Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Where is the Human Interest?

Roz Savage is having a time.  She rowed the first 350 nm across the Indian Ocean when her single-woman rowboat was "a-salted."  She wasn't stranded, or in need of rescue, rather she was playing it smart by doubling back in order to fix her leaky hatch that allowed salt water to drip down on her desalinater that caused it to break.  Salt water is benign in most cases except when you have to sit in it for long periods of time (I experienced that in the South Atlantic-ouch), or if it gets into electrical/metal equipment.  As she was being towed in (taking a free ride - who wouldn't) the press was hovering like turkey vultures over fresh roadkill. She wrote,"Why do they focus on the “human interest” stories when the really big news is, I suppose, the ultimate “human interest” story – what should we be doing in the best interests of the entire human race?" Roz posted this in her blog frustrated because the real story is our ocean in crisis.  Between over fishing, acidification, plastic pollution, oil spills, chemical pollutants, and cover-ups, it is in sad state of affairs.  Roz has taken matters into her own hands, literally, by rowing around the world to bring awareness to the problems facing our world's ocean.

Roz is among some of my favorite ocean warriors like Charlie Moore - Algalita Marine Research Foundation, Kurt Lieber - Ocean Defenders Alliance, Marcus Eriksen and Anna Cummings - 5Gyres.  I've had the privilege of working along side these groups.  But most recently, I have been given the opportunity to talk about my work with Algalita and 5Gyres Saturday April 30th at a reception with Chris Aguilar, a lifelong surfer, fundraiser, and filmmaker.  Chris is involved in a film project illustrating Jenny Kalmbach and Morgan Hoesterey, paddle boarders, and activists who paddled the Hawaiian Islands raising awareness to plastic pollution and money for Algalita Marine Research Foundation.  He is also raising money for victims of the Japan tsunami and is touring with his movie project.

More later,

Bonnie Over the Ocen

Sunday, April 24, 2011

It's Been A While . . .

Since my last post, I have been in Hawaii for the International Marine Debris Conference, returned to Kamilo Beach (one of the dirtiest uninhabited beaches in the world), defended The Plastic Ocean Project for my Masters, and connected with old friends as well as met some new ones.  So where do I start?

Because one of the highlights over the past few weeks was meeting Roz Savage, I'll start with her. Roz has already rowed a one-woman row boat across two oceans and is on her third at this very moment.  She is rowing across the Indian Ocean.  One of the most dangerous oceans due to pirating.   I admire her for her efforts in bringing attention to the global issue of plastic marine pollution by taking on such feats.  Not only that, she has written a book about her experiences and it came in handy when dealing with a rash from sea water I experienced while out in the South Atlantic.  I'm keeping an eye on Roz as she blogs from sea!

Jean-Michel Cousteau is yet another ocean celeb I got to meet.  What wonderful stories he had to share about his father Jacques.   Since Jean-Michel has been on and in the ocean since he was a small child and in many different parts of the world, he has witnessed the SEA change/destruction.   He shared with us in a personal interview how fish are being replaced with plastic.  I paraphrase - These days, chances are better seeing plastic than seeing marine life.

    While at Kamilo Beach with Ron and Noni Sanford, I stood on the shoreline watching the plastic roll in.  Fragmented plastics that are much more difficult to pick up than the large items they once were.  Another good reason not to let plastic get into the ocean.  Imagine swimming in floating toothbrush parts!

I also got to see some of my favorite people while in Hawaii, besides Ron and Noni Sanford, like Chelsea Rochman, and Jo Ruxton.  Jo is the producer of a full -length documentary on the problems and solutions of plastic pollution.

Returning from Hawaii, I slept an average of 4 hours a night finishing up my GLS Final Project paper as well as putting my defense together.  I defended on my birthday April 15 since The Plastic Ocean Project started on that very day three years ago when I gave a thank you speech in front of 250 people.

Danielle Richardet and Gabrielle Steele
The largest audience I presented in front of was on my birthday a year ago at Terre Theatre.  Amazingly enough, my defense had a record number of people show up for a GLS defense.  The reason?  Not because I'm a wonderful speaker, it's because of the topic.  Just as I became curious about plastics accumulating 100s of miles away from land, it affects others the same way.  I attribute it to the fact that we live on an "Ocean Planet" and we are "Ocean Beings."  Seventy percent of the earth is covered with water and about the same percentage of oxygen comes from the sea.  We are born out of ocean-like water.  We cry ocean tears, even our blood shares the same elements.  I'm glad to be done with the degree, but I will never be done trying to get people to change their plastic use.  And that includes me.

Shirley Holden and me
Yesterday, I joined Danielle Richardet, her family, and Gabrielle Steele from the American Lung Association, to do a 20 minute beach clean-up at Wrightsville Beach.  I brought my 83-year-old mother and she helped.   She's a testiment that we can all help whether we are the ones who create  litter or not.

More later.

Bonnie Over the Ocean