Photo Restaurante Praia Arrifana ©
Michelle Cassar is a long-time reader of this blog and committed anti-plastic activist, although I’m not sure she would actually call herself an activist, nor anti plastic. She’s also a surfer, photographer, and world traveller who has been living in Portugal for quite a while. Back in 2011, she sent me a list of the over 10,000 plastic items she had refused since beginning her plastic-free life. And now, she’s helping others to refuse plastic by working with a local restaurant to eliminate plastic cups. Here is the story in her own words. Read, enjoy the beautiful photography, and be inspired!
(Por favor, vá para baixo para a versão Português.)… Read the rest
I’ve seen this picture of Kamilo Beach on the Big Island of Hawaii a million times in the past six years. It’s shocking. But not as shocking as seeing a plastic-covered beach up close live and in person like I did yesterday during Kokua Hawai’i Foundation’s Coastal Cleanup Day event at James Campbell National Wildlife Refuge on the island of Oahu.
When I first entered the area, I didn’t see much…
Then I looked down and started noticing microplastic particles in the sand…… Read the rest
Dr. Marcus Eriksen of 5 Gyres, an organization dedicated to researching ocean plastic pollution, has said, “If you want to clean the gyre, clean your beach.” He meant it literally, since “if we stop adding more plastic to the ocean, in time the gyres will kick out the plastic pollution they currently hold.” But I choose to think of the statement metaphorically. Spending a morning cleaning plastic from a beach or river bank or roadway doesn’t just remove a fraction of plastic trash from the environment, it heightens our personal awareness of the problem and gets us in touch with the physical reality of plastic pollution — both beautiful and terrible. We understand how vast the problem is compared to our tiny efforts at mitigation. Sure, we might feel overwhelmed. But hopefully, the exercise can our revitalize our commitment to reducing plastic at the source.
Yesterday Morning at Damon Slough
… Read the rest
Yesterday morning, I showed up at San Francisco City Hall to testify in favor of broadening the City’s plastic bag ban and discovered that no matter how many times I speak in public, I still get nervous every single time! But sitting in the audience with Eli Saddler from Ocean Health, and looking around at all my other friends from the environmental community (Save the Bay, SF Surfrider, and others) I knew that the butterflies in my tummy didn’t matter. I was prepared with incriminating photographs (see below) and supported by a lot of other committed activists.
Here’s the scoop: Back in 2007, San Francisco passed legislation banning plastic bags from large grocery stores and pharmacy chains. They had initially wanted to charge a fee for them but were stymied by the plastic bag lobby on the state level and had to resort to an outright ban. According to the Department of Environment, that ban resulted in an 18% reduction in plastic… Read the rest
Monday, I went down to Lake Merritt in Oakland to take pictures of plastic litter for my book. I’m happy to report that I didn’t see much overflowing trash, plastic or otherwise; but I did see some. And I snapped a few pix.
On my way back to the car, I knelt down to the ground to take a photo of this loose plastic baggie:
As I got up to leave, I heard a low voice that said, “Pick it up.”
Wow, I thought, my conscience is really getting loud these days. Normally, I would have picked up as much trash as I could, but that day I was in a hurry and didn’t have time. Plus, I rationalized that I was already raising awareness of the problem through my book and photos, so it would be okay to leave this trash this time. Still I hesitated.
The voice repeated, “Pick it up.”
Wait a minute. Did I really hear that? I turned around and saw a raggedy, derelict looking guy standing about twenty feet away watching me through dark glasses. He said,… Read the rest
Last week I learned that you don’t have to travel to Kamilo Beach in Hawaii or Midway Island to find mounds of plastic trash. No, there’s plenty of it just up the California coast at Kehoe Beach, part of the Point Reyes National Seashore. And I got to see it.
Artists Richard Lang and Judith Selby spend their weekends gathering mounds of plastic trash from Kehoe Beach.
From a distance, Kehoe looks pristine. In fact, there are some days when Richard and Judith are all alone on the beach. So you wouldn’t imagine there would be much trash, especially in Marin County where folks are a pretty green bunch. But get closer, and you’re in for a disheartening surprise.
Because of ocean currents, Kehoe ends up a plastic waste dump every year. And Judith and Richard come there to mine the beach for art supplies and help educate people about plastic pollution. I was fortunate to hang out with them last Monday and collect some plastic trash myself.… Read the rest
I’ve been meeting just the trashiest people in the last couple of weeks. Um… trashy in a good way.
I met Sara Bayles after the Blogger Beach Cleanup on October 24. You know, the one I missed. Sara’s blog, The Daily Ocean, tracks her goal of collecting trash on the beach in Santa Monica, CA for 365 days. She’s currently completed Day 72 and already collected 336.13 pounds of trash ALL BY HERSELF. And get this: she only collects trash for 20 minutes each day. That’s a lot to collect in a very short amount of time.
Sara is a ceramics teacher and told me that while always wanted to participate in an organized beach cleanup, she routinely found herself working and was never able to make it to one of them. So when she moved close to the beach this February, she took it upon herself to create her own beach cleanup program and invite others in the community to join her. So far, the community has collected an additional… Read the rest
I’m here in Waikiki with my family. The purpose of the trip: helping my parents. The reality of the first few days: recreation. Much needed. Walking on the beach. Climbing Diamond Head. Playing games and eating ice cream. But one thing I notice everywhere I turn: plastic. Plastic bottles and plastic trash lying on the ground. But also tiny plastic pieces that have washed up on the beach. Here are a few photos. Beautiful vistas that become heartbreaking on closer inspection. (Click on any photo to see larger.)
Diamond Head — from a distance…
From a distance…
From a distance…
Bellows Beach Park — from a distance…
Up close, the sand is infused with tiny pieces of plastic that wash up all down the beach.
Last night, we had dinner at the food court in the International Market Place. All the vendors serve food on Styrofoam plates. I circled the food court several… Read the rest
The following is a guest post from Fake Plastic Fish reader Sunny Yukon. All I can say is that I wish I were this funny!
Coincidentally I was listening to this song by The Proclaimers yesterday.
By the end of the day I fell down at my door. I was exhausted!
I helped my son with a fundraising activity his scout troup was doing yesterday evening. Roadside clean-up. We were assigned a 3+ kilometre stretch of highway, given orange vests and garbage bags, and told it should be about three hours of work for our group to earn $500. And off we went!
Three hours later, we were a little over 1/2 done. The full-sized pickup we had was filled with bags of trash. The leader said it was the most trash he’d ever seen doing this fundraiser.
There wasa bike with a trashed seat.fast food wrappersnewspaperspaper cupsStyrofoamhubcapsblown tiresgas capsgas cansplastic wrappingbungee cordswireplastic lids from paper cupsstrawsunderwearpop cansbeer bottlesflyersplastic… Read the rest
I love living in the Bay Area. Especially after reading Life Less Plastic’s post about all the plastic and Styrofoam at her city’s Taste of Chicago festival.
Here are some images from Berkeley’s Independence Day celebration at the Marina:
I especially love that the garbage containers are labeled “Landfill” and explain what goes to the landfill and why it’s important to choose recyclable or compostable alternatives. All the disposable dishware at the event were compostable. And there were water stations for filling up reusable bottles.
The “greening” of this event was the doing of my friend Mary Munat, aka Green Mary. In February, I wrote about Janice Sitton, my event greener friend in San Francisco. Mary is my other event greening friend, and she’s been doing it since 2000. Here’s how she got inspired to do this work, excerpted from her web site:
Mary’s epiphany came … Read the rest