Thursday, March 13, 2008

Message in a Bottle Voyage

(Reposted from Ship to Shore)

Building on the tremendous momentum of our recent voyage across the North Pacific Gyre, The Algalita Marine Research Foundation is planning another epic sailing journey from Los Angeles back to Hawaii....

On a raft built of 20,000 plastic bottles.

This will be the 2nd of a 3 part project called "Message in a Bottle", to raise awareness about our society's dirty disposable ways.....

Part 1: the Gyre 2008 voyage, Part 3: a bike/raft adventure from Port Townsend to Los Angeles, and:

Part 2: the upcoming plastic bottle raft adventures.

This next 3,00o mile leg is the brainchild of Dr. Marcus Eriksen, Algalita's research and education director - and as my friends/readers now know, my crazy fiance. Marcus will design and build the raft, with the help of AMRF staff, local business sponsors, school communities, and myself, doing all I can to help ensure his safety. Not that he doesn't have a fair amount of experience with these stunts already....

Marcus has a long history of experience building recycled bottle boats. In 2003, honoring a pledge he made to a fellow marine during the Persian Gulf War, Marcus built a raft out of 232 2 liter plastic bottles and sailed down the entire Mississippi River

This spawned the construction of numerous seaworthy bottle crafts:

Fluke, built with students from the Environmental Charter High School, sailed from Santa Barbara to San Diego raising ocean awareness along the way;

The Cola Kayak, also built with ECHS students rafted down the LA River;

The Plastic Poison, built in Juneau Alaska with partner organization Turning the Tide;

And the Potomac Attack - which we built with students participating in the Weather Channel's Forecast Earth summit, and paddled across the Potomac River.


Just as with these previous journeys, Message in a Bottle will need active participation from school communities and business sponsors. For information on how to get involved, or to inquire about sponsorship opportunities, contact Marcus: 323-295-1843, or Anna: 310-998-8616

With Algalita's experience researching plastic marine debris, and Marcuses experience building "junks", this mission promises to bring the plastic debris issue to new audiences, and continue engaging the public in solutions to this timely issue.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Dave rocks the Gyre on KROQ!

This is well worth a listen, our friend "Sustainable Dave" holding his own with Kevin and Bean on KROQ.

You can imagine the ribbing he took from these guys - what kind of an eco nut saves his trash in the basement....for an entire year??!!?!?!

Dave proceeds to let KROQ listeners know that not only does he SAVE his trash, he carries an unusual piece around with him in his backpack.

You guessed it, a gyre sample, straight from the Pacific Ocean, collected by Marcus and myself on our recent crossing.....

Dave is on fire, and taking this zero waste thing on with a vengeance. Check out some of his awesome projects, listen to the interview here, and come visit us tonite at green drinks!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Return from the Plastic Soup

We're back on solid ground after an incredible month at sea, 4,000 miles across the Pacific and back...

An unforgettable, exhilarating, and sobering adventure. From witnessing first hand copious amounts of our waste FAR from land, to being chased by a Mako Shark during a night snorkel, to getting engaged atop the boom of the Oceanic Research Vessel Alguita, to experiencing first hand the humbling vastness of our aquatic short, a watershed experience.

We brought back a ton of samples, using the "Manta Trawl" you see Marcus pulling up here - a fine mesh that we drag along the oceans surface. Half our samples will be processed in our lab, to determine the ratios of plastic particles to plankton. 10 years ago, these ratios were 6 to 1 plastic to plankton. Today, by a conservative estimate, they have increased 5 fold.

The other samples we will use for educational purposes, giving them away to educators, policymakers, and the media. The visual impact of actually seeing and touching a sample is profound - "out of sight, out of mind" is no longer an option.

You can see a sample image here - we gave one to Dave Chameides aka "Sustainable Dave", who shot a great little youtube clip for his website. Dave has taken sustainability education on with tireless passion - we'll post his morning KROQ interview soon.

And if you live in town, you can see several of our nastiest samples this Thursday at Green Drinks.

There were far too many images/stories to recount here, so I'll leave you with a few memorable moments from our daily blog:

Our visit to the worlds most polluted beach in tropical paradise;

Passing through an oceanic river of trash;

Experiencing the "plastic soup", not the good food kind....

Hunting for ghost nets, and finding huge schools of fish living under marine debris;

These, and many more, can all be found on our blog, or come chat with us at Green Drinks.

And now, the work begins to share this information with the public, and get our policymakers to kick plASStic! We'll be taking our samples and stories on the road next fall on a West Coast Bike Tour, more about that to come.....