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Potential Bag Ban for Santa Barbara, CA

January 27th, 2012

The Plastic Pollution Coalition is launching a new global initiative called “Plastic-Free Campuses”.

Students at the University of California Santa Barbara have joined the coalition to promote awareness of plastic pollution and to ban the use of single-use plastics on the UCSB campus.

The video features Danielle Russo Co-founder of the Plastic Pollution Coalition, student speakers, and newly-elected city council member Cathy Murillo who has expressed that she is in support of a plastic bag ban in Santa Barbara, which is promising!

Check it out!

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Places to Sea!

January 26th, 2012

The Great Barrier Reef

The Great Barrier Reef is the planet’s largest coral reef system located in the Coral Sea off the coast of Queensland, Australia. 

 A coral reef is an underwater structure formed by coral secretions of calcium carbonate and is home to a wide array of tiny sea creatures including fish, mollusks, worms, crustaceans (such as crabs), and sponges.

The Great Barrier Reef stretches over 2,600 kilometers (1,600 mi) and runs parallel to the coast of Queensland. Considered “One of the World’s Seven Natural Wonders”, it contains over 2,900 individual coral reefs and 900 islands!

The reef can be thought of as the “Rain Forest of the Sea” as it is home to thousands of sea creatures big and small. It is the habitat of endangered species such as the Dugong and the large Green Sea turtle.

Marine visitors to the reef include thirty species of dolphins, whales and porpoises as well as Humpback whales who migrate to the reef every year from cold arctic waters to breed.

Divers can enjoy luscious views of hundreds of vibrant corals and over 1,500 species of  beautiful tropical fish. The beauty of the Great Barrier Reef is preserved by the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park.

Although it is a protected area, the Great Barrier Reef still faces environmental threats such as coral bleaching caused by climate change, pollution from run-off, over-fishing, and shipping accidents.

Fun Fact:

Stretching over 1,600 mi, the Great Barrier Reef is larger than the Great Wall of China and can be seen from outer space!

Weekly Cuteness!

January 26th, 2012

Sea•thos- “Hey baby ‘guin.. how’s your winter going?”

Baby penguin- “Stayin’ warm” : )

Hawaii’s Big Island Latest To Pass Plastic Bag Ban!

January 25th, 2012

Hawaii’s Big Island, home to under 10% of the state’s inhabitants, became the latest in the pacific island chain to pass legislature effectively banning the use of single-use plastic bags. They joined Kauai and Maui as the third Hawaiian county to adopt such a ban.

Honolulu County stands as the only remaining Hawaiian county not to pass similar legislature.

Effective January, 17th, 2013, the law will place a fee on single-use plastic bags before outlawing them entirely.

The bill was passed with a 5-3 vote by the Hawaiian City Council. Mayor Billy Kenoi signed the bill into law despite requests for a veto as he felt the legislature is necessary for the health of the Hawaiian islands.

“This bill holds the promise of keeping our island clean, healthy and safe,” said the mayor.

The Big Island joins Seattle, WA, Monterey, CA, Aspen, CO and San Luis Obispo County, CA as recent supporters of the movement to ban single-use plastics. With continued public support and your individual pledge to stop using plastic bags, the list will only get bigger!

National Ocean Policy Released, Open for Public Comment!

January 24th, 2012

On January 19th, 2010, President Obama signed an executive order entitled “Stewardship of the Ocean, Our Coasts, and the Great Lakes,” putting an increased focus on the Federal Government’s responsibility in marine conservation. The order also created the National Ocean Council (NOC). One of the NOCs first tasks was to put together an implementation plan to direct Federal agencies in how to best use their resources for the protection and management of our nation’s oceans and lakes.

The National Ocean Policy Implementation Plan, released earlier this month, highlights over 50 actions the Federal Government will take to ensure the protection of our country’s marine ecosystems. It focuses on nine priority objectives, which include ocean, coastal, and Great Lakes mapping and observation, regional ecosystem protection and restoration, resiliency and adaptation to climate change and improving water quality.

The entire plan can be found on The White House website, here.

The draft lays the groundwork for increasing obligation on the Federal Government’s part in protecting our oceans. And while much can be done on a grassroots level, it’s imperative for our elected officials to work on our ocean’s behalf and direct the resources ($$) to do so.

In addition to reading the plan and accompanying FAQ, the public is encouraged to share their input and suggestions, which can be done here.

The public comment period ends on February 27th at midnight EST. Get your voice heard before it’s too late!

Wil-Mat Project: Reusing Plastic Bags To Help The Homeless

January 24th, 2012

For the past 18 months 89-year-old Wilma Groh and her group, Wil-Mat Project, have made dozens of mats made entirely out of plastic bags for the homeless! Groh was named “Greatest Person of the Day” by Huffington Post on January 9 for this incredible project. 

The project began as a simple way to help the homeless sleep more comfortably on the streets but the group soon realized that they are helping to keep plastic bags out of landfills (and the ocean too)!

Wil-Mat Project, which has grown to include 12 members, literally weaves plastic together to create these unique mats. The process begins by cutting plastic bags into 1-2 inch loops or rings, tying the pieces together end to end, rolling the plastic pieces into a ball of “plarn” (plastic yarn), and weaving exactly the same way as with yarn.

The mat is the size of a yoga mat, about 3 feet wide and six feet long, each using about 400 bags worth of plarn. 

As demand has grown for the plastic mat, the group has expanded their creations to include purses, tote bags, coasters, ornaments, flowers, and much more all made out of plastic bags! 

The group has sold $1,000 worth of items and all proceeds fund Storefront, a youth service which aims to get teens off the streets.

Wil-Mat Project is not worried about running out of plastic bags any time soon: not only are plastic bags distributed abundantly, but the group’s local church kindly collects bags for them and they still have 20,000 bags waiting to be turned into mats! 

Rather than supply, Groh has said that the group’s greatest need is volunteers to help. Those interested in helping out need not know how to crochet or weave, says Groh, there are plenty of tasks other than weaving that go into creating the mats.

At 89, Groh struggles with arthritis in her hands and near-blindness but these conditions have not stopped her from taking her project further and helping those in need.

Wilma Groh and the Wil-Mat Project are truly inspirational: With a little creativity, something as simple as making mats out of plastic bags can impact people and the planet in a BIG way.

Visit the Wil-Mat project Facebook page to learn more about the group and how you can help!

Source: MountHelixPatch Photos by: Eric Yates