Tuesday, December 23, 2008

SEAsons Greetings!

Taking a break from all the festivities to wish all of you a happy, healthy holiday.

Peace to you and all you love - Sherry &Vernon

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

December 18th - Day without a Bag

Paper or Plastic? Neither!
The Watershed Task force is teaming up with San Clemente Green and other local environmental groups to participate in Heal the Bay's outreach effort of A Day Without a Bag.

Tomorrow (Thursday, December 18) we'll be asking holiday shoppers to "bag the disposable bag habit" and choose reusable bags - even if just for a day. The hope is that as people become more aware of the environmental impacts they will opt to BYOB (Bring Your Own Bag) all the time.

Volunteer members of our reusable bag coalition will be stationed at various locations in San Clemente. We'll be out raising awareness & gifting shoppers with free reusable bags and the opportunity for positive action. I'm signed up as site captain/team leader for the Ralph's Camino de Estrella location. We will be there from 4:00 to 6:00 pm -so if you are out in that area, please stop by to say hello. Other ways you can lend your support is to pass the word to your friends and family.

Choose Buckets over Bags!
Not so much for shopping (although it certainly earns you points for flair and thinking outside the bag!). No, in this case I am referring to our beach clean up activities. While on one hand we are working to keep plastics and other debris out of the ocean (and doing a mighty fine job of it I might add!), we are inadvertently adding to the landfill problem whenever we use plastic bags to collect and dispose of the trash. Do you see the irony in all this? How about a visual. Picture, if you can, 463 bags of trash piled into a landfill. That is the total number of bags of trash that our Adopt a Beach teams have collected and disposed of over the past 8 months. Compare that with the 226 buckets that were collected.

I know that you'll agree that we would like to see less of what we collect during our clean ups going directly to our landfills. Our founder, the late Stephanie Dorey, had that in mind when she created this program. You see we are unique from other clean up efforts in that we provide each team with a reusable bucket and calipers (vs disposable plastic bags and latex gloves). I think the challenge is that we have grown so much and have added larger teams with a rotating number of volunteers. Still, with a little awareness, creativity, and leadership from all of you - it can be done.

So, I propose that we shoot for greatly reducing (if not eliminating) the use of disposable bags and gloves during our clean ups. Are you up for the challenge? What are your thoughts on this? Get in touch with me (either by commenting on this blog, sending me an email, or writing/typing a comment on your next data collection sheet) I will compile the info that I receive and we can identify your challenges and come up with solutions. To jump start your creativity, here are some suggestions that have come my way already:

- gardening gloves, rubber dish washing gloves, or work gloves instead of disposable latex
- large canvas shoulder bags (like city workers use) and just reuse each time
- large mesh bags (like those used to wash lingerie) can be hosed off or laundered
- city could provide empty sandbags to use for collections, dump and return post cleanup
- team leaders set the tone/educate and request volunteers bring their own reusable materials

Looking forward to hearing what you come up with! It's fun to explore possibilities. Need inspiration? Then check out this video - http://vids.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=vids.individual&videoid=3320169

Monday, December 8, 2008

And the Gold Sea Stars for November Go To...

The Twelve Teams
Who Showed Up & Cleaned Up!
Joe Zoller Team
Flotsam & Jetsam Crew
Jefferson Family
F.I.S.H. - St. John's Youth Group
SC Sunrise Rotary Club
Wicks Family
SC Historical Society
Weller Family
Lausuens Boardriders Club
Chapman Family
Headrick Family
Beach Master

Thanks to these teams (with the usual above and beyond efforts of Mark Aubrey/Beach Master) over 15,848 pieces of trash were removed from our beaches and trail this month. So even though most of the tourists have gone home and the beaches appear relatively clean this time of year, your clean ups are still making a huge difference.

Catch of the Month
The Most Unusual Item of The Month goes to our newest team - F.I.S.H. (St. John's Youth Group). In addition to the usual plethora of cigarette butts, styrofoam, and bottle caps this team found a switch blade (!) on their adopted section. What?! You just never know what you'll find. Anyway, we're all glad that's outta there. Nice job, kids! On a lighter note, if you need some last minute items for holiday gift giving see the Beach Master. He netted 2 cell phones, 3 swim goggles, 1 dive mask and several items of clothing. : )

To see the Summary report, click on the link below.

I'll be blogging again soon to tell you about an important event that's coming up on December 18th. Hints: Sea Turtles Don't Shop / Ban the Bag Monster! Until then, I will leave you with my favorite star fish "story". There are many versions out there. I believe all are adaptations from the Star Thrower by Loren Eisely (1907-1977). No doubt you already know of it, but it is a good reminder of how our seemingly small efforts can make a big difference. Hopefully this link will work - if not just copy and paste into your browser. Here it is: