News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy
About Catherine Fox
Senior editor Catherine Fox has a keen ear for storytelling and seeks out the most compelling people, science and news to inspire fellow ocean conservationists. Her ocean connection began with a childhood spent fishing, kayaking and swimming along Virginia’s Rappahannock River, which flows to Chesapeake Bay and on to the Atlantic. Catherine lives in Herndon, Virginia, and her most recent saltwater adventures include learning to sail.
It’s daunting to stop and notice just how much trash we each generate every day—but heartening when you can make a few simply changes in how you do things and instantly see results. Take your mailbox, for instance. Continue reading »
Hilberto Riverol of The Scout Association of Belize has coordinated the International Coastal Cleanup for his country over the past 20 years, teaching scouts how they can help keep the ocean clean and healthy. Credit: John Carrillo.
So back in 1992 when Hilberto Riverol, national scout executive with the association, heard that the Ramada Hotel in Belize City was gathering volunteers for the country’s first International Coastal Cleanup, he signed up. Some 600 participants including the scouts removed more than three tons of trash from approximately 18 miles of the coast. Continue reading »
Nicholas used a tasty family recipe to raise money for the ocean. Credit: Courtesy Nicholas Wheeler.
Nicholas Wheeler of Hilton Head Island, South Carolina, has been busy this summer canning some seventy jars of pickles. What do pickles have to do with the ocean?
The 14-year-old is quick to draw a direct link. Among the weirdest things he’s found during beach cleanups was a full jar of pickles that had never been opened. Besides, they’re one of his favorite things to munch on.
“My mom’s grandmother had a pickle recipe,” he says. “I wanted to try it out because I love pickles. I’m going to sell them and give the money to Ocean Conservancy because ever since I was little, I’ve loved the ocean.” Continue reading »
Fishing is fine on North Carolina’s Outer Banks. Credit: Catherine Fox
Fishing. It’s a cherished pastime that takes us away from the daily grind and instantly sets the mind at ease. “When the fish are biting, no problem in the world is big enough to be remembered,” said writer Orlando A. Battista.
Whether you love fishing or just enjoy the thrill of walking along a clean beach and watching wildlife, it’s important to understand that lost tackle can have serious consequences if we don’t clean it up.
Fishing gear lost in the water may not seem like a big deal compared with other types of trash, but when left behind inadvertently by fishermen whose lines break or snag, it’s a definite hazard:
Yoshiko Ohkura (center) of JEAN (Japan Environmental Action Network) cleans a beach at Gamo Tidal Flat. Credit: Nick Mallos.
How much are some people willing to give to solve the problem of ocean trash? In the case of the amazing partners who organize the International Coastal Cleanup across entire countries and U.S. states, the answer is: everything they have.
We call them the “sea stars of the Cleanup.” Meet just two, Azusa Kojima and Yoshiko Ohkura from JEAN (Japan Environmental Action Network).
Like their fellow coordinators around the world, they manage a host of responsibilities, including:
identifying sites on the water to be cleaned and overseeing those sites;
educating the public and rallying a volunteer network;
engaging reporters from radio, television, newspapers and online news sources;
arranging cleanup day logistics; and
ensuring that data collected by volunteers reaches Ocean Conservancy for publication in the annual Ocean Trash Index.
JEAN’s efforts on behalf of the Cleanup for more than 20 years are legion. Now the recognized marine debris leader in Japan, JEAN unified existing cleanup efforts and inspired more participation by educating the public about the dangers of ocean trash. From 800 volunteers at 80 sites in 1990, JEAN has grown the Cleanup exponentially, with more than 22,000 volunteers at 234 sites in the peak year to date.
Balloons that soar eventually fall, with serious impacts for wildlife. Credit: Jerry Downs flickr stream
What’s more joyful than the sight of colorful balloons soaring up into the blue sky? People release festive bunches of them for lots of reasons, including to
celebrate birthdays, weddings and anniversaries
commemorate the passing of a loved one
inspire excitement at sporting events
announce the opening of a business or a super sales event
And sometimes they simply escape our grasp and go skyward.
What goes up must come down
Alas, balloons eventually fall back to Earth. That’s when the dark side of their existence begins. When balloons and their ribbons or strings fall or blow into the ocean and waterways, wildlife can suffer and die. Continue reading »