Sunday, October 31, 2010

Jumping on Ship

As an attempt to come up with the funding necessary for me to join 5Gyres and Pangaea Explorations, I'm jumping rope for cash. check it out.
I'll jump 100,000 times to raise $10,000 necessary to join the research crew sampling plastic on the first every transect from Brazil to S. Africa sampling for plastic marine debris.

Why is it so important? There are 5 major gyres in our world ocean and they have a reputation for accumulating our plastic thousands of miles away from any land mass. Because we don't see it, we don't know its there. If we don't know its there, we can't know the negative impact. We can't fix what we don't know is broken. And our mass production and overuse of plastic is a broken system. If we don't figure it out soon, children will be swimming in waves of plastic fragments like I witnessed in Bermuda.

Why its a problem is because plastic is mostly chemical compounds, harmful chemical, especially #3, PVC. One of the most widely used plastics in the world is the most toxic. In fact, PVC is known as the "Poison Plastic," the plastic we use to make baby toys and shower curtains. " Did you ever wonder what that smell is when you open a packaged new shower curtain? That is harmful chemicals off-gassing into your lungs. It get into our water and our marine life. Research done by Dr. Roger Payne on over 900 whales, all contained PVC compounds.

Following a national campaign by the Center for Health, Environment and Justice (CHEJ) and other environmental groups, PVC is slowly being eliminated from our store shelves, but is far from gone. PVC often contains lead and pthalates, which have been linked to reproductive problems in humans and release carcinogens when incinerated." (4 Things not to Buy at Target)
Follow us across the S. Atlantic – it promises to be an education, an adventure, and a first!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Letting the Fox out of the Bag

So I probably haven't mentioned that I ride a motorcycle. Some would tease, if it isn't a Harley its a glorified motorized bike. I like my little Honda Rebel 250 for one because it gets about 80 miles to the gallon. It's my only mode of transportation and is plenty enough hog for me. But after today, I maybe having a change of heart.

My new found motorcycle friends all ride Harleys. On Saturdays the owner of Carolina Coast Harley-Davidson, Rick Noyes, provides free hot dogs and soda at his Market Street store in Wilmington and that is where you will often find my friends. This Saturday was no exception, but what they witnessed was. Crossing six lanes of very busy traffic came a small gray fox, which was feat enough, only this little guy had a plastic bag completely over its head. According to my friends, it could barely see as it made its way passed them and headed toward the back of the shop where they lost sight of him.

"Don't tell Bonnie," said LT Hines, "What ever you do." Butch Barnhardt told Bonnie and sure enough they all had a good laugh when I said "let's go find it." Butch was the only taker and he whined the whole way. "What are we gonna do if we find em?" Planless, he still couldn't stop me.

I wandered around along a hedgerow near where they last saw the fox. I found 12 plastic bags of all shapes, sizes, and brandings in just 10 square feet and thought, "no wonder." Now days, we find more plastic on the roadside than wild flowers, or wild anything for that matter, and maybe it is the fact that not only are people crowding out nature, but plastic debris is too. Anyway, we came up upon the owner's son who not only saw the poor traumatized fox, but took matters into his own hands. He and another co-worker corralled the fox. With one guy in front, Rick's son pulled the bag off of its head! He explained how there was so much moister inside the bag from the fox breathing that it was all fogged up. The bag had something sticky like candy that matted into its hair and caused it to stick even more - probably what the fox was looking to eat in the first place. check out this video:!/video/video.php?v=485673523407

So here is why the issue of over-use of one time use plastics is so important to me. We have no idea how many animals are maimed and die slow painful deaths due to our inability to manage plastic waste. And the worst part is, this plastic is a resource! Its petroleum energy that we can either recycle into other useful items, burn for electricity, or turn into gasoline. Instead of doing damage, it could be helping our energy crisis. If that doesn't convince you, how about this. Try not to use one time use items like plastic bags because they are made out of petroleum. By doing so we could use the petroleum for better uses. And if you have to use bags, recycle them at your local grocery store, but don't throw them away or let them get away into the environment.

Just a reminder, please support my research into the South Atlantic Gyre sampling nearly 3500 nautical miles from Brazil to Cape Town, South Africa. This research in conjunction with and educates the masses on the problems with plastic especially on animal life. We leave in less than a month - please visit and click on donate!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Week Without Food Wrapped in Plastic

If you're looking for a good way to lose weight, try to eat foods untouched by plastic. In keeping with Fake Plastic Fish and It Starts with Me blogs, I attempted to take on their challenge - A week without food wrapped in plastic. Unlike Danielle Richardet, who has a husband and small children, I only had to fend for myself. So while she was planning meals around the plastic obsticle course and learning how to make almond milk from scratch weeks before, I was working on how to raise $10,000 for my upcoming 4000 mile voyage in the South Atlantic. Needless to say, when the week of deprivation started, I was scrammbling to find anything that wasn't wrapped in or poured out of plastic. The latter one being an even bigger challenge. About my only true dependency is half and half creamer for my coffee. Try to find one that doesn't have a silly plastic spout. About three days into the challenge, I found Sealtest uses a carton the old fashion way, no plastic liner, no plastic cap, and spout. It was at Fresh Market where I also picked up organic carrots bound by a rubberband, soups in glass jars and metal lids, and canned soups and fruit without the plastic BPA lining. My cart was a work of art!
What I did learn was seldom does our food go without touching plastic at one point or another. For example, Fresh Market had beautiful stakes in their meat case. I seldom eat meat, but this looked tempting. I asked to have it wrapped in butcher paper and explained why. "Oh, lady, all of our meats are shrink wrapped in plastic when they are shipped to us." Okay, never mind. I went on to the breads. Spying some french bread wrapped in paper, I pulled a sleeve out of the wooden basket and sure enough, there was a plastic window on the sleeve of paper. For real? I then went back to the counter asking if they had any bread in the back that I could buy that wasn't put in a paper sleeve yet. "Oh, lady, we get all our bread dough sent to us in plastic bags, we then bake them here." Ugg. I moved on. I found myself in front of the bulk food items with brown paper bags in hand and as I started to scoop, my daughter said, "Aren't those bins plastic?" I had to compromise on this one.

I visualized what it must be like first thing in the morning just at Fresh Market. Bags from bread and desserts being tossed as trays are filled being readied for the oven. Bag after bag of individually wrapped cuts of meat sliced opened then quickly tossed. Cheeses, fruits, vegetables, unbagged for the display case.

What I realized is that this plastic use issue has many tiers. The amount of plastic waste before we get it to our store shelves has to be astronomical. It's no wonder it ends up every where. So, how we can reduce some of this use is buying in bulk, choose not to use single wrapped items (that are most often over processed), and look hard for the things you like that are devoid of plastic. You just might find there are businesses out there that share the same value.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

In the News

These are the groups Jennifer and I have had the pleasure to connect with. Next month I will be collaborating with most of them - 5Gyres, Algalita, Pangaea in an open ocean voyage across the South Atlantic. All of them have been making a splash in the media!
Awesome interview with 5Gyres' Anna Cummings and Marcus Eriksen on Eco Company - a national TV show.

A few weeks ago I wrote about the amazing research done by Sea Education Association from Woods Hole, MA and what they have been reporting in regards to plastic in the marine environment will blow you away. Recently, they were in the National Geographic Daily News. Check out the trigger fish that had 47 pieces of plastic in its stomach.

Algalita Marine Research was highlighted in Trash Inc: The Secret Life of Garbage