Tag Archives: plastic water bottles

Video

52WoLP: #10, Animal Presence Part 2

This is a bit of a riff, but bear with me, we’ll end up at Lincoln Park. I’m still buzzing about animal presence, and wanted to share some o’ that love. After the iridescent octopus at Makena on Maui, the turtle-paloosa at every beach we visited, the shave-ice colored wrasses and graceful idols, the whales, spinner dolphins, I wanted to learn about local folks helping to protect the gift of nature that Hawaii is… and one group stood out: Hawaii Wildlife Fund.

HWF was founded in 1996 by two biologists who saw the encroachment of all kinds of not-very-wild activity on an environment that depends on wild conditions. They are, as co-founder Hannah Bernard put it: “small but mighty.” They spend most of their energy actually doing things like this and this and this (poopy!). They have an awesome education and intern program (do they take 60 year olds??), outreach, and have built an impact worth supporting.

So….Lincoln Park, here’s the link up: as soon as I learned about HWF, Seal Sitters here in West Seattle came to mind. Local with an impact that belies its size, passionate and visionary…Good stuff. Some things I love about Seal Sitters: they have educated a whole city about the little seal pup on the beach, the one people may mistake for injured or worse, others may think would be a happy playmate for their dogs, and still others who might not have noticed at all. It’s neighborly, it’s profound, it’s small but mighty.

Co-Founded by author Brenda Peterson and gaining strength as Seal Sitters in 2007, the group has helped so many–kids, adults, even dogs– understand that it is up to us to protect and share the beach as part of our wildlife habitat. You see them often on Alki, but for the last couple of years, you’ll also see them at the beach in Lincoln Park, setting up a protective zone around a seal pup resting on the shore. They have a great blog (blubberblog, best. name. ever.), our beloved West Seattle Blog is a big booster, and the volunteers are more than happy to talk about what they do. The pups are still taking long sleeps on the shores so keep an eye out for that thing that Seal Sitters does so well.

Wildly, improbably, a few people saw a need and decided to do something about it. As a result, they really have changed the world–one beach at a time. I love that.

52 Weeks of Lincoln Park: week #10

Getting the word out: We can solve the problem of the Pacific Garbage Patch

Mary Crowley is rounding up willing volunteers and their boats to tackle the problem of the presumed Texas-sized garbage patch in the pacific. She has a plan, and wild amounts of fortitude and vision to tackle this growing island of plastic and trash…and she even wants to recycle the plastic once it’s brought onshore.

We’ve all seen and participated in trash clean-ups–in parks, along roadsides, at the beach.  It has now fallen to us to figure out how to do this in the open ocean…it’s our garbage, and our problem.  Mary Crowley is a hero and a visionary and if I had a boat, I’d probably sign up to join her.  For my part, I’ll continue to pick trash up and bring it back to shore when I’m out on my board.

Spread the word about Mary Crowley’s Project Kaisei

“The big challenge for us is to get the word out that we do have the technology to figure out how to solve” this problem, she says.

Some 60 to 80 percent of the plastic in oceans is not released by ships but originates onshore before being swept out to sea via coastal waterways.

Kaisei means “Ocean Planet” which of course, we of the Blue Planet are.

Another site, Container Recycling Institute,  tracks the number o, linked to from the Kaisei site tracks how many plastic bottles are going straight into landfills.  If this doesn’t alarm you, I want some of what you’re ingesting.

One last thing, the Kaisei project set out two ships last year.  Each ship sampled waters in the Pacific within 3,500 miles of each other and the samples are being analyzed now, but what was immediately evident to the researchers was the growing layer of small bits of plastic on the surface of the ocean–everywhere.  Thousands of miles offshore, for as far as you could see.  Imagine.

And now imagine yourself as part of the ocean ecosystem, a whale, dolphin, tuna, starfish, coral bed, kestrel, herring…that relies on a chain of being that is now consuming tiny bits of plastic as though it were food, tiny minute bits of plastic.  Plastic working its way right up into the Great Chain of Being.

Of which we, you and I, are a part.  Just think of it.

World Water Day: two great vids, and maybe just for today, don’t be afraid of your tap.

First video clearly, and with a good sense of humor, highlights how the bottled water industry (Pepsi, Coke, Fiji, etc) have used stark fear to manufacture the demand for bottled water. I’ve switched to drinking from the tap over the last year; we use a regular old filter. No big.

This video shows the horrendous life-cycle of bottled water, and how much it really really costs. And did you know how many cargo ship loads of water bottles end up as mountains of plastic garbage in India. Think about that next time you toss a plastic bottle in the “recycle” bin. More here, it’s a good–and clever–video.

Second video from Surfrider association. I hope every school in the world streams this in for their kids to watch, if only so they can know what they’re inheriting from us.

The Cycle of Insanity: The Real Story of Water from Surfrider Foundation on Vimeo.

Comment re Earth 3.0

I’ve been getting heavy traffic on my article from a while ago entitled “Plastic Disturbia.”  One of the commenters, kevinkrejci pointed me to a special edition of Scientific American called Earth 3.0.  It’s a good read and discusses the earth and our relationship to it in a new light: product.  We upgraded to Industrial Revolution in 2.0, and now are ready for a big upgrade, doncha think?

Read it here: Earth 3.0.  Thanks Kevinkrejci!

Emails from the Western Front: the Pacific Garbage Patch

Over at the HuffPpost, Laurie David is chronicling Charles Moore’s exploration of the path from the California Coast to the northern waters of the Hawaiian Islands. The goal? Plastics. He’s aboard the Algalita, a research vessel dedicated to studying the impact of plastics on the environment of the world’s oceans.

He will be sending regular emails describing their findings, and Laurie David will post them on the HuffPost. I look forward to following the adventure, and hope you’ll help spread the news about this research that affects us all.

Plastic bottles: dumb stuff we do

Last Sunday I ran a 5K (Fred Hutch Shore Run) down along Lake Washington Blvd to Madison Park–gorgeous run, beautiful hot morning, a real summer event.  That area is one of the prettiest in Seattle, lots of character and lazy summer lakefront vistas.

Once over the finish line, I was directed to the predictable tables of food and sustenance.  Wasn’t much interested in the food (though the fresh fruit was good!), but I did want some water.  Talking Rain was there with lots of chilled bottles of water–bless them, I thought.  I downed one, and wanted another immediately–it was a pretty toasty morning for Seattle.

So I went back to the Talking Rain stand and before I picked up another, I said, “Where’s the recycling bin?”  The guys looks sort of sheepish and says, “I don’t think we have recycling.”

I’m dumbfounded as I look at the long table full of chilled bottles of water, and the boxes stacked behind him of more bottles, and I say, “Come again?  Seattle is one of the few cities that will recycle plastic bottles and you don’t have a recycling bin?”

“Uh, no.  I don’t think so.”

So I look all around the whole grounds for a recycling container and can’t find one.  That means everything produced and tossed away at that event would go straight into a Land Fill.  Thanks Fred Hutch, but even 3 garbage cans for recycling would have helped a lot.  And thanks Talking Rain–especially you, since these are your bottles going straight into a land fill.

Unacceptable.  Especially in a city that is fast becoming a leader in Green Thinking–from Mayor Nichols, who has banned bottled water from being sold in government buildings and who has initiated so many green projects, to its citizenry who pay a little more to include green energy in their electric service.

So, in the end, I toted my two bottles home and recycled them in our bins.  Better yet, next time I’ll stick my own water bottle in the freezer the night before and ask my partner to hold it for me at the end of the race.

Little things maybe, but they add up.