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Judith and Richard Lang Create Beautiful and Thought-Provoking Plastic Art from Beach Trash

Posted by on Friday, March 28th, 2014 with 5 Comments

“The opposite of beauty really is not ugly; the opposite of beauty is indifference. And we’re trying not to be indifferent about this and about the world.” ~ Richard Lang.

Plastic art

The Bosky Dell, a gorgeous conglomeration of vibrant green plastics.
Photo provided by Judith and Richard Lang.

For 15 years, Richard Lang and Judith Selby Lang have been visiting Kehoe Beach in the Point Reyes National Seashore. They collect plastic debris from a set stretch of beach 1000 yards long. Instead of sending this debris to the magical “away” land of garbage landfills, they craft the colorful pieces into stunning works of plastic art. By converting this beach waste into beauty, they expose viewers to a new perspective of human culture.

Garbage becomes art and indifference becomes realization, encouraging us to re-examine the way we look at our consumption of plastic. Each piece of plastic has a story to tell, and Judith and Richard are excellent storytellers. Their plastic art has raised tremendous awareness of plastic pollution by enticing people to experience the aesthetic pleasure of their beach plastic artwork.

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The Blue Ocean Institute and Dr. Carl Safina Encourage People to Establish a Deeper Connection with Nature and Care About Our Oceans

Posted by on Wednesday, March 26th, 2014 with 0 Comments

Our oceans contain a hidden magic. They have a special way of igniting our childlike wonder of the curious creatures beneath the waves. When we read about the ocean, see photos and videos, or experience the beauty of it in person – our minds establish a deeper connection that inspires us to care. This connection is a crucial part of making action a reality. So many of the ongoing environmental problems still occur because not enough people feel connected – therefore we don’t take action. We conserve only what we care about.

Carl Safina

Carl Safina and the Blue Ocean Institute seek to provide people with a deeper connection with nature.
Image provided by the Blue Ocean Institute.

The Blue Ocean Institute is an amazing organization that is determined to turn this around. Through books and videos, they tell the story of our oceans so people can see the beauty and be intrigued by the magic. They communicate ocean science in a way that every person can understand. By promoting hope and compassion rather than doom and gloom, the Blue Ocean Institute inspires people to make positive strides towards conservation. Dr. Carl Safina, a conservation pioneer and MacArthur fellow, founded the Blue Ocean Institute in 2003. He tells us how their passionate work encourages people to care about the sea and make better choices.

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The Daily Ocean Inspiration: Sara Bayles Motivates People to Action by Completing a Massive Beach Cleanup Commitment

Posted by on Monday, March 24th, 2014 with 3 Comments

There is nothing more capable of inspiring people to action than experiencing the contagious enthusiasm of a person who is passionately dedicated to a task. Sara Bayles has initiated a movement, one that has quickly gained colossal momentum. She dedicated herself to picking up trash from a local beach for 20 minutes a day over a span of 365 non-consecutive days, and documented her findings on her blog The Daily Ocean. Her story serves to remind us that every single person can do anything if we simply put our hearts and minds into it – and spend as little as 20 minutes a day pursuing it.

Sara talks about beach trash at the Guidance Solutions Software Company.
Photo Courtesy of Sara Bayles

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Mad as a Marine Biologist: Samantha Craven Conveys Her Passion for Marine Conservation in the Philippines

Posted by on Friday, March 21st, 2014 with 0 Comments

On the other side of the world from California, there is an amazing underwater landscape unparalleled in beauty. The Philippines are the world’s hidden secret when it comes to marine biodiversity. This collection of 7,109 islands is part of the coral triangle, one of the most diverse ranges of ecosystems – aquatic or terrestrial – on the planet. Unfortunately, the delicate coral reefs of the Philippines face many challenges including overfishing, destructive fishing, and pollution, to name a few.

marine conservation

Pollution is a huge problem in the Philippines and mad-made materials can harm delicate coral reefs.
Image courtesy of Sam Craven.

But there are people fighting for healthy coral reefs. Samantha Craven is engaged at the forefront of marine conservation in the Philippines, spending her days educating divers and dive centers on the ways that they can protect this special environment. Sam shares her passion fighting the battle to save these beautiful and fragile ecosystems.

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Plastic-Free Pioneer Beth Terry Explains How Living Without Plastic Protects the Oceans and Consumer Health

Posted by on Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 with 7 Comments

In 2012, 32 million tons of plastic were generated by the United States alone. A paltry 9% of this plastic made it to the recycling bin; the rest will spend the next few thousand years in landfills or floating around in our oceans as a deadly plastic plague. Many of us don’t even pay attention. “Out of sight, out of mind” seems to be the unspoken motto of the average American. This carelessness is costing us dearly, not just in terms of the terrible pollution of our environment, but also for our health.

plastic

Beth Terry has made the commitment to lead a plastic-free life.
Image courtesy of Michael Stoler.

One woman has taken notice and has made tremendously positive changes in her own lifestyle. Beth Terry has succeeded in living a life without new plastic. Her blog, My Plastic-Free Life, outlines her journey to kick the plastic habit and provides inspiration for others to do the same. Beth has shared her thoughts with us on the plastic pollution problem that harms the environment and our health and what we can do about it.

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BlueVoice Inspires Action Through Education: Hardy Jones Fights for Ocean Conservation Through Media

Posted by on Monday, March 17th, 2014 with 0 Comments

It can be argued that nearly everyone on the planet is touched in some way by the ocean. It’s salty waters give us life, yet we choose to abuse this generosity in many ways. Numerous human-induced perils endanger the future of our oceans and the bounty it provides us. Yet there are heroes in the conservation world. Truly amazing organizations exist that work tirelessly to preserve the creatures of the sea and to educate people about the threats facing their existence. BlueVoice stands at the forefront of these conservation organizations, fighting to protect dolphins, whales, and sharks, and raising awareness about the plight of the world’s oceans. They have taken on tremendously important issues such as the inhumane slaughter of dolphins in Japan, and exposing the detrimental amounts of toxic chemicals in the environment.

Hardy Jones

BlueVoice is dedicated to ocean conservation and strives to inform people about significant issues.
Image courtesy of BlueVoice.

BlueVoice was founded by Hardy Jones and Ted Danson in 2000 and they have made excellent strides in ocean conservation. Hardy Jones, a wildlife and conservation filmmaker, has produced dozens of films for PBS, TBS, Discovery, and National Geographic. His book, titled The Voice of the Dolphins, outlines his 33 years of experience working with dolphins and whales. Our interview with Hardy provides insight on the work of BlueVoice, the threats facing our oceans, and how media can be a very powerful tool:
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Microalgae Promises a Healthier Future for Our Oceans by Capturing Carbon Dioxide and Producing Biofuel

Posted by on Friday, March 14th, 2014 with 3 Comments

An ethically conscious business is always on the search for ways to conserve our natural resources. We strive to produce high quality products to fit the needs of our consumers, yet we make every effort to reduce waste, lessen our carbon footprint, and protect the environment. There are many ways we’ve become efficient with the former and have employed effective programs to reduce packaging, use more eco-friendly materials, and better manage large-scale recycling and composting. But an operating business needs energy. Even with ever-evolving technology, it’s tough to get what we need while contributing very little carbon emissions.

There have been recent developments to craft an exciting solution to our ethical energy dilemma. We’ve known for years that algae has the ability to sequester (take up) carbon dioxide and feed off of it, but we had yet to create a system where we could manage this process efficiently on a large scale. New research over the last few years has created great potential for us to utilize the power of microalgae – not only for capturing CO2, but also creating prolific microalgal cultures that can be harvested and used as a clean biofuel.

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Ecosystems Unbalanced: Overfishing Causes Boom in Octopus Population and Stone Crab Fishery Suffers

Posted by on Wednesday, March 12th, 2014 with 4 Comments

The many ecosystems of our oceans are beautifully built, with each organism playing a specific role. Predators and prey carry out a complex dance of life and death to determine each other’s fate. When humans enter the picture and alter even one interaction, the entire foundation of an ecosystem in harmony can be thrown off balance. The result of this imbalance can be devastating for humans and marine communities, and not always in the ways we imagine them to be.

ecosystems

Octopuses are voracious and cunning predators who have learned how to gain easy meals from crab traps.
Image courtesy of Flickr users Paul and Jill.

Off the coast of Lee County, Florida, fishermen are engaged in a battle with one of nature’s most cunning predators. Numerous octopuses have been invading crab traps and devouring the already captive stone crabs, leaving nothing but broken fragments of shells behind. Every few years, this fishery is attacked by octopuses – but in the last few years the assault of the wily cephalopods has increased in frequency and intensity of their numbers. This knowledge leads us to believe that there is likely an imbalance somewhere else in the ocean food web. Read the full article…

The Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species is Aided by Warming Ocean Temperatures

Posted by on Monday, March 10th, 2014 with 0 Comments

There are three little words that strike dread in the heart of anyone who relies on the natural resources of our oceans: aquatic invasive species. Life in our oceans has evolved over millions of years to build the beautiful ecosystems we see today. Each creature is well-suited for their watery niche – if they they don’t adapt they die. Each animal and plant has adapted to live in a very specific environment. Each one is adapted to a unique set of prey, predators, and environmental conditions, such as temperature and salinity. When removed from their habitat and placed in a new one, they either thrive or expire. Unfortunately for many marine ecosystems, aquatic invasive species have taken hold and infringed upon native habitat.

Aquatic invasive species are a growing problem. With the fleets of ships and shipments traveling from one country to another, there are endless ways for little critters to hitch a ride. A common mode of transport is the ballast water of a ship, as it is sucked up in one port and expelled in another, releasing any number of invasive larval invertebrates and fish. Their spread is unpredictable and some of our environmental conditions are able to keep them at bay. However, we are now learning some disturbing news: the spread of some aquatic invasive species may be facilitated by warming ocean temperatures associated with climate change.

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Learning to Coexist: Studying Salmon Biology Can Help Fishermen Find Cooperative Solutions

Posted by on Friday, March 7th, 2014 with 3 Comments

“Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better.” ~Albert Einstein

There is so much that we can learn from nature. Especially those of us in the seafood industry – to provide  healthy, sustainable seafood, we must understand how the biology works. In order to implement proper management, we must first understand habitat, migration patterns, mating tendencies, life span, and so on. Creatures have evolved together for millenia in a state of equilibrium. Some things die while others live; it was all in a sort of perfect balance. Now humans are in the picture, and we have decidedly introduced discord into the natural world. We sometimes forget the simple lesson – nature has already created a harmonious structure. There is still much to learn from looking at the world around around us.

Coexist

Sockeye salmon making their way upstream to spawn.
Image courtesy of Flickr User MartialArtsNomad.com

There is an intense ongoing disagreement between fishermen in Alaska regarding salmon in the Kenai River. To simplify things for the sole purpose of this article, we will nickname commercial fishermen as CFs and recreational fishermen as RFs. CFs pull in the large catches of fish and shellfish that are eventually sold at market. RFs are the small scale fishermen who only catch what they need to feed themselves and their families. Since they compete for the same resources, CFs and RFs are almost naturally assured to encounter some arguments. Interestingly, these fishermen could learn a valuable lesson by taking a look at the biology of the salmon they seek.

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