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!!!
On October 24, 2014 Lee Fox and Laura Page visited the Team Marine classroom in search of a partnership. They pulled up their website and shared all the things that they do for us, as well as what we can do for them. Their overall story is that they want to open up resources and bring ideas to students. They want to bring stories of completed projects to classrooms so kids in elementary, middle and high school can know that it is possible to make their ideas into reality. Their website outlines a persons project, explaining what it is, the issue in which the project is trying to fix, and then three ways in which a person younger than you can help ( not necessarily to do with money). They wanted to partner with us so that they could share all the things that we have accomplished as well as a way for us to broaden our contacts.
On Sunday, October 12th Team Marine members Brian Samimi and Kimberly Fuentes represented us on Emerald Planet, a weekly television program that is broadcast and distributed via Channel 10 TV in Fairfax, Virginia USA. We were so honored to be featured on their TV show via skype to reflect once more on the effects that the youth can have on public policy regarding our advocacy work that we have done over the past 8 years to ban the single use plastic bag in the state of California. It was great to see a familiar face (even though we could not exactly see her), Linda Schade, who a few years back came to Santa Monica High School to film a documentary,”Young Voices for the Planet”. We recounted how seeing that documentary as the present Team Marine sets a high standard and leaves a sense of awe to our predecessors and all that they accomplished. It is truly inspiring what they accomplished and we strive to reach that level and surpass it as well.
Plastic Paradise is an independent documentary directed by Angela Sun recording the Great Pacific Garbage Patch that affects Midway Atoll, an island halfway between Asia and America. It reveals some of the effects of the immense consumption of plastic bags that our society indulges in on our oceans and even our health. To learn more about the movie visit their website (http://plasticparadisemovie.com/). If you are in town please feel free to drop by for the movie (it’s free after all) and the panel afterwards. We are very excited to host this at our very own SAMOHI so please tell everyone you know! The film has won twelve different awards and is quickly gaining popularity, so make sure to take advantage of this offer.
A special panel discussion will follow the screening with Angela Sun (the filmmaker), Captain Charles Moore (Algalita Marine Research and Education), Dr. Marcus Eriksen (5 Gyres Institute), Jan Freiwald (Reef Check Foundation), Graham Hamilton (Surfrider Foundation), and Kimberly Fuentes (Team Marine). Check out the trailer below: