Action Project Ideas: In the Kitchen (1 of 5)

One idea I had when I started this website almost ten years ago was that I wanted to make science simple and accessible. I hope I have created a place where questions on anything from barnacles to whales can be answered in a knowledgeable no-nonsense or overly jargon tone. My secondary goal has also been to create awareness about ocean-related issues which would lead into actions. Maybe you like watching movies and visiting the shore and understand that there is concern for the ecosystem.

What I have now for the month of November is a series of posts on quick and useful actions you can take in the kitchen, bath, laundry, garage, during the holidays, and around your community to change behaviors and lessen your impact. Each one features products that are tried, true, and tested but I am not being paid. Please read, share, and feel free to comment if you have other strategies.

  1. Better Life moppingMy mom is coming next week so it’s time to get serious with the floors. This stuff is magic on hardwoods and even helped get rid of some scuffs from the move (when I switched furniture six or seven times) and my dog’s paw prints. The company is based in Missouri and founded by some folks that realized floors should be clean once they had kids. They’re so right. Even though my kids aren’t crawling I’m less miserable playing on the floor with them. Join their mailing list for good deals. It’s so worth it.
  2. Use glass instead of plastic: Food storage and drinks can easily be switched out to glass. Spend some time scoring second-hand stores and lot’s of glass containers are cheap. Honestly, it’s bloody difficult to be #plasticfree or #zerowaste. I like the approach by Kathryn Kellogg in that she’s Going Zero Waste since it’s virtually impossible to be waste free. Limiting plastic isn’t just a good idea to reduce marine debris in the ocean but it potentially cause a correlation with your endocrine system.
  3. Buy bulk: Along the same lines as the using glass it’s an easy transition to quite using the plastic bags for produce and buy bulk. I have not used the plastic bags for produce in years and usually have a kid or two in tow at the store so the stuff is all over the belt. The people are pretty used to it and I have never once heard a cashier say, “what’s wrong with you? Why didn’t you use the bags for these?” It’s one of those crazy things that we accept but we’d be fine without. Packaging makes up 30% of our waste.
  4. Make your own cleaning supplies.
  5. Switch to fair trade coffee. Start with one fair trade product and work through others by checking out these helpful resources.
  6. Skip the paper towel and try the cellulose clothes. Just try them if you see them. Lots of places sell them and you won’t be out of paper towels again. Cause … you’ll never need them. This is what we are currently moving on from in our house.
  7. Use compact fluorescent light bulbs. You’ll save money and it’s a huge reduction in energy use.
  8. Make sure your wood stove is up to date and clean. Did you know you can install a wood stove inside a fireplace?

All of the Action Project Ideas:

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10 reasons you’ll want to start to collect bottle caps

I try to reduce-reuse-recycle-refuse-reuse as much as possible but sometimes there is no way around it. Your home collects trash and waste. We seem to accumulate plastic caps. Bottle caps are one of the top five types of litter found on beaches worldwide. Imagine how many are in the sea we can’t see!? First, check to see if your municipality does recycle plastic caps. If not, here are ten ways that you can make use of them and maybe even have fun when the dreaded winter hits!

  1. Checkerboard: Use some corrugated cardboard and two sets of 12 differently colored caps. They stack on tops easily when you’re “kinged.” 
  2. Magnets: Add some friendly personal messages, too.
  3. Learning tools/games: I did some alphabet but memory could be just as fun. Check out Early Learning Ideas for more engaging learning ideas, too. 
  4. Musical instruments: These Snapple caps are ah-mazing for any type of bottlecap bands.
  5. Jewelry: It’s pretty easy to drill a hole through your bunch so you can string them together for clunky kids creations.
  6. Decorations: Forget the disposable plastic banners for parties. Make something personal with your favorite colors or brands on it.
  7. Caps of Love: This organization collects bottle caps which helps to provide wheelchairs for needy disabled children.
  8. Art work: My art pieces here are pretty elementary. I am sure many of you have far superior skills. For inspiration check out Pinterest.
  9. Save the caps in school: Some companies work with you to recycle them back into other products like toothbrushes.
  10. Miniature gardens: Thank you Redesign Report for this list of ways to upcycle bottle caps, especially the cute little gardens at the bottom.

Contact your local recycling agency and find out what they do collect. If not, start a collection. Make it a challenge and share your challenge with your neighbors. Any time you can do something to start a conversation about marine debris and plastic in the ocean is good. Watch some movies on marine debris. It might be a little uncomfortable at first – but smile, follow your heart, and know some facts.

“Why is the bath still hot?” An anecdote on temperature & density

I’ve been mama-ing (i.e., SAHM) it lately to a 6yo and 3yo and with that comes some hard lessons to learn. I mean I just explained that there is one ocean but it has five spots with five separate names and now I get “Why is the bath still hot when you added so much cold water!?” (think of that one as being asked in a shrilly voice, too).

I had to keep my cool when I explained that the water on top still feels warm … but, if you could (please, please, please!) stick you toes in the tub to the bottom it will be cold and then you can mix it up.

I jazzed it up and said that when water droplets get cold they huddle together. More of them will take up the same space so it’s heavier (i.e., denser). Therefore, they’ll sink to the bottom of the tub.

In the ocean the water on the bottom is definitely colder, too. However that’s generally because sunlight isn’t penetrating past the first 200 meters (1/8 of a mile).

You see the ocean has a “thermocline.” The thermocline is a place when the temperature drastically changes. On the surface of the sea – the top 200 meters – it’s warm since it gets a lot of sunlight. Sunlight can’t really go any further and the temperature decreases for the next 800 meters. That layer where the temperature drastically changes is called the “thermocline”. After that the zone without sunlight is consistently colder. Check out the image below from NOAA Ocean Service and then this interactive and extremely up-to-date sea surface temperature map from NASA.

 

5 must-see movies on marine debris

I am so excited to be in a town that is committed to reducing the use of plastic. Oak Park, IL will be implementing a 10-cent tax starting January 1, 2018. As trustee of Bob Tucker noted in August 2017, “What we’re really trying to do is change habits.”   Change for the good lawmakers … my favorite. Why should we care about changing the way we use plastic?

  1. In the ocean there are approximately 5.25 trillion plastic particles.
  2. For every foot of coastline there is approximately five grocery bags filled with plastic, according to estimates in 2010.
  3. Six continents have microfiber washing up on their shores.
  4. Each year, 8.8 million tons of plastic goes into the oceans.
  5. On average, Americans use 220 pounds of plastic per year.

If you want something MUCH more entertaining, and probably up-to-date, than my list of quick stats above here are some must-see films that are worth downloading for the treadmill or even showing in the classroom or your next community event.

A Plastic Ocean (2016/1h 40m/Netflix): Documents the newest science, proving how plastics, once they enter the oceans, break up into small particulates that enter the food chain where they attract toxins like a magnet. These toxins are stored in seafood’s fatty tissues, and eventually consumed by us.

The Plastic Age: A Documentary feat. Pharrell Williams (2014/17m/YouTube): We all talk about the Stone Age, the Iron Age and the Bronze Age, but what era are we living in right now? People are starting to refer to us as the – far less romantic – Plastic Age.

From the Waste Up – Life Without Plastic (2013/1h 16m/Vimeo for $4 rental or $8 purchase to download): Follows the lives of 19 people as they attempt to live without plastic. It explores the concepts of consumerism, waste, and convenience as well as the great abundance in going without. Live vicariously plastic-free as you watch these families navigate through this disposable world. 

Plastic Paradise – The Great Pacific Garbage Patch (2014/1h 25m/for purchase but also available on YouTube): Thousands of miles away from civilization, Midway Atoll is in one of the most remote places on earth. And yet its become ground zero for The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, siphoning plastics from three distant continents. In this independent documentary film, journalist/filmmaker Angela Sun travels on a personal journey of discovery to uncover this mysterious phenomenon.

Bag It (2010/78m; educational version 45 and 65m): What starts as a film about plastic bags evolves into a wholesale investigation into plastic’s effects on our oceans, environment, and bodies. We see how our crazy-for-plastic world has finally caught up to us…and what we can do about it.

UPDATED:

Also, an important addition to the list I forgot about is Smog of the Sea. You can get a free download link for the film, released in 2017, here. The music and cinematography (in part) are by the musician Jack Johnson and as the film overview summarizes, “The Smog of the Sea chronicles a 1-week journey through the remote waters of the Sargasso Sea. Marine scientist Marcus Eriksen invited onboard an unusual crew to help him study the sea: renowned surfers Keith & Dan Malloy, musician Jack Johnson, spearfisher woman Kimi Werner, and bodysurfer Mark Cunningham become citizen scientists on a mission to assess the fate of plastics in the world’s oceans.”


Oh, one more here. I am hoping to catch Straws SOON … maybe I can bring it to my new town and more change will come:

Straws (2017/1h 10m): “I highly recommend STRAWS as an educational and entertaining film about plastic pollution. Its brisk and engaging storytelling uses humor, fairness and heart to inspire plastic use changes we all can do…especially no plastic straws!” – Actor and Environmentalist Ed Begley Jr.

UPDATED: I actually just requested a free download for preview purposes so I’ll post on that later this week. Thank you #strawsthemovie.

I am really hoping that since folks finally are able to let go of plastic bags and soon straws that balloons will be around the corner. Anything that’s more harm than good is not worth it … kids don’t know if they just don’t see them. Check out some alternatives to balloons at your next celebration here.

From sea to shining sea, a flag for you and me!

I hope everyone enjoys a happy and safe Independence Day this 4th of July!

(Please be careful using fireworks. According to Mother Earth News, “Fireworks can unleash a shower of toxins into soil and water, and scientists are only beginning to figure out what that means for human health”. Also, don’t forget your boat safety skills. Instead, get creative for our new contest this summer!)

100 ocean quotes

Because there is not just one quote that summarizes how ethereal and majestic the ocean is, and in honor of World Oceans Day, and because you know I like lists, here is an archive of some inspiring quotes about the important aspects of our ocean all from people you may have heard of a time or two. If you have another favorite, please don’t forget to share and comment below.

100 Quotes about the ocean from the Beach Chair Scientist

1. “Man cannot discover new oceans unless he has the courage to lose sight of the shore.” – Andre Gide
2. “In one drop of water are found all the secrets of all the oceans” – Kahlil Gibran
3. “We know that when we protect our oceans we’re protecting our future.” – Bill Clinton
4. “It isn’t the oceans which cut us off from the world — it’s the American way of looking at things.” – Henry Miller
5. “The sea! the sea! the open sea!, The blue, the fresh, the ever free!” – Bryan W. Procter
6. “To me the sea is a continual miracle; The fishes that swim–the rocks–the motion of the waves–the ships, with men in them, What stranger miracles are there?” – Walt Whitman
7. “There is the life of the plankton in almost endless variety; there are the many kinds of fish, both surface and bottom living; there are the hosts of different invertebrate creatures on the sea-floor; and there are those almost grotesque forms of pelagic life in the oceans depths. Then there are the squids and cuttlefish, and the porpoises, dolphins and great whales.” – Sir Alister Hardy
8. “Every time we walk along a beach some ancient urge disturbs us so that we find ourselves shedding shoes and garments or scavenging among seaweed and whitened timbers like the homesick refugees of a long war.” – Loren Eiseley
9. “For whatever we lose (like a you or a me), It’s always our self we find in the sea.” – e.e. Cummings
10. “We are tied to the ocean. And when we go back to the sea, whether it is to sail or to watch – we are going back from whence we came…” – John F. Kennedy
11. “I seem to have been only like a boy playing on the seashore, and diverting myself in now and then finding a smoother pebble or a prettier shell than ordinary, whilst the great ocean of truth lay all undiscovered before me.” – Isaac Newton
12. “Life is life’s greatest gift. Guard the life of another creature as you would your own because it is your own. On life’s scale of values, the smallest is no less precious to the creature who owns it than the largest.” – Lloyd Biggle Jr.
13. “It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose, should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist: the threat is rather to life itself.” – Rachel Carson
14. “We ourselves feel that what we are doing is just a drop in the ocean. But the ocean would be less because of that missing drop.” – Mother Teresa
15. “To me, the sea is like a person–like a child that I’ve known a long time. It sounds crazy, I know, but when I swim in the sea I talk to it. I never feel alone when I’m out there.” – Gertrude Ederle
16. “My soul is full of longing for the secrets of the sea, and the heart of the great ocean sends a thrilling pulse through me.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
17. “The sea will grant each man new hope, and sleep will bring dreams of home.” Christopher Columbus
18. “Animal protection is education to the humanity.” – Albert Schweitzer
19. “The least movement is of importance to all nature. The entire ocean is affected by a pebble.” -Blaise Pascal
20. “You can’t do anything about the length of your life, but you can do something about its width and depth.” – Evan Esar
21. “Our knowledge is a little island in a great ocean of nonknowledge.” – Isaac Bashevis Singer
22. “The greatest use of life is to spend it for something that will outlast it.” – William James
23. “The ocean stirs the heart, inspires the imagination and brings eternal joy to the soul.” – Wyland
24. “The tradition of freedom of the high seas has its roots in an era when there were too few people to seriously violate the oceans — but in hindsight that era ended some 150 years ago.” – James Carlton
25. “The true peace of God begins at any spot a thousand miles from the nearest land.” – Joseph Conrad
26. “Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think.” – Robert Henri
27. “The sea hath no king but God alone.” – Dante Gabriel Rossetti
28. “We never know the worth of water till the well is dry.” – Thomas Fuller
29. “After a visit to the beach, it’s hard to believe that we live in a material world.” – Pam Shaw
30. “Primeval forests! virgin sod! That Saxon has not ravish’d yet, Lo! peak on peak in stairways set— In stepping stairs that reach to God! Here we are free as sea or wind, For here are set Time’s snowy tents
In everlasting battlements Against the march of Saxon mind.” – Joaquin Miller
31. “The oceans deserve our respect and care, but you have to know something before you can care about it.” – Sylvia Earle
32. “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” – Jacques Yves Cousteau
33. “A lot of people attack the sea, I make love to it.” – Jacques Yves Cousteau
34. “From birth, man carries the weight of gravity on his shoulders. He is bolted to earth. But man has only to sink beneath the surface and he is free.” – Jacques Yves Cousteau
35. “No aquarium, no tank in a marine land, however spacious it may be, can begin to duplicate the conditions of the sea. And no dolphin who inhabits one of those aquariums or one of those marine lands can be considered normal.” – Jacques Yves Cousteau
36. “Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.” – Jacques Yves Cousteau
37. “The sea is emotion incarnate. It loves, hates, and weeps. It defies all attempts to capture it with words and rejects all shackles. No matter what you say about it, there is always that which you can’t.” -Christopher Paolini
38. “Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.” -Sarah Kay
39. “Hark, now hear the sailors cry / smell the sea, and feel the sky / let your soul & spirit fly, into the mystic.” -Van Morrison
40. “Total physical and mental inertia are highly agreeable, much more so than we allow ourselves to imagine. A beach not only permits such inertia but enforces it, thus neatly eliminating all problems of guilt. It is now the only place in our overly active world that does.” -John Kenneth Galbraith
41. “It’s hard for me to put into words why I like the beach so much. Everything about it is renewing for me, almost like therapy… Beach Therapy.” -Amy Dykens
42. “A pool just isn’t the same as the ocean. It has no energy. No life.” – Linda Gerber
43. “I spent uncounted hours sitting at the bow looking at the water and the sky, studying each wave, different from the last, seeing how it caught the light, the air, the wind; watching patterns, the sweep of it all, and letting it take me. The sea.” – Gary Paulsen
44. “Fishes live in the sea, as men do a-land; the great ones eat up the little ones.” – William Shakespeare
45. “I could never stay long enough on the shore; the tang of the untainted, fresh, and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought.” – Helen Keller
46. “When anxious, uneasy and bad thoughts come, I go to the sea, and the sea drowns them out with its great wide sounds, cleanses me with its noise, and imposes a rhythm upon everything in me that is bewildered and confused.” – Rainer Maria Rilke
47. “The ocean makes me feel really small and it makes me put my whole life into perspective… it humbles you and makes you feel almost like you’ve been baptized. I feel born again when I get out of the ocean.” – Beyoncé Knowles
48. “The sea does not reward those who are too anxious, too greedy, or too impatient. One should lie empty, open, choiceless as a beach – waiting for a gift from the sea.” – Anne Morrow Lindbergh
49. “The use of sea and air is common to all; neither can a title to the ocean belong to any people or private persons, forasmuch as neither nature nor public use and custom permit any possession therof.” – Elizabeth I, Queen of England
50. “The voice of the sea speaks to the soul. The touch of the sea is sensuous, enfolding the body in its soft, close embrace.” – Kate Chopin
51. “I felt the full breadth and depth of the ocean around the sphere of the Earth, back billions of years to the beginning of life, across all the passing lives and deaths, the endless waves of swimming joy and quiet losses of exquisite creatures with fins and fronds, tentacles and wings, colourful and transparent, tiny and huge, coming and going. There is nothing the ocean has not seen.” – Sally Andrew
52. “The waves of the sea help me get back to me.” – Jill Davis
53. “There’s nothing wrong with enjoying looking at the surface of the ocean itself, except that when you finally see what goes on underwater, you realize that you’ve been missing the whole point of the ocean. Staying on the surface all the time is like going to the circus and staring at the outside of the tent.” – Dave Barry
54. “I couldn’t imagine living in a state that didn’t reach the ocean. It was a giant reset button. You could go to the edge of the land and see infinity and feel renewed.” – Avery Sawyer
55. “If we don’t manage this resource, we will be left with a diet of jellyfish and plankton stew.” Daniel Pauly
56. “I want to get out in the water. I want to see fish, real fish, not fish in a laboratory.” —Sylvia Earle
57. “People ask: Why should I care about the ocean? Because the ocean is the cornerstone of earth’s life support system, it shapes climate and weather. It holds most of life on earth. 97% of earth’s water is there. It’s the blue heart of the planet-we should take care of our heart. It’s what makes life possible for us. We still have a really good chance to make things better than they are. They won’t get better unless we take the action and inspire others to do the same thing. No one is without power. Everybody has the capacity to do something.” – Sylvia Earle
57. “It is important to remember that the ocean’s resources are finite. The commitment these kids are making here today is a clear and compelling call to all of us to pay attention to our ocean.” – Ted Danson
58. “My boat is on the shore, And my bark is on the sea.” George Gordon Byron
59. “Even castles made from sand fall to the ocean” – Jimi Hendrix
60. “Ever since I was a child I’ve felt connected to water: lakes, rivers, streams––I love to jump in and swim around. But it’s the ocean where I go for rejuvenation, revelation, and solace.” Susan Rockefeller
61. “No love is Like an ocean with the dizzy procession of the waves’ boundaries …” – Jack Spicer
62. “I pray to be like the ocean, with soft currents, maybe waves at times. More and more, I want the consistency rather than the highs and the lows.” – Drew Barrymore
63. “Without water, our planet would be one of the billions of lifeless rocks floating endlessly in the vastness of the inky-black void.” – Fabien Cousteau
64. “We are blessed with a magnificent and miraculous world ocean on this planet. But we are also stressing it in ways that we are not even close to bringing under control.” – Carl Safina
65. “The world’s finest wilderness lies beneath the waves …” – Wyland
66. “It is particularly appropriate that we unveil this campaign on this first day of the annual international coastal clean-up effort, … Beach cleanups are something each of us can do any time of the year. I’m proud to be participating in the cleanup efforts today and I encourage everyone to make the time for these types of activities.” – Ted Danson
67. “The ocean is a mighty harmonist.” – William Wordsworth
68. “Limitless and immortal, the waters are the beginning and end of all things on earth.” – Heinrich Zimmer
69. “The more clearly we can focus our attention on the wonders and realities of the universe about us, the less taste we shall have for destruction.” – Rachel Carson
70. “The sea lives in every one of us …” – Wyland
71. “Always remember that the ocean delights in feeling your feet in her eternal bath …” – Wyland
72. “Ocean energy can contribute a great deal toward the protection or our atmosphere – without damaging marine ecosystems that are equally vital to the planet’s future.” – Fred Krupp
73. “Do what we will, the Colorado will one day find an unimpeded way to the sea.” – Donald Worster
74. “At the end of the day, no amount of investing, no amount of clean electrons, no amount of energy efficiency will save the natural world if we are not paying attention to it – if we are not paying attention to all the things that nature give us for free: clean air, clean water, breathtaking vistas, mountains for skiing, rivers for fishing, oceans for sailing, sunsets for poets, and landscapes for painters. What good is it to have wind-powered lights to brighten the night if you can’t see anything green during the day? Just because we can’t sell shares in nature doesn’t mean it has no value.” – Thomas L. Friedman
75. “It was the Law of the Sea, they said. Civilization ends at the waterline. Beyond that, we all enter the food chain, and not always right at the top.” – Hunter S. Thompson
76. “There is nothing more enticing, disenchanting, and enslaving than the life at sea.” – Joseph Conrad

77. “And I shall watch the ferry boats, and they’ll get high, on a bluer ocean against tomorrow’s sky. and i will never grow so old again, and i will walk and talk, in gardens all wet with rain…” – Van Morrison
78. “‎I have always been fascinated by the ocean, to dip a limb beneath its surface and know that I’m touching eternity, that it goes on forever until it begins here again.” – Lauren DeStefano
79. “A pool just isn’t the same as the ocean. It has no energy. No life.” – Linda Gerber
80. “No matter how remote we feel we are from the oceans, every act each one of us takes in our everyday lives affects our planet’s water cycle and in return affects us.” – Fabien Cousteau
81. “Into the ocean went a world more fantastic than any imagination could inspire …” – Wyland
82. “You never enjoy the world aright, till the sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens and crowned with the stars.” – Thomas Traherne
83. “I do an awful lot of scuba diving. I love to be on the ocean, under the ocean. I live next to the ocean.” – James Cameron
84. “I heard silence, silence infinite as the bottom of the ocean, a silence that sealed.” – Anne Spollen
85. “The virtues are lost in self-interest as rivers are lost in the sea.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt
86. “Waves are the voices of tides. Tides are life.” – Tamora Pierce
87. “The fishermen know that the sea is dangerous and the storm terrible, but they have never found these dangers sufficient reason for remaining ashore.” – Vincent Van Gogh
88. “Your heart is like the ocean, mysterious and dark.” – Bob Dylan
89. “Individuals of all ages can make an important difference in the overall health of our ocean by the actions they take every day. Simple things like picking up trash on the beach, recycling and conserving water can have a big impact on the health of our ocean.” – Ted Danson
90. “With every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you’re connected to the sea. No matter where on Earth you live.” – Sylvia Earle
91. “That the sea is one of the most beautiful and magnificent sights in Nature, all admit.” – John Joly
92. “To stand at the edge of the sea, to sense the ebb and flow of the tides, to feel the breath of a mist moving over a great salt marsh, to watch the flight of shore birds that have swept up and down the surf lines of the continents for untold thousands of year, to see the running of the old eels and the young shad to the sea, is to have knowledge of things that are as nearly eternal as any earthly life can be.” – Rachel Carson
93. “The three great elemental sounds in nature are the sound of rain, the sound of wind in a primeval wood, and the sound of outer ocean on a beach” – Henry Beston
94. “There is, one knows not what sweet mystery about the sea, whose gently awful stirrings seem to speak of some hidden soul beneath.” – Herman Melville
95. “To heal the ocean, we must heal ourselves.” – Dr. Rod Fujita
96. “If you like to eat seafood or swim in the ocean, it’s time to get involved.” – Julie Evans-Brumm
97. “And I have loved thee, Ocean! And my joy of youthful sports was on thy breast to be borne, like thy bubbles, onward; from a boy I wantoned with thy breakers. They to me were a delight; and if the freshening sea made them a terror, ‘twas a pleasing fear.” – Lord Byron
98. “Catch a wave, and you’re sitting on top of the world.” – The Beach Boys
99. “The sea is not a bargain basement.” – Jacques Cousteau
100. “Only God almighty and naval research can save us from the perils of the sea.” – John Warner

World Oceans Day is June 8th

June 8th is World Oceans Day, the UN-designated day for the global community to celebrate and take action for our shared ocean. So start the weekend off on a wave of advocacy and share the message that you have concern for the sea with your friends and family.

My call to action in honor of World Oceans Day? The Majestic Plastic Bag is one of the oceans greatest threats because chances are it’s so mundane you don’t even notice it effects. Look around you right now: how much plastic do you see and where does it go? Switch one disposable plastic habits for a sustainable, ocean-friendly one: such as bringing reusable food containers from home when eating out for your ‘doggie bag.’ Head out to your nearest and dearest body of water with some friends and pick up all the trash you find. You’ll be surprised at how much of it is plastic. Many communities around the world are banning plastic bags from being used at their stores. Learn how to start a campaign to stop plastic bags use in your town!

Here are some United States Events to celebrate World Oceans Day 2012 with others in your town.

“Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.” ― William Faulkner

Share your beachcombing adventures!

It’s just about time to get back to reality from a weekend, so why not extend the good times and share your beachcomber adventures?Did you find anything interesting? Did you watch any birds swoop down to the sea for food? What was the sunset like? Share your pictures or any fun stories! Here is a photograph I call ‘Littlest Limulus Love‘ from a visit the the Stone Harbor Point.

Looking forward to hearing all the amusing anecdotes from your times at the sea! To share you can reply to this post or find Beach Chair Scientist on Facebook or Twitter.

The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things.” — Plato (Greek philosopher, 428 – 347 BC)

Find more great nature at play quotes compiled by the “Institute for Nature in Childhood” here.

10 justifications ocean acidification is a serious concern

Ocean acidification (OA) is the process by which the ocean absorbs carbon dioxide (CO2). This process creates chemical reactions that reduce 1) seawater pH, 2) carbonate ion concentration, and 3) saturation states of biologically important calcium carbonate minerals (the minerals floating within the water column that many shellfish absorb to create stronger shells).

Here are 10 reasons OA is a serious concern. Keep in mind the science community has just begun to scratch the surface of OA impacts to the marine ecosystem and new findings are always being revealed.

  • OA is one of the greatest threats to marine biodiversity. Of particular concern are coral reefs which are the habitat of at least a quarter of all marine species.
  • Many marine organisms (e.g., reef building corals, shellfish) that produce calcium carbonate shells or skeletons are adversely affected by the increased absorption of CO2 levels and decreasing pH in seawater. According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, “The effect is similar to osteoporosis, slowing growth and making shells weaker”.
  • Reef building corals, a ‘framework species’, are one species greatly affected by coral bleaching (a result of OA). Coral reefs are being destroyed twice as fast as rainforests. This is significant considering over $6.5B and 63,000 jobs are connected with tourism of the Great Barrier Reef.
  • Abnormally low pH levels in the seawater off the West coast of the US may be attributed to “near total failures of developing oysters in both aquaculture facilities and natural ecosystems”.
  • Before people started burning coal and oil, the pH of the ocean was essentially stable for the previous 20 million years. However, science predicts that by 2100 (less than 100 years!) OA will more than double if CO2 emissions continue at their current rate.
  • The ocean is absorbing the CO2 we are spewing into the atmosphere at the rate of, “22 million tons per day“.
  • The last time the world’s oceans acidified quickly (approximately 6.8 trillion tons of carbon entered the atmosphere over a period of 10,000 years) many deep-sea species went extinct. The cause is not known, but the result was a rise in temperature at least 5-9°C.
  • Strategies needed to combat OA are similar to those that are needed to combat global warming. In fact, OA is known as the evil twin of global warming.
  • To help combat OA you should conserve energy at every opportunity. This could include using the most efficient fuels for cars, trucks, airplanes, and ships.
  • According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “OA has the potential to seriously threaten the future health of the world’s oceans and the significant economic benefits they provide to humankind”.

This illustration depicts how less emissions can combat the effects of ocean acidification. 

It’s a contest! So you think you know famous ocean explorers …

Can you tell me which accomplishments and/or quotes can be attributed to Sylvia Earle or Jacques Cousteau? Everyone that sends all 18 correct answers before I post the answers 10pm tomorrow will be entered in a drawing to win a copy of one of my favorite resources, Ocean (American Museum of Natural History, paperback edition). Send your responses to info@beachchairscientist.com. Good luck and have fun!

  1. Who said, “A lot of people attack the sea, I make love to it”?
  2. Who founded Deep Ocean Exploration and Research (DOER), now DOER Marine Operations, to design, operate, support and consult on manned and robotic sub-sea systems?
  3. Who began a worldwide petition campaign in 1990 to save Antarctica from mineral exploitation?
  4. Whose birthday is August 30th?
  5. Who led more than 50 expeditions worldwide totaling over 6,000 hours underwater?
  6. Who was integral in the development of the ocean conservation program, Mission Blue?
  7. Who, after a near fatal car crash, could not pursue initial dream of being a pilot?
  8. Who said, “I hope for your help to explore and protect the wild ocean in ways that will restore the health and, in so doing, secure hope for humankind. Health to the ocean means health for us”?
  9. Who said, “Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans”?
  10. Who has over 125 scientific and popular publications?
  11. Who was named TIME magazine’s first ‘Hero for the Planet’?
  12. Who received the Presidential Medal of Honor and the United Nations International Environmental Prize?
  13. Who discovered undersea dunes off the Bahama Islands?
  14. Who was honored by John Denver with a song titled, Calypso?
  15. Who said, “With every drop of water you drink, every breath you take, you’re connected to the sea. No matter where on Earth you live”?
  16. Whose birthday is June 11th?
  17. Who stated in an interview that they favored human population control?
  18. Who said, “The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever”?