December 19, 2011

Save Our Shores is Looking For a Few Great Stewards...

Save Our Shores is looking for the next class of local leaders to join the 2012 Sanctuary Steward Program. Sanctuary Stewards are the core volunteer force of Save Our Shores, each one of them instrumental in advancing ocean conservation work in the communities surrounding Monterey Bay.

The Sanctuary Steward training course begins in Santa Cruz on February 21, and continues on Tuesday evenings through April 10. The course includes presentations from local experts on the ecology of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, sustainable fisheries, plastic pollution, clean boating, ocean policy and advocacy. Stewards also receive hands-on training in classroom and outdoor event leadership with the staff of Save Our Shores.

An alternate training based in Monterey will be held in April and May.

Following the training, Stewards will take the lead on Save Our Shores' beach and river cleanups, as well as have numerous opportunities to educate, advocate, and share their skills. Those looking for opportunities to make a difference in ocean conservation are encouraged to apply to the 2012 Sanctuary Steward Program.

"I had three goals for the summer of 2011: do something that would benefit my local community, be outdoors as much as possible, and hopefully learn something in the process. The Save Our Shores Sanctuary Steward program allowed me to achieve all three," said Curtis Luckado, 2011 Sanctuary Steward.
Read Curtis' post about the rewarding life of a SOS Sanctuary Steward...

"The Sanctuary Stewards Program is your chance to make a difference for the ocean and your community. Get educated, get trained, and get busy as a volunteer leader for the environment with Save Our Shores in 2012," says Andrew Hoeksema, coordinator of volunteer programs at Save Our Shores.

For more information contact Andrew, Coordinator of Volunteer Programs at 831.462.5660 ext. 3 or

Find information and applications online...

December 13, 2011

Dive the Coast Continues to Build Along the Central Coast

Dive the Coast, an idea spearheaded by a handful of California SCUBA divers in the fall of 2011, continues to grow along the Central Coast with a large group dive set for June, 2013.

Save Our Shores' own Lauren Gilligan, experienced diver and marine biologist, took part in the launch event for Dive the Coast this past October called Dive the Bay. The launch event tested the waters to help determine dive distances and times and lay plans for the larger dives planned in the coming months and years. Thanks to Raj, owner of Silver Prince out of Monterey Harbor, the divers had a great time out in the deep waters of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

With the group of divers, Lauren shared news about California's Marine Protected Areas, our underwater state parks, and the importance of supporting MPAs now and into the future. Read more...

The next group dive is scheduled for January 21.
Stay up to date with Dive the Coast on their website and facebook pages.

The background:
Dive the Coast is scheduled to take place in June 2013 and will be the largest mass dive in history. It involves organizing thousands of scuba divers to travel the entire coastline underwater, raising money for conservation organizations along the way.

The idea for Dive the Coast originated in Santa Cruz in August 2011, and participants have since been conducting outreach to dive clubs, dive shops and non-profit organizations, as well as forming partnerships to help pull off this epic adventure.

On Oct. 15, 2011, divers from five different California counties held a kick-off event in Monterey to calibrate dive distance, depth and tank time. More calibration dives and test runs up and down the coast will be held in the coming months.

The ultimate goal of Dive the Coast is to bring divers across the state together for a common goal and to raise money for conservation organizations. But it will also provide an opportunity for divers to explore areas of the state where they would otherwise not go, and gives exposure to the sport as a whole.

For more information, email Kim White at

December 8, 2011

Bring Your Own Bag Day Hits Santa Cruz on Thurs, Dec. 15th!

We are excited to announce the first ever Bring Your Own Bag Day in Santa Cruz County on Thursday, December 15!

In the spirit of holiday giving, Save Our Shores will distribute over 5,000 reusable bags to community members on Bring Your Own Bag Day with the help of our many Partner locations.

SOS will hand out custom-made, reusable canvas bags from 4-6pm at the following locations:
  • Mi Pueblo Foods in Watsonville
  • The Capitola Mall
  • Live Oak Supermarket
  • Staples
  • Scotts Valley Market
  • Kmart in Scotts Valley
  • Nob Hill

John Leopold, Santa Cruz County Supervisor, will be at Live Oak Market at 4pm to talk to residents about Santa Cruz’s progress in stopping plastic pollution in our community. Says John, "Using your own bag is a great way to help the environment and stop pollution from hitting our beaches."

  • Longtime friend of SOS Dan Haifley will also take part in the event while spreading the reusable bag cheer at the Capitola Mall!
  • 5 Safeway stores throughout the county will give away reusable shopping bags while supplies last at each of their 5 locations.
  • All 5 New Leaf Community Markets will host Double Enviro-Token Day to encourage reusable bag use and further support local non-profits!
  • Whole Foods Markets on Soquel Avenue and 41st Avenue will hand out reusable produce bags while supplies last.
  • Deluxe Foods is handing out their own bags.
  • And our friends at Charlie Hong Kong will also hand out their own bags, making this a community-wide effort supported by retailers large and small.

SOS is also partnering with the Cities of Capitola, Scotts Valley, Santa Cruz, Watsonville, the County of Santa Cruz, and Green Waste, to conduct this county-wide reusable bag giveaway.

Why? Because plastic bags are a harmful, petroleum-based product of convenience, are not biodegradable, rarely recycled, harmful to marine species, and are constantly found polluting the waterways and communities surrounding the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

“The detrimental impacts of single-use plastic bags are indisputable. From the oil needed to manufacture and transport bags around the planet to the massive amount of plastic trash destroying our oceans, threatening marine life, and contaminating our food web, this relic of the past is a wasteful contributor to pollution,” says Mark Stone, Santa Cruz County Supervisor and author of Santa Cruz County’s ordinance to ban single-use plastic bags.

Find all you need to know at:

November 29, 2011

The Rewarding Life of a SOS Sanctuary Steward, by Curtis Luckado

Guest blog post by Curtis Luckado, Sanctuary Steward Class of 2011

"I had three goals for the summer of 2011. Do something that would benefit my local community, be outdoors as much as possible, and hopefully learn something in the process. The Save Our Shores Sanctuary Steward program allowed me to achieve all three.

The weekly classroom lectures in early spring not only educated me about the many threats to our Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary and its marine life, but about the threats to marine life and oceans around the world. I learned about the dangers that plastic bags and Styrofoam pose to marine life, and was provided with avenues to proactively participate in the process of having them banned in my community.

But it wasn’t until I was out of the Steward classroom and onto our local beaches that the true value of being part of Save Our Shores became shockingly clear. I participated in beach and river cleanups in which literally hundreds of pounds of trash and recyclables were collected. I walked the docks volunteering for the SOS DockWalker program talking to local boaters about the dangers of oil spills and providing free clean up materials, and I even participated in school presentations in which the importance of recycling was passed on to grade school children.

The most fulfilling moment for me as a Save Our Shores Steward was on the 4th of July. As I walked around the beach passing out trash and recycling bags, all while encouraging beach goers to pack their trash, I was told on numerous occasions how much my efforts were appreciated, and how thankful they were for my being there.

I had a great sense of accomplishment at the end of the day when I saw those same bags being removed from our beaches full of trash that would have otherwise been left on the beach."

Written by Curtis Luckado

In early 2011, Curtis accumulated so many volunteer hours in such a short amount of time, that we bought him a cake and thanked him for his hard work on behalf of our ocean. Curtis continues to remain one of the most active Sanctuary Stewards today, and we are oh so lucky to have him on team Save Our Shores!

Learn more about the Sanctuary Steward program and apply online today!

November 9, 2011

Celebrating Over Three Years of Marine Protections around the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Do you ever wonder what’s happening to protect marine life here on the Central Coast?

Or how we’re going to revitalize depleted fish populations for future generations?

They’re called Marine Protected Areas, our underwater state parks.

For the past three years, twenty-nine different Marine Protected Areas have been set aside in local waters to conserve essential marine habitats unique to California's Central Coast.

Ano Nuevo, Greyhound Rock, Natural Bridges, and Elkhorn Slough are some of the most visited natural areas in Santa Cruz County and the Central Coast. To the south, Asilomar, Lovers Point, the Carmel Pinnacles, Carmel Bay, Point Lobos and Point Sur encompass some of the most breathtaking views the Pacific Ocean has to offer, each with it's own level of protections.

California's Marine Protected Areas limit, restrict, and regulate fishing and harvesting of marine animals and plants so ecosystems can bounce back after years of depletion and mismanagement. Join Save Our Shores in celebration of three years of local marine protections, of sustainable seafood, and better ocean policy.

For more information visit

November 4, 2011

Nov. 11 Event: Discovering the EcoMind Connection with Frances Moore Lappe & Friends

Date: Friday, November 11
Time: 6:30-9pm
Place: Cabrillo College's Crocker Theater

Featuring internationally-renowned environmental writer Frances Moore Lappe, Discovering the EcoMind Connection will be an evening of lively discussion and learning. Joined by SOS Board Member and marine biologist Wallace J Nichols, best-selling author John Robbins, and Michael Levy of Transition Santa Cruz, you won't want to miss this event!

About EcoMind:

What's In Your Head Can Heal Our Planet!

Frances Moore Lappe, author of Diet for a Small Planet will be joined by local author John Robbins, Diet for a New America, Transition Santa Cruz founder Michael Levy and ocean scientist, author, advocate Dr. Wallace J. Nichols.

Author of 18 influential books on subjects ranging from democracy to environmental justice, Frances Moore Lappe is the recipient of the Right Livelihood Award, Rachel Carson Award, Women's National Book Association, James Beard Humanitarian of the Year, as well as seventeen honorary doctorates.

Frances' Santa Cruz appearance will feature a lively discussion based upon her new book EcoMind, as a forum to share the message of personal action and empowerment with our community at a time when we need it most.

You won't want to miss this one-time opportunity to witness Santa Cruz's leading change-makers engage with one of the foremost environmental leaders of our time.

November 2, 2011

Protecting Starts with Respecting Marine Life from a Distance

A note from Paul Michel, Superintendent of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, about observing wildlife from a respectful distance:

During the past few days, Humpback Whales have been concentrating close to shore near Santa Cruz, prompting considerable interest from the boating public.

Unfortunately, the intensity of waterborne spectator activity has lead to several reported collisions with whales, resulting in significant damage to at least one vessel and the overturning of small vessels. It is unclear whether whales have suffered injuries from these collisions.

Humpback whales are protected from disturbance or injury by three federal laws - the Endangered Species Act, the Marine Mammal Protection Act, and the National Marine Sanctuaries Act. Any action by an individual, regardless of their distance from a Humpback whale, that causes the whale to change its behavior constitutes "harassment" under federal law, subjecting the individual to potential federal fines and penalties.

The Humpback whales currently near Santa Cruz are chasing prey, and recurring disturbance by boaters can affect their energy reserves and overall health. It is important that the public not crowd or surround these animals. As a rule of thumb, boaters should stay 100 yards to the side of transiting whales and should not cross in front of them, pursue them from behind, or surround them. If approached by a whale, a vessel should disengage its drive system and drift until the whale moves away.

Marine Wildlife Viewing Guidelines for observing marine mammals are available from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary has regulations protecting marine mammals, including Humpback whales, from harassment or injury. Federal and state law enforcement patrols will be increased in the Santa Cruz area to address harassment issues, and the sanctuary's Team Ocean volunteers will deploy in kayaks to explain to boaters how best to view the whales safely and responsibly. Team Ocean kayaks display "National Marine Sanctuary" lettering on the hull and volunteers will wear clothing identifying them as sanctuary interpreters.

I urge the boating community to help the sanctuary protect the visiting whales by giving them the space they need to feed and by reporting whale harassment or injury to the NOAA Enforcement Hotline at 1-800-853-1964.

Paul Michel

>Photo credit: Steve Lawson

October 31, 2011

UC Santa Cruz Grows Community through Service Learning

By Guest Blogger Julia Doloff, UCSC student and member of Praxis

"At UC Santa Cruz there is never a lack of students who are willing to volunteer their time to give back to the community and to lend a helping hand. Praxis, which is a service learning organization at College Nine and College Ten, is the perfect example. Praxis introduces the concept of service learning, which is a type of experiential education at American Universities.

Service learning employs three key concepts: experience, reciprocity, and reflection. Students actualize these concepts by volunteering with a range of organizations throughout the Santa Cruz community, such as Save Our Shores, Habitat for Humanity, and Rising International, in order to understand social justice issues affecting our community and the world at large.
Praxis students have enjoyed participating with Save Our Shores for years. The students love the opportunity to get outside and help clean our local beaches for the preservation of the environment as well as to experience the beauty of nature.

The cleanup at Panther Beach on October 15 was eye opening for many students. We found large quantities of cigarette butts, food wrappers, bottle caps, styrofoam, and an enormous amount of broken glass. It is sad to think that people could leave so much trash in such a beautiful, pristine place.

This was our largest Praxis event because it could accommodate so many people and many students jumped at the chance to go. It was educational for all the students to learn about how long it takes for certain materials to deteriorate (or not) in the ocean and enlightening to know that there are so many people and organizations, such as Save Our Shores, willing to do everything they can to help protect our beaches."

Save Our Shores sends a big THANK YOU to the Praxis team for leaving Pather Beach and our environment cleaner than they found it!

October 25, 2011

An Open Letter to Toby Keith and His Disposable Red Cup

By SOS intern and writer Sarah Cannon

Dear Mr. Keith,

When I first heard your new song, “Red Solo Cup”, I thought it couldn’t possibly be real, but I was unfortunately mistaken. I understand that it’s supposed to be funny; I get where you were trying to go with it (an ode to your favorite beer receptacle), I really do. That said, there are so many things wrong with this song, I’m having a hard time deciding where to begin. I would like to preface this letter by saying I like beer and fun maybe even as much as you do, but in spite of my affinity for a good time, I still have some issues with this song that I’m not able to excuse right off the bat.

As someone who spends quite a lot of time picking up trash at the beaches and has seen firsthand the damage single-use items can cause, I have to object to your love affair with plastic.

Plastic, even in the form of a beer-holding receptacle, is NOT your friend (although the plastic industry may like you to think it is). It’s not friends with the ocean, either, or with wildlife. Contrary to your lyrics, red solo cups are not decomposable in 14 years (in fact, they can take hundreds of years to decompose completely). Plastic never goes away; it only breaks down into smaller pieces that absorb toxic chemicals, are ingested by wildlife, and enter the food chain (ever heard of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, anyone?).

And I’m guessing you also didn’t know that the state of California alone spends around $72 million per year to collect and dispose of one-time use disposable cups (*ahem*, red solo cups) and bags? I know that political correctness isn’t exactly your thing, Mr. Keith, but I sincerely hope you weren't aware of these facts when you wrote this song. After all, I can’t imagine that you would encourage people to purchase and use items that will directly harm wildlife and the health of our environment… Just check out the stomach contents of this bird that died after consuming tiny pieces of plastic that came from sources like your red solo cup.

Although I know it wasn't your intent to promote unnecessary plastic use at the expense of the oceans, that’s exactly what you've ended up doing. I think we’d both agree that you’re no expert on the decomposition rates of plastic, but your fans are still going to take your word for it.

I’m trying not to think about how many Toby Keith fans are going to think of your song the next time they go shopping for their “beer receptacles”… but since your video is averaging around 100,000 views a day on YouTube, the number is going to be very high (and I mean panic-attack inducing high). Your song, which was intended to be fun and silly, has potentially influenced people to make a harmful and dangerous choice.

I would like to humbly suggest that in the future, you be aware of the far-reaching (and unintentional) effects that your lyrics can have. Your fame gives you a unique responsibility (and opportunity!) to have a wide-reaching influence. By doing just a little more research and being a tiny bit more attentive to the message you’re sending, a song like this could end up sending a positive message about using less plastic while still shining a spotlight on your fun-loving side; the proverbial “kill-two-birds-with-one-stone,” if you will. I mean, red solo cups aren’t even all that great! Reusable cups are way, way better (and they even come in red)!

I hope you will join me in reducing plastic use by becoming a part of the solution!

Sara Cannon

Toby Keith's lyrics promoting a disposable lifestyle in Red Solo Cup:

"Now a red solo cup is the best receptacle for barbecues, tailgates fairs and festivals,
And you, sir, do not have a pair of testicles if you prefer drinking from glass.
A red solo cup is cheap and disposable,
In 14 years they are decomposable,
And unlike my home, they are not foreclosable,
Freddy Mac can kiss my ***. Woo"!

October 12, 2011

Dive the Coast Kickoff Dive is this Saturday, October 15!

Dive the Coast 2013 will be the largest dive event in California history. It will also be the first event of its kind, where SCUBA divers come together to work toward a common goal of raising awareness concerning the growing threats to our ocean, while supporting local conservation efforts at the same time. Save Our Shores is excited to help out on the ocean conservation side of things!

The kickoff event, Dive the Bay, will take place this Saturday, October 15, aboard the Silver Prince from 9am – 2pm out of Montery Harbor. Dive the Bay will begin with a recreational fun dive, and followed by a test relay dive to calibrate dive distance, depth, and tank time logistics for the much larger Dive the Coast event. California Diver Magazine will also be on board.

Save Our Shores’ Lauren Gilligan, an experienced open-water diver, will join the group of divers for Dive the Bay this Saturday. She will give a brief talk to the group about the importance of California’s Marine Protected Areas, the ‘Underwater State Parks’ offshore where vital marine habitats and marine life are now being protected in California waters.

Registration for Dive the Coast can be found at

More information about Dive the Coast can be found at

October 4, 2011

Cleanup Data Gives Glimpse into Behaviors that Create Pollution

During Coastal Cleanup Day 2011 on September 17th, 4,584 volunteers in Santa Cruz and Monterey counties removed a total of 17,503 pounds of debris from 81 cleanups sites around the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in just 3 hours. A deeper look into what particular items were removed during the cleanup paints a data-backed picture of the habits and products that cause the most harm in the marine environment.

Cigarette butts, total removed: 36,082. Total smoking related items removed: 38,824.

SOS data reports that cigarette butts are the #1 item found polluting beaches and rivers on the Central Coast. Cigarette butts are made of plastic and toxic materials, and are seen as a major threat to marine species locally and worldwide. SOS has been spreading awareness about this #1 polluter through their publications, beach and river cleanups, advertisements, and radio PSAs. They have worked with the Cities of Santa Cruz and Capitola to install 18 BaitTanks (stainless-steel cigarette butt receptacles) in high-traffic areas, and data collections near these BaitTanks show a steep decline in cigarette butt litter by an average of 70%. Two BaitTanks are installed on the Monterey Wharf, and expansion of this program is underway.

"Cigarette butts are made of plastic and toxic materials, and are seen as a major threat to marine species locally and worldwide," writes SOS communications coordinator Colleen Bednarz.

Plastic bags, total removed: 4,750.

Save Our Shores recently celebrated a victory two years in the making when the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors passed an ordinance to ban single-use plastic bags. SOS sat on the Task Force to write the ordinance, supplied cleanup data to back the need for the ordinance, and continually garnered support for the ban from businesses and citizens alike. SOS formed the Central Coast Sanctuary Alliance, a coalition of 70 environmental organizations and local business, with the mission of banning single-use plastic bags all around the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. SOS continuously works with local leaders, businesses, and citizens to see that similar plastic bag ban ordinances are implemented in each jurisdiction surrounding the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, an often multi-year process.

Other top polluters:
  • Food wrappers/containers: 12,127
  • Caps/lids: 6,412
  • Plastic beverage bottles: 2,158
  • Straws/stirrers: 2,129
  • Pieces of fishing line: 223
  • Fishing nets: 296

"While the total number of pounds collected during Annual Coastal Cleanup Day 2011 was less this year, our data shows a consistent presence of the top polluters at nearly every beach and river cleanup we host, during every season of the year," says Bednarz. "Those are cigarette butts, plastic wrappers, plastic bags and bottle caps."

She adds: "Improvements are only seen when a change of behavior happens on land. That's why Save Our Shores works to ban single-use plastic bags and Styrofoam take-out containers in our local jurisdictions, because these items have been consistent, top polluters for years on end, wreaking havoc on our marine environment."

Save Our Shores will continue to identify problematic pollution and identify ways to combat it locally. Learn more at

“Our goal is to inspire our community to make the connection between their actions on land and the impact their actions have on our Marine Sanctuary,” says Laura Kasa, Executive Director of Save Our Shores.

Thank you to the Delaveaga Nifty Niners!

The Delaveaga Nifty Niners Golf Club put on a fabulous invitational tournament on September 13 with all proceeds from the raffle supporting Save Our Shores. Our Board Chair Sally Shepard golfed in the tournament and spoke to attendees during the event luncheon about the work and reach of SOS.

A big thank you goes out to Barb Roettger for organizing the event and to our Sanctuary Steward Jackie Nunez for doing much of the legwork that made the day such a blast.

Educational posters were even placed at each hole, providing participants helpful suggestions on how to protect the marine environment in their everyday lives.

Thank you Nifty Niners and all your lovely guests for your support!

September 30, 2011

Meet us at the Monterey Beer Garden Oct. 9th!

Saving the ocean is hard work, and it's making us thirsty!

Come take a beer break with us at Monterey Beer Garden - being held in the beautiful, stucco-walled Memory Gardens next to the Monterey Portola Hotel & Spa. Proceeds from this fantastic event benefit Save Our Shores, so you're drinking and merriment goes to a great cause - double score!

When: Sunday, October 9, 12-4pm

Where: Memory Gardens, Custom House Plaza, Monterey

Who needs Octoberfest when you have the Monterey Beer Garden?

Come kick off the fall season with a proper beer drinking event - all in the name of ocean conservation. We can't wait for this event, and to see you all out there!

September 22, 2011

A 10 Year Success Story for Marine Protected Areas & the Latest Addition

A recent study from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, examined the Cabo Pulmo National Park, a Marine Protected Area in Mexico. They saw a 463% increase in total fish biomass, the largest measured increase in MPA history! This study is pure science-backed evidence that Marine Protected Areas truly work toward the goal of revitalizing ecosystems and replenishing depleted populations of marine life.

Here in California, 49 new Marine Protected Areas in Southern California will be implemented on January 1, 2012. The area spans from Point Conception in Santa Barbara County down to the U.S./Mexico border, protects 354 square miles of state waters, and accounts for about 15% of the waters in that region.

September 21, 2011

New Leaf Celebrates Envirotoken Program & Over 3 Million Bags Saved

Join Save Our Shores for the Envirotoken celebration party on Wednesday, September 21st, from 5-7pm at participating New Leaf stores. Save Our Shores will be at the Westside market to enjoy the festivities and share some words with the crowd.

About the Envirotoken Program

It started with a simple act by Ron Goodman so many years ago. He was shopping at New Leaf and during checkout, was asked if we wanted his 5 cents back for bringing his own reusable bag to the store.

Ron wondered how the nickels added up to anything significant and thought, "Well, if everyone could donate the nickels to environmental groups, that would feel more relevant and might actually help. So, I suggested the program and New Leaf liked it. I also suggested it to Staff of Life shortly thereafter and they started a similar program."

And the Envirotoken Program at New Leaf Community Markets was born.

Today, over 3 million bags have been saved through this program, which encourages shoppers to bring their own bag and offers them a 5 cent token to donate to local non-profits working for the environment.

Save Our Shores is a proud recipient of these donations each month and thanks the community, New Leaf, and Ron Goodman for their dedication to environmental stewardship and community support!

We love you, New Leaf!

September 17, 2011

4,584 Volunteers Keep Over 17,000 Pounds of Pollution from Entering Monterey Bay

Save Our Shores (SOS) is excited to announce the results of Coastal Cleanup Day 2011 for Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties. Taking place at 81 cleanup sites from Wadell Creek in the north to the Big Sur coast in the south, Save Our Shores coordinated an impressive 4,584 volunteers during this annual cleanup event. Of the 81 cleanups, 9 were exclusively school cleanups.

In Santa Cruz County, 2,882 volunteers worked at 50 cleanup sites spanning over 76 miles of beach, river, creek, river, slough and lake to remove 9,676 pounds of trash and 2,799 pounds of recyclables in just 3 hours. Totaled, that’s 12,475 pounds of pollution removed in Santa Cruz County alone.

In Monterey County, 1,702 volunteers worked at 30 cleanup sites spanning 81 miles of beach, river, creek, and lake, to remove 4,543 pounds of trash and 485 pounds of recyclables from beaches, waterways and the surface of the ocean in just 3 hours. Totaled, that’s 5,028 pounds of pollution removed in Monterey County.

  • Total volunteers in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties combined: 4,584
  • Total trash and recyclables removed in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties combined: 17,503

At the onset of the cleanup at Cowell Beach this morning, Save Our Shores was presented with a Mayor’s Proclamation declaring September 17, 2011, as Save Our Shores Day in the City of Santa Cruz by Santa Cruz City Council Members David Terrazas and Hilary Bryant. The Proclamation states: “The City of Santa Cruz is fortunate to have Save Our Shores as an organization in our community.” Full language of the Proclamation can be found online at:

California Congressman Sam Farr spoke with volunteers at Carmel Beach this morning. “Marine debris…is a global problem,” said Sam Farr. “The neat thing about Annual Coastal Cleanup Day is that it’s an international event -volunteers in hundreds of countries are filling out the same data cards so we can get a global picture of this problem (and) SOS does a great job of coordinating this effort locally.”

Assemblymember Luis A. Alejo, at the Pajaro River cleanup, said, "It is exciting to see such a large group of Watsonville residents helping out today, understanding that the trash we find here would otherwise end up in the Monterey Bay. This is my third year doing the cleanup and it is becoming a tradition for this community to come out and help keep the trash out of the Bay."

Watsonville Mayor Daniel Dodge was also at the Pajaro River cleanup this morning. Said Mayor Dodge, "There are so many young people here today which makes me excited. Over one-third of the residents of Watsonville are under 18, so we really have the ability to live change by educating the youth."

"When thousands of local residents volunteer to clean our beaches and watersheds they demonstrate their care for what makes this area special - the Monterey Bay," said Andrew Hoeksema, Coordinator of Volunteer Programs at Save Our Shores.

“Our goal is to raise awareness about the problem trash, particularly plastics, creates in our oceans, and inspire our community to make the connection between their actions on land and the impact these actions have on our Marine Sanctuary,” says Laura Kasa, Executive Director of Save Our Shores.

Said Jason Burnett, Carmel City Council Member, came to the Carmel Beach cleanup with his 3 month old son, the youngest volunteer at Annual Coastal Cleanup Day this year. “This one mile stretch of beach gets 2 million visitors a year,” said Burnett. “We need to let people know this beach is kept clean through regular volunteer efforts like this (and that we) appreciate the good work Save Our Shores does of bringing new folks and families out to take part in these cleanups.”

Monterey County Supervisor Jane Parker, said, while at the Fort Ord Dunes cleanup this morning, “To me, the ocean is a symbol of how we are all connected. Everything we do impacts the ocean, the air, and each other, and Coastal Cleanup Day is a good time to think about that connection."

Cleanup Site Captains saw a rise in the number of volunteers who brought their own reusable buckets, bags, gloves, and water bottles to help lower the carbon footprint of Annual Coastal Cleanup Day. Save Our Shores conducts monthly cleanups in Santa Cruz County on the 3rd Saturday of each month.

Thank you, everyone, for making Annual Coastal Cleanup Day 2011 such a huge success!

September 16, 2011

September 17, 2011, is Save Our Shores Day in the City of Santa Cruz!

Mayor's Proclamation from the City of Santa Cruz for
Save Our Shores Day September 17, 2011











September 13, 2011

Breaking News: Santa Cruz County Unanimously Approves Single-Use Bag Reduction Ordinance

Just this morning, September 13th, 2011, Save Our Shores sat in the chambers of the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors, crossing our fingers that they would move forward with the local ordinance to ban single-use plastic bags from retailers and food vendors.

But we didn't know they'd be voting on it!

Save Our Shores applauds the unanimous decision by the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors today to approve a county-wide ban on single-use plastic bags from retailers and food vendors.

Why? Because plastic bags are a harmful, petroleum-based plastic product of convenience, are not biodegradable, are ingested by marine species, and are constantly found polluting the waterways and communities surrounding the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

The ordinance, originally spearheaded by Supervisor Mark Stone and diligently written by a task force that included Save Our Shores, imposes a 10 cent fee on paper bags, bans single-use plastic bags from retailers and food vendors, and encourages use of reusable bags.

Public comment and support of the ban was plentiful at the meeting this morning, where members of Save Our Shores, Environment California, Saves the Waves Coalition, Surfrider Santa Cruz Chapter, Sustainable Salinas, and citizens of the Santa Cruz community spoke in support of the ban. Carolyn Ruldolph, owner of Charlie Hong Kong restaurant, spoke in support of the ban and shared her own restaurant’s successful experience of transitioning away from single-use plastic bags.

Today, the County of Santa Cruz joins the ranks of other counties and cities in the state of California that have passed similar bans on single-use plastic bags such as the County of Los Angeles, the County of Marin, and the Cities of San Jose, Palo Alto, Los Angeles, Manhattan Beach, Oakland, Fairfax, Malibu, Long Beach, and more.

“The plastic bag problem is a state-wide issue, but because the state legislature failed to get it done, we had to move forward locally to make this happen,” said Supervisor Mark Stone at the meeting. “I thank the county staff and the task force for getting this done. In addition, SOS has been amazing and a real catalyst in this process.”

Says Laura Kasa, Executive Director of Save Our Shores, “I thank the leadership of this Board of Supervisors for taking on this issue and for diligently following through in order to protect our ocean from this harmful product.”

Save Our Shores has been working with local leaders, businesses, and residents for over two years to garner support for this ban and will continue to advocate for bans on single-use plastic bags in each jurisdiction around the Sanctuary. Contact for more information.

Another victory in the fight to keep plastic pollution out of our oceans, off our beaches, and away from marine life!

Thank you to everyone who helped pass this ordinance once and for all.

September 7, 2011

Donate $5 toward Annual Coastal Cleanup Day in Santa Cruz & Monterey Counties!

Here on the shores of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, we ALL play a vital role in protecting our ocean. But the fact remains that hundreds of thousands of pounds of plastic, garbage, and cigarette butts continue to pollute our oceans and harm marine life at an alarming rate.

YOU can help prevent this by joining the largest volunteer event on the planet – Annual Coastal Cleanup Day on Saturday, September 17th, from 9 am – noon.

Happening at over 80 cleanup sites in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties, Annual Coastal Cleanup Day is your opportunity to protect our beautiful Sanctuary in Monterey Bay.

To support Annual Coastal Cleanup Day in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties, text “SOS” to the number 20222 to donate $5 toward the largest community cleanup of the year.

Cleanup sites include beach, river, inland, and even kayak and SCUBA sites around the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. Event information, pre-registration, and cleanup site maps can be found at:

"If you have enjoyed yourself on a clean and beautiful beach this summer, Annual Coastal Cleanup Day this September 17 is your opportunity to give back to the ocean. Help protect Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties' most valuable resource – our beautiful beaches and shorelines," says Andrew Hoeksema, Coordinator of Volunteer Programs at Save Our Shores.

All cleanup materials will be provided, but volunteers are encouraged to help lower the carbon footprint of this event by bringing their own bucket, reusable bags, and gloves to help reduce single-use disposables generated.

In 2010, Save Our Shores coordinated 6,043 volunteers in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties who removed nearly 20,000 pounds of trash and recyclables from local beaches and waterways in just 3 hours, pollution that would have otherwise entered the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. With just over 100 countries participating in this massive global effort to keep pollution out of our oceans and waterways, International Coastal Cleanup Day is the single largest volunteer event on the planet.

We'll see you out there on September 17th!

September 1, 2011

Sign Up for Annual Coastal Cleanup Day September 17th!

Did you know Annual Coastal Cleanup Day is the single-largest volunteer event on the planet? Come make history with Save Our Shores!

This year our goal is to coordinate the largest community volunteer event the Central Coast has ever seen – a record-breaking Annual Coastal Cleanup Day in both Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties.

In 2010, a total of 6,043 Santa Cruz and Monterey County volunteers came together to prevent nearly 20,000 pounds of pollution from entering our Sanctuary at 80 cleanup sites in just three short hours. In California, an impressive 80,312 volunteers removed over 1,100,000 pounds of pollution from our beaches, rivers, and waterways. Now imagine what gets left behind…

Annual Coastal Cleanup Day 2011 will include 50 sites in Santa Cruz County and 33 sites in Monterey County. Inland and river sites often see the most trash, so consider registering for an underserved site this year. Let’s work together to protect our environment and create a more empowered, responsible community at the same time.

Want your business or group to be recognized as a steward for our oceans? Become an Event Sponsor! Email today.

Want to become an environmental leader in your community? Sign up to be a Site Captain! Email

The overall success of Annual Coastal Cleanup Day depends on the leadership of our Site Captains and is a rewarding way to be an environmental leader in your community with minimal commitment. You'll attend a brief information and training session in early September, arrive early on Coastal Cleanup Day to set up your cleanup site, sign-in your volunteers, and hand out cleanup materials. Whether you are a regular beach cleanup participant or this is your first time, participating in Coastal Cleanup Day is exciting and easy. For more information contact

Bring Your Own
We are committed to reducing the environmental footprint of this event and encourage volunteers to Bring Your Own reusable bags, buckets, gloves, and reusable water bottle to lower the carbon footprint of this event.

Save Our Shores Support a Statewide Ban on Styrofoam

“Capitola is a local example that bans on Styrofoam work”

We found it surprising and disappointing that the article, “California May Be First State To Ban Styrofoam Containers”, was such a negative view of the potential new state policy. Here on the Central Coast we’ve had such success with cutting down on Styrofoam litter since local bans have been put in place; since the ban in Capitola in 2007, Save Our Shores has documented a 50% decrease in the amount of Styrofoam take out containers in our beach cleanups. Restaurants and customers adapted well to the ban. No restaurant closed due to having to switch to environmentally friendly food containers, no customers decided to travel to some ban-free town to eat so that they could take their leftovers home in a Styrofoam container. The reality is there are alternatives to Styrofoam that are readily available, reasonable in cost and more practical (it’s not safe to heat Styrofoam in the microwave as it leaches the toxins into the food – how inconvenient is that?!).

By living in an ocean community, we are responsible for making sure we have a positive impact on our environment in order to ensure our community maintains strong environmental, human and economic health. Who wants Capitola Beach littered with small pieces of Styrofoam which may have come from foam cups, bowls or plates that were brought to the beach for a picnic? So as the Mayor of Capitola, I decided it was time to take the next step and propose a ban on all Styrofoam products sold within the city. Laura Kasa of SOS joined me today as we met with over 20 businesses to discuss the impact the ban would have on them. We visited Rite-Aid, Bevmo, Savemart, Nob Hill, CVS, FedEx, and others and received a positive response from every store manager we met. They all nodded in agreement, that it made sense to expand the ordinance from just take out containers to the retail products they sold in their stores. More than one store manager said, “Great, I hate Styrofoam, I’m happy to get it out of my store”.
Based on this information gathering, we find it absurd that the state would have a hard time passing a ban on just Styrofoam take out containers that won’t even go into effect until 2016. How can it be that 5 years is not enough time for anywhere in this state to phase out this harmful material? As Capitola shows, the ban did work, it was possible, it was not a difficult transition, and it is leading them to moving forward on expanding it and they are getting positive feedback from businesses about it.

The state should be looking at Capitola and the entire county of Santa Cruz which is free of Styrofoam take out containers, as real life examples that these bans work and it’s the right thing to do for all of California. I’m asking that we all take one minute this week and sign a letter of support to the California Assembly by Friday. We need individuals but we also really need restaurants to send in letters of support.

Dennis Norton, Mayor of Capitola

Laura Jean Kasa, Executive Director, Save Our Shores

August 26, 2011

Fuel the Fight Against Plastic Pollution in our Schools AND Oceans!

Did you hear the news that the American Chemistry Council's messaging made it into California textbooks?

We might not have the money or the lobbying power that the American Chemistry Council does, but we have the power to educate our youth with environmental truth, organize our community to protect and care for our environment, and to ban single-use plastic bags and polystyrene take-out containers from local jurisdiction and counties surrounding the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. And we will stop at nothing to protect our marine environment and communities from the blight of plastic pollution.

Your $15 donation ensures 1 more student will see how disposable plastics negatively affect marine life. Students who participate in the Save Our Shores Plastic Pollution education program learn first hand how to protect their environment AND their health by limiting their use of disposable plastics. Please donate today!

We attained a great victory this month after grassroots activism influenced community leaders to change their course and pass a polystyrene ban in the city of Salinas. Read the Huffington Post article on our win...

We are still celebrating this victory today, but the plastic industry will stop at nothing to pollute our rivers, oceans, and classrooms with disposable plastics and consumer marketing. Immediately after this win the media released breaking news that through a mountain of pressure and influence, the American Chemistry Council achieved a great feat of their own - the inclusion of pro-plastic language in textbooks and workbooks around the nation. Read the article on the issue and Save Our Shores' response...

August 24, 2011

Grandma, What Was Styrofoam? An Environmental Victory in Salinas, California

Authored by guest blogger Dr. Wallace J. Nichols, Save Our Shores Board member and marine biologist:

Four years ago on a summer night I stood in line at a Capitola, California City Council meeting with my friend Laura Kasa the brand new Executive Director of Save Our Shores. We were waiting our turns, along with dozens of other citizens, to share our allotted three minutes about why a styrofoam ban made sense. Kids, parents, restauranteurs, marine biologists like myself and ocean advocates like Laura each added a grain of sand to the heap of facts, opinions and passionate pleas for our coast and ocean.

If you had to take a poll right then and there, you’d say styrofoam (technically it's expanded polystyrene, or EPS, a kind of plastic) was on its way out.

But then a man in a suit and tie – the only person in the room dressed so formally – stood up. He had listened to what many in this idyllic seaside surf community wanted and had patiently waited all night for his turn to let the council know what the plastics industry wanted.

With the convincing deftness, confidence and experience of a million dollar trial lawyer he described the environmental virtues, future plans for recycling and wholesomeness of a life more plastic. He warned that a ban would cause businesses to fail and mom and pop establishments to suffer. Jobs were on the line if we excluded expanded polystyrene from the menu, and no politician wants to be responsible for killing jobs, right?

His job complete (and secure) he exited through the rear door and headed for another such council meeting.

The city council voted to make its 18-year-old voluntary ban mandatory but delayed implementation for three months to conduct surveys about enforcement and compliance. The ban eventually went into full effect and has worked out well for (almost) everyone.

Four years later, down the road in Salinas, California, Laura Kasa stood in front of the City Council as they considered their own ban on EPS containers. This time there was no man in a suit behind her. This time Kasa had four years more experience and a boatload more political savvy. And while most would have said that the inland, agricultural community of Salinas would be one of the last places to adopt a ban and that the anti-plastic pollution momentum along the coast wouldn’t reach the valley, Kasa made her own momentum.

The Californian newspaper quoted her saying that "groups opposed to the ban risk isolating themselves and becoming irrelevant in this new environmentally driven, high-tech economy, and Salinas can't risk such a narrow vision for its future. By passing the polystyrene ban, the City of Salinas will be taking a huge step forward, and making a statement that Salinas is a leader, not a follower".

A month prior, this meeting had to be postponed. It was rumored the industry lobbyists were trying to get closed door meetings with the mayor. And DART, one of the biggest manufacturers of EPS take out containers, was trying to convince the council members to tour their recycling facility – their preferred, tired and failed solution to the global mess made by their products.

That delay turned out to be just what Kasa and Save Our Shores needed. Through serendipity, she met Matthew Spiegl at a screening of an ocean film, who was interested in the issue and introduced her to folks at the Chamber of Commerce and Restaurant Association, the Old Town Salinas Association and the mayor. A letter writing campaign, non-stop networking, and a flood of media followed.

At the meeting that Thursday night 22 people spoke in support of the ban. The mayor was surprised – he had rarely seen the council chambers filled with members of the public.

“For the first time in 5 years of attending these meetings, the American Chemistry Council didn’t send their reps in suits, Dart Corporation and the Restaurant Association didn’t show up. The council voted 6-1 to pass it and I’m still in shock. It just goes to show you that sometimes a grassroots effort is the only way to make the right thing happen in a community,” said Kasa.

Some day, not too far in the future, your kids and grandkids may ask you questions like “what was styrofoam?” and “what’s a gas station?”

When that happens, tell them the story about the city council meetings in Capitola, Salinas and a growing list of communities around the world.

Tell them about how plastic used to blow and float around on the land and in the ocean. And tell them about how it used to wind up in the stomachs of animals like baby albatrosses and sea turtles. Tell them about oil spills and tar balls, smog and climate change.

Then tell them how people got organized, pulled together the best research and made smart changes to clean up our planet. Tell them how scientists and engineers figured out how to make the same containers out of materials that turn into soil when we are done using them or can be reused over and over and over again. Tell them about fearless and tireless advocates for our coast and ocean like Laura Kasa and Save Our Shores' founding director Dan Haifley.

The Salinas City Council meeting was an important tipping point in the fight to keep plastic pollution out of the ocean. In a city where jobs and budgets are tightly guarded, industry lobbyists voices are loud, issues more urgent than styrofoam abound, and environmentalists are few and far between, a clear decision was made to vote for health, community and a cleaner planet.

Some day, we will live in petroleum-free communities, free of plastic pollution. These are the first steps – these small revolutions – that are building towards that vision. Show some gratitude to the advocates, activists and decision-makers who are leading us in that direction.

Wallace J. Nichols, PhD
Board Member of

August 17, 2011

Victory! Salinas Approves Ban on Polystyrene Foam Take-Out Containers

Breaking News August 17, 2011:

Save Our Shores applauds the decision by the Salinas City Council last night to approve a ban on polystyrene foam take-out containers from food vendors. Polystyrene foam, also known as Styrofoam, is a harmful, petroleum-based, plastic material that is not biodegradable, is ingested by marine species, and is constantly found polluting the waterways surrounding the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

The ban passed 6-1 among the City Council members. Of the 19 people who spoke in support of the ban were Save Our Shores, Surfrider, Sustainable Salinas, Sustainable Monterey County, community activist Matthew Spiegl, and Carolyn Rudolph, owner of the restaurant Charlie Hong Kong, which has used biodegradable, ocean-friendly take-out containers for years. Old Town Salinas and the Salinas Chamber of Commerce were also in support of the ban that has taken three years to finally pass into law in Salinas.

Salinas, the largest city in Monterey County, was the last major city around Monterey Bay to pass a ban on polystyrene. Salinas follows the lead of Monterey, Carmel, Pacific Grove, Seaside, Del Rey Oaks, Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay, and the counties of Monterey, Santa Cruz, and San Mateo, and others, in passing this ban.

Salinas Mayor Dennis Donohue summed up the issue, “This is important to a lot of people in the community and we have postponed this long enough. The national chain restaurants will be just fine. They understand this is going on statewide.”

Save Our Shores has been working with local leaders, businesses, and residents of Salinas for weeks to garner support for the ban. Save Our Shores will continue to advocate for bans on polystyrene take-out containers and will not rest until each jurisdiction and county around the Sanctuary bans this harmful material.

“This shows just how powerful and necessary a grassroots movement can,” says Laura Kasa, Executive Director of Save Our Shores. “Salinas did exactly what we said it could do - make a statement that Salinas is a leader.”

Banning polystyrene take-out containers helps create an economic support system for a flourishing coastal economy while providing protections for our fisheries, marine animals, and environment from the ever growing problem of plastic pollution in our ocean.

August 16, 2011

SOS Pushes for Polystyrene Ban in City of Salinas

Save Our Shores has been working tirelessly to garner support for a much-needed ban on polystyrene (Styrofoam) take-out containers in the City of Salinas. Executive Director Laura Kasa, along with Program Coordinator Lauren Gilligan, have been pounding the pavement, so to speak, going business to business in order to dispel any myths, answer questions, and advocate for support of this important ordinance.

We have also been gathering petition signatures for over a year now through the Save Our Shores sytrofoam ban webpage, as well as taking part in City Council meetings and talking to local media about the issue.

After being revised, tabled, and considered by the City for over two years now - our efforts are paying off, as the City of Salinas will finally make vote on the ordinance this afternoon.

Save Our Shores, along with other supporters of this critical marine protection, are asking YOU to join us at the Salinas City Council meeting at 4pm TODAY, August 16th, in Salinas City Hall, 200 Lincoln Avenue in Salinas.

In the state of California, 47 cities and counties have already enacted their own bans on polystyrene take-out containers, including the cities of Carmel, Pacific Grove, Seaside, Monterey, Del Rey Oaks, Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay, the counties of Santa Cruz, San Mateo, and Monterey so on.

“It’s not only marine life we’re concerned about. It’s a human health issue,” says Laura Kasa of Santa Cruz-based Save Our Shores. “Why shouldn’t Salinas be banning a toxic material when all these surrounding cities have done it?”

The advocacy energy is in the air this week!

Read the press:

The Dirty Truth about Polystrene:
  • Not only do marine species commonly mistake floating pieces of Styrofoam for food, but workers involved in the polystyrene manufacturing process are exposed to toxic chemicals that increase risks of lymphoma, leukemia, lung tumors, and numerous other forms of cancer.
  • Our public health is at risk! The carcinogenic chemical Styrene used in polystyrene take-out containers migrates from container to food and beverage when heat, acidity, or fatty foods are involved.
  • In California, 47 cities and counties have already enacted their own bans on polystyrene (Styrofoam) take-out containers, including Carmel, Pacific Grove, Seaside, Monterey, Del Rey Oaks, Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay, and so on.
  • Save Our Shores strongly supports this important piece of legislation because it will help keep this problematic piece of pollution off of our beaches and out of our ocean and watersheds where it continually harms marine life and the ocean food chain.

August 3, 2011

Join us for the Toast to the Coast Celebration on Aug. 21st!

When: Sunday, August 21, from 5 -9 pm
Where: Seascape Beach Resort in Aptos

Please join Save Our Shores and your blue ocean community for the 2011 Toast to the Coast celebration on August 21st. You'll enjoy sweeping views of Monterey Bay, sip on locally produced beer and wine, and delight in a traditional, sustainable clambake dinner that includes vegetarian options. Watch the sunset on the bay then kick off your shoes to dance the night away!

Our popular Toast to the Coast Raffle is bigger than ever this year! Don't miss your chance to win these incredible Grand Prizes:
  • A private charter sail on the Chardonnay II for you and 48 friends
  • A week's stay in a luxury, townhome on the beautiful island of Kauai, HI
  • A 3 day Worldwide Diving Adventures vacation in the Southern Channel Islands of California
  • A week's stay at a 4-bedroom home with private dock on Lake Tahoe's breathtaking north shore
  • A year's worth of gift certificates to the Well Within Spa of Santa Cruz

Raffle Ticket Holders DO NOT need to be present to win. We will notify you of your prize right away!

Purchase raffle tickets by:

The 2011 Toast to the Coast will honor Dan Haifley with our Ocean Hero Award, Charlie Hong Kong as Business of the Year, and Scott Malsom as Volunteer of the Year! We are honored to award these individuals and business for their efforts to promote healthy oceans and a thriving Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary!

Pressure Mounts Over City of Salinas Styrofoam Ban

Editorial by Matthew Spiegl, Salinas Attorney and Community Activist:


Polystyrene beach litter is set to surpass lettuce as the City of Salinas’ biggest visible export if the Salinas Valley Chamber of Commerce and a small handful of other “anti-government” individuals and disinterested City Councilmembers get their way.

The Counties of Monterey and Santa Cruz already have bans on polystyrene foam food containers, as do the Cities of Monterey, Pacific Grove, Carmel, Seaside, Del Rey Oaks, Santa Cruz, Capitola, Watsonville, and Scotts Valley. Despite the bans that are already in place in these near-ocean cities, polystyrene litter continues to wreak havoc with the shoreline and marine life of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary. As the biggest City on the Central Coast, Salinas also looks to be the biggest single source of the polystyrene litter that is making its way onto the beaches and into the waters of the Marine Sanctuary itself. There are people in the City of Salinas who can put pencil to paper, but who still lack the vision to see how a polystyrene ban can enhance the image of the City. The Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce certainly understand how Salinas’ polystyrene litter problem directly affects their image and, unlike the Salinas Chamber, are voicing their support to the Mayor and City Council asking that the City of Salinas support and pass the proposed ban.

I had the good fortune to meet Laura Kasa of Save Our Shores over the Fourth of July weekend. When she asked me if I could help her get connected with some folks in Salinas and businesses who will support a ban on polystyrene foam food containers, I couldn't say no. From there the synergy just flowed between us to drive this polystyrene ban toward passage, and along the way, we have drawn in more new people with each new meeting.

There is a real renaissance taking place in Salinas with new leaders in elected office, private business, civic organizations and at the neighborhood level as well. This is about the residents taking their city back and reclaiming their neighborhoods and insisting on progressive policies toward the environment and the economy as coexistent, not competing, interests. This is about environmental justice and it is not extreme, it is mainstream, and it is the new face of "Main Street" all across California. It is time to start thinking of Salinas as a "Gateway" to the Bay and the National Marine Sanctuary. It is time to step up to our stewardship responsibility, to embrace the coast as our own, and to protect it. It is good for our image as a City, it is good for the environment, it is good for the economy,

it is most definitely good for the health and future of our children, and it is good for Big Ag as well - people want to see slices of radicchio in their salad, not bits and pieces of polystyrene plastic.

Groups opposed to the ban risk isolating themselves and becoming irrelevant in this new environmentally driven, high-tech economy, and Salinas can't risk such a narrow vision for its future. We need to adopt bold strategies, and look to such innovative and forward thinking organizations as the Silicon Valley Leadership Group for a new way of thinking, and a new model for success. By passing the polystyrene ban, the City of Salinas will be taking a huge step forward, and making a statement that Salinas is a leader, not a follower.

Please attend the Salinas City Council Meeting on Tuesday, August 16th to voice your support.

Editorial by Matthew Spiegl, Salinas Attorney and Community Activist

With help from Laura Kasa, Executive Director, Save Our Shores

July 27, 2011

Get Your Groove on With Shady Groove and Slugs N' Roses this Sat, July 30th!

Shady Groove & Slugs-N-Roses Benefit Show for SOS

When: Sat, July 30, 7:30pm

Where: Don Quixotes, Felton (map)

The Wheel Company presents Shady Groove and Slugs-N-Roses for their first ever concert benefit for Save Our Shores up at beautiful Don Quixotes in Felton!

Get your tickets in advance at Streetlight Records or Don Quixotes, or right there at the door during the night of the event, then prepare to get your groove on in the name of clean beaches and ocean conservation around Monterey Bay!

Save Our Shores thanks The Wheel Company for their generous contributions through this fun, informal community fundraising event!

July 22, 2011

Great News: CA Supreme Court Rules in Favor of Bag Bans

Last week, on July 14th, the California Supreme Court ruled in favor of the City of Manhattan Beach in the case challenging their city's ban on single-use plastic bags.

This monumental ruling proclaims that state of California law does not make it mandatory for a city to complete a full Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prior to legally imposing a bag ban. This is excellent news for the many jurisdictions that have delayed moving forward with bag bans due to the threat of being sued by the Save Our Plastic Bag Coalition, a key lobbying group for the plastics industry, of course.

The CA Supreme Court's unanimous decision to support the City of Manhattan Beach's decision to enact a bag ban will make enactment of such bag bans more affordable and timely in the future, as EIR's can cost upwards of $100,000 to conduct and often take a year or more to complete.

As long as local bans include a fee on single-use paper bags, the ordinances are seen as a push toward reusable bags, instead of simply just a move away from plastic bags. The County of Santa Cruz and City of Santa Cruz are both working on similar ordinances that would impose a 5-cent fee on paper bags, with exclusions built in for low-income shoppers.

Decreasing and stopping use of single-use plastic bags as well as paper bags is the ultimate goal to make a positive impact on our environment.

With statistics claiming merely 2-5% of the billions upon billions of single-used plastic bags used in the US being recycled, the new green-living mantra is:


July 19, 2011

Santa Cruz Derby Girls Support Save Our Shores July 23rd!

The Santa Cruz Derby Girls have quickly become a local treasure here in the Cruz. Their stands are packed, their fans are loyal, and the Derby Girls will stop at nothing to support their ocean side community here on Monterey Bay.

On Saturday, July 23rd, the Santa Cruz Derby Girls will benefit Save Our Shores during their 'bout' at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. The event will be a fun night for locals and visitors alike, with proceeds benefiting your favorite non-profit!

Save Our Shores has been in clean beaches cahoots with the Derby Girls for some time now, as they are one of our most well known Adopt-a-Beach groups. Their adopted beach? Main Beach in Santa Cruz - and boy does it need the clean beaches energy now! Thousands of visitors to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk and Main Beach leave this popular tourist destination littered with plastic bottles, bags, Styrofoam coolers, cigarette butts, and so much more.

We are honored to have the Derby Girls on our team. Check them out on Saturday, July 23rd, at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium for the 'bout' between the Boardwalk Bombshells and the Heartless Heathers from the Rose City Rollers.

July 8, 2011

July 15th is the Covewater Classic Film Screening at the Rio Theater

Check out the Covewater Classic Film Screening on July 15th - a benefit night for Save Our Shores!

When: Friday, July 15th, 6:30-9:30pm
Where: The Rio Theater in Santa Cruz

As part of the First Annual Covewater Classic, Northern California Stand Up Paddle Championships, Covewater SUP will also host the Covewater Classic Film Screening on Friday, July 15th. Join us at the Rio Theater for a fun night out in Santa Cruz!

The first film, Destination 3 Degrees, addresses the plastic pollution issue in our oceans while chronicling the SUP journey taken by two women in the Hawaiian islands. The second film, Take Tahoe Circumnavigation, will take you on a ride on California's most stunning alpine lake.

Thanks to Scott Rubble, owner of Covewater, proceeds from the film screening will be generously donated to Save Our Shores to further our ocean conservation efforts right here on the Monterey Bay.

From Covewater SUP: "While hundreds of surf movies have made their Northern California debut at the beloved Rio Theatre over the decades, this night will be a first of its kind—a stand up paddling movie premiere night. Please join us and the rest of the ocean-loving paddling community for an event that will always be 'the first SUP movie night' in Nor Cal!"