The Blog Aquatic » Ocean Life News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Wed, 01 Oct 2014 20:24:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 International Coastal Cleanup Day 2014 Tue, 30 Sep 2014 16:58:13 +0000 Michelle Frey Every year, hundreds of thousands of volunteers all around the world remove trash from their local beaches and shorelines for the International Coastal Cleanup. View some of the photos we collected from the 2014 Cleanup.

Photo: Jackie Yeary/Ocean Conservancy Photo: Jackie Yeary/Ocean Conservancy Photo: Jackie Yeary/Ocean Conservancy Photo: Jackie Yeary/Ocean Conservancy Photo: Elyse Butler Mallams/Ocean Conservancy Photo: Elyse Butler Mallams/Ocean Conservancy Photo: Jackie Yeary/Ocean Conservancy costas 014 ]]> 0
Eight Things You Need to Know About the New Pacific Monument Thu, 25 Sep 2014 15:46:13 +0000 Emily Woglom

Photo: US Fish & Wildlife Service

The world’s largest network of no-take marine reserves was announced today; 7 islands and atolls make up this vast area, and President Obama is taking action today to hugely expand the area protected around 3 of them. Here are 8 reasons why today’s announcement is a huge deal:

1)     Protecting the ocean is bipartisan – Obama just built on President George W. Bush’s establishment of the Pacific Remote Islands Marine National Monument in January of 2009 before he left office. Obama’s announcement today expands that network from nearly 83,000 square miles to more than 490,000 square miles, or 370,000 square nautical miles.

2)     This marine monument is so big, the states of Texas, California, and New York COMBINED could fit within its borders.

3)     The monument spans the International Date Line; Wake Island inhabitants celebrate New Year before most people on Earth, and Johnston Atoll is one of the last places to sing Auld Lang Syne. It’s so big it can be in two days at once.

4)     There is LITERALLY no place like it on earth, because the Monument sits in all four hemispheres: north, south, east and west. It’s two different days; and winter and summer at the same time.

5)     Amazing ocean animals call these islands home. Seabirds, whales, silky and oceanic whitetip sharks all live in these waters. Scientists even recently discovered a new marine mammal in this area – the Palmyra beaked whale.

6)     Ocean Conservancy Board Member and National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Enric Sala calls Kingman Reef and Palmyra Atoll his laboratory. He has led numerous expeditions to Palmyra Atoll and Kingman Reef to research sharks and other apex predators that make up this pristine ecosystem. His research has helped scientists figure out what a healthy reef should look like.

7)     The Monument was established using the Antiquities Act, first used by President Theodore Roosevelt in 1906, and has been used to designate the Grand Canyon, the Statue of Liberty and Devils Tower in Wyoming.

8)      The Administration listened to you – yes, YOU.  More than 170,000 messages were sent to the White House in support of the monument expansion – including nearly 20,000 from Ocean Conservancy members. This is your Monument!

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You Won’t Believe What Shell’s Doing Now Wed, 24 Sep 2014 15:56:15 +0000 Andrew Hartsig Large ice flows in the Arctic Ocean

Copyright Corbis. All rights reserved.

Breaking news: Shell has announced 2015 plans that could bring not one, but two drilling rigs to the Chukchi Sea. That spells double trouble for the Arctic—say NO to Shell’s plan.

Shell’s already tried and failed. When Shell tried to drill in the Chukchi Sea two years ago, it had to stop after just one day because a huge ice floe drifted into the area. A couple months later, the company’s drillship caught fire. Their proposed oil spill containment system? It was “crushed like a beer can” during testing.

By the end of the season, Shell’s drillship was hobbled by mechanical difficulties and had to be towed to Asia.

And now Shell wants to drill in the Chukchi Sea with not one, but TWO rigs at the same time? It would be a joke if there wasn’t so much at stake.

Don’t let another oil disaster happen in the Arctic: Tell the Department of Interior to Stop Shell’s reckless Arctic Ocean drilling now.

If a disaster like BP Deepwater Horizon happened in the Arctic, spill response would be even more challenging. The Arctic’s sea ice, freezing temperatures, gale force winds, and lack of visibility could make cleanup next to impossible. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has said only a fraction of the oil would ever be recovered.

The rapidly changing climate, including extreme deterioration of the summer sea ice, is already putting Arctic marine animals at risk. People who live in coastal communities in the Arctic depend on a clean and healthy ocean to support their way of life. We can’t stand by while Shell puts them all in danger.

Sign the Petition: Stand against risky oil drilling in the Arctic Ocean.


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Putting a Lid on Ocean Trash Mon, 22 Sep 2014 14:06:40 +0000 Nick Mallos

This weekend, we wrapped up another fantastic International Coastal Cleanup. Thank you so much to all of our volunteers and supporters who came out to make a difference for our ocean.

Hundreds of thousands of people turned out all over the world to clean up their local beaches and waterways. We’ve collected our favorite photos, tweets and Instagram pictures to share some our favorites from around the globe. Check out our Storify below!

Thank you again to everyone who participated in the International Coastal Cleanup. I am so grateful to have allies like you joining me in the fight against marine debris. While beach cleanups alone can’t solve the ocean trash problem, they are an integral piece to the overall solution.

If you weren’t able to join us for the International Coastal Cleanup, you can still make a difference. Take our Skip the Straw Challenge and help prevent plastic straws from entering our ocean.


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Dedicated Coordinators Expand Beach Cleanups in Mexico Thu, 11 Sep 2014 13:39:34 +0000 Guest Blogger

Photo: Alejandra Lopez

This blog is part of a series of stories about the International Coastal Cleanup from Coordinators. This blog was written by Alejandra Lόpez de Román, a Coordinator for the International Coastal Cleanup in Tamaulipas, Mexico.

In honor of the 10th anniversary of the first time I organized and coordinated the International Coastal Cleanup in Tamaulipas, Mexico, I’d like to share a bit of what I’ve felt and learned during all these years.

The way I became engaged with the ICC was fortuitous because I was invited by an instructor from the Professional Association of Diving Instructors to do an underwater cleanup that was not affiliated with Ocean Conservancy at the time. The water conditions were not appropriate for diving, so we did a beach cleanup instead. We found so much trash that I thought we should do this more often and invite many more people!

My instructor was very busy so I organized the next cleanup, inviting people from the Club de Regatas Corona, and family and friends.  I eventually connected with Ocean Conservancy because I wanted Tampico and Tamaulipas (my state) to be a part of Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup.

Since then, our Cleanup has grown exponentially in Tampico: from a handful of volunteers in 2003 to 1,233 registered volunteers in 2013! Our best move has been to invite high school and university students. We motivate students with talks about what Ocean Conservancy does, the damage marine debris causes our ocean, and the need to ACT NOW before it´s too late. Of course one of the best ways of acting is by joining forces with hundreds of thousands of other volunteers to participate!

Will you join us on September 20, 2014? Check out Ocean Conservancy’s map to find a cleanup location near you.

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Petition: Help Kids Protect the Ocean Tue, 09 Sep 2014 12:05:06 +0000 Allison Schutes

Thanks to a group of fifth grade students who care passionately about the environment, Dunkin’ Donuts has agreed to stop using foam cups at all their store locations. These young students researched the problems associated with foam cups and were really upset to learn that foam products fragment into the ocean, where fish, sea turtles, or seabirds can mistakenly eat the plastic bits. Nearly 350,000 foam cups, plates and food containers were removed from beaches by volunteers during the 2013 International Coastal Cleanup alone.

The students launched a petition on asking Dunkin’ Donuts to stop using foam cups and have had an amazing show of public support more than 272,000 people signed on to their petition!

Ocean Conservancy wants to thank Dunkin’ Donuts for committing to making these changes. Dunkin’ Donuts has already launched in-store foam recycling pilot projects and are working to introduce an improved reusable cup program in the next 6-12 months.

Will you join us in applauding Dunkin’ Donuts for taking those steps towards improving their environmental footprint?

There’s just one more donut hole size ask we want to make of Dunkin’ — and that’s to commit to a timeline for phasing out polystyrene foam cups from their stores.

Let’s join together to sweeten the deal to truly help protect the environment that these students will grow up to take care of.

Kids don’t often have a big voice when it comes to policies but with a lot of passion and determination, these amazing young students have been able to have a big voice in support of a cleaner ocean.

Please join us today!

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Breaking: Great News For the Gulf of Mexico Thu, 04 Sep 2014 15:59:00 +0000 Ivy Fredrickson

Today, a judge found  that the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster was the direct result of BP’s “’gross negligence’ and ‘willful misconduct’” under the Clean Water Act. What does this mean for the Gulf? It means more funding available for restoring the Gulf.

Funding for restoration projects via the RESTORE Act comes from Clean Water Act fines. And a finding of “gross negligence,” rather than ordinary negligence, means that fines can be as high as $4,300 per barrel of oil spilled, instead of $1,100. The result of today’s court decision could mean a fine as high as $17.6 billion, 80% of which will be used to repair and restore the Gulf of Mexico ecosystem and the communities and economies that depend on it.

Over the past four years, BP has spent inordinate amounts of time and money shirking responsibility, pointing fingers at others and downplaying the seriousness of the disaster. Today, the court is holding BP responsible.

The judge still must rule on the amount of oil spilled – a major factor determining the ultimate amount of fines. The third stage of the trial will begin in January 2015.


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