Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Turtle with a girdle

Meet Mae West, poster child turtle of the conservation world. Got caught in a plastic ring as a baby turtle, here she is years later....a living example of how durable plastics are.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Plastic Sushi

Exactly a year ago, I wrote an article for the Santa Monica Mirror about keeping plastic out of our sushi.

Little did I know then that we would document three new fish species this year that are ingesting plastic. This summer, sailing across the Pacific JUNK, Marcus caught a rainbow runner with 17 plastic fragments in its belly. Plastic is slowly but surely becoming an unwanted part of our food chain.

Hungry as they were after 2 months at sea, they tossed this one.....

Here is the video account from JUNK.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Interview w/ BYO and JUNK on At Home Naturally

This past summer, I met Sherry Beall, producer and host of “Healthy Planet, Healthy Me!” on KPFK 90.7FM. After showing her a Gyre sample, a Bring Your Own bag, and a photo of JUNK, she invited me to be a guest on her show.

She put together a wonderful program - Part 1 featuring Captain Charles Moore discussing Algalita's research on the plastic marine debris issue:

And part 2 with me discussing Bring Your Own, and a Satellite phone call in interview from Marcus on JUNK, in the middle of the Pacific!

Friday, November 07, 2008

Plastic industry finds BPA safe!

Phew. I was worried, especially after Canada became the first country to ban BPA in bottles, acting on research that links BPA exposure to breast and prostrate cancer, diabetes, and hyperactivity, to name a few.

But according to research funded by the American Chemistry Council, we have nothing to worry about. Unless the following expose from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel gives you pause:

"Although the Food and Drug Administration will not reveal who prepared its draft, the agency's own documents show that the work was done primarily by those with the most to gain by downplaying concerns about the safety of the chemical."

If you still wonder about BPA's safety, this overview - from a study by Frederick Vom Saal might help - 12 out of 12 studies funded by Chemical Corporations find it perfectly.....safe.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Martha chats JUNK (and BYO bags!)

A few weeks back, Martha Stewart had Marcus on her show to talk about JUNK and the plastics issue - an incredible opportunity to spread our message to millions of viewers - an audience we wouldn't often reach through our normal outreach channels.

In my completely unbiased opinion, Marcus did a phenomenal job communicating some of the key plastics hazards in a very short 6 minutes:

And in the solutions discussion, Martha featured a few of my reusable produce bags made from old t-shirts! Which will soon be available on my revamped website, coming soon.....

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

BYO on Whole Life Times!

A little late posting this, but finally getting back to the blog, and my reusable bags now that JUNK has landed!

So it was great timing that Whole Life Times featured Bring Your Own in their October issue

Coming up next, see Marcus, JUNK, and BYO bags featured on the Martha Stewart Show!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Calling for old T-shirts

I'm looking for your old T-shirts! That stack of "well I might wear them for workouts" that so many of us have --I'm turning these into reusable produce bags, thanks to a grant from Patagonia. I'll then distribute 400 bags for free in exchange for your pledge to USE THEM at least 10 times.

Hopefully it then becomes a habit....

These aren't totes, but rather smaller, "plastic bag" sized bags - a non-petroleum solution to the farmers market dilemma:
lovely organic produce carted home in a plastic bag mountain.

Any T will do, as long as you're getting rid of them....tanks will also work, like this "Make love not war" bag. So far they are super cute, will post some pix soon.

A wonderful parent volunteer from Jefferson Elementary, where my sis is a counselor, is helping with the sewing. Local materials and local production for your local organic goods.

Once I have enough completed "baguettes", I'll find a tabling venue to give them away, and let you know. So drop me a line if you have a bag full, for every 20 Ts, I'll kick you back a baguette!

Now that JUNK is safely afloat, heading for the openwaters, I'm getting to creative projects to keep entertained......

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A Plastic Predicament

Reaching the next generation is one of our greatest hopes.

So we found the this student film, "A Plastic Predicament", most encouraging. The filmmakers, 10-15 year old "Plastic Eliminators" from Las Positas, have already won a few awards for their piece.

We're hoping to connect with this crew on our fall bike tour, from Vancouver to Mexico on amphibious bikes.

If you live somewhere along the way, and are interested in having us ride through, give a shout.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Junk's maiden voyage tomorrow!

(Reposted from Junk Raft.)

For those of who you have been following the construction of "Junk", the raft built of 15,000 bottles to sail to Hawaii:

This coming Sunday, at noon, Junk will set forth on her first test sail before the big June 1st departure.

Junk is part 2 of our "Message in a Bottle" campaign, to draw public attention to the increasing ecological nightmare of plastic debris fouling our oceans. I won't be on this leg of the journey (I'll be blogging from land....) but will ride from Vancouver to Mexico with with Marcus next fall, giving presentations and passing out gyre samples to everyone we meet.

For Sunday's test run, Captain Charles Moore and a crew from Algalita will tow Junk with the ORV Alguita out to Catalina, where Joel and Marcus will have a chance to see how she handles wind and waves.

Hard to believe that what looked like this just a month ago:

Came to look like this a week ago,

......and by Sunday will be a complete boat, with masts, sail, and two sailors with some serious cojones.

We'll return to the Aquarium marina Monday around noon. After Monday, Joel and Marcus should have a much better idea of any final tweaking that needs to be done, and an inkling of what they have in store for them......

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Kickin' plASStic in Panama

Remember Tim Harvey, our favorite ecoventurous Canadian "zero emissions traveler", who crossed oceans and continents sans petroleum - riding, walking, sailing, and charming his way around the world to raise awareness about climate change?

He's now finishing up his manifesto in Panama, and tackling trash - for kicks - in his spare time.

Tim's friend Harreson, sick of seeing garbage strewn about, took matters into his own hands. He gathered a local crew, a willing Canadian with a truck, and began carting loads of crap from the beautiful countryside.

This awesome little photo montage tells the story. and makes garbage removal look way more appealing than in Los Angeles.....

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 planet....in 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.....

Sunday, January 20, 2008

BYO blog moved for my month at sea

As I mentioned in the previous post, I'm headed out on a month long sea journey, sailing through the North Pacific Gyre with the Algalita Marine Research Foundation, to research the mounting issue of plastic debris in our oceans.

I won't have access to my blog, but you can follow our progress here. I'll be keeping this updated with live info and images from the worlds trashiest ocean region. Check back for new info, findings, voyage gossip (whose gonna hurl first....) the works.

Here we are, the full crew, minus Nicole (2nd from left) - I'll be the only chick on board. Yikes.

Captain Charles Moore has been studying plastic debris in the gyre for quite some time, yet believes that he has yet to see the worst of it. Which is a frightening thought, albeit intriguing at the same time.

Now that departure time is on us, time to let go of any anxieties or fears I may have, trust in the expertise of my crewmates, and welcome the opportunity to see first hand evidence of an issue that has intrigued me for the last 5 years.......

Lastly, if you are a teacher, student, or know students/teachers potentially interested in following the journey, direct them to the interactive Ship to Shore blog. Here students/teachers may post questions directly, or send questions to Holly Gray: vesselsupport@algalita.org

Questions will be posted on this blog, and the crew will answer them directly, weather conditions provided.