The Blog Aquatic

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The Blog Aquatic

News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy

About Sara Thomas

Sara Thomas is the senior manager of Ocean Conservancy’s Digital Marketing team. She lives and works in Washington, DC but her heart is in Miami. Her allegiance to the ocean began in college at the University of Miami where she studied visual communication and marine policy. It was then that she was introduced to the concept of inspiring action through storytelling and it clearly stuck.

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You Spoke and We Listened!

Posted On July 10, 2013 by

In just 10 months, nearly 11,000 of our ocean friends downloaded and began using Rippl. The response for our iPhone app is incredible—not only are people downloading it, they’re also using it regularly.

Rippl helps you remember to make simple, sustainable choices that save you money and keep the ocean and all its wildlife healthy.

According to the EPA, more than 380 billion plastic bags are used in the United States every year. Of those, approximately 100 billion are plastic shopping bags. Thanks to our family of Rippl users, we’re helping to lower that number.

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Five Tips for a Low-Trash Super Bowl Tailgate

Posted On February 2, 2013 by

Fans at a football game

Image adapted from mattradickal flickr stream

Heading to a tailgate for Super Bowl XLVII? Here are a few quick tips to reduce your trash impact and keep our planet healthy while cheering on your team.

Make your own food: Opt for delicious homemade salsa, grilled meats and salads over store-bought or take out options. You’ll eat (a little) healthier, be able to buy in bulk and can use your own reusable containers to bring everything in.

Cloth beats paper: If cloth were an option in rock, paper, scissors, it would totally beat all three. Bring cloth napkins and towels for clean up and you’ll not only eliminate fly-away possibilities, but you’ll also greatly reduce the trash produced. Make them from cloth in your team’s colors and show some extra team spirit to boot!

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Think Outside of the Gift Box

Posted On November 16, 2012 by

Gift gifting is a major part of US culture. In fact, it’s such a prominent part of our lives; it’s a staple in many studies on human behavior. Psychologists say giving gifts is a complex and important part of human interaction. It helps define relationships and fortify bonds between people. What these studies don’t do, however, is define what a gift needs to be in order to have an impact.

Thoughtfulness really does make a difference. Hate to shop? Don’t like crowds? It’s OK; you can still reap the benefit of giving the perfect gift to a loved one. You just have to think outside the gift box.

According to Recycling Works and the EPA, from Thanksgiving to New Years Day, household waste increases by more than 25%. Added food waste, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons – it all adds up to an additional 1 million tons a week to our landfills.

But it doesn’t have to. The increased trash can stop without decreasing your gift-giving ways. Giving an experience or planning a fun activity is a great way to give someone you care about a present without producing piles of trash. Not only does it show them that you’ve truly thought about their interests, but you can reduce your environmental impact and the amount of trash that ends up in our landfills as well.

Here are some fun ideas to try: Continue reading »

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Five Tips for a Low-Trash Tailgate

Posted On October 25, 2012 by

Image adapted from mattradickal flickr stream

Heading to a tailgate this weekend? With football season in full swing, many of you might be going to a tailgate or watch party this weekend. Here are a few quick tips to reduce your trash impact and keep our planet healthy while cheering on your team.

Make your own food: Opt for delicious homemade salsa, grilled meats and salads over store-bought or take out options. You’ll eat (a little) healthier, be able to buy in bulk and can use your own reusable containers to bring everything in.

Cloth beats paper: If cloth were an option in rock, paper, scissors, it would totally beat all three. Bring cloth napkins and towels for clean up and you’ll not only eliminate fly-away possibilities, but you’ll also greatly reduce the trash produced. Make them from cloth in your team’s colors and show some extra team spirit to boot!

Continue reading »

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Time to Charge Up Your Batteries!

Posted On October 19, 2012 by

Credit: JohnSeb flickr stream

Batteries provide energy to many of the products we use and often can’t imagine our lives without – cell phones, laptops, cars. Many of the items we use throughout the day already contain rechargeable batteries. Can you imagine throwing out your laptop battery every time it ran out of juice?

That’s not the case, however, when it comes to smaller devices like the TV remote, or our children’s toys. Every year Americans buy and throw away billions of batteries. According to a study done by MIT in 2010, 80 percent of portable batteries manufactured in the US are alkaline batteries with a global annual production exceeding 10 billion units. Even with legislation restricting disposable battery dumping, today the majority of these batteries go to landfills and some even end up in our ocean.

Don’t believe us? Every year during our International Coastal Cleanup, volunteers find and pick up alkaline batteries on beaches and waterways. The same batteries that powerfully and seamlessly keep our lives running can release deadly toxins into the water our precious wildlife needs to survive.

But there are other options. Continue reading »

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Paper Towels – What’s the Big Deal Anyway?

Posted On October 12, 2012 by

Credit: Ugglan flickr user

In the United States alone, 13 billion pounds of paper towels are used each year. Imagine if we collectively worked together to reduce our use of paper towels. The amount of non-recyclable paper trash that ends up in our landfills, environment and ocean could be reduced by the billions. There are few times such a small change can have such a measurable impact.

Not a small change, you say? Worried about germs, you moan? Let’s have a look at the facts:

Fact 1: In 2000, the Mayo Clinic conducted one of the few independent studies evaluating paper towels, cloth towels, hand blowers, and good old air drying. Researchers contaminated participants’ hands and then instructed them to wash with soap and water. Afterward, they had them run their hands under a warm air dryer for a single 30-second cycle, use a cloth or paper towel for 15 seconds, or let them air dry. The scientists found no differences in the efficiencies of removing bacteria from washed hands when hands are dried using paper towels, cloth towels, warm forced air or spontaneous evaporation.

Fact 2: According to the EPA, paper makes up the largest share of municipal waste in the US. Looking for a way to reduce your use in the bathroom? Check out Joe Smith’s technique for a one-towel method.

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Start your own Rippl™ Effect

Posted On September 17, 2012 by


“What else can I do?”

We’ve heard this question thousands of times from volunteers following the annual success of the International Coastal Cleanup. People get out to their local beach, river, or even in their neighborhood and see the magnitude of the trash problem and want to know what else they can do. We always encourage volunteers to participate in other organized cleanups throughout the year and to think about how they can reduce their impact on the ocean and waterways by consuming fewer one-time use products.

Until now, these recommendations are all we’ve been able to offer…NOT anymore.

After 12 months of a user-focused design process and intensive group testing with volunteers, coordinators, ocean enthusiasts, families, and young professionals, Ocean Conservancy is very excited to announce our first mobile app, Rippl.  We’re energized as much about what Rippl is and will continue to become as we are about the journey we took to get here.

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