Author Archive

50 Best Travel Tips from 10 Years of Travel

Posted in Hotel and Venue Reviews, Island Enthusiasts | Comments Off on 50 Best Travel Tips from 10 Years of Travel

Tips for Planning Your Trip and Booking Accommodation

  1. Get the Best Deals on Hotel Rooms

In order to score a great deal on a hotel room, you may have to be patient, be flexible, and do your research. Travelers have many different strategies and tricks for getting the best hotel room for the lowest price. For example, booking 24-48 hours may get you a lower rate, as you’re booking during the hotel’s cancellation time frame. If you sign up ahead of time on websites that alert you of price drops, you will get an instant notification when the hotel is available at the best price. Checking in at the end of the day, and discreetly asking for a corner room, will also give you the best chance of getting an upgrade for the same price.

  1. Make Friends (And Save Money) By Staying in a Hostel

If you are a young solo traveler, staying in a hotel can get lonely. Meet fellow travelers at youth hostels, which offer cheap accommodation in private or dorm rooms. The quality of the rooms or amenities may not match a 5-star resort, but many hostels have communal areas or activities where travelers can mingle and enjoy a drink.

Hostels are (usually) not available for travelers over the age of 50, but solo travelers can meet people through a variety of websites or apps.

  1. Consider Housesitting for Free Accommodation

If you are flexible with travel dates and where you would like to stay, consider house sitting or pet sitting. There are a handful of websites that offer a subscription program in order to search and apply for house sitting jobs. Most of these jobs are in the suburbs, but if you own a car or do not mind taking public transportation, you can get a nice house or apartment with little to no cost.

  1. Check The Dates Of Your Trip For Public Holidays

Different countries have different religions and holidays that may affect your travel plans. In some cases, the rates for accommodation may be higher, or hotels will book up fast. Other holidays may affect the hours of popular tourist sites or local businesses. In some countries, religious holidays may affect the sale of alcohol. On the other hand, visiting a country or city while they celebrate a big holiday can be very enriching and make your trip more special. Plan your trip accordingly, and know what to expect when you arrive during a holiday season.

  1. Read Blogs or Visit Social Media For Inspiration

If you pop your destination into Google, you may find a handful of the same restaurants, sites, and hotels in the first page of results. Dig a little deeper and get recommendations from Bloglovin or other blogging platforms. Bloggers, especially bloggers with smaller followings, are more likely to give accurate and authentic information about what it is like to travel; if they are paid by a tour or company to promote their product, they should disclose that information throughout their blog posts.

You can also use social media to find local gems and hidden spots. Searching through Instagram by specific locations or hashtags will show you pretty sites and great restaurants that you might not find on big travel websites.


Blue Planet II US Premiere Highlights Ocean Wonders and Threats

Posted in Saving Mother Ocean | Comments Off on Blue Planet II US Premiere Highlights Ocean Wonders and Threats

“One Ocean” showcases the promises of the series.

When Blue Planet first premiered in 2001, it captivated the world. The BBC nature documentary series introduced viewers to seemingly alien terrains and creatures. From the bioluminescence of the deep ocean to pods of blue whales, the world got to see the ocean like never before. It took almost five years to make, was filmed in nearly 200 locations and was viewed by more than 12 million viewers in the United Kingdom alone.

What was so unique about Blue Planet was the way it brought people together. Everyone, from marine biologists to children, could be mesmerized by the show. Scientists could marvel at the technologies that allowed documentarians to film the animals like the dumbo octopus for the first time, while average viewers could learn about the oceans from the prolific narrator, Sir David Attenborough. Personally, I still watch Blue Planet most nights as I try to fall asleep: nothing is more soothing to me than the sound of David Attenborough’s voice.


This past fall, a sequel more than a decade in the making aired in the UK. Blue Planet II was the most watched show in the United Kingdom in 2017, surpassing UK broadcasting goliaths like the Great British Bakeoff and the X Factor. Social media feeds were filled with live tweeting about manta rays, dolphins and coral reefs as almost a quarter of the UK’s population tuned in.

Now, it’s America’s turn to watch. The season premiere, “One Ocean,” debuted on BBC America and affiliated networks on Saturday, January 20 and is nothing short of a triumph. Filming for the documentary took place over the course of more than five years and approximately 4,600 dive shoots. The end result, paired with a score from Hans Zimmer, is awe-inspiring. The very first episode features a fish that can change its gender, a fish that uses tools, and a chase scene between dolphins and whales.

Many of the elements that brought viewers to the original Blue Planet are also present in its sequel- cute baby animals, spectacular cinematography, and surreal ocean landscapes, to name a few. However, Blue Planet II’s mission statement is clear from some of the first lines of the show.

“The health of our oceans is under threat,” Attenborough warns. “They’re changing at a faster rate than ever before in human history. Never has there been a more crucial time to explore what goes on beneath the surface of the seas.”


One criticism of the original Blue Planet was that it tended to gloss over the major threats that the ocean faces. From the very first episode, Blue Planet II makes it clear that it will not be shying away from difficult topics. “One Ocean” features the story of a mother walrus in the arctic searching for enough frozen terrain for her and her baby to rest on. Because of rising temperatures, Attenborough explains, the search has become more difficult. While this story has a happy ending, it leaves you knowing that many others will not.

Blue Planet II has already been called the greatest nature series of all time. I hope that America can come together like the United Kingdom did to learn about the wonders that the ocean can produce and the problems that it faces. Maybe it’ll inspire you to join a beach clean up or find out ways you can help protect coral reefs from bleaching. When you can see the vastness and life that lives in the ocean (preferably on the biggest, highest definition TV possible), it’s impossible not to care about it’s future. Join us at Ocean Conservancy as we watch the remaining seven episodes of Blue Planet II.

Find out more about the show here.

Watch the first episode here.

Article source:

St. Helena 2018: Ocean Conservancy’s Upcoming Plastic Expedition to One of the World’s Most Remote Islands

Posted in Saving Mother Ocean | Comments Off on St. Helena 2018: Ocean Conservancy’s Upcoming Plastic Expedition to One of the World’s Most Remote Islands

In a mere two weeks, Nick Mallos and I will board a plane in Atlanta for a 16-hour flight to Johannesburg South Africa, followed by another 6-hour flight across the South Atlantic to St. Helena, one of the world’s most remote islands. We will be joining Dr. Al Dove, Vice President of Research and Conservation at Georgia Aquarium, for a research expedition to explore the impacts of plastics on the people and marine life of this remarkable place. We hope to return with new scientific findings, insights into how the island is coping with tourism development and its associated waste management challenges, and incredible video footage and still images to tell the whole story. We invite you to follow us on Twitter using the hashtag #StHelena2018 to learn about the expedition as it progresses.

St. Helena, a British colony of only 4,500 inhabitants is located 1,200 miles off the coast of Southwest Africa. It is on the UNESCO list for future world heritage sites, in part because of its phenomenal terrestrial and marine life. Ocean waters near the island appear to be a critical breeding ground for whale sharks, with reproduction peaking in January-February. At up to 40 feet in length, whale sharks are the largest marine fish and unquestionably one of the most charismatic animals in the sea. But as slow-moving filter feeders, they may also be at considerable risk from the growing presence of plastics in the marine environment. Georgia Aquarium, a leading member of Ocean Conservancy’s Trash Free Seas Alliance, is dedicated to research and conservation of whale sharks, both in captivity and in the wild. Dr. Dove is partnering with Ocean Conservancy to explore if there are chemical signatures of plastic contamination in these incredible fish. Nick and I will be joining Al’s dive team to help document the fish’ behavior and collect samples.

We will be spending time on land too, to evaluate the impact of plastic on St. Helena’s beaches and nearshore environment. This past fall a commercial airliner landed on St. Helena for the first time, opening this historically significant island to the outside world without the need first for a week-long journey via mail boat. Plans are now underway to develop a tourism industry that could amount to as many as 30,000 visitors per year, with all the resource use and waste generation issues that accompany development. As these pressures grow, St. Helena could be an ‘object lesson’ in how to “get it right from the start” so that waste management doesn’t become a pathway for leakage of plastics into the ocean as it is in many other parts of the world. With Al’s introduction, we will be meeting with local leaders from the Environment and Natural Resources Directorate to learn more about the strategies they have put in place and the efforts made to date.

Al’s previous expedition to St. Helena confirms it is an amazing place.  A volcanic, tropical island that measures a mere 10 x 5 miles, St. Helena is nearly 3,000 feet above sea level at its highest point. The island was entirely uninhabited when it was discovered by the Portuguese in 1502. Napoleon was imprisoned by the British there and died on the island in 1821. The island became a formal British colony in 1833 after control by the East India Company ended. At one time, 1,100 ships called on the island as they made their way from Africa and Asia to Europe. St. Helena’s constitution came into effect only in 1989 and now the island is governed by a local governor and legislative branch.

With support from Ocean Conservancy and advice from Al, Nick and I will be undertaking four initiatives while on the island in early February.  These are:

  1. Undertake a whole-island baseline coastal debris survey, including determining local vs. ocean sources of plastic debris and identifying any prominent items, products or brands.
  2. Learn about the status of the government’s current waste management system, including comparing waste characterization data from the existing landfill to other parts of the world in collaboration with DSM Environmental Associates, a leading consulting firm.
  3. Engage grade school students on the island to educate them about marine debris and plastic pollution and provide them with copies of Ocean Conservancy’s marine debris curriculum materials, “Talking Trash and Taking Action,” developed in collaboration with NOAA’s Marine Debris program.
  4. As part of Al’s research team, dive with whale sharks to obtain tissue biopsies for evaluation of plastic chemistry biomarkers. We will also sample the surface ocean waters for the presence of microplastics as well.

Planning is now in full swing as our February 1 departure date fast approaches. The St. Helena expedition provides Ocean Conservancy a unique opportunity to integrate insights from waste management, beach cleanup data, and scientific research on ocean plastics and whale shark health to advance our understanding of the connection between plastics use and the ocean.

Stay connected with us at @OurOcean (or our individual twitter handles: @GeorgeHLeonard; @NickMallos) to learn more!


Article source:

Protecting Nature in Our Backyard

Posted in Saving Mother Ocean | Comments Off on Protecting Nature in Our Backyard

Last Friday morning, my colleague Sarah Kollar and I put on our rain jackets and made our way to Northeast DC for an exciting announcement. We hopped over puddles on the Anacostia Riverwalk Trail—a path we know well—and made our way through Heritage Island towards Kingman where we joined the crowd gathered on the river overlook. Kids scurried about, pausing to read the signs describing native fish and peering over the fence at the defrosting Anacostia below.  DC Government officials, members from local environmental groups and neighbors to the Islands gathered together under tents in anticipation of DC Mayor Muriel Bowser’s arrival.

Joy Asico DCJoy Asico DC
2017 Ocean Conservancy International Coastal Cleanup at Kingman Island on September 16, 2017. Photography by Joy Asico

As the Mayor arrived on the scene, she stopped to say hello to the many familiar faces in the audience. After stepping up to the podium, Mayor Bowser, as part of the “Year of the Anacostia,” officially directed the DC Department of Energy and Environment to designate portions of Kingman and Heritage Islands, between wards 6 and 7, as a State Conservation Area. This designation, Mayor Bowser said, includes a Critical Wildlife Area in the southern portion of Kingman Island, thereby restricting use to environmental, educational and recreational purposes. The Mayor also announced a new $4.7 million investment for educational an recreational improvements on the Islands. This announcement is of huge importance, as Kingman and Heritage Islands have very little existing infrastructure and were not formally protected by a government body.

Joy Asico:Asico PhotoJoy Asico:Asico Photo
© Joy Asico

Kingman and Heritage Islands have a special place in our hearts here at Ocean Conservancy. The Anacostia River flows around and between the Islands and into the Potomac as it moves south. The Potomac eventually opens up onto the Chesapeake Bay and mixes with the ocean. As a part of our larger International Coastal Cleanup, Ocean Conservancy headquarters has organized flagship cleanup events each September on the Anacostia River. In this effort, we have had the pleasure of working with Anacostia Riverkeeper and Living Classrooms Foundation, who manages activities on the islands. For me this past fall, was inspiring—not only to see volunteer participation double from the cleanup the year before, but also to be part of a larger conservation effort that these dedicated groups have been working on for years. Knowing that the proposed plans will definitively come to fruition, we have so much more to look forward to!

We hope you can make it out to Kingman and Heritage Islands this spring; they are a beautiful and precious home to nature, right at our fingertips here in DC. And of course, please join us in the 2018 DC International Coastal Cleanup Event this September 15th on Kingman Island, or wherever you may be.

Marja G Diaz 2Marja G Diaz 2
© Marja G. Diaz



Article source:

A New Discovery in Alaska: The Frilled Giant Pacific Octopus

Posted in Saving Mother Ocean | Comments Off on A New Discovery in Alaska: The Frilled Giant Pacific Octopus

Greetings from chilly Anchorage! Towards the end of December, scientists discovered a new species of Pacific octopus in the waters of Prince William Sound, Alaska. I am a BIG fan of Pacific octopus, so you can imagine my excitement when I learned that a pair of marine biologists from Alaska Pacific University discovered the frilled giant Pacific octopus.  

The giant Pacific octopus—one of the biggest known octopuses on the planet, averaging 110 pounds and 16 feet across—is in reality two species! While the two species ‘theory’ was suspected for a number of years, this is the first time researchers scientifically confirmed the existence of two separate species.

What makes the two species different? The newly discovered species has a distinctive “frill” that runs the length of its body and two distinctive white marks on its head (while the giant Pacific octopus only has one). The scientists found that the range of the new species extends from southeast Alaska to the Bering Sea.

While now two distinct species, both giant Pacific octopuses share remarkable intelligence (which is not surprising given they have nine brains)! They have been observed opening jars, navigating mazes and using tools. Giant Pacific octopuses can also alter their skin pigment to camouflage with nearly anything in their environment. While most live solitary lives, males and females come together around age three to mate. After laying up to 75,000 eggs, females put all their energy into tending her eggs for nearly seven months. Once her babies hatch, the three to four year life of the octopus comes to an end.

While the populations of these species are not endangered, climate change will impact the giant Pacific octopus. For example, ocean acidification will negatively impact many of its primary food sources (like crabs and clams). Increasing water temperatures may negatively impact their reproduction and decrease their already short lifespan.

More direct human activities may also impact these populations. Prince William Sound, the location of the discovery of the frilled giant octopus, is also the location of one of the worst environmental disasters in history, the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill. With the Trump administration’s proposed new five-year offshore leasing program that aims to open up almost all of America’s coastline to risky offshore drilling, not only the giant Pacific octopus, but all species of the marine ecosystem, are now at an increased risk of oil spills.

The discovery of new species, like the frilled giant Pacific octopus, is one of the many reasons that we should continue working together to protect their habitat. Who knows what new species will be discovered next? We won’t find out if we don’t protect the ocean and the animals that call it home.

Article source:

Collaboration on Microfiber Pollution

Posted in Saving Mother Ocean | Comments Off on Collaboration on Microfiber Pollution

This blog first appeared in 3BL Media

You’ve invested in a steel water bottle, pack your lunch in glass Tupperware, and recycle any plastic you get your hands on. But your plastic footprint might be bigger than you think thanks to the ubiquity of plastic-based fabrics—from that polyester onesie you wore on Halloween to the fleece blanket you wrap yourself in every winter, and even the carpet beneath your feet.

Microfibers—tiny strands of material shed during textile production, use and disposal—are found in ecosystems around the world. In fact, microfibers have become one of the most commonly detected types of microplastic debris in water samples, found in headwater streams, rivers, soils, lakes, sediments, ocean water, the deep sea, arctic sea ice, seafood, table salt and most recently, public drinking water. Such widespread exposure raises concerns about potential effects to wildlife and human health. As a consequence, microfibers are increasingly gaining the attention of governments, regulators, companies, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), scientists and the news media.

To address the growing threat of microfibers in the environment, Ocean Conservancy and UC Santa Barbara’s Bren School of Environmental Science Management convened a multi-stakeholder Microfiber Leadership Summit in October 2017 in California. Our purpose was to discuss the current state of knowledge on microfiber pollution, develop a roadmap to guide future research and innovation, and forge relationships to pursue future collaborations and implement the roadmap.

With additional support from Future 500 and the Outdoor Industry Association, the leadership summit included participants and representatives from across the apparel, outdoor, chemical and white goods sectors; industry consultants with expertise in environmental systems and testing methodologies relevant to microfibers; academic scientists from leading universities and research institutions; government representatives considering regulations to address microfiber pollution; and NGOs seeking opportunities to reduce microfiber pollution and impacts in the environment.

The group first explored what is known about the sources and risks of microfiber pollution in the environment. Peer-reviewed science confirms that fibers enter local waterways via treated wastewater, shedding from synthetic textiles (e.g. polyester, acrylic, polypropylene, polyamide and polyethylene) when laundered.

While the majority of microfiber research and public discussion to date has focused on shedding in the wash, there is scant information about other potential sources during the production cycle, during product use, or at the end-of-life. Substantial uncertainty also exists about the sources and amounts of fiber loss from the non-apparel textile sectors, such as carpet manufacturing, home goods, hospitality, and health care. Furthermore, few studies to date have attempted to quantify health risks to human and animal life. Workshop participants agreed that for any solution to work at the systemic level, a more complete picture of the extent and impact of microfiber pollution is a critical first step.

Global regulators and other organizations are eyeing microfiber pollution with a growing sense of urgency. With textile brands and suppliers facing increasing public pressure to reduce microfiber pollution and reduce potential health risks, a list of easily adopted best practices—and a plan for further action—is needed now.

Following a successful first workshop, Summit participants agreed that crafting this list is a crucial short-term action, along with advancing new research projects. In the longer-term, the group plans to synthesize research and propose innovative solutions that balance the needs of the environment and society. The diverse stakeholders from across sectors engaged in this effort are well positioned to become issue champions and advocate for best practices now while pursuing additional data to inform systemic solutions in the near future.

Microfiber Leadership Summit participants identified five concrete, priority actions that, if implemented over the next five years, will dramatically improve scientific understanding and reduction of microfiber pollution to the environment. These are:

  1. Improve collective understanding of the stocks and flows of microfibers throughtout the life cycle of all relevant products and materials via a robust material flow analysis (MFA), coupled with a fate and transport assessment to determine where in the environment microfibers are deposited.
  2. Assess the ocean and human health risks of microfiber pollution—both the physical particles and associated chemicals—through a risk assessment framework.
  3. To foster industry innovation, establish consistent industry-wide test methodologies for measuring microfiber shed rates from textiles and other materials.
  4. Idenitfy existing industry best practices that can be implemented immediately to minimize microfiber emissions throughout textile supply chains.
  5. Develop a shared lexicon and unified communications strategy for discussing microfibers in the environment, key scientific research needs, and collective actions being progressed.

These actions and additional information about the state of microfiber research and solutions are detailed in the Summit summary document and Microfiber Action Roadmap, accessible to the public on the Ocean Conservancy’s website and at

Ocean Conservancy and the Bren School, in collaboration with Future 500, believe that the actions identified above will decrease the global knowledge gap and accelerate action on this important emerging issue. Our goal is to identify and implement durable, impactful interventions in collaboration with industry leaders, academics, NGOs and regulators, all of whom are critical to shaping and advancing solutions.

The opportunity to eliminate a major source of plastic marine debris is within our reach, if we have the collective temerity to invest in research and take action now. As we work to advance these priority actions and other key research and innovation needs, we welcome new and broader expertise from all sectors and stakeholders connected to microfiber supply chains. We are confident that this path forward can generate sustainable change that benefits industry, people and the planet.

Article source:

5 More Years of Progress in Washington State

Posted in Saving Mother Ocean | Comments Off on 5 More Years of Progress in Washington State

Some of my favorite early summer evenings were spent on the Puget Sound with the Olympic Mountains in view and the salty smell of the ocean nearby. My friends and I would get together at the local marina to grab beers and a bag of oysters from the dockside shop. Then at the picnic tables we would take turns shucking oysters and sharing homemade sauces. Simple traditions like these define home for me. While we have long known that oysters and the rituals that accompany them are under threat from ocean acidification, I’m reassured to know that my home state of Washington continues to lead the search for adaptable solutions to defend our most treasured traditions.

Between 2005 and 2009, commercial Pacific Northwest hatcheries experienced disastrous oyster larvae die-offs that jeopardized local businesses and communities. In a forward-looking response, Washington State’s Marine Resources Advisory Council (MRAC) developed a comprehensive strategy for turning scientific knowledge into community action. In 2012, MRAC convened scientists, industry representatives, non-governmental organizations and state, local, federal and tribal policymakers in an advisory group known as the Washington State Blue Ribbon Panel on Ocean Acidification, which published recommendations to prepare for a changing environment. Just before Christmas, 5 years after the initial response, the panel shared an updated addendum to their action plan. The 2017 report shows clear progress and a reinforced commitment to protect Pacific Northwest livelihoods and traditions.

A focused 5-year investment in research of the local environment has strengthened Washington’s ability to effectively respond to the impacts of ocean acidification. The 2017 report highlighted new findings including:

  • “Atmospheric CO2 in the Puget Sound area is increasing faster than along Washington’s coast and faster than the global average. Additionally, Southern Hood Canal shows the highest surface seawater values of pCO2 in Washington coastal waters.” (page 4)
  • Human-generated atmospheric CO2 is a driving force of ocean acidification in surface waters around the Puget Sound.
  • Several local species like Dungeness crab, pteropods, foraminifera and krill are showing sensitivity to ocean acidification, suggesting impacts across the marine food web including salmon and whales that feed on these smaller species.
  • “Impacts may be more severe in nearshore coastal waters than in offshore open ocean waters, because corrosive conditions are closer to the surface in nearshore coastal waters and in Puget Sound.” (page 4)
© Kathleen Hennessy

In addition to the ongoing research, the report also shared significant organizational achievements in Washington since 2012 including:

  • “Establishing a clean air rule to reduce carbon emissions from large in-state emitters.” (page 3)
  • “Launching an ocean acidification conservation hatchery that serves as a hub for shellfish research and restoration.” (page 3)
  • “Initiating enhanced and widescale monitoring–with real-time sharing through the Northwest Association of Networked Ocean Observing Systems (NANOOS)–to collect data and support shellfish hatchery adaptation practices.” (page 3)
  • Increasing ocean acidification awareness and literacy through the creation of an ocean acidification K-12 curricula, outreach events and targeted advocacy with legislators.

Combating ocean acidification is not a simple task, but Washington State has spent the last 5 years collaborating with regional and international partners to gain on-the-ground insight and sound scientific understating of the ecosystem. Now that the state has invested the time and resources into becoming informed, leaders are better equipped to face the challenge head-on and begin taking action to protect the ocean that Pacific Northwest businesses, ocean life and community traditions depend on. As the state legislature reconvenes on January 8th, we are watching with interest to see how this influences this year’s Washington legislative agenda.

Article source:

A Bad Deal for America’s Ocean: Plan Aims to Open Up Almost All of America’s Coastline to Risky Offshore Drilling

Posted in Saving Mother Ocean | Comments Off on A Bad Deal for America’s Ocean: Plan Aims to Open Up Almost All of America’s Coastline to Risky Offshore Drilling

On January 4, Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke unveiled the Trump administration’s proposed new five-year offshore leasing program—and it’s not pretty. The proposed leasing program aims to open up almost all of America’s coastline to risky offshore drilling. Vast swaths of the Arctic—including areas in the Northern Bering Sea that haven’t been made available for leasing in 30 years— and the Atlantic and Pacific oceans would be made available to oil companies.

Secretary Zinke’s proposed plan is now open for public comment. At this point, the plan is still preliminary; it won’t be finalized for a year or more. But now is the time to take a stand and demand change. Tell Secretary Zinke that you oppose new offshore drilling off the Atlantic and Arctic and Pacific coasts.

Our nation’s offshore energy program should be based on science and stewardship. Instead, the proposed plan is a gift to oil and gas companies that seek to exploit our ocean for profit. It puts campaign contributors before conservation—and that’s not right.

Offshore drilling is risky business, and the threat of a catastrophic oil spill is always present. Even under the best of conditions, it is difficult to clean up spilled oil. Secretary Zinke’s plan would allow for oil and gas leasing in areas where it would be virtually impossible to clean up a spill.

A spill in Arctic waters, for example, would be especially challenging because of the region’s remoteness. The town of Utqiaġvik (Barrow) on Alaska’s northern coastline is roughly 1,300 miles from the nearest major port by boat. And the nearest Coast Guard air station is a 950 mile flight away from Utqiaġvik. Even after responders arrive in the Arctic, spill response efforts would likely be hampered by intense storms, high waves, sea-ice, extreme cold and other environmental challenges.

Unfortunately, this short-sighted offshore drilling plan is not an anomaly. In the past year, President Trump and Secretary Zinke have been busy dismantling environmental protections and making it easier for extractive industries to exploit the lands and waters that belong to all of us. They have attempted to scrap protections for sensitive environmental areas—both in the ocean and on land. They have threatened to shrink marine monuments and roll-back standards and regulations designed to safeguard important ocean habitat. And now they are attempting to open up new areas of our ocean to risky offshore drilling—including key areas in the Arctic, Atlantic and Pacific.

Enough is enough. Tell Secretary Zinke that you oppose his offshore drilling plan.


Article source:

A Garbage Emergency in Bali and How We Can Solve It

Posted in Saving Mother Ocean | Comments Off on A Garbage Emergency in Bali and How We Can Solve It

Over the winter holidays, hundreds of thousands of foreign tourists flock to the beaches of Bali, eager to enjoy the Indonesian island’s breathtaking landscapes and iconic temples. This year, however, sightseers may have gotten more than they bargained for: mass amounts of marine debris.

Last week, Bali declared a “garbage emergency” after some of the island’s most popular beaches were overrun with plastic waste. More than three and a half miles of shoreline were declared an emergency zone due to the sheer amount of junk on the beach: workers collected approximately 200,000 pounds of garbage each day at the peak of the cleanup.

Shocking as the situation may be, this is hardly the first time we’ve heard of Indonesia’s plastic problem. Just a few months ago, a photo of a seahorse latching onto a cotton swab off the country’s coast went viral. And in 2012, world-famous surfer Kelly Slater—whose company, Outerknown, has partnered with Ocean Conservancy on beach cleanups—warned his hundreds of thousands of Twitter followers that “If Bali doesn’t #DoSomething serious about this pollution it’ll be impossible to surf here in a few years. Worst I’ve ever seen.”

The Indonesian government and people are responding to the challenge. In February, 2017, the government pledged that it will reduce 70% of its plastic debris by the end of 2025. To do this, Indonesia has developed a National Action Plan on Marine Plastic Debris that contains numerous strategies and concrete plans on land, on coastal areas and at sea aimed at significantly reducing marine plastic debris from all of these sources. Reaching out directly to citizens, Indonesia will also integrate the issue of marine plastic into its national education curriculum. Additionally, the World Bank has created a trust fund to help Indonesia tackle the issue, with Denmark having agreed to contribute more than $800,000 to the cause.

But this is not one country’s problem, or fight. A 2015 seminal paper by Dr. Jenna Jambeck and several colleagues published in Science estimated that approximately 8 million metric tons of plastic waste flow into our ocean each year globally, threatening this delicate and interconnected ecosystem. While the authors estimate that more than half of it is now coming from five counties in Asia, including Indonesia, countries all around the world contribute to this flow, and if we don’t change our trajectory, more countries from Africa and Latin America will make the list as their populations and incomes grow.

Meanwhile, as illustrated by the Bali crisis, ocean plastic is not just a problem for the ocean and the creatures in it—it has direct consequences for communities and economies, and comes with real costs. In 2008, marine debris was estimated to have directly cost the 21 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) member economies approximately US$ 1.3 billion in impacts on tourism, fishing, transportation and insurance industries.

To solve the garbage crisis in Bali and elsewhere, all of us need to work together to create big, systemic change. Ocean Conservancy has made partnering with governments, NGOs, and the private sector to fight ocean plastic a priority, and we’re starting with Southeast Asia. This is why at the 2017 Our Ocean conference in Malta Ocean Conservancy and its partners, including the Trash Free Seas Alliance®, Closed Loop Partners, PepsiCo, 3M, Procter Gamble, the American Chemistry Council and the World Plastics Council, announced an initiative to raise over $150 million toward improved waste management in the region. In September 2017, we also joined the Indonesian government to announce the launch of the Alliance for Marine Plastic Solutions (AMPS), in partnership with the Trash Free Seas Alliance®, to bring together private sector companies with local governments and organizations to catalyze on-the-ground solutions and accelerate opportunity to scale up projects that work. We believe it is through these types of collaborative, multi-sector efforts that we will make the most difference.

Indonesia’s fight against ocean plastic is likely to play a starring role in this year’s news cycle, as more and more people get engaged and look for solutions. With Indonesia hosting the annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank, as well as the Our Ocean Conference, this year—where marine debris will undoubtedly be center stage—there is an opportunity to engage everyone from finance ministers to school children on this issue, and move toward truly global solutions.

All to say, we have reason to be optimistic that 2018 is the year Indonesia and the rest of us really stem the tide on ocean trash.




Article source:

The Books Every Ocean Lover Should Read in 2018

Posted in Saving Mother Ocean | Comments Off on The Books Every Ocean Lover Should Read in 2018

Here at Ocean Conservancy, we get countless requests for all things sea-related—including our best book recommendations for ocean lovers. The beginning of January is the perfect time to curl up with a warm cup of coffee or hot chocolate and a start a new book (or three), and Ocean Conservancy’s staff has pitched in with their best recommendations, just in time for the new year. Which ones will you add to your 2018 reading list?

BONUS: Purchase any of these books with your Amazon account, sign up FREE for the Amazon Smile program, and when you checkout, 0.5% of the proceeds of your purchase will be donated to Ocean Conservancy! Click here for the details on how to apply this feature to your shopping cart today.

Inspiring Depictions of Natural History

While our ocean is awe-inspiring all on its own, knowing the natural histories of its various habitats and species can help us appreciate it all the more. These books help us understand how and why our ocean came to be as it is today, as well as how it established itself as being one of the most important features of communities and cultures across the globe.

  • Beautiful Swimmers (William W. Warner)
    • “This is my favorite. Not just because I grew up enjoying steamed crabs from the Chesapeake Bay, but because it tells a compelling story about the fascinating Blue crab, its history and importance to the Chesapeake region…and, it describes how easy it is to overfish a presumed limitless resource.” 

-Charlotte Meyer (Director of Individual Philanthropy)

beautiful swimmersbeautiful swimmers

The Human-Ocean Connection

These inspiring books discuss the incredible and sometimes mysterious pull that human beings feel towardblue mindblue mindthe sea, as well as our ocean’s ability to make us feel happier, healthier, and more in tune with our spirituality

The Health and Wellbeing of Our Ocean Today, and What We Can Do to Help It

It’s no mystery that our ocean is has been and continues to face some extremely detrimental threats when it comes to maintaining healthy ecosystems today. These works outline some of those most threatening issues, and contain some powerful calls to action about ways we can help combat these problems.

-Rebecca Colglazier (Manager, Development Operations)

sixth extinctionsixth extinction

Addressing and Combating Plastic Pollution

While we could’ve included pollution and the presence of trash in our seas in the previous category, we know that these topics can sometimes be so strong that they’re placed in a realm all their own. The following are both true stories about some of the most powerful discoveries of accidental plastic loss at sea, the impact they had on our ocean, and what brave and determined individuals and communities did to fight back against this type of pollution.

-Ivy Frederickson (Staff Attorney, Conservation Programs)

Untitled design (4)Untitled design (4)

Photography-Based and Coffee Table Books

Know someone who loves visuals and photography? These books use the power of imagery to communicate their key messages, but all unite in oneUntitled design (5)Untitled design (5)common theme: demonstrating the beauty of our ocean through photos! 

The Living Seas and Books on Marine Life

If you or someone you know is highly interested in marine life and the creatures that dwell beneath the surface of the sea, these are the animal- and living being-focused books we recommend!

Untitled design (6)Untitled design (6)

Fictional Coastal Adventures

Diving into the category of fiction, these books both demonstrate themes of action, thrill, and even science-fiction. The best part? They’re all set along our nation’s gorgeous coasts!

  • Annihilation (Jeff VanderMeer)
    • “I fell in love with St. Marks while I was visiting nearby Wakulla Springs last year, and I love that VanderMeer–who lives in Tallahassee–sets the book in a version of the Gulf Coast that seems almost pristine yet dangerous. The book is the first of the author’s Southern Reach trilogy, and it’s been adapted as a movie starring Natalie Portman, to be released this February!”

-Rachel Guillory (Gulf Restoration Program Specialist)

  • Tampa Burn (Randy Wayne Right)
    • “The entire Doc Ford series discovers the Indiana Jones-like escapades of an ex-CIA assassin turned marine biologist; all set on the Florida Gulf Coast. How could I not relate to this?”

-Michael Drexler (Fisheries Scientist)

Untitled design (7)Untitled design (7)


From classic literary gems to unbelievable first-person accounts, these literary pieces are all about one thing: experiences had by human beings on the open seas!

  • The Old Man and the Sea (Ernest Hemingway)
  • Shackleton’s Boat Journey (Frank A. Worsley)
    • “A short, vivid account by the ship’s skipper of Ernest Shackleton’s voyage in open boats to South Georgia to rescue his stranded Antarctic expedition. This is what got me hooked on Antarctica and the polar regions, so I can say it was a life-changing read!”

-Henry P. Huntington, Ph.D. (Director,  Arctic Science)

Untitled design (8)Untitled design (8)

Article source: