Top

Heal the Bay Blog

Heal the Bay Gala

Los Angeles leaders Sheila Kuehl and KROQ to be feted on the sand in Santa Monica

We’re excited to announce our honorees for the Bring Back the Beach Annual Awards Gala 2019 on the evening of Thursday, May 23 at the Jonathan Beach Club in Santa Monica, California. Now in its second decade, Heal the Bay’s Gala has grown into L.A.’s ultimate beach party. Reflecting the eclectic nature of Southern California’s devoted ocean lovers, Heal the Bay will salute the eco-accomplishments of Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl and “The World Famous KROQ”.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl has a long history of collaboration with Heal the Bay, starting with her days as a California State Senator. Under her fearless leadership in public office, she has made the L.A. region more environmentally healthy and sustainable. She protected the long-term health of the local coastline by co-authoring legislation that created the Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission in 2002. Last year, she championed Measure W, a ballot measure that will generate $330 million annually to fund projects that capture stormwater, treat runoff and replenish our local water supply. Measure W passed with a huge 69% majority. This crucial progress toward sustainable water would not have been possible without the leadership and vision of Supervisor Kuehl.

KROQ has given a steady stream of support to Heal the Bay over nearly three decades. As the region’s leading alternative rock music purveyor, KROQ has connected millions of music listeners and concert-goers to the shoreline, to their watershed and to each other. Driven by an unrivaled dedication to the Los Angeles community and culture, KROQ has contributed $1,000,000 to Heal the Bay’s local science-based programs since 1992. Proceeds generated from KROQ Weenie Roast and benefit concerts fund Heal the Bay’s work surrounding plastic pollution, climate change, contaminated seafood and beach safety.

The Gala will welcome 1,000 guests to celebrate on the sand, and under the stars, in support of thriving oceans and healthy watersheds. The event consistently sells out and brings together a lively group of artists, entertainment figures, local government officials and business leaders. At last year’s Gala, Bring Back the Beach partygoers celebrated Mayor Eric Garcetti, Gabriela Teissier, Zooey Deschanel and Jacob Pechenik.

This year’s attendees include American Airlines – the official airline of Heal the Bay. The organization is leading the way in their commitment to environmental sustainability.

Group tables and individual tickets are available at www.healthebay.org/bbb.

View Tickets


Download our 2019 Sponsorship Kit, learn more about the event, check out the recap from last year’s Gala, and view more photos from 2018 and 2017.



An aerial view of Kids Ocean Day 2011

Thousands of kids are coming together on May 23 for the 26th annual Kids Ocean Day! Sparking a love for nature in young kids sets them up for a lifetime of appreciation and respect for our oceans, watersheds and natural environment. Plus, they love digging their toes in the sand! At this event, kids will learn about marine animals, the importance of keeping our beaches clean, and what they can do to help.

To wrap up the day’s activities, the kids gather together in formation to create a powerful environmental message on the beach. Far above their heads, helicopters fly by to capture a photo. The result is a spectacular and meaningful image that our team at Heal the Bay looks forward to every year.

Kids Ocean Day 2019 Event Details

Date: Thursday, May 23
Time: 7:00am – 2:30pm
Location: Dockweiler State Beach, Vista Del Mar, Imperial Hwy Entrance, Playa Del Rey, CA 90293 (The end of Imperial Highway between Playa del Rey & Manhattan Beach)

Visit Kids Ocean Day Website


Kids Ocean Day Founder, Michael Klubock, on the importance of youth outreach, hands-on education, and how Kids Ocean Day makes an impact:

“Kids Ocean Day teaches school kids about how litter flows from our neighborhoods to the ocean, where it harms marine life and pollutes our natural resources. It’s where the lessons come to life. By bringing Los Angeles school children to the beach, we put them in touch with nature, while instilling good habits and stewardship that can last a lifetime. The wonder and beauty of the coast, combined with a mission to protect the natural world, is a profound experience. I see it on their faces every year and every year it moves me.

Kids Ocean Day is a way to show kids that their actions—both good and bad—have an impact. That’s a lesson worth learning at any age. Eighty percent of the pollution in the sea comes from the land as the result of runoff. We can all do something about that. Simple things like disposing of litter, picking up after your dog or joining a beach cleanup can make a huge difference.”

An aerial view of Kids Ocean Day 2014



The perfect spot for a beautiful walk, throwing a frisbee, de-stressing, digging your toes in the sand, volunteering, and much, much more. With warm weather on the way (and the beach just a Metro ride away) there are plenty of reasons to go to the beach – check out our list of things to do below!

 

1. For a relaxation day

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Motherhood | Lifestyle Blogger (@momminwithsteph) on

 

2. For the fresh air

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Alissa (@missalissa) on

 

3. To foster a love of the ocean in your kids

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by VeroSweetHobby (@verosweethobby) on

 

4. To soak up the sunshine

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Brand Rep Mom (@our.chaotic.little.life) on

 

5. To get a workout in

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Marysia Do (@marysia_do) on

 

6. For family time

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by D’Lai (@itsdlai) on

 

7. For some great beach games

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Brian Hawkins (@traveling_hawkins) on

 

8. To take a mental break

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Andrea Martina Isenschmid (@andreamartinai) on

 

9. To do some people watching

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Kevin Cuenca (@kevincuencatv) on

 

10. For a fun day with the kids

 

11. To spend quality time with friends

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by S A I D A (@xo.saida) on

 

12. To surf

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by B R U N A SCHMITZ Z A U N (@brunasschmitz) on

 

13. To take cute photos galore

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Naz Ramezani (@thelanative) on

 

14. To play in the waves

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Monster Travels ✈️ (@activitymonster) on

 

15. To listen to the waves

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Mimi Miller (@thatsurfchic_mimi) on

 

16. To explore and reconnect with nature

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Ireland & Colton (@ireland_and_colton) on

 

17. For the gorgeous sunrises and sunsets

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Jessica 🍍English Lass In LA (@englishlassinla) on

 

18. For a date

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Pete Halvorsen (@petehalvorsen) on

 

19. To get in the mood for summer!

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Noah Pugliano (@noahpugliano) on

To all our beach-lovers out there: we’ve created a new app to help you decide which beach is the safest and healthiest to go to!

We believe that no one should get sick from a day at the beach. But, it’s hard to keep track of how the rains, currents, and pollution affect your favorite beach spot. That’s why we’ve created our simple, yet comprehensive Beach Report Card with NowCast. It gives you the latest water quality ratings of beaches all along the West Coast.

So we’ll leave choosing a reason to go to the beach up to you, but we’ve got your back on picking which is the safest for you, your family, and your friends.



California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act,

So, you heard California wants to eliminate single-use plastics? Here’s what you need to know and how you can help. Ready to take action? Urge our representatives to pass new policies by signing the Plastic Petition.

The California Senate and Assembly introduced two bills earlier this year that plan to drastically reduce plastic pollution. These bills are Senate Bill 54 and Assembly Bill 1080 and are referred to as the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act.

California is not alone in this endeavor to address single-use plastic at the source. Cities, nations and even the entire European Union have passed similar legislation. What do we know about these brand new bills, and what does the potential policy shift mean for California and the U.S.?

Here are some common questions and misconceptions about this important legislation.

I heard California is going to ban all plastic! Is that true?

The proposed legislation in California isn’t going to ban all plastic. Instead, the policies would set goals for the reduction of single-use disposable products and packaging, including plastics. By 2030, 75 percent of all single-use plastic packaging and products sold or distributed in California would need to be reduced, recycled or composted. After 2030, all single-use packaging and products must be effectively recyclable or compostable. As part of the shift toward a circular economy, the bills also instruct CalRecycle to develop incentives and policies to encourage in-state manufacturing using recycled material generated in California.

These targets would work similarly to California’s greenhouse gas emissions standards passed last year, which set a goal to move towards 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. The target was set and a plan will be developed to meet that target. Think of these plastics bills as a bold vision, with a specific plan to come later. Read the fine print.

What about recycling? Isn’t that important?

Yes, but, recycling as it exists today won’t solve the plastic pollution problem on its own.

Recycling is an important part of the puzzle, especially in the aftermath of China’s recently passed National Sword Policy that prohibits the United States from exporting our recyclables to China. India is quickly following suit, too. And we don’t blame them; it’s our dirty trash after all, and the United States needs a real plan to deal with it.

One of the key components of California’s bills is the standardized definition of what makes an item “recyclable”. For an item to be considered “recyclable”, it not only has to meet strict material requirements, but there also must be infrastructure in place that will ensure the proper recycling of that item, such as curbside pick-up and accessible recycling facilities.

It’s not enough for an item to be able to be recycled or composted, it has to actually happen.

Okay, so recycling is covered, but what about composting?

Just like recycling, these bills will create strict definitions and standardizations for compostable items. This clause will ensure environmental benefit by taking already defined standardizations such as “marine degradable” into account. As with recycling, the bill goes another step further and requires that items are actually being composted at proper facilities to earn the title of “compostable”.

Speaking of composting, what about compostable plastics? I heard those are okay to use!

Excellent question. It’s important to note that, although they sound sustainable, compostable plastics are not a good alternative. Compostable plastics may have benefits in the durable product world; however, they pose another set of issues for single-use products. They do not degrade in aquatic environments and require industrial composting facilities to break down, which we don’t currently have as part of the waste management infrastructure in greater L.A. The legislation being introduced in California will work to increase this infrastructure in L.A. and throughout the state so that all compostable items are being properly composted, helping to “close the loop”.

Wait, what does “close the loop” mean, and how is that related to a “Circular Economy”?

Right now, our global economies operate on what we call a “linear” system. We extract resources, produce products, and then discard the waste, known as “take-make-dispose”. Very little of those extracted resources are looped back into the economy to create new products, mostly due to cost and lack of infrastructure. A “circular economy” is the opposite system, where the raw materials used to make products are recovered to make new ones, with little to no waste. The process of moving from a linear system to a circular one is commonly referred to as “closing the loop”, and would drastically reduce our global waste and plastic pollution crisis by reducing the amount of waste we create. It’s sustainability at its simplest!

Didn’t Europe do something like this, too? Is California’s bill the same?

The European Union passed the EU Directive on Single-Use Plastics and Fishing Gear, a comprehensive plan to drastically reduce plastic pollution through a variety of different approaches. Sounds similar so far, but this directive is a bit different than what we have proposed here in the Golden State. Firstly, the main goal of this directive was to reduce plastic pollution, not necessarily reduce single-use plastics at the source. Secondly, the bill targets 10 very specific items that are most commonly found on European beaches based on beach cleanup data. Each item is then assigned one or more approaches, such as market restriction measures (an outright ban) or producer responsibility schemes (charging the maker of the product with the costs of cleaning it up). On the flip side, California is aiming to set broad plastic reduction targets, instead of focusing on specific items.

Hasn’t this already happened in some cities in California?

Sure has! We have seen the passing of comprehensive single-use plastics legislation in Berkeley, Santa Monica, and Manhattan Beach. There have also been strong plastics ordinances passed all over the state that focus on everything from single-use plastic straws to plastic foam to-go containers. A statewide act will help to strengthen already existing local legislation and give the rest of the state the incentive it needs to reduce its waste.

I’m on board! What can I do to help get this legislation passed?

We are stoked to hear you want to help! Throughout the next year, these new bills will be heard by multiple committees and by the state houses. Both bills have already moved through their first committee hearing and passed!

Now, the best thing you can do is let your state representatives know you support these bills. Sign our Plastic Petition urging the California Senate and Assembly to fast-track the approval of the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act. Call, email or write a letter to your representatives and let them know about these bills and why you support this proposed legislation. Find your representative.

And if you live in the City of Los Angeles, please contact your City Council Member and tell them you support this State legislation and want to see something similar in the City of L.A. There is some movement at the City of L.A. to enact similar legislation, but we need more voices to push it along.

Lastly, take the Plastic Pledge and spread the word! The more support this legislation gets from local communities, businesses, organizations, and people like you, the more likely it will be passed. Raise your voice and stay tuned for updates.



Plastic Pollution Reduction - Heal the Bay

Here’s a snapshot of one of the biggest issues facing our oceans and waterways – and what you can do to make a difference.

Take the Plastic Pledge

It’s estimated that there will be more plastic by mass than fish in the world’s oceans by 2050. This Earth Month, Heal the Bay is launching the Plastic Pledge campaign. You can get started today by refusing single-use plastic and replacing one product or service with a safer and cleaner alternative.

Here’s how it works in 3 simple steps:

1. Complete this statement:  I Pledge to ________ .

Here are some sample Plastic Pledges from the Heal the Bay team:

  • I Pledge to shop local instead of buying from Amazon.
  • I Pledge to drink from a reusable cup.
  • I Pledge to carry a reusable shopping bag.
  • I Pledge to use metal (or reusable) straws only.
  • I Pledge to encourage my favorite restaurants to go plastic-free.

2. Make it known:

Download this template, customize it, and share it on social media! Tag us @healthebay and use #healthebay so we can re-share your post!

3. Tell the full story:

Once you make the Plastic Pledge, how easy was it to keep? Making a personal shift away from single-use plastic isn’t simple. Transportation, budget, and a lack of access to equitable choices can get in the way of our willingness to opt for the better alternative. So, there is no shame in failing – in fact, it’s totally OK to fail. That is part of the process, right?! If you fail, tell us the full story in your social media post. Did your sandwich shop refuse to fill your reusable cup? Call ‘em out! If you are able to succeed in your Plastic Pledge, acknowledge why you were successful by recognizing the resources and privileges you have access to that helped you succeed. Does your gym provide accessible water refill stations for your bottle? Give them a shout out!


The Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors and Heal the Bay collaborate during National Coastal Cleanup Day at Dockweiler State Beach. The event included cleaning up the beach, family-friendly activities, and a chance to enter the Can the Trash! Clean Beach Poster Contest. All Rights Reserved. No Commercial Use. Credit: Los Angeles County
Photo Credit: Mayra Vasquez, Los Angeles County

Sign the Plastic Petition

We are asking Californians to sign the Plastic Petition in support of State Bill 54 and Assembly Bill 1080, known formally as the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Acts. The two statewide bills were introduced, in the 2019 legislative season, to drastically reduce plastic pollution. Read our FAQs here to learn more about the legislation and ways to get involved in addition to signing the petition.

Sign the Plastic Petition


The Los Angeles County Department of Beaches and Harbors and Heal the Bay collaborate during National Coastal Cleanup Day at Dockweiler State Beach. The event included cleaning up the beach, family-friendly activities, and a chance to enter the Can the Trash! Clean Beach Poster Contest. All Rights Reserved. No Commercial Use. Credit: Los Angeles County
Photo Credit: Mayra Vasquez, Los Angeles County

Attend a Special Event

Take part in community science, volunteer to clean up our communities, and celebrate with us at a special event all year long.

View Events


Become a Sustainer

Make a lasting gift in support of science-based education, advocacy, and community outreach in honor of your Plastic Pledge. Your generous monthly support of $9 starting this month sustains the health and growth of Heal the Bay, and ensures that L.A.’s water remains healthy, safe, and clean.

Make a $9 Gift

 



Heal the Bay community

From community science to clean water, volunteers are needed to protect our natural environment.

We’re announcing our Earth Month 2019 calendar with hands-on events and volunteer opportunities, happening in Los Angeles County throughout the month of April. Our special Earth Month event series celebrates, protects, and improves our neighborhoods, coastal waters, rivers, creeks, and beaches in Los Angeles County. We expect thousands of participants throughout the month. Individuals, families, schools, businesses, and community organizations are all invited to attend the following events. No special training or experience is required. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged at healthebay.org/earthmonth!

In addition to the Earth Month event series, Heal the Bay is asking Californians to reduce plastic pollution by taking the Plastic Pledge and signing the Plastic Petition in support of State Bill 54 and Assembly Bill 1080, known formally as the California Circular Economy and Plastic Pollution Reduction Acts.

Volunteer Orientation at Heal the Bay’s Aquarium under the Santa Monica Pier
Monday, April 8 @ 6:30pm – 8:30pm
Heal the Bay will host a special Volunteer Orientation during Earth Month to discuss engagement opportunities and policy initiatives. This orientation is ideal for those curious about local volunteer programs, but are unsure about which best fits their needs.

Free Cone Day at Ben & Jerry’s Venice Beach
Tuesday, April 9 @ Noon – 8pm
Heal the Bay is celebrating Free Cone Day with Ben & Jerry’s Venice Beach. FREE cones of ice cream will be given out while supplies last. Meet some of the Heal the Bay team while you visit the Ben & Jerry’s Venice Beach location – and feel free to pass on the love with a small donation to Heal the Bay. Ben & Jerry’s Venice Beach will also start eliminating single-use plastics in their business by switching to wooden spoons and paper straws.

Beach Cleanup north of the Santa Monica Pier
Saturday, April 20, 10am – Noon
Last April, 1,000 volunteers picked up 183 pounds of trash and debris that would have otherwise entered our ocean. We hope to better those totals this year at our big public cleanup north of the Santa Monica Pier. Cleanup participants earn same-day free admission to Heal the Bay’s Aquarium under the Santa Monica Pier. *This event is now SOLD OUT! What does this mean? We’ve run out of supplies, so you need to bring your own gloves and buckets to participate in the cleanup.)

Heal the Bay x Golden Road Art Pop Up Art Gallery at the Rose Room in Venice (21+ event)
Saturday, April 20, Noon – 10pm
Taste Heal the Bay IPA and the brand new Hazy Heal the Bay draught at our 2nd Annual Earth Day Art Gallery Pop Up with Golden Road Brewing. Golden Road Brewing, maker of the Heal the Bay IPA, is hosting the second annual Heal the Bay Pop Up on Saturday, April 20 at The Rose Room in Venice. Golden Road Brewing started brewing Heal the Bay IPA in March 2014, with a percentage of every barrel sold supporting Heal the Bay’s work. Stop by to taste the Heal the Bay IPA beer and the new Hazy draught and see exhibiting local artists.

Earth Day Celebration at Heal the Bay’s Aquarium
Saturday, April 20, 11am – 5pm
Heal the Bay’s award-swimming Aquarium under the Santa Monica Pier has programmed a day filled with fun activities for all ages. Families can experience the Santa Monica Bay and see all the local animals without getting their feet wet. Short film screenings, Earth Day-themed story time, live animal presentations, face painting, and an eco-themed crafts station will round out the celebration in the Aquarium. In addition, visitors who walk to the west end of the Santa Monica Pier will find a wildlife station stocked with binoculars and bird identification guides.

We are also launching a special virtual exhibit on Earth Day 2019 — a 360-degree exploration of marine protected areas off Catalina Island in California. You’ll be able to wear some special goggles and take a virtual dive under the Pacific Ocean. If you’re lucky you might even come face-to-face with a giant sea bass, a rare and endangered denizen of the deep.

TrashBlitz L.A. in San Pedro
Starts on Saturday, April 20, 10am – Noon
The inaugural TrashBlitz L.A. kicks off on April 20 in the Los Angeles River and surrounding watershed communities. Together, volunteers will remove trash and identify the top brands on packaging labels that are polluting the L.A. River and nearby areas. The results of this TrashBlitz will be used to support local and statewide policies and strategies to reduce waste. Heal the Bay is co-hosting the event with 5 Gyres, Friends of the LA River, Surfrider-Long Beach/Los Angeles, Algalita, Space Center, Greenpeace, Multicultural Learning Center, The Bay Foundation, Adventures in Waste, Sierra Club, Loyola Marymount University, Tree People, Team Marine, Los Angeles Waterkeeper, Padres Pioneros, Pacoima Beautiful, Los Angeles Yacht Club, Climate Reality Project, Azul, LA Maritime Institute, Adventures in Waste, Plastic Pollution Coalition, El Nido.

City Nature Challenge all over Los Angeles County
Friday, April 26 – Monday, April 29
The City Nature Challenge is a global effort for people to find and document wildlife in cities. Over 130 cities around the world are competing in the City Nature Challenge, including Los Angeles! For the fourth year in a row, Heal the Bay is rallying everyone in Los Angeles County to get outside, snap photos of any plant, animal, fungi, slime mold, or any other evidence of life (scat, fur, tracks, shells, carcasses!), and share observations using the iNaturalist app. The City Nature Challenge is organized by the Natural History Museum and the California Academy of Sciences. Free iNaturalist training will be provided at Heal the Bay’s Aquarium on April 13, 2pm-4pm.

View Earth Month Calendar


Become a Sustaining Member

Make a lasting gift in support of science-based education, advocacy, and community outreach in honor of Earth Month. Your generous monthly support of $9 starting this Earth Month sustains the health and growth of Heal the Bay, and ensures that L.A.’s water remains healthy, safe, and clean.

Make a $9 Gift for Earth Month

Looking for more ways to get involved? Stay connected with us by signing up for our newsletter and following us on social media at Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.



¡Vengan a disfrutar de las actividades familiares y aprender más acerca de la vida marina local!

1. ¡Los niños de 12 años o menor entran gratis! y el precio para adultos es de solo $7 dólares. ¡En grupos de 10 o más cada persona entra por $5!


2. Con alrededor de 100 especies de animales marinos locales en exposición, actividades para los pequeños, y programas educativos diarios, el Acuario del Muelle de Santa Mónica es el lugar perfecto para sumergirse en las ciencias marinas sin tener que mojarse.


3. ¿Experiencia Virtual? ¡Si, el Acuario de El Muelle de Santa Mónica lo tiene! La exposición virtual les dará la oportunidad de explorar la vida marina que habita las aguas de la Isla Catalina, incluyendo a la lubina gigante (giant sea bass) cual se encuentra en peligro de extinción.


4. ¡Fishing for Health! ¡Pesca Saludable! El programa de Heal the Bay, Angler Outreach Program o en español El Programa de Alcance a Pescadores, lanzo una nueva oportunidad educacional bilingüe en cual aprenderán de la contaminación de peces en el condado, el consumo de pez, y maneras de cocinar para los que pescan en los muelles de Los Ángeles. ¡El programa es incluido con la entrada a el acuario y toma acabo el viernes cada dos semanas a las 2 p.m. de la tarde!


5. ¿Las estrellas del mar no son consideradas un pez? ¡Acompáñenos cada viernes de 2:30 pm a 3:00 pm para darles de comer y aprender más sobre esta especie marina!


6. ¡Tun tun, tun tun, tun tun! ¡Acompáñenos cada domingo de 3:30 pm a 4:00pm a darle de comer a nuestras dos especies de tiburones, y a la misma vez aprenda más información! A la misma vez, puede ser testigo del baile de los bebes tiburones.


7. ¿La basura en exposición? Durante su visita a nuestra acuario podrá ver una exposición de la basura cual es normalmente encontrada en nuestros océanos. Esta basura no es solo interesante para nuestros ojos, es especialmente dañina para los animales marinos. 


8. ¡Usted puede ser un voluntario! ¡Puede participar detrás de las escenas y aprender de los animales marinos! Después tendrá la oportunidad de relatar la información con los visitantes del acuario. 


9. ¿Sabían que pueden rentar el acuario para tener un evento? ¡Una celebración junto a la vida marina! Hagan clic para ver más información de como poder tener eventos en el acuario.


10. El acuario esta directamente en el muelle de Santa Monica. Después de disfrutar del acuario pueden ir a conocer el resto del muelle y disfrutar de la playa de Santa Monica y todas sus atracciones. 

 



Today on #WorldWaterDay we celebrate women environmentalists who saw a problem, spoke up, and changed the world.

Women are impacted by environmental issues like water pollution and climate change at disproportionate rates as a result of systemic inequity.1 Harmful stereotypes and a lack of access to education, economic status, and health resources often leave women and people of color out of the conversations that impact them, specifically about land use, natural resources, and environmental policy decision-making.

Despite these challenges, environmentalists of color and women continue to be on the front lines of creating change. Get to know these 5 women environmentalists who have created an inspiring and bold legacy of activism.

Wangari Maathai (1940 – 2011), Kenya

Founder of the Green Belt Movement, which has planted over 51 million trees, Professor Maathai focused on environmental conservation and women’s rights. She studied biology in her undergraduate and graduate school programs and later won the Nobel Peace Prize for her vast contributions to sustainable development.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Nobel Prize (@nobelprize_org) on

Berta Isabel Cáceres Flores (1971 – 2016), Honduras

Berta Cáceres was an indigenous environmental justice activist and grassroots leader who created the National Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations (COPINH) in Honduras. She fought courageously against illegal and harmful mining and logging as well as the construction of a dam that would cut off water, food and medicine for the indigenous Lenca people. Cáceres Flores was tragically murdered in 2016, sparking international outrage. The Cáceres family continues to demand justice for this corrupt violation of human rights. 2

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by GAME CHANGERS – (@theunsungheroines) on

Isatou Ceesay (b. 1972), The Gambia

Isatou Ceesay is known as the Queen of Recycling in The Gambia, and rightfully so. Though she was kept from finishing school, she created the Njai Recycling and Income Generation Group, which turns plastic bag waste into purses, creating revenue streams for local women. Ceesay also educates and empowers women through environmental advocacy.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by realkarenabercrombie (@realkarenabercrombie) on

Winona LaDuke (b. 1959), White Earth Indian Reservation

Founder of the White Earth Land Recovery Project and Honor the Earth, LaDuke is an environmentalist and political activist with Indigenous communities. She focuses on sustainable development, renewable energy, climate change, and environmental justice. The White Earth Land Recovery Project is one of the largest non-profit organizations in the United States dedicated to recovering original land and maintaining tribal food, water, and energy rights.

 

View this post on Instagram

 

A post shared by Winona LaDuke (@winonaladuke) on

Dorothy Green (1929 – 2008), Los Angeles

Founder of Heal the Bay, the late Dorothy Green was a celebrated environmental and grassroots activist in California who stopped millions of gallons of sewage from being dumped into the Pacific Ocean and changed water policy in California. She also created the Los Angeles & San Gabriel Rivers Watershed Council (now the Council of Watershed Health). Her goal was to restore and preserve the ecological health of the ocean and watersheds and advocate for better water quality in the Los Angeles region. Her legacy lives on today in our organization’s mission.

In honor of National Women’s History Month, we thank these women environmentalists, from around the world, who fought for what was right despite facing strong opposition for simply being who they were. Women and girls are leaders in their communities and agents of change. Supporting and listening to them will benefit the health of our planet for generations to come.

 


About the author: Mariana Estrada is a digital advocacy intern at Heal the Bay. She grew up in Boyle Heights, Los Angeles where she enjoys a lively community of close-knit families and great food. She became interested in environmental issues like air quality at an unusually young age due to living in the city. Estrada’s area of focus is combining humanities and environmental issues to create effective and meaningful storytelling that renders real results. She studies English Literature and double-minors in Environmental Systems and Society and Environmental Engineering at UCLA.

1 Gender and climate change-induced migration: Proposing a framework for analysis. Author Namrata Chindarkar. Published by School of Public Policy, University of Maryland, College Park, USA. Published on 22 June 2012. Retrieved from https://www.researchgate.net/publication/254496452_Gender_and_climate_change-induced_migration_Proposing_a_framework_for_analysis
2 Berta Cáceres: 2015 Goldman Prize Recipient South and Central America. Published by The Goldman Environmental Prize. Retrieved from https://www.goldmanprize.org/recipient/berta-caceres/



After 11 years at Heal the Bay, Communications Director Matthew King is hanging up his keyboard. Before he heads off for a career sabbatical, he offers a series of posts about his favorite colleagues and lessons learned.

Readers, thanks for putting up with this extended farewell. (I feel like Cher or Elton John a bit.)  As I hand the baton to my capable colleague Talia Walsh, I want to recognize that none of our Comm success over the past decade could have happened without the eloquence and competence of our colleagues here. My job is just to set up interviews, create talking points, edit blog posts and help draft Op-Eds and then get out of the way. I’ve been very fortunate to work with so many outstanding scientists and advocates over the years.

I owe a special debt to Heal the Bay’s first executive director, Mark Gold, who hired me to rethink HTB’s Comm strategy. I think we both learned a lot from each other. Now an associate vice chancellor at UCLA, Mark is one of L.A.’s pre-eminent environmental thought-leaders, as well as an inveterate Dodger fan, like me. (In photo below, he’s wearing the cap, next to one of his heroes, star pitcher Fernando Valenzeula, before a Heal the Bay cleanup. I don’t think I ever saw him more happy at work!) His gallows humor and unfailing candor are welcome relief in a field marked too often by wishful thinking and feel-good platitudes.

My job was made infinitely easier by the endeavors of two former science-and-policy directors, Sarah Sikich and Kirsten James. I lovingly dubbed the fresh-faced, blonde duo “The Bobbsey Twins” for their earnest dedication. But this powerful team formed a formidable one-two punch in my early years, scoring victories for Marine Protected Areas and bans on single-use plastics. These two Midwesterners embody Heal the Bay’s core values: integrity, loyalty and a willingness to work hard. I am so happy that our current president Shelley Luce embodies these strengths as well. We are in good hands.

Last but not least is Meredith McCarthy, our current Operations Director and longtime Mama Bear of the organization. As Programs Manager, Meredith worked on dozens of campaigns and events with me – instilling me with pride, conviction, confidence and a can-do spirit even when my spirits flagged. She’s a mensch, a Bodhisattva and the best “work wife” I guy could ever have.

It’s been incredibly rewarding to represent Heal the Bay’s good work to the media and general public. I hope my work has helped inspire people to become better stewards of the ocean and our inland waterways. I trust that by shining a light, I’ve helped reduce pollution in the Bay and swimming-related illnesses. My father served as an L.A. County lifeguard for 30 years. So in my own small way, I feel like I’ve been following in my late father’s footsteps – helping to protect the millions of people who visit our beaches each year.

And one final thought: My wife and I had a trick at home called “One Step Further” to encourage better in-home habits for our growing sons. Yes, it was a small victory to have them take their dirty dish out of their room and to the sink. But we nudged to them to take it one step further, and actually scrape the dish and put it in the dishwasher.

I have a similar wish for all those who support Heal the Bay. Try to take it one step further. If you come to a cleanup and enjoy it, think about becoming a beach captain. If you sign one of our petitions, think about speaking at a city council hearing about the matter. If you make a small (and appreciated) one-time donation, think about becoming a monthly sustaining member. You get the idea. None of our good work happens without YOU.

I’ll see you on the beach. Maybe in Montevideo …

 

 



After 11 years at Heal the Bay, Communications Director Matthew King is hanging up his keyboard. Before he heads off for a career sabbatical, he offers a series of stories about his favorite moments and lessons learned.

Communications Directors have a special role at nonprofits. We work with every department and try hard to give our colleagues the credit they deserve for their hard work. We collaborate with smart people, working across all disciplines of the organization, as well as allies in the community.

During my tenure, I’ve spent time in the field with scientists, teachers, policy advocates, creative directors, fundraisers, organizers, journalists, lawyers, and powerful elected officials. You learn a lot just watching and listening to people who know how to get things done. I’ve had many classroomsfrom tidepools to city-council chambers, from aquariums to production studios. That informal education has been one of the biggest blessings of my job here.

Roaming across greater L.A. with an environmental mindset has also led to some memorable encounters and surprising discoveries. Here are three of my favorite moments:

Swimming with a White Shark

I’ve edited dozens of blog and social media posts about the need to protect apex predators in our waters. But my close encounter with a juvenile white shark while surfing in El Porto made the issue deeply personal.  You can read more about it here.

Discovering a Human Skull at a Cleanup

I’ve become blasé about what we find at cleanups after all these years of seeing the same types of trash over and over. Ho hum, another pound of cigarette butts in the sand. (Yuck!) But one find at a Coastal Cleanup Day site stopped me dead in my tracks – divers discovering what looked like a human skull underneath the Redondo Beach Pier. Police shut down the site and went full-on “CSI.” You can read more about the surprise ending to this story here.

Finding Hope in the Back of a Nissan

Teachers are among the most underappreciated members of society. (Honoring first responders and soldiers is great, but why don’t they celebrate outstanding teachers before ball games as well?) Patty Jimenez is one such hero, who goes the extra mile to motivate her students in the underserved community of Bell Gardens. I invited Patty and a few of her students to share their compelling story about getting cigarettes banned in city parks on KTLA Morning News. They hustled out to Playa del Rey, battling morning traffic in the predawn darkness to appear on the show before returning back for the start of school. During a break in filming, I watched these inspirational kids do something that will stick with me forever. Read their story here.


As a former reporter and editor, I know how hard it is to be a journalist. Low pay and long hours are to be expected. Most media outlets find their budgets shrinking as fast as the attention spans of readers. That makes it harder to get environmental stories into print or on air. Still, some thoughtful reporters are doing good work. Here are three journalists who made my job fun.

Louis Sahagun, L.A. Times environmental reporter

Louis is an OG LA Times vet, slightly rumpled, slightly curmudgeonly,  but with a heart-of-gold. He’s been around the block a few times. He’s the type of guy you want to have a few beers with in a divey San Pedro bar. He’s had to weather a lot of turmoil with management changes at the L.A. Times, but he perseveres. He’s the master of the anecdotal lede, expert at painting nature with spare but evocative prose. I took Louis out on a boat for my first big story here, a feature piece on the tension over creating Marine Protected Areas off the SoCal coast. You can read one of his stories about Heal the Bay’s campaign against invasive crayfish here.

Huell Howser, the late KCET video-journalist

No one did what Huell did, exploring the backroads of California and visiting everyday folk. With his “aw-shucks” demeanor and courtly Southern manners, Huell could make a trip to an insurance office seem interesting. So I was elated when I convinced him to do a segment on our fight against single-use plastic bags. My then-colleague Kirsten James and I had a small bet whether I could get him to say in that cornpone drawl of his: “Noooooo, Kirsten! NINE BILL-YUN plastic bags??!!” You can read more about our day together here.

Gayle Anderson, reporter for KTLA Morning News

Gayle has mastered goofy shtick to make herself one of the most famous news personalities in L.A. But don’t let that madcap on-air persona fool you. As a former crime reporter in Miami, she’s whip smart and extremely well read. She’s dead serious about her job and is totally demanding of her sources when putting together a segment. She used to strike the fear of God in me, but then I discovered what a pussycat she really is. You can watch some of her segments here focusing on our efforts to increase diversity on the beach.

Final installment here: Recognizing some outstanding people