole panel spoke so well and the audience was completely engaged, and hopefully inspired to do similar work. With this movie screening success, we hope we can do many more and invite all to come!
On Saturday Oct. 25, 2014 Heal the Bay Ed Murphy hosted a mini youth summit for a select few at their main office in Santa Monica . 5 club representatives showed up, so about 10 youth sat at a table to share ideas. The schools they came from were as far away as Irvine yet all of our ideas and ambitions were similar. We started out the meeting with ‘awkward ice-breakers’ explaining why we were there, almost all the people I spoke to were attending the summit so they could have more access to events that could help them succeed at spreading awareness. Heal the Bay wants to help youth have more access to resources that can help grow and improve their ideas. We will try to attend more events that Heal the Bay hosts, and earn ourselves some ‘drops’ which are given when hours at an event is completed, to win some HtB prizes, as well as keep in touch with all the other clubs we met to expand our environmental advocacy!!
Billy Parent, a speaker from Heal the Bay and former student of Mr.Kay came to Team Marine meeting asking for our help. All of California’s coastal communities have the fear that an oil company will attempt to drill on their beaches. We all know that an oil drilling would be detrimental to the beach, the ocean, and everywhere around us. So when a neighboring beach community asked for our help, or course we will help. The oil company is proposing to drill from the land at an angle to reach the oil underneath the ocean floor, but we can’t let that happen. Even though the vote to stop this moratorium of the oil drilling is not for months to come it is still a pressing problem. Team Marine agreed to do anything within reason, to help the cause. P.S thanks for the cool stickers!!!