Two Hundred Thousand Page views!

We have reached 200,000 page views on the website. It is very inspiring to see that people tune in to see our projects and events. And even more so seeing that we reached so many people, not only in Los Angeles, but across the world!

Moving Out: Update 3/29/12

Today we moved the car from Santa Monica high school to Gadget’s house! After hours of planning we were able to obtain a tow truck using AAA. Everything went well except for when the tow truck driver got lost and ended up in downtown LA due to a problem with his GPS. I was sad to see the car being pulled out of its two year home at Samohi but at the same time thrilled to see the project on its way to completion.


   This past Monday, my mother drove me up to Sacramento to raise awareness for Ocean’s Day with fellow senators and assemblymen of California. Members of Heal the Bay, including Kirsten James who is Heal the Bay’s water quality director, Surfrider Foundation, and students of Scripps Institute of Oceanography were all there to learn as well as teach what they knew to legislatures that were either for or against a statewide plastic bag ban. I met with both Republicans and Democrats that shared their view on the environmental crisis at hand. Assembly member Julia Brownley of Santa Monica was all for the bag ban, wishing for as much environmental protection as California would allow. She passionately wants to protect our oceans as much as we do and vehemently agreed on the bag ban. She was extremely supportive in our efforts for conservation and was pleased to meet with us as we were with her. Assembly member Jim Silva of Huntington Beach was not as supportive and did not wish for a statewide bag ban as he did not feel the need for it at this time. Senator Ted Lieu of Redondo Beach, soon to be representing Santa Monica’s district, was for it as well, and supportive of our other efforts to conserve the environment. Senator Tom Harman seemed on the fence over the subject, as he did not see the need to ban something that can be easily cleaned up on beaches if need be, although he did vote yes on the polystyrene ban.
Overall, we were able to get our message across over why we need this ban and how it could affect the economy, the population of California, and the wildlife. Some senators and assemblymen proved to be more supportive then the others, but they all heard us out and posed questions. Those that were not in favor of a statewide ban did support a municipality by municipality effort to ban the bags, however some were not ready for the official ban as a whole state. The trip was a whole was eye opening and educational, as the politicians depicted exactly how these events play out everyday. Hopefully the ban will be successful and California can be the first and most environmentally aware state of the fifty so far.

Car Conversion Update 3/13/12

We have successfully installed most of the parts onto the car and connected the wired harness to the respected parts. The Pot Box (a variable resister the converts the motion of the throttle peddle to an electric signal) was tricky to install at first. The throttle cable was smaller then the grips needed to connect it to the pot box. We solved this by cutting a thin piece of rubber from an old car hood and rolled it on the throttle cable. This allows the clamps to hold the cable with enough pressure to withstand a fast pull. Another problem we faced was that the pot box was not exerting a strong enough force to pull the peddle back to restore it to its original position. We fixed this by lowering the clamp on the lever closer to the point of rotation.

Connecting the wires from the controller harness was a real mess at first. We had to figure out where every thing went while trying to organize it. It was a very interesting experience. It took a lot of double checking the circuit diagram to make sure I was cutting the right wire and connecting it to the right terminal. After a few days we finished the wiring, leaving it organized allowing it to run along the wall of the trunk. A lot of extra wiring was left over so we bundled it up and left it on the side next to the motor controller. We connected the 12v contacter to the key switch and ground of the car and it made a popping sound indicating that it worked! We had to take out the rug temporarily to run the key switch wire and display wire under it to the front of the car.

Now we are working on assembling the wires that will transmute the high wattage from the batteries to the controller and then to the motor. The wires arrived yesterday and today we were able to cut them to the right size, strip the ends and connect the terminal posts to most of them.The terminal posts contained a little grease with copper particles to help with conductivity. Tomorrow we are going to finish crimping the terminals onto the wires and sliding in a shrink wrap to protect the bare wire. very exiting.

Car Conversion Update 2/29/12

The conversion process is gaining speed as the community becomes increasingly aware of the VW beetle. Since the article on the bug was released two weeks ago in the Santa Monica Daily Press we have been getting a lot of support and feedback from the community, mainly about donations to help buy the batteries. In terms of the actual process we have done leaps and bounds we have successfully installed two very sturdy platforms next to the motor. This platforms will hold vital components of the cars main electrical system such as the motor controller, DC-DC converter, Pot-Box, and the 24V contacter. We have also been assembling a Lithium battery packs donated by Trexa, we are going to use this battery to test out the electrical components and to see if everything is working.  We are very exited about this progress because we are getting closer and closer to completing the car. All we need, after bolting down the components, is to wire them up and turn the key switch on.

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.

Wake Up Los Angeles!

We made a video to show what happens every year on the first rain of the season (usually in October or November). We call this storm the “First Flush”. The First Flush pushes the massive amounts of pollutants that accumulates over the year in storm drains, into the Santa Monica Bay. Trash from all across Los Angeles County gathers and sits for months just waiting for the first big storm to push it out into sea and effect the safety of marine life and citizens. This video from October 2012 documents the different types of trash and “mystery foam” we have found during the First Flush.

Bag Team Quikscience Project!

Team Marine’s Bag Team competed in 2012’s Quikscience Challenge hosted by Quiksilver and USC. Bag Team worked for over a year to collect data on how a single-use plastic bag ban has been effective in Santa Monica. The project proves that a nationwide bag ban is possible and can make immense positive change in the environment.  Check out our project summary!

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