April 27, 2011

MBNMS Sanctuary Advisory Council Unanimously Approves Historic Resolution to Ban Plastic Bags!

Save Our Shores has been working with Oceana on this joint news release:

The Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary’s (MBNMS) Sanctuary Advisory Council (SAC) last week unanimously approved a resolution to support citywide, countywide, statewide, and even national bans on single-use plastic bags to decrease the threats that plastic bags pose for marine species and ocean habitats. This historic resolution marks the first such statement by a Sanctuary Advisory Council in the nation, with members representing business, recreation, fishing, tourism, agriculture, scientists, and conservation interests.

Says Dr. Geoff Shester of Oceana, the conservation representative on the SAC who authored the resolution, “Unanimous approval of this Resolution from such a broad group of stakeholders sends a strong message to decision-makers and legislators that plastic bags are a serious and preventable form of ocean pollution. Clearly, reusable bags are readily available and economically viable, so the time is now for our state legislators and regional leaders around the Sanctuary to take action.”

"Many marine animals are susceptible to impacts from litter and other types of pollution, and several organizations have documented the negative effects that ocean pollution can wield upon our marine environment. I commend the Sanctuary Advisory Council's Resolution to support bans on single-use plastic bags. I appreciate everyone's support in taking this step to improve the health our oceans, and to protect the waters of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary," says Paul Michel, Superintendent of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

The Resolution recognizes that plastic bags threaten a variety of marine life including whales, sea otters, pinnipeds, sea turtles, and sea birds through ingestion, choking, infection and/or entanglement. Of particular concern are the endangered Pacific leatherback sea turtle populations that migrate across the Pacific Ocean from Indonesia to feed and mistake plastic bags for jellyfish, their primary food source in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Lauren Gilligan of Save Our Shores, who sits on the SAC as an alternate to the conservation seat, says, “Save Our Shores has removed over 26,000 plastic bags during beach and river cleanups since the summer of 2007, and has been working on local bans on single-use plastic bags for years now. With the SAC’s Resolution on our side, support from the community will only continue to grow, and that’s what we need to get these bag bans adopted.”

The Central Coast Sanctuary Alliance (CCSA), recently founded by Save Our Shores, is increasing support for local bans on single-use plastic bags around the Sanctuary through advocacy, outreach, and gathering petition signatures. The CCSA is made up of over 40 organizations and business, including SOS and Oceana, and is asking local businesses to get behind this issue by signing on as a Supporting Business or Supporting Member.

The Resolution also supports the efforts of local businesses to transition away from single-use plastic bags, as well as any efforts to remove plastic bag litter from the shores, rivers, and waters of the MBNMS. The full resolution can be found at here...

About Save Our Shores:
Save Our Shores is the Central Coast leader in caring for the marine environment through ocean awareness, advocacy and citizen action. Our core initiatives are Plastic Pollution, Clean Boating, and Ocean Awareness. Over the last 30 years, Save Our Shores helped to establish the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, prevent offshore oil drilling and cruise ship pollution, and today focuses on educating youth about our local watersheds, tackling pollution on our beaches and rivers, implementing our renowned DockWalker program, and providing our community with educated and inspired Sanctuary Stewards. For more information visit: www.saveourshores.org.

About Oceana:
Oceana is the largest international advocacy group working solely to protect the world’s oceans. Oceana wins policy victories for the oceans using science-based campaigns. Since 2001, we have protected over 1.2 million square miles of ocean and innumerable sea turtles, sharks, dolphins and other sea creatures. More than 500,000 supporters have already joined Oceana. Global in scope, Oceana has offices in North, South and Central America and Europe. To learn more, please visit www.oceana.org.

April 20, 2011

One Year After the BP Oil Spill in the Gulf - Take Action for Change

One year ago today, the BP Deepwater Horizon offshore oil rig exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, taking the lives of 11 workers, and eventually thousands and thousands of marine animals.

Unlike the families who lost their loved ones, and the industries and livelihoods that continue to suffer today from this disastrous tragedy, BP survived the hatred of millions, and has recovered just fine, recently reporting fourth-quarter profits of $5.6 billion, a 30% increase from the same quarter a year ago.

The world seems to be screaming for renewable energy, but little is actually happening on a federal level. BP is exploring oil drilling opportunities in Indonesia, China, Australia, and India, and has entered into controlling-interest deals in Brazil, as well as pushing for exploitation in the Arctic Seas. And that's not all, BP will continue to drill and drill and drill in the Gulf of Mexico, where they are the dominant controlling force and have been for years.

There was a conversation circulating after the BP spill last year - it was hopeful, it was backed by the feeling that this environmental tragedy would finally be the catalyst for real change, that support for clean, available, achievable renewable energy would grow and grow among citizens, our legislators, and those in high power of our federal government. The conversation gave us the feeling that SOMETHING positive must come from this tragedy, that theres no way we'd let this kind of thing happen again.

Except that's not what happened. There have been oil spills since the BP disaster. There have been record profits attained by almost every company in the oil business. The women who lost their husbands on the oil rig that day have seen zero compensation. Read more...

What can we do?

Support change. Advocate for change. Take Action for change locally, at the state level, AND at the federal level. Then spread the word!

April 18, 2011

Earth Day Cleanups Prevent 2,417 lbs. of Pollution From Entering Monterey Bay

In conjunction with the Santa Cruz Earth Day Festival in San Lorenzo Park, Save Our Shores staff, Sanctuary Stewards, and 193 community volunteers banded together on Saturday, April 16th, to prevent a total of 2,417 pounds of pollution from entering the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in honor of Earth Day this year. Both cleanups offered community members a real hands-on opportunity to Take Action for Earth Day.

The San Lorenzo River Cleanup gathered 82 volunteers who prevented a total of 2,300 pounds of pollution from entering the Sanctuary in under four hours. Of that, 1,800 pounds were trash and 500 pounds were recycling, which included 3 shopping carts, 5 tires, a washing machine, and lots and lots (and LOTS) of plastic.

The Cowell and Main Beach Cleanup gathered 119 volunteers who prevented a total of 117 pounds of pollution from entering the Sanctuary in under 3 hours. The volunteers included fans and representatives from KDON radio station, a rugby team, UCSC students, and local families -all working together to remove 86 pounds of trash and 31 pounds of recycling from the popular tourist beach downtown. KDON even surprised beach cleanup volunteers by raffling off a composter - graciously won by a group of UCSC students!

Volunteers at Cowell and Main Beach removed an impressive 2,667 cigarette butts – a mere fraction of what washes into our oceans throughout the year. Cigarette butts are the #1 littered item around the world. Read more about cigarette butt pollution on our webpage...

Meanwhile, the Santa Cruz Earth Day Festival featured live music, sustainable goods, workshops on composting and graywater options, plenty of hoola-hooping and arts and crafts fun for the kiddos, and free rides on the pedicab.

Andrew, our coordinator of volunteer programs here at Save Our Shores said: "The number of volunteers who came out today and the amount of trash they collected only tell part of the story. Each volunteer who pitched in today experienced a connection to our ocean and watersheds. That is what Earth Day is about and that is what Save Our Shores is all about."

Emily, our program manager who managed the river cleanup effort said: "With the recent storms that have been bringing extreme high tides and large amounts of rain, were concerned with the amount of debris accumulating on our beaches and in our riv
ers. That's why we were excited to build off the momentum of Earth Day to garner more volunteer support than ever before for our Santa Cruz Earth Day Festival Cleanups."

Together, the cleanups successfully kept 2,417 lbs. of pollution from entering our Sanctuary, and that, my friends, is the kind of news to make our Mother Earth proud.

And on the eve of the official Earth Day holiday this week, meet Save Our Shores at Santa Cruz Mountain Brewing this Thursday, April 21st, for 'Beers for the Ocean - Take 2'! A beer-drinking benefit for Save Our Shores, your local ocean advocates.

April 13, 2011

Gearing up for the Santa Cruz Earth Day Festival & Beyond

Calling all volunteers! It's time to get outdoors & give back for Earth Day.

Take Action in Santa Cruz - bring your family and friends or come alone - the health of our coastal community depends on you.

On Saturday, April 16:
  • Volunteer from 10am-1pm at the San Lorenzo River Cleanup
  • Volunteer from 10am-12pm at the Cowell/Main Beach Cleanup

Then, on Thursday, April 21st, the eve of the official Earth Day holiday, join Save Our Shores at Santa Cruz Mountian Brewing (402 Ingalls Street on the westside of SC) for Beers for the Ocean - Take 2! Ocean advocates, beer lovers, Sanctuary Stewards, volunteers and SOS Members will gather for 'Thank you Thursdays' a beer-drinking benefit for Save Our Shores. We'll see you there!

Take Action in Half Moon Bay!

On Saturday, April 23rd, join us for the Half Moon Bay Earth Day Cleanup & Celebration from 10am-Noon. Festivities continue into the afternoon at this family-friendly event.

April 7, 2011

Save Our Shores storms the capitol on Oceans Day!

On Monday, Emily and I ventured to Sacramento for the 4th annual Oceans Day at the capitol. We met with 12 legislators to talk to them about supporting some environmental bills we stand behind.

The main bill we were supporting is SB 568 (Lowenthal) which is the state-wide Styrofoam (polystyrene) ban. This bill would prohibit the distribution and use of polystyrene foam containers by food vendors for prepared food. It includes definitions for customers, food vendors, polystyrene foam food containers, and prepared food.

We are also supporting AB 376 (Fong), the ban on the sale of shark fins since the hunting of sharks for their fins have lead to the sharp decline in shark populations around the world.

Emily actually meet with Assemblymember Fong (D-Mountain View) and thanked him for his work on this important bill. She also met with Assemblymember Ma (D-San Francisco) who is pictured above, Senator Yee (D-San Francisco), Assemblymember Ammaniano (D-San Francisco), Assemblymember Pan (D-Sacramento), Senator Leno (D-San Francisco) and Assemblymember Beall (D-San Jose).

I had a very busy day as well, my group met with 5 legislators: Senator McLeod (D-Chino), Assemblymember Gorell (R- Camarillo), Senator Hernandez (D-Los Angeles), Senator Cannella (R-Ceres) and Senator Correa (D-Santa Ana).

Senator Correa was great to talk to, he was talking of some problems with the conservation of the Santa Ana River and how he has been trying to grow a conservation group for this beautiful river. He also took us to the Senate Floor after our meeting to take a picture, it was so beautiful and actually a lot smaller than it seems on screen.

I also got to talk to a staffer from Senator Kehoe's office to talk to them about their upcoming bill to ban copper from boat paint (SB 623). Copper has long been linked with pollution in harbors and is toxic to many marine animals and plants which is why it is used on the hull of boats, so the boater does not get excessive growth on the bottom of their boats so they do not have to clean it as often. I told her that there are many alternatives out there such as E-Paint and told her I would help out in any way I can to get more research on the subject since it is very important to us to prevent boating pollution as part of our Clean Boating Initiative.

Overall it was a great day at the capitol and we were rewarded with a sustainable seafood reception put on by Monterey Bay Aquarium where we got to hear from Gavin Newsom, the lieutenant governor of Santa Cruz and the ex-mayor of San Francisco. Thanks to everyone who made the event happen and we hope to see these bills we support get through and become law!

April 4, 2011

Save Our Shores Wins Best Non-Profit 2011!

A big thank you goes out to all of you who voted for Save Our Shores as Best Non-Profit in the Santa Cruz Weekly Gold Awards of 2011. We are honored.

Save Our Shores has been spreading roots in the Santa Cruz and greater Monterey Bay communities for over 30 years. From winning the fight to keep offshore oil drilling out of Central Coast waters in the late 70's to working to establish the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary for over a decade, the big, blue network of SOS continues to spread each year. Read more about the history of SOS here...

With a staff of only six full-timers, we would not be able to accomplish all that we do without the dedication and support we receive from our amazing volunteers and generous Members. Can you believe SOS has worked with over 10,000 volunteers since the beginning of 2009?!

Here are some of the achievements that you've helped Save Our Shores accomplish:

  • Since January 2009, SOS ran 424 beach cleanups that removed over 26,000 lbs. of trash & nearly 9,000 lbs. of recyclables.
  • We also lead 83 inland cleanups where over 32,000 lbs. of trash and over 8,000 lbs. of recyclables were removed. (See below: the next San Lorenzo River cleanup is on Jan. 29th).
  • SOS cleanups took place in different 11 watersheds within Santa Cruz County.
  • SOS now has 23 Adopt-A-Beach groups committed to cleaning their beaches at least 3 times a year.
  • SOS coordinated over 6,000 volunteers during Annual Coastal Cleanup Day 2010 in Santa Cruz and Monterey Counties who removed 20,000 lbs. of debris from cleanup sites in just 3 hours!
  • SOS was an active member of the Santa Cruz County Plastic Bag Taskforce that helped create the Single-Use Bag Reduction Ordinance now approved by both the County & City of Santa Cruz. SOS then created the Central Coast Sanctuary Alliance, now made up of 24 environmental organizations around the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary working to pass local bans on single-use plastic bags.
  • SOS conducted 240 classroom presentations to teach youth about the sources and impacts of pollution & marine debris in Half Moon Bay, Santa Cruz County & Monterey County.
  • SOS installed 12 signs on the Santa Cruz wharf to educate people about plastic pollution & proper fishing line disposal.
  • SOS installed 18 educational cigarette butt receptacles, also known as BaitTanks, in high impact areas in Santa Cruz & Capitola. Stay tuned for more on BaitTanks in 2011!
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