The Blog Aquatic » workout News, opinions, photos and facts from Ocean Conservancy Thu, 28 Aug 2014 17:32:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 This Spring, Create an Ocean-Friendly Organic Garden (Part 1) Tue, 19 Mar 2013 15:21:40 +0000 Guest Blogger

Organic Veggies: The Fruits of Labor. Credit: udra11 / Shutterstock

With spring quickly approaching, it’s time to think about your gardening plans. If you’d like help going organic or starting from scratch, we’ve created a guide with the help of an industry pro. This topic will be split into two segments, with the first dedicated to a how-to and the second geared toward a few reasons that might (read: should) make you change your mind about greening your garden.

I interviewed my friend, Melissa Kuzoian, who works at the Brooklyn Grange in New York City, for some tips. The Brooklyn Grange boasts the largest rooftop soil farm in the world–and it’s all organic! They own two separate lots in the city and harvest over 40,000 pounds of produce annually, grown on a total of about 2.5 acres.

That’s not all the Brooklyn Grange has to offer, though; you can do anything here from taking a general tour, to hosting a corporate retreat, a cocktail reception and even tying the knot! For New Yorkers especially, this is the perfect place to get closer to the earth while in the middle of it all.

In 2010, the Brooklyn Grange crew started a process that “took six days of craning 3,000lb soil sacks seven stories up to the roof.” Today, they’ve created a harvest haven in New York. There are always events going on at the Brooklyn Grange, so if you’re in the area I encourage to stop by and show this amazing farm some love. Want to try some of their homegrown produce for yourself? Stop by one of the restaurants or markets they partner with!

So what can you do to create your own little garden paradise?

For starters, Melissa says that even if you don’t have a rooftop or a full yard to plant your seedlings in, there are other options. “Even if you live in a small space…there’s plenty of opportunity to experience the unmatched satisfaction of growing your own food…With all of the damage we’re doing to our environment these days, its so important to do what you can with what you’ve got.” Think about creating some cute window boxes or utilizing a small part of your deck and voila! You’re good to go.

Melissa also tells me it’s important to start with some quality soil. “Good soil means healthy plants that are better equipped to combat pests,” she explains, and a good source for natural superpowers in your soil is compost. “Composting is so important!” she exclaims, “40% of our country’s food goes to waste every year; if you aren’t eating it, why not put it to good use instead of letting it go sit in a landfill? And the stuff is great; compost is like black gold for your plants.” Check out this infographic from Sustainable America to learn how you can create your own compost. You can also contribute to local composting initiatives; farmers are always willing to take in extra compost, and you’re still keeping unnecessary things out of a landfill.

You might be wondering if one particular crop is easier to grow than another. While a good rule of thumb can be to pick vegetables that are commonly grown in your region, Melissa says that “a little love and attention can go a long way. Some of my favorites that  are good for beginners include radishes, lettuce, carrots, green beans, and basil.”

Vigilance against weeds is always important (the best defense is a good offense), but you can also use mulch around them to prevent their growth. Don’t be too overzealous with uprooting them though; “try to identify what the weed is and see if you can eat it before just getting rid of it! Lamb’s quarters and purslane are two examples of weeds we have at the farm that are actually pretty tasty and very nutritious.”

Once you’ve had a successful season, you’ll want to prepare for the next. The Brooklyn Grange uses clover, rye, buckwheat and oats as a cover crop during the off-season, and Melissa explains why: “They establish root and grow strong quickly, so we can easily plant them at the end of the season to cover most of the farm…These plants are nitrogen fixers, so they can take nitrogen from the air and convert it into a form that the plant can use.” The roots are kept to decompose in the spring, adding nitrogen and making for healthier plants. Changing up where you place each type of crop from season-to-season can also help as a nitrogen fixer. As an added bonus, using a cover crop during the winter months acts as good protection against wind erosion.

That marks the end of part one, but we’ll have another green gardening post later this week that explains all the personal and overall benefits that come from an organic garden.

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This Week’s Top Tweets: January 13 – 18 Sat, 19 Jan 2013 19:12:55 +0000 Guest Blogger From insightful blog posts to huge pollution headlines, this week’s top tweets are full of information on ocean-related events. Here we go!

1. New Developments About the Cleaning Agent Used to Cleanup the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Disaster

Hearing that a dispersant is just as harmful as oil to corals is a hard pill to swallow, especially when it’s used to cleanup a whopping 200 million gallons of oil. To make matters worse, some types of coral were not able to survive in laboratory tests with the smallest amount of the dispersant Corexit 9500–.86 parts per million.

2. Pollution Levels Skyrocket in China Over the Weekend

This tweet was one for the books, as it marked a significant tangible danger posed by increasing pollution. While Beijing has already set a timetable in place for curbing its carbon emissions, surrounding cities in China have yet to follow suit.

3. Tips for Maintaining an Ocean-Minded Workout

This tweet harkens to one of the most popular New Years resolutions out there: getting in shape. If you can work at that and simultaneously help clean up the ocean, what could be better?

4.Fresh Insight on the Genetically-Modified Salmon Debate

Our new blog post caught users’ attention with the controversial topic of GMOs. Our expert George Leonard weighed in on news about well-known anti-GMO activist Mark Lynas’ switch in sentiment. George argues that we should continue to be skeptical about genetically modified salmon until more research into the effects of it are better known, and illuminates Ocean Conservancy’s opinion that the concern over GMOs is largely due to the unknown results that would occur if these fish were to accidentally be released into the wild. This hot-button issue lit up our Twitter feed, and will likely continue to do so as the deadline for public comments on the issue are due to the FDA by February 25.

5. A Cause for Celebration on January 19

With vivid descriptions of the myriad natural wonders going on right now at California’s 100 underwater parks and the annual California Underwater Parks day, it’s no wonder why this tweet got a lot of action from our followers! Learning about our aquatic life never gets old, and that is why our California parks blog post rings out the fifth spot on our top tweets of the week list.

We’ll be posting our most popular tweets next week too, but be sure to follow @OurOcean on Twitter in order to get all the ocean updates you need in real time!

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How to Keep the Ocean Healthy While Working Toward a Healthier You Mon, 14 Jan 2013 15:00:47 +0000 Sarah van Schagen a runner at the beach

Credit: puuikibeach via Flickr

Looking for some extra motivation to keep that resolution to go to the gym? How about saving the planet? It’s easy to incorporate small changes into your workout routine that will actually benefit our ocean’s health.

Here are four ways you can help keep the ocean healthy while working toward a healthier you: 

  1. Take a reusable water bottle to the gym. The average American uses 167 plastic bottles per year, and these long-lived disposables are among the top debris items littering coastlines and waterways around the world. You can help keep plastic beverage bottles out of our ocean by keeping a refillable water bottle in your gym bag. You’ll be able to stay hydrated and save money.
  1. Rethink your commute. Cars are the largest component of a typical household’s carbon footprint, burning lots of fossil fuels but not a lot of calories. Try walking, biking or incorporating public transportation into your commuting routine to increase your daily activity level while helping keep our air and water cleaner and healthier.
  1. Carry a trash bag when you head out for a hike. No matter how far you live from the coast, trash can travel via storm drains, streams and waterways out to the open ocean. If your workout takes you outdoors, pick up any litter you find along the way. Each time you squat to collect debris, you’ll be working your lower body—and depending how much you haul away, you may get an upper-body workout as well.
  1. Be a responsible boater. If your workout takes you out on the water, make sure you know how to keep the ocean clean and healthy while on the water and at the dock. Follow Ocean Conservancy’s Good Mate tips to help protect shallow reefs, keep pollutants out of the water and ensure you maintain a safe distance from aquatic wildlife.


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