Ocean Currents » international coastal cleanup http://blog.oceanconservancy.org News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Wed, 30 Nov 2016 14:00:01 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.4.2 An Ocean of Thanks to YOU http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/11/23/an-ocean-of-thanks-to-you/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/11/23/an-ocean-of-thanks-to-you/#comments Wed, 23 Nov 2016 16:10:35 +0000 Janis Searles Jones http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=13363

The following message is from Janis Searles Jones, President, and Andreas Merkl, CEO.

This has been such a great year for the ocean, and I have you to thank for it. Protecting the ocean is a BIG job, and we can’t do it without people like you.

You’ve put in so much effort all year, that I want to take a moment to reflect on what we’ve accomplished together, celebrate our victories and look forward to the work still to be done.

Thanks to your hard work and support, here’s a taste of the incredible victories we’ve accomplished in 2016:

Hundreds of thousands of volunteers like you, all around the world, took part in our 31st annual International Coastal Cleanup. From the coastlines of the Philippines to the rivers of Pennsylvania, ocean lovers walked tens of thousands of miles and collected millions of pounds of trash, making our coastlines cleaner and healthier. And we have a plan to help cut the amount of plastic entering our ocean in half over the coming decade, so I hope I can continue to count on your support to help make that vision a reality.

Thanks to the support of ocean advocates (like you!), President Obama established two marine monuments: Papahānaumokuākea Monument—the world’s largest marine sanctuary—in Hawaii, and the Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument in New England. In just the span of a few weeks, Obama protected more U.S. waters than any other president in history. Together, we can ensure that these areas remain protected from special interests.

In the same year that Shell announced its withdrawal from oil and gas leases in the Chukchi Sea, the Obama administration just announced it will remove the Chukchi and Beaufort Seas—as well as the Atlantic Ocean—from risky offshore drilling until 2022. Exclusion of the Arctic in the five-year plan means critical protection for the communities and animals that call the region home. But with oil and gas companies still eyeing the Arctic, we’ll need your continued support to keep this fragile area protected.

After six years of hard work and boots on the ground in the Gulf, BP finally agreed to pay more than $20 billion to the American people to help recover from the impacts caused by the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. Now, scientists are working to make sure that money is well spent on restoration and monitoring projects to bring the Gulf back to a healthy state.

Revolutionary new ocean plans in the New England and the Mid-Atlantic regions made history by paving the way for smart ocean management. These plans brought together the needs of many, many stakeholders and will help us best manage our ocean resources for humans and the environment alike. With your help, we’ll work toward implementing these plans and expanding them to other regions.

Together, we celebrated the 40th anniversary of the Magnuson-Stevens Act, a fisheries management act that is largely responsible for the strong state of our nation’s fisheries. You’ve helped us keep the Magnuson-Stevens Act strong, and our nation’s fish populations are healthier because of it. I hope I can continue to count on your support to make sure we have healthy fish populations for generations to come.

The United States took critical action to increase protection around the ecologically rich Aleutian Islands in the Bering Sea. 160,000 square miles of ocean surrounding the islands have been protected as Areas to Be Avoided. Now, the Aleutian Islands, along with the wildlife and peoples who call them home, are safer from shipping accidents.

Ocean acidification is becoming more and more widely recognized as a problem both locally and internationally. We’re now calling on leaders worldwide to protect coastal communities and businesses at risk from acidification. And more than 18,000 people like you have signed Our Ocean Pledge to add your name to the effort—thank you!

All of these amazing ocean victories have one thing in common: YOU. I can’t thank you enough for your dedication and commitment to a healthy ocean. I want to express my sincerest gratitude for your support, and thank you for your commitment to our ocean. While there is a lot of uncertainty in the air, one thing remains true. The ocean is at the heart of all we do, and we need you to be effective ocean advocates. I hope I can continue to count on you as we continue to work tirelessly for our ocean in the coming months and years.

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Inspired and Connected for Trash Free Seas http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/11/22/inspired-and-connected-for-trash-free-seas/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/11/22/inspired-and-connected-for-trash-free-seas/#comments Tue, 22 Nov 2016 19:56:06 +0000 Sarah Kollar http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=13395

As we ease into the holiday season, I am grateful to have been part of an amazing event halfway around the world where I witnessed the positive energy and impact that can only arise when we work together. It was a powerful reminder of how our ocean brings us together.

As part of the Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas Program, I went to Hong Kong for our first-ever International Coastal Cleanup (ICC) Asia Pacific coordinators meeting. As you may know, the International Coastal Cleanup is the world’s largest volunteer effort on behalf of the ocean and collectively, partners from around the world have kept 100 million tons of trash out of our ocean in the past three decades.  The Asia Pacific region is where much of the world’s ocean trash originates, and Ocean Conservancy was eager to learn from our partners on the front lines.

At the regional meeting, there were 12 countries represented, and attendees from California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington, all bringing a wealth of talents, expertise and experience to the table. Their leadership and work in the marine debris field as well as their community organizing skills continues to make a huge difference to the health of our ocean. The meeting in Hong Kong was an opportunity to celebrate their accomplishments and identify new paths based on science, best practices and a shared commitment to stem the tide of trash in our seas.

Our meeting began with a cleanup at Lap Sap Wan led by our co-hosts and ICC partner, Hong Kong Cleanup. This beach, similar to many locations in Asia Pacific and around the world, was completely covered in debris. At times it was knee-deep.

We noted the types of items (polystyrene, plastic PET bottles and fishing gear, to name a few), inferred how they may have reached that location and tracked our findings on Ocean Conservancy’s new marine debris data collection app called Clean Swell (IOS /Android).

The cleanup spurred conversations around an issue that is overwhelming and complex but ultimately connects us all and compels us to seek solutions on a global level. With so much knowledge, talent and energy in one place the meeting was rich in discussion, not only in regards to cleanup practices but also in the realm of new research and innovative solutions.

We shared successes stories like a system that upcycles discarded fishing nets into carpet. We also heard about challenges like addressing misconceptions and finding ways for the public to understand that marine debris is not your or my problem, it is our problem.

Between brainstorms and panel discussions, we also found time to talk about SCUBA diving and surfing and experience Hong Kong. One of my favorite meals was dinner at Linguini Fini, a zero-waste restaurant on Hong Kong Island.

I came away recognizing the power and increased impact in working together. I am thankful for the partnerships—and friendships—that the ICC has helped to build across cultures, geographies and time zones as we all work towards trash free seas.

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Meet Keila: A 5th Grader with a Passion for the Ocean http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/09/27/meet-keila-a-5th-grader-with-a-passion-for-the-ocean/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/09/27/meet-keila-a-5th-grader-with-a-passion-for-the-ocean/#comments Tue, 27 Sep 2016 13:42:48 +0000 Guest Blogger http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=12991

By Megan Swanson

Keila reached out to Ocean Conservancy concerned about the pollution plaguing our ocean and eager to make a difference. Growing up alongside the Pacific Ocean, she developed a deep respect for the ocean and its inhabitants from an early age and considers it as part of her home. After learning more about the problem of ocean trash in one of her classes, she decided to take action. This summer, she delivered cookies and talked with friends and family to bring awareness to the issue while raising money for Ocean Conservancy. Keila also participated in the 31st annual International Coastal Cleanup on September 17th at her local beach in California. I had the privilege to talk to Keila about why she loves the ocean and what drove her to do this work.

Ocean Conservancy:  What’s your favorite sea creature?

Keila: Some of my favorite animals are sea turtles, dolphins and sea lions because they are cute and graceful animals. I visited the Bahamas this summer and I got to swim with dolphins and sea lions and that just made me love them even more.

OC: What’s your favorite way to spend time in the ocean?

Keila: I love to enjoy the ocean by walking in the waves as they as they come up onto the sand and to watch pods of dolphins and whales as they swim by, whenever I can.

OC: How did you become aware of the problem of trash entering our waterways and negatively affecting ocean health and wildlife?

Keila: In my fourth grade class, my teacher read us information on fifty ways to heal the earth. She read us an article on ways that human trash hurts sea animals. Also, I remember my Grandma and I were traveling to Hawaii and I looked out the window of the airplane and saw a lot of debris floating in the ocean and it really bothered me.

OC: What inspired you to raise money for Ocean Conservancy?

Keila: I chose Ocean Conservancy because it not only helps the ocean but it helps the animals in the ocean and both are close to my heart.

OC: What do you do in your everyday life to prevent marine debris?

Keila:  If I see the plastic rings that carry soda cans, I will bring them home and cut the rings and then recycle them. And when I see trash wash up on the beach, I throw it away.

Through Keila’s hard work this summer, she raised $1,300 to support Ocean Conservancy’s fight for a healthier, more sustainable ocean. From all of us here at Ocean Conservancy, thank you Keila for your dedication to keeping our ocean trash-free!

Megan Swanson is a Trash Free Seas intern at Ocean Conservancy. 

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Thanks for a Fantastic International Coastal Cleanup! http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/09/20/thanks-for-a-fantastic-international-coastal-cleanup/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/09/20/thanks-for-a-fantastic-international-coastal-cleanup/#comments Tue, 20 Sep 2016 13:00:37 +0000 Allison Schutes http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=12890

Thank YOU! This weekend, we wrapped up another spectacular 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.

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.

From all of us at Ocean Conservancy – Thank You! See photos from International Coastal Cleanups below:

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Join the International Coastal Cleanup http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/09/14/join-the-international-coastal-cleanup/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/09/14/join-the-international-coastal-cleanup/#comments Wed, 14 Sep 2016 13:30:42 +0000 Guest Blogger http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=12690

Written by Tori Glascock

Does all of this trash talk have you feeling down in the dumps? For 30 years, Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup (ICC), has helped keep trash off our beaches and out of the ocean!

Volunteers from states and territories throughout the U.S. and more than 100 countries come together each year and participate in an ICC event near them. You can sign up to clean up or propose a new cleanup site! Three decades of Cleanups have yielded more than 210 million pounds of trash being collected and saved from polluting our ocean. Over 11.5 million volunteers have covered more than 360,000 miles of coastlines across the world.

In 2015 alone, beach, underwater and watercraft volunteers covered 25,188 miles and picked up 18,062,939 million pounds of trash. A plethora of plastic items was found including beverage bottles, bottle caps, straws, bags and utensils. Changes to daily habits such as Skipping the Straw when you go out to restaurants, using reusable water bottles instead of disposable plastic ones and using reusable grocery bags will make a huge impact on helping to decrease the amount of trash that is reaching our ocean.

This year the 31st International Coastal Cleanup will take place on September 17th, 2016. Join in for a day of sun, fun and conserving the ocean!

If you can’t make it to an ICC site, you can do your own cleanup! The International Coastal Cleanup may only be once a year but that is not the only time the coasts need cleaning up. Become a champion of your ocean and keep it trash free all year long. Every piece matters too! Through our mobile data collection app, Clean Swell, each item you pick up and log is one less piece of trash in the ocean and one more step towards trash free seas.

The best thing that you can do for the ocean is to pick up any trash you see, reduce-reuse-recycle and remember that all waterways lead to the ocean! Simple habit changes can have a huge positive impact on our mission to conserve the ocean.

See you at a Cleanup site on September 17th, 2016.

Check out this informative infographic to learn more about the impact of the International Coastal Cleanup.

Tori Glascock is a 2016 Ocean Conservancy Summer Intern. 

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Only 1 Week Away http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/09/10/only-1-week-away/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/09/10/only-1-week-away/#comments Sat, 10 Sep 2016 13:40:12 +0000 Sarah Kollar http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=12705

Time flies! In the blink of an eye summer came to an end and now kids are back to school. And, in only one week it’ll be time again for Ocean Conservancy’s annual International Coastal Cleanup. We have been very busy here getting ready—making sure there are enough bags, gloves and data card at locations around the globe.

Will you join us for this year’s Cleanup on Saturday, September 17?

All you have to do is visit our easy-to-use map and find a Cleanup near you!

And, this year we have a new way to track the trash that you collect on the beach. Our new mobile app, Clean Swell, is free and available to download on both iOS and Android systems. You can earn your own medals by tracking the trash you collect. The more trash you collect; the more badges you earn.

A great way to turn the tide on trash is to clean up your local beach, shoreline or park as part of this year’s Cleanup. Preventing the trash we find on beaches and shorelines from ever entering the ocean isn’t the only way of making our seas trash free. However, it’s an important step to protecting endangered animals that are threatened by marine debris.

Will you join us for this year’s Cleanup on Saturday, September 17?

Hope to “sea” you next week at a Cleanup near YOU.

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An Ocean Perspective for a Planet at the Crossroads http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/09/07/an-ocean-perspective-for-a-planet-at-the-crossroads/ http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/2016/09/07/an-ocean-perspective-for-a-planet-at-the-crossroads/#comments Wed, 07 Sep 2016 20:50:11 +0000 Andreas Merkl http://blog.oceanconservancy.org/?p=12805

A conversation between Ocean Conservancy’s CEO Andreas Merkl and Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and navigator of the iconic Hōkūle‘a, as Hawaiʻi hosts the IUCN World Conservation Congress.

With a shared passion for our ocean, Merkl (@AndreasMerkl) and Thompson spoke about experiencing unparalleled beauty on the water, the plague of plastic pollution in our ocean and the importance of bringing people together to find solutions.

The Polynesian Voyaging Society and Ocean Conservancy will be part of an International Coastal Cleanup organized by the U.S. Department of State in James Campbell Wildlife Refuge on September 9, 2016. For over 30 years, Ocean Conservancy has rallied the world’s biggest single-day volunteer effort on behalf of the ocean through the International Coastal Cleanup. (Please click here if you’d like to sign-up to cleanup on September 17, 2016.)

The following was edited for clarity and length.

Andreas Merkl: We are both ocean people because we really want to be, but it is rare to see anybody who is as connected as you are. Being as deeply connected to the ocean as you are, how do you square both happiness and sadness when it comes to the issues it faces?

Nainoa Thompson: My draw to the ocean is because I fell in love with it. I fell in love with it because of just the infinite beauty of life itself. It was the definition for me.

Through my journey around the world, we’re recognizing how much we’ve hurt the earth. We made a trip to Palmyra, sailing eleven hundred miles, a number of years ago, and we didn’t even get a single [fish] bite. It was like an empty ocean. We get a sense of the life not just by what’s in the oceans but by what’s in the air, the seabirds. It’s just clearly diminished.

AM: You have that visceral sense that it has been degraded, that there’s fewer fish, fewer birds. I’ve heard this from other sailors as well, lifelong sailors with many crossings, that say that sometimes there’s a sense of dread and loneliness that they feel now, because it seems so depleted.

NT: Yet when we got to the southern tip of Madagascar and the coast of South Africa, oh my God, it was one of the most amazing experiences I ever had.

AM: It’s teeming?

NT: It was like “Avatar” truly. There was so much bioluminescence. You could see so much. You could actually see small fish pass through the waters at night. It was just amazing. Then you get up to Cape Town, and it’s just teeming with those super pods of whales. We’ve seen the brilliance of life, too. We’ve seen just the amazing, amazing power of the ocean in certain spaces. We’ve also seen the emptiness.

AM: Tell me about what you actually see out there in terms of plastic pollution.

NT: What’s good about the deck of the canoe, because we’re not sailing with instruments, it requires the navigator to constantly be observing. They’re looking at the surface of the oceans all the time. It depends really on the conditions of the ocean to see plastics. If it’s windy and rough, they could be there, you just can’t see them. I’ll tell you, when you come in close to some of these countries, and I don’t want to blame any of the countries, but it’s pretty appalling, the amount of stuff that’s just thrown into the ocean with no regard.

AM: The science shows about 8 million metric tons a year going into the ocean. We’re putting as much plastic in as we’re pulling tuna out. There is already one hundred and fifty million tons in there. In ten years or so there will be two hundred and fifty million tons unless we do something.               

You spend a lot of time talking to leaders. I know that you had Ban Ki-moon on your boat. You talk to senior officials in the countries that you go to, and heads of state. Do you also talk to them about really concrete action?

NT: Many times what I do, like with the United Nations, it’s really trying to make connections between organizations and working with the leaders to try to bring some kind of larger unity to the movement of things like the Pacific Islands and the health of the ocean,  climate change, and all these kinds of issues. I’m trying to convene, and I’m trying to bring people together. I think that’s part of the equation to really have success.

AM: What is your journey for the next eleven months?

NT: Once we reach Montreal, we will start heading south towards Florida, and once we are in the Caribbean, we’re looking for inspiring stories as we make our way toPanama. In the Pacific side of Panama, we’re going to go out to at least Cocos Island, Galapagos, probably Ecuador. From Ecuador we go down to Rapa Nui (Easter Island) to Polynesia. Then we go to Pitcairns, Marquesas. Then down to Tahiti.

The voyage home from Tahiti to Hawaiʻi is really a mechanism to unify Pacific leadership around the key issue of protecting the oceans.

You need to come with us.

AM:  I would love to!

 

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