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!
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.
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!
Earlier this month Team Marine members Kimberly Fuentes, Hannah Persinko, and Zoe Parcells made it to the Heal the Bay Headquarters. We learned so much about water conservation but most importantly we and several other students representing their high school played a game and got a sense of what water rationing would be like if this drought gets any worse. No we’re not that bad yet but it’s only getting worse and let’s not wait till we have to ration our water for us to do something about it!
On March 27th, 2015 Team Marine students Kimberly Fuentes, Martin Liu, and Zoe Parcells won first place at the Los Angeles County Science and Engineering Fair in the category of Environmental Management. We couldn’t be more proud not only of our team members who went to go represent us, but also of the positive feedback that we got from LA Magazine, The Santa Monica Mirror, Planet Experts, Surf Santa Monica, SMMUSD, and our school Principal Mrs. Mayoral. Of course Team Marine never competes for the prize but rather the advancement of the cause (although winning is pretty cool too)! Our year-long research study on cigarette accumulation and mitigation in Santa Monica, CA showed revolutionary results in regards to what we should do about our cigarette pollution problem and with this data we plan on marching up to Santa Monica City Council and asking them to initiate a ban on smoking cigarettes in the city of Santa Monica (except in private residences such as a car or your home). Our study shows that indeed there are areas of high cigarette butt abundance but that the deployment of cigarette receptacles would not be very efficient because these “hotspots” are subject to change in space and time as certain events such as concerts on Montana. You can see the complete results from our study in the “Research” section of our blog.
This was such an amazing learning experience as well as another great achievement to have under our belt. Although there were many times when we were literally working till the deadline and pushing ourselves to the limit since our actual research didn’t fully end until around 2 weeks before the fair we persevered and didn’t let any obstacle stop us. We would like to thank all of the amazing Samohi students that helped in collected cigarettes and data with us as well as our spectacular TM members that didn’t let anything from schoolwork to weather prevent them from making sure they collected! A special shout out to our mentor Mr. Kay who put in lots of midnights towards helping us and not giving up hope no matter how dim the odds seemed. Just goes to show that when you put in the effort and believe in yourself nothing can stop you!
On Saturday January 31st, 2015 Team Marine members Kimberly Fuentes and Julian Apter, along with Andres Orellono went to the Heal the Bay headquarter in Santa Monica to participate in Phone Banking. For those of you who do not know what phone banking is, it is when volunteers call constituents of a city to see what their knowledge of the No on O Campaign was and encouraging them to oppose drilling in the Santa Monica bay and keeping the ban that we currently have on oil drilling in place. It was interesting to make these calls and hear the concerns and overall opposition to drilling in Hermosa. This was a new experience for the Team Marine, but we loved helping out our amazing partner, Heal the Bay. This is only one of the several phone banking events that Heal the Bay is holding, which is only one part of many similar events in their “Keep Hermosa Hermosa” Campaign. This campaign is working to raise awareness regarding the harms of oil drilling in the Santa Monica bay. Although (as Team Marine members found out) many people find opposing this “common sense” their are still several people that do not oppose the drilling. This is because they do not fall in the direct fall out zone of negative impacts associated with oil drilling. However, what they do not realize is that a highly potential oil spills would be catastrophic to the entire community. As we saw in the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill of 2010, when these spills happen not only does it destroy the marine environment and take a long time to clean up; it also kills beach tourism and negatively impacts the economy. There has also been some worrying due to the $17.5 million fine that the city would have to pay if they kept the ban in place, but rest assured because this would not raise taxes not the residents. Hermosa has been preparing money for this situation for a while now. Many thanks to Sarah Sikich and Randi Parent for helping us accomplish all the calls too!
We hope that everyone who is a registered voter in Hermosa Beach turns out to vote on March 3rd in support of our “Keep Hermosa Hermosa” and do not forget to vote No on O!
On Saturday, January the 17th, Ben Allen swore in to become the newly-elected state senator from district 26. The event took place in Santa Monica High school’s very own Barnum Hall and featured a multitude of marvelous music performances as well as a series of speeches acclaiming the senator’s work. Ben, a Samohi alumnus, has always been a strong advocate of environmental protection. As such, a rainbow fills our hearts, for this is a great loss for our city and school district but yet a greater gain for the entire state of California. Thus, we truly hope that he will make a meaningful impact in Sacramento in enacting pro-environment policies and wish him the best of luck as he heads toward a bright – smog-free – future.
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!