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Heal the Bay Blog

Category: Plastic Pollution

Take Action for Our Ocean

Our ocean needs our help—from fighting for environmental justice and urgently addressing the climate crisis that impacts People of Color and low-income communities at disproportionate levels, to blocking a new federal attack on Marine Protected Areas that dampens progress for wildlife biodiversity, to stopping fossil fuel development and single-use plastic manufacturing that pollute our water, air, soil, and bodies. There is so much work to do.

Together, we need to tune in to the waves to recognize how much our ocean provides for us and raise awareness about our individual and collective duties to protect safe and healthy water for all people and marine life.


Support Ballot Initiative Against Plastic Waste

We have a chance to bring a groundbreaking plastic pollution reduction act directly to voters on the 2022 ballot in California, but to get it there we need signatures from people like you.

The California Recycling and Plastic Pollution Reduction Act is on track to qualify for the statewide 2022 ballot thanks to signatures from hundreds of thousands of Californians. This act would require a 25% source reduction of single-use plastics by 2030 AND hold Big Plastic financially accountable for their pollution.

Help us get this on the ballot and up for a vote: Print. Sign. Mail. Done.

GET PLASTIC ON THE BALLOT

 


Fight the Federal Rollback on a Marine Protected Area

Our nation is in crisis. Yet quietly, in the background and for the first time in history, the federal administration has rolled back protections on a National Marine Sanctuary. The Northeast Canyons and Seamounts Marine National Monument protects ocean biodiversity and is invaluable to marine resource protection.

Sign this petition and urge for the reintroduction of protections for this marine protected area.

PROTECT MPAs

 


In Solidarity

Heal the Bay stands in solidarity with the Black community demanding justice for ongoing tragedies caused by systemic racism as well as social and environmental injustices.⁣⁣⁣

Black, Indigenous, and People of Color need to be protected. Black lives matter. The fight for this protection starts in our hearts by examining our own privileges and roles in systemic racism.

Environmental and social justice issues are intertwined. And it must be acknowledged that the hard work to dismantle systemic environmental and social barriers should not be a burden that continues to fall on BIPOC and marginalized communities who are most impacted by these issues.⁣⁣ We, who have access to a clean and safe environment, must fight for access, equity, and safety for all.⁣⁣

READ OUR FULL STATEMENT

 


Journey to Environmental Justice

In our latest two-part blog series, Heal the Bay Outreach Coordinator Danielle shares her environmental justice journey and what equality, equity, and justice can look like in the environmental movement.

READ: EJ JOURNEY

READ: EQUALITY, EQUITY, JUSTICE

 


Tune In to the Waves

Today’s Knowledge Drops webinar is all about the history of #WorldOceansDay and the Giant Sea Bass. Dive in with us to learn more about the ocean’s benefits, all the life it supports, and our duty to use its resources sustainably and equitably. Tune in at 1:30PM PDT.

REGISTER

 



El Programa Educacional Pesquero de Heal the Bay (AOP, por sus siglas en inglés) es un programa educativo dirigido a los pescadores de muelles y zona costera de los Condados de Los Angeles y Condado de Orange sobre los riesgos de consumir pescado contaminado con toxinas como el dicloro-difenil-tricloroetane (DDT) y los bifenilos policlorinados(PCBs). AOP es un componente del Grupo Educacional sobre la Contaminación de Peces (FCEC), por sus siglas en inglés) creado en el 2003 y administrado por la Agencia de Protección Ambiental (EPA, por sus siglas en inglés) como parte de un programa de educación pública, en asociación con otras agencias federales, estatales, y organizaciones comunitarias locales. 

El FCEC se estableció porque hay un sitio importante de contaminación (o sitio Superfund) frente a la costa de Los Angeles en la plataforma de Palos Verdes. El DDT y PCB se descargaron hisóricamente en el océano cerca de la península de Palos Verdes y todavía permanecen en el sedimento. Estas toxinas pueden viajar a través de la cadena alimenticia hacia los peces y potencialmente tener impactos negativos en la salud humana. Ciertas especies de peces y ciertas áreas tienen más probabilidades de estar contaminadas.

El objetivo del AOP es educar a los pescadores sobre la contaminación y qué peces deben evitarse. A lo largo de nuestras visitas a diferentes muelles en el sur de California, nuestro equipo educativo ha interactuado con diversas comunidades pesqueras. La divulgación se realiza en varios idiomas; Por esta razón, el equipo de Heal the Bay cuenta con un personal bilingüe que ha cubierto, con el tiempo, todos los diferentes grupos de pescadores de muelle del sur de California en varios idiomas, incluidos: español, chino, tagalo, vietnamita, camboyano y ruso.

Desde los inicios del programa, el equipo de Heal the Bay ha educado a más de 170,000 pescadores de muelles. Como tal, hemos escuchado muchas historias y aprendido mucho sobre las personas que frecuentemente pescan en nuestros muelles locales. Apreciamos a estos pescadores que comparten con nosotros sus conocimientos y experiencias.

Premios recibidos a nivel nacional

En 2009, la Agencia de Protección Ambiental de EE. UU. otorgó dos prestigiosos premios al Grupo Educacional sobre Contaminación de Peces. Para ese entonces, viajé hasta Washington D.C. para recibir tan distinguido reconocimiento a la Excelencia Ciudadana en Participación Comunitaria. Este premio se entrega anualmente a un individuo o grupo comunitario que trabaja con un equipo de sitios Superfund por los logros sobresalientes que se hayan realizado en el campo de la protección ambiental. El FCEC fue reconocido por su trabajo por proteger a las poblaciones más vulnerables del sur de California de los riesgos de salud que implica consumir pescados contaminado con DDT y PCB. El otro premio fue otorgado a Heal the Bay y a todos los socios de FCEC en Los Ángeles por Logro en Justicia Ambiental.

Este reconocimiento es significativo para Heal the Bay porque muestra que estamos logrando nuestro objetivo de proteger la salud para todos, especialmente a las comunidades con desventajas económicas y sociales. Heal the Bay tuvo el honor de ser seleccionado y representar a FCEC de una serie de proyectos nacionales. La justicia ambiental es un componente principal de nuestro trabajo, ya que nos centramos en segmentos de la población que con demasiada frecuencia se descuidan.

 

Ganador del Premio 2009: Frankie Orrala de Heal the Bay recibió los Premios a la Excelencia Ciudadana en Participación Comunitaria y Logro en Justicia Ambiental.

Además de aceptar este premio en la capital, también viajé a Ecuador en América del Sur, junto con científicos del Instituto Nacional de Pesca y profesores, investigadores y estudiantes de la Universidad de Guayaquil. Nos reunimos y hablamos de los esfuerzos de FCEC para monitorear la contaminación y educar al público sobre su efecto en la salud humana y ambiental. El interés internacional de nuestro programa es un honor, y esperamos construir más relaciones en el futuro con comunidades que enfrentan problemas similares que tenemos en el sur de California.

Hay muchas razones para nuestro éxito continuo del programa AOP de Heal the Bay, desde los miembros de nuestro gran equipo, comunidades con las que trabajamos, hasta de los expertos que nos brindan asesoramiento. ¡Todo esto no sería posible sin nuestros seguidores y por eso te lo agradecemos!


Para obtener más información sobre nuestro programa, visite www.pvsfish.org y si deseas unirte a nuestro equipo bilingüe llámenos al 310-451-1500 o visita nuestro sitio www.healthebay.org

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Emily Parker, Coastal and Marine Scientist at Heal the Bay dives into how to fight Big Plastic from your living room during the COVID-19 pandemic while staying safe, protecting your community, and supporting struggling local businesses.

Update: California Governor Gavin Newsom temporarily suspends the statewide plastic bag ban on April 23, 2020 in response to inaccurate claims from the oil and plastics industries that disposable plastics are safer than reusable items, an untruth that creates unnecessary panic. We are alarmed that some of our elected leaders are listening to the oil and plastics industries at a time when our resources should be supporting our strained health care system, protecting essential employees, and providing assistance to vulnerable communities. We encourage Californians to bring reusable bags if your local store allows it and opt to bag yourself! If the store is not allowing reusable bags, refuse the plastic bags at checkout, bring your items outside in the cart, and bag there with your reusable bags.  Read our full statement.

It’s a Friday evening. Everyone across the city, the nation, the globe, is sheltering in place. Local businesses are suffering and I want to do the right thing and support them (plus, I’m hungry). So I order some noodles. They arrive at my doorstep, and they hit the spot, but the problem? They are packaged in a single-use plastic container. This is my dilemma, and I am not alone.

Plastic pollution advocates are all experiencing this same predicament: how do I stay safe, protect my community, and support struggling local businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic, all while still fighting Big Plastic (i.e. the plastics industry behemoth that includes plastic manufacturers, fossil fuel companies, and food conglomerates that all support the harmful production and disposal of single-use plastic products)?

Over the course of the past month, all of our lives in the US have changed drastically. Those who are fortunate enough to have a place to live are isolated in their homes, distanced from loved ones. More and more people fall ill every day, vulnerable communities are suffering disproportionately, and our governments and healthcare systems are pushed to the brink. Yet, all the while, Big Plastic does not sleep.

Behind the scenes, industry lobbyists from plastic corporations and fossil fuel companies are using the COVID-19 crisis as a front to push their agenda: make and sell more plastic. The result? Cities and states like San Francisco and New Hampshire have reversed their bans on plastic bags and the safety of reusable items has come into question causing delays for plastic bag bans in New York and Maine. All of this because an industrial conglomerate wants you to believe single-use plastic is less likely to make you sick (a claim with no un-biased evidence to back it up). So, what can we do about it?

Here are a few ways you can fight Big Plastic while sheltering in place:

1. Continue to support your local restaurants and prioritize those that choose sustainable alternatives for their take-out and delivery

Our friends at Surfrider Foundation have just the tool for you to keep ordering take-out and avoid the dirtiest plastics: Ocean Friendly Restaurants (OFR). This program works to stop plastic pollution at the source, and offers restaurants an easy way to show their commitment to making sustainable choices for our ocean. All OFR certified establishments make a commitment to reduce plastic waste through targets such as eliminating polystyrene (the worst plastic litter offender), only offering utensils and non-plastic straws on request, and not offering plastic bags. Use this handy map to find an Ocean Friendly Restaurant near you!

Don’t see your favorite spot? Call them up and politely ask if you can order your food with as little plastic packaging as possible. Keeping local businesses afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic while reducing plastic waste IS possible!

2. Take extra care to avoid single-use plastics when buying your essentials and support refill systems when possible

With bulk bins taped over and reusable bags being turned away, even a simple trip to the market for essentials can seem overwhelming if you are avoiding single-use plastic. However, a little extra preparation and research can go a long way.

Bring along reusable produce bags and pack up your own produce to avoid the plastic packaged stuff. Look for pantry items packed in cardboard, tin and aluminum to avoid disposable plastic bags. Already an avid refill customer? Check with your local refill store and see if they have curbside pick-up or delivery options for cleaning, household, and personal care products while we shelter in place.

Finally, go easy on yourself. Now is the time to show compassion and, if you buy more single-use plastic than you would like, don’t despair. We are all doing our best and limited options may force our hand. Do try to clean and repurpose any plastic you may get as best as you can; Pinterest and YouTube have great tutorials on how to reuse single-use plastic items.

3. Use your voice and your vote to stand up to Big Plastic 

Stand with Heal the Bay and the Reusable LA Coalition as we take an active stance against Big Plastic’s fear mongering techniques to increase the production and sale of plastic during the COVID-19 pandemic. By supporting legislation such as the STOP Act of 2020, (a bill that would prohibit the Federal Administration from slashing royalty rates and giving away billions of dollars to fossil fuel companies) and continuing to push for local legislation that equitably reduces plastic use in Los Angeles County, Heal the Bay and our partners are working to ensure that Big Plastic and the fossil fuel industry do not benefit from a global crisis.

Every day, in the background of the growing pandemic, more fossil fuels are extracted and refined to produce disposable plastic products. This process directly impacts fenceline communities who live next to these operations and are exposed to higher levels of pollution; those same communities are also being disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 virus. Those plastics then must be disposed of and with a broken recycling system, and more and more recycling programs being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, they are ending up in landfills and the environment.

Your voice MATTERS. Stand with us and tell Big Plastic they won’t get away with payoffs and rollbacks while our vulnerable communities continue to be impacted by plastic production. You can support these efforts by signing up as a Reusable LA supporter, making a financial contribution to Heal the Bay, or by signing our plastic petition. Follow Heal the Bay on social media or sign up for volunteer action alerts to stay in the know on our fight against Big Plastic and how you can take action from anywhere.

We want to hear from you. Use #fightplasticfromhome and let us know how you are continuing to fight Big Plastic and reduce your plastic consumption while sheltering in place. Together, we can reduce plastic pollution and keep our communities safe through this crisis and beyond.



Emely Garcia, our Beach Programs Manager, rounds up some do-it-yourself activities to celebrate Earth Month while continuing to practice physical distancing.

Did you know that 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day? Amidst all of the changes, we are thinking of ways we can celebrate during the entire month of April, and hope you are too.

If you are looking for an impactful activity for you and those in your household to get involved in, we suggest a DIY cleanup and scavenger hunt in your neighborhood. The supplies are minimal, it’s a great way to get some physical activity nearby, and you can leave a spot in your community better than you found it.

I’ve rounded up some tips and instructions for a DIY neighborhood cleanup, a neighborhood scavenger hunt, and more ways to get involved below. Happy Earth Month 2020!

Neighborhood Cleanup

Before Starting Your Cleanup:

1. Gather Materials

  • Cleanup supplies: work gloves to protect your hands and an old bucket or bag to collect trash are the perfect tools for a successful cleanup. Please do not pick up trash if you are not wearing gloves.
  • Protection from the elements: Sun protective gear, such as a hat and sunglasses, and breathable clothing is highly recommended.
  • Activity essentials: Pack a few essentials like a first aid kit, a filled reusable water bottle, and some of your favorite snacks to stay safe and hydrated.
  • Trash tracking tools: Download the Marine Debris Tracker App on your mobile device or print out our Cleanup Data Card and take a pencil to track your finds.

2. Safety First

  • Watch our Cleanup Safety Video or read our Cleanup Safety Talk aloud to your cleanup crew. Have a brief discussion at the end to ensure that everyone understands the safety tips, and what not to pick up. DO NOT pick up medical waste, hazardous waste, gloves, masks, syringes, needles, sharp objects, condoms, tampons, waste materials, etc.
  • Be sure to wash your hands thoroughly once you’ve returned home.
  • Limit your cleanup group participants to only the people in your household to accommodate physical distancing and help reduce the spread of COVID-19. If you see other people while you are outside, make sure to stay at least 6 feet away. If you or someone in your household feels sick, please stay home.

3. Pick Your Site (please check for park, beach, and trail closures)

  • Adhere to county guidelines and respect closures and find a cleanup site that is accessible for you and everyone in your household and within walking distance from where you live. See the latest status on beach and beach facility closures in LA County.
  • Some of the best cleanup locations could be your neighborhood block, park, creek, or trail with a waste receptacle or trash can nearby.
  • When you find a site, make sure you take a photo before your cleanup effort.
  • Remember that all storm drains lead to out the ocean, and leading a neighborhood cleanup helps prevent ocean-bound trash from ever making its way down the storm drain. That makes you and your loved ones ocean protectors!
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After Your Neighborhood Cleanup:

    • Take photos of your family members getting the job done. 
    • Snap some final photos of what your site looks like after the cleanup.
    • Dump your collected trash at the nearest waste receptacle or trash can, and celebrate your work! 
    • Share your photos and finds by tagging us @healthebay and using the hashtag #healthebay. 
    • Give each other kudos for being a part of an amazing cleanup effort.

 

Neighborhood Scavenger Hunt

While this is a fun activity for all ages, we know that the little ones will especially love it. The possibilities for neighborhood scavenger hunts are endless, but here are a few of my favorite ideas for your next neighborhood walk or cleanup together:

Things To Spot

  1. Bicycle
  2. Flowers
  3. Art or a mural 
  4. Stop sign 
  5. Something blue like the ocean or the sky
  6. Out of state license plate 
  7. Songbird
  8. Mailbox 
  9. Tiny bug
  10. Storm drain 

Things To Clean Up

  1. Snack bags or candy wrappers
  2. Cups or lids
  3. Plastic utensils
  4. Cigarette butts
  5. Glass bottles
  6. Aluminum cans
  7. Soda cans
  8. Balloons 
  9. Plastic bags
  10. Plastic pieces 

Things to avoid: sharp objects, heavy objects. If you find something that needs to be picked up by city officials. Call 311 to report bulk items.


More Ways to Get Involved



Emely Garcia, nuestra Gerente de Programas de Playas, resume algunas actividades que podemos hacer para celebrar el Mes de la Tierra mientras continuamos con las  prácticas  de distanciamiento físico.

¿Sabías que 2020 marca el 50 aniversario del Día de la Tierra? En medio de todos los cambios, estamos pensando en todas las formas  que podamos celebrarlo durante todo el mes de abril.

Si estás buscando una actividad impactante para tí y los miembros de tu hogar, te sugerimos una limpieza y un juego de buscar el tesoro en tu vecindario. Los suministros son mínimos, es una excelente manera de realizar alguna actividad física, y puede obtener una comunidad bella y limpia mejor  de la que encontró.

He reunido algunos consejos e instrucciones para una limpieza de vecindario, una búsqueda de tesoro y más formas de involucrarse a continuación. ¡Feliz mes de la Tierra 2020!

Limpieza de barrio

Antes de comenzar tu limpieza:

1. Reúne materiales

  • Suministros de limpieza: guantes de trabajo para proteger tus manos y una cubeta o bolsa para recoger la basura son las herramientas perfectas para una limpieza exitosa. No recojas la basura si no usas guantes.
  • Protección: se recomienda usar equipo de protección solar, como sombreros, gafas de sol, y ropa transpirable.
  • Elementos esenciales: Empacar un botiquín de primeros auxilios, una botella de agua reutilizable llena y algunos de tus refrigerios favoritos para mantenerte seguro e hidratado.
  • Herramientas de rastreo de basura: descarga la aplicación Marine Debris Tracker App en tu dispositivo móvil o imprime nuestra tarjeta de datos de limpieza  Cleanup Data Card y toma un lápiz para rastrear tus hallazgos.

2. Seguridad primero

  • Mira nuestro Video de seguridad de limpieza  Cleanup Safety Video o lee nuestra Seguridad de limpieza  Cleanup Safety. Habla en voz alta con tu equipo de limpieza. Ten una breve discusión al final para asegurarte de que todos entienden los consejos de seguridad y lo que no se debe recoger. NO recojas desechos médicos, desechos peligrosos, guantes, máscaras, jeringas, agujas, objetos punzantes, condones, tampones, materiales de desecho, etc.
  • Asegúrete de lavarte bien las manos una vez que hayas regresado a casa.
  • Limita a los participantes de tu grupo de limpieza solo a las personas de tu hogar para acomodar el distanciamiento físico y ayudar a reducir la propagación de COVID-19. Si ves a otras personas mientras estás afuera, asegúrate de permanecer al menos a 6 pies de distancia. Si tú o alguien en tu hogar se siente enfermo, quédate en casa.

3. Elije tu sitio (verifica el cierre de parques, playas y senderos)

  • Adhiérete a las pautas del condado y respeta los cierres y encuentra un sitio de limpieza que sea accesible para tí y todos los miembros de tu hogar.
  • Algunos de los mejores lugares de limpieza podría ser la cuadra de tu vecindario, parque, arroyo o  sendero con recipientes de basura cercano.
  • Cuando encuentresun sitio, asegúrete de tomar una foto antes de tu limpieza.
  • Recuerda que todos los desagües pluviales conducen al océano, y llevar a cabo una limpieza del vecindario ayuda a evitar que la basura con destino al océano llegue al drenaje pluvial. ¡Eso te convierte a tí y a tus seres queridos en los defensores del océano!
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Después de la limpieza de tu vecindario:

    • Toma fotos de los miembros de tu familia realizando el trabajo.
    • Toma algunas fotos finales de cómo se ve tu sitio después de la limpieza.
    • ¡Tira la basura colectada en el recipiente de basura más cercano y celebra tu trabajo!
    • Comparte tus fotos y hallazgos etiquetándonos @healthebay y usando el hashtag #healthebay.
    • Felicítense por ser parte de un increíble esfuerzo de limpieza.

 

Búsqueda del tesoro del vecindario

Si bien esta es una actividad divertida para todas las edades, sabemos que a los pequeños les encantará. Las posibilidades de búsqueda del tesoro en el vecindario son infinitas, pero estas son algunas de mis ideas favoritas para tu próxima caminata o limpieza del vecindario:

Cosas para detectar

  1. bicicleta
  2. flores
  3. Arte o un mural
  4. Señal de Stop
  5. Algo azul como el océano o el cielo
  6. Placas vehiculares de difernte estado
  7. Pájaros cantores
  8. Buzón
  9. Insectos pequeños
  10. Drenaje pluvial

Cosas para limpiar

  1. Bolsas para refrigerios o envoltorios de dulces
  2. Tazas o tapas
  3. Utensilios plásticos
  4. Colillas de cigarrillo
  5. Botellas de vidrio
  6. Latas de aluminio
  7. Latas de refresco
  8. Globos
  9. Bolsas plásticas
  10. Piezas de plástico

Cosas a evitar: objetos afilados, objetos pesados. Si encuentras algo que debe ser recogido por funcionarios de la ciudad, llama al 311 para informar.


Más formas de involucrarte

  • Conviértete en voluntario de Heal the Bay y asiste a nuestra Orientación virtual para voluntarios Volunteer Orientation en este Mes de la Tierra.
  • Regístrate para nuestras limpiezas de playa beach cleanups este verano.
  • Guarda la fecha 26 de septiembre para el Día de limpieza costera  Coastal Cleanup Day 2020. 
  • Haz un regalo del Día de la Tierra para mejorar la bahía y dona Donate.


See Shelley Luce, Heal the Bay CEO, do a beach cleanup with her family in between rainstorms on Monday, March 16, 2020.

UPDATE: In light of LA’s Safer At Home order, and the recent news about overcrowding on trails and beaches, as well as the subsequent beach closures, we urge you to postpone your solo beach cleanup plans until this order has been lifted. Instead, here’s how to do a cleanup in your neighborhood while practicing physical distancing. Thank you.

Are you practicing social distancing during the COVID-19 response? Yes? Good! If you are looking for something productive to do, to get out of the house while still protecting your wellbeing and the health of others, we recommend doing a cleanup. We believe it is healthy to be outside volunteering, just not together in large groups at this time. So get ready for a dose of fresh air, fill up your reusable water bottle, and follow these instructions on how to do a cleanup.

It’s important to do cleanups, especially now, because the much-needed #LArain we are experiencing has created a surge in runoff and pollution in our neighborhoods, parks and beaches. The majority of waste that ends up in the environment is plastic, which harms wildlife, natural habitats, and public health. The good news: we can all clean up this trash at any time!

Nearly 80 percent of pollution in our marine environment comes from the land. Runoff from more than 200,000 storm drains on L.A. streets flows out to the Pacific Ocean causing the majority of local ocean pollution. By removing tons of pollution from neighborhoods and parks, in addition to beaches and waterways, cleanup participants reduce blight, protect animals, and boost the regional economy.

Here are helpful instructions on how to do a cleanup AND contribute to Heal the Bay’s ever-growing database of over 4,000,000 pieces of trash and debris from the last couple of decades in Los Angeles County, California. We use this trashy data to help inform public policy decision-making and aid businesses and organizations in adopting best practices.

Cleanup Instructions

1. Watch our Cleanup Safety Video or read our Cleanup Safety Talk (we follow this brief outline of safety tips and related topics to give talks before our group cleanups, not all of it will apply to your individual cleanup). This required viewing will help you determine what to do if you find a sharp needle (Don’t pick it up! Report it) and if lightning strikes (head inside immediately!) or how to avoid sneaker waves if you’re doing your cleanup at the beach.

2. Download our Cleanup Data Card (print it and bring the Data Card with you to your cleanup along with a pencil) or track the trash you collect with either the Marine Debris Tracker App.

3. Grab a reusable bucket and a pair of gardening gloves (or at least one glove for the hand you use to pick up trash) and head outside. You can do a cleanup for 15 minutes or an hour – whatever your preference is, please always prioritize safety first!

4. Don’t forget to post your cleanup pics and results on social media using the hashtag #healthebay and tagging us @healthebay. We can’t wait to see your trashy finds and give you well-deserved kudos for volunteering to protect the outdoor places we all cherish.


Learning Resources

Now that you’ve done a cleanup, here are some resources to learn more about the pollution we commonly find at cleanups, and how to prevent it from winding up there.



We’re celebrating International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month by shining the spotlight on five environmentalists who inspire us.

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

Despite these challenges, women of color continue to create powerful and lasting change in their own communities and abroad.

We thank the environmentalists and activists who continue to fight for what is right despite facing opposition for their bold ideas and for simply being who they are. Women and girls are leaders in their communities and agents of change. Supporting and listening to them will benefit the health of our planet and people for generations to come.

Get to know five environmentalists who have an inspiring 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.

 

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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

 

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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.

 

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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. Follow Winona on Twitter and Instagram.

 

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Vanessa Nakate (b. 1996), Uganda

Vanessa Nakate founded The Rise Up Movement and uses her voice and platform to share stories about activists in Africa who are striking due to inaction against the climate crisis. Recently, she spoke at the COP25 event in Spain (the United Nations Climate Change Conference) and joined dozens of youth climate activists from around the world to publish a letter to attendees of the World Economic Forum in Davos urging them to take immediate steps to prevent further harm. Follow Vanessa on Twitter and Instagram.

 

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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/



 

Nos enfrentamos a las mayores amenazas para la bahía utilizando El Poder del Agua en 2020. Los siguientes tres objetivos son las áreas clave para este año:

 

Grito de alarma por el cambio climático

Qué estamos haciendo: Mitigando los impactos del cambio climático que alteran la vida empoderando a los ciudadanos a tomar mejores decisiones para crear un futuro sostenible y equitativo.

Cómo lo estamos haciendo: El agua es el área donde muchos notarán primero los efectos del cambio climático: la accesibilidad del agua en un clima cambiante es fundamental.

Examinamos detalladamente los planes de reutilización de aguas residuales de la ciudad de L.A., así como proyectos locales de captación de agua lluvia, para asegurarnos de que sean justos y efectivos. Y en el Acuario de Heal the Bay involucramos al público para tomar acciones diarias — como nuestra iniciativa “Una comida al día por el océano” — para mitigar las temperaturas extremas, la acidificación de los océanos y el aumento del nivel del mar.


Proteger la salud pública con programas de educación científica y comunitaria

Qué estamos haciendo: Protegiendo la salud pública a través de programas de educación científica y comunitaria sobre pesca y aguas contaminadas en playas y ríos de LA.

Cómo lo estamos haciendo: Extendiendo el alcance y rigor científico de nuestros programas como “Informe de playas”, “Informe de ríos” y “Educación pesquera” (Beach Report Card, River Report Card y Angler Outreach, por sus siglas en ingles) para incrementar el compromiso comunitario e institucional en temas que afectan directamente a la salud pública. Nuestro enfoque es en la contaminación, acceso, uso recreacional y consumo de pescado. Abogamos también por fuertes protecciones de calidad de agua y para mejorar las herramientas de concientización pública en las comunidades más afectadas.


Prohibir definitivamente el plástico de un solo uso

Qué estamos haciendo: Eliminando los desechos plásticos nocivos de nuestras playas y sistemas fluviales y restaurando la vitalidad de nuestro océano y cuencas hidrográficas.

Cómo lo estamos haciendo: Se necesita un cambio drástico en el uso del plástico de un solo uso porque menos del 10% es reciclado y el resto acaba en vertederos y entornos naturales. Estamos estableciendo una nueva campaña llamada “LA reutilizable” para fomentar una próspera cultura de reutilización y recarga en el condado de L.A., alentando de esta forma a la gente y negocios a no usar plástico y apoyar políticas que prohíban los plásticos desechables en el condado de LA y en todo California.


Únete

Haz voluntariado con nosotross

Contribuye a limpiar una playa

Visita nuestro Acuario

Dona

 


Este artículo fue traducido por Beatriz Lorenzo Botella y editado por Frankie Orrala.

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heal the bay

Oh, what a year! We reflect on some of our favorite milestones from this past year. A huge thank you goes out to our bold and dedicated Heal the Bay community. We would not have achieved these victories without your ongoing support.

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heal the bay aquarium

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Take a swim down memory lane with us and replay 6 unforgettable moments from 2019.

6. Released our first-ever Stormwater Report—a groundbreaking assessment of stormwater pollution management in Los Angeles County.

In our new Stormwater Report we found that local governments have made shockingly minimal progress in addressing stormwater pollution over the last 30 years. If the current rate of stormwater pollution cleanup continues, LA County communities will wait another 60 years for clean water.

The LA County stormwater permit, the only real mechanism we have for regulating stormwater pollution, is up for renewal in early 2020. Heal the Bay is pushing hard for a strong stormwater permit. We fear it will be weakened and deadlines will be extended, further delaying cleanup of local waters. Municipalities can tap into various funding sources to implement projects, so there is no reason for them to not make meaningful progress moving forward.

Our Stormwater Report was big news for LA and was covered by the L.A. Times, The Guardian, NBC, CBS, KCRW, KPCC, KNX, LAist, The Argonaut News, Daily Breeze, Patch and more.


Heal the Bay Aquarium
Photo by Kelton Mattingly

5. Welcomed our 1 millionth visitor to Heal the Bay Aquarium at the Santa Monica Pier.

Since our Aquarium opened its doors in 2003, our mission has been to give visitors an underwater experience of the Pacific Ocean without getting their feet wet. We invite all our guests to explore critically important marine habitats and environmental issues.

From swell sharks to red octopus, and seahorses to stingrays, more than 100 local wildlife species thrive at our Aquarium. And now we can proudly say that more than a million visitors have met our local underwater residents!

Around 100,000 visitors come to Heal the Bay Aquarium each year. Local residents and global tourists share their passion for their own local waterways with us and inquire about how to protect what they love. In order to better serve the public, we’ve centered our programs and events around environmental advocacy, community science, pollution prevention and family education.

We also host 15,000 students each year for school field trips and we offer fun, educational, zero-waste birthday parties.


4. Hosted our 30th anniversary of Coastal Cleanup Day as the LA County coordinator.

What an honor it has been for Heal the Bay to steward this annual event since the 1990s, especially with such vibrant community support. Our very first Coastal Cleanup Day hosted 2,000 volunteers – my how far we’ve come! From diving underwater in the Santa Monica Bay to hiking along the East Fork of the San Gabriel River and everywhere in between, 13,914 volunteers removed more than 30,165 pounds of trash — from 79 locations in Los Angeles County, in a span of three-hours — on Coastal Cleanup Day 2019.

The weirdest finds from 2019 included: A laptop and electric scooters (underwater in Santa Monica); A 20 foot industrial ladder (underwater in Redondo Beach); Horseshoe (Compton Creek); Cat skull (South LA); Positive pregnancy test (White Point Beach); Shake weight (Venice); Half a rat (Arroyo Seco Confluence); and a California King Mattress-sized Styrofoam block (Arroyo Seco Confluence).


Straws-On-Request

3. Supported Straws-On-Request going into effect in the City of LA.

Los Angeles City Hall passed the Straws-On-Request ordinance this past Earth Day, making single-use plastic straws available by request only at all food and beverage facilities in the City of LA. This, along with other plastic reduction strategies, will hopefully decrease the amount of trash we see in our environment while still giving patrons access to straws when needed.

Often times plastic trash flows from our streets into our storm drains and out to the ocean. Plastic straws and disposable beverage, food, and snack-related items are some of the top types of trash we find at Heal the Bay cleanups. In fact, our cleanup volunteers have picked up more than 138,000 plastic straws from LA beaches over the last two decades.

The Ocean Protection Council acknowledges that trash in the ocean is a persistent and growing problem that is negatively affecting human and ecosystem health, not to mention coastal beauty. We’ll continue to work locally and at the state-level in California to reduce the use of harmful single-use plastics.


2. Rejoiced over these announcements: Hyperion will recycle 100% of the City’s wastewater and LA will phase out gas-fired coastal power plants.

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti announced that the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant (aka sewage treatment plant), one of the largest in the world, will recycle 100% of the City’s wastewater by 2035. The water will be treated extensively and then put into our local groundwater supply for additional treatment by natural soils. Afterwards, the clean water will be pumped up to replenish our local tap water supply. Hyperion’s capacity is 450 million gallons per day and treated water currently flows out to the ocean. But with full recycling at Hyperion we can re-use that water!

Garcetti’s next big announcement was that the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power will close three coastal gas-burning power plants in El Segundo, Long Beach and the Los Angeles Harbor area by 2029. The plants will be replaced by renewable energy sources and storage.

Heal the Bay was integral to both advancements. We advocated for over a decade for wastewater recycling and for eliminating the marine impacts of the coastal power plants. Our founder Dorothy Green would be so proud of us, and of our City, for taking these giant steps forward.


the inkwell

1. Celebrated the new listing of the Santa Monica Bay Street Beach in the National Register of Historic Places.

The shoreline at Bay Street in Santa Monica was an active hub of African American beach life during the Jim Crow era. This beach was popular from the 1900s to early 1960s among African Americans, who were barred from enjoying most other southland beaches. Santa Monica’s Bay Street Beach Historic District recent listing in the National Register of Historic Places recognizes this important coastal history.

Since 2013, with the help of African American historian Alison Rose Jefferson, we’ve joined forces with the Black Surfers Collective to honor Nick Gabaldón Day at Santa Monica Bay Street Beach.

Nick Gabaldón (1927-1951) was a pioneering surfer of African American and Mexican American descent. He was the first documented surfer of color in the Santa Monica Bay. Nick Gabaldón Day provides an opportunity for broadening outreach, action and education to connect Angelenos with their cultural, historical and natural heritage.


Now go check out our top Instagram posts from 2019. And view our 2019 wrap up for environmental legislation in California.



2019 ha sido una temporada legislativa emocionante en California. Desde proyectos de ley en torno al plástico que nos mueven incesantemente hacia una cultura de reaprovechamiento, hasta mejoras en el acceso costero para todos los californianos. Nuestro gobierno estatal ha logrado grandes avances en la aprobación de leyes ambientales. Heal the Bay ha estado abogando y siguiendo atentamente las proposiciones ambientales más importantes del 2019, y estamos entusiasmados con algunos de los avances que se han realizado este año.

Echemos un vistazo a los ganadores (y perdedores) del 2019.

De las miles de propuestas de ley presentadas a principios de este año, solo 1042 llegaron hasta el despacho del gobernador, de las cuales 870 fueron aprobadas y firmadas por el gobernador Newsom convirtiéndolas en ley. Entre ellas se encuentran algunas muy importantes como la Proposición AB 619, conocida también como Proposición BYO. Esta Proposición, presentada por el asambleísta Chiu, clarifica el lenguaje del código de salud pública en relación a los envases reutilizables, que facilita a los consumidores llevar sus propios envases a sus locales y restaurantes favoritos. Esta Proposición permite también que puestos de comida, como los que encontramos en ferias y festivales, usen utensilios reutilizables en lugar de desechables de un solo uso (que eran requeridos antes de que esta Proposición se aprobara). Esta Proposición reducirá enormemente los residuos en eventos temporales y podrás rellenar tu contenedor reutilizable donde vayas, ¡incluso en las “loncheras” (food trucks) y puestos de comida!.

El gobernador Newsom también aprobó la Proposición AB 1680 del asambleísta Limón y la convirtió en ley. Esta ley permitirá desarrollar un programa de acceso a las playas de Hollister Ranch, un área de 8.5 millas de costa que actualmente no tiene acceso público. Esta decisión trascendental permitirá el acceso público a estas playas tan especiales de Santa Barbara y es a la vez una gran victoria para todos los californianos.

Fumar en las playas del condado de Los Angeles se prohibió hace años, pero este no era el caso para el resto de California. El gobernador Newsom firmó el Proyecto de ley del Senado SB 8 (Senador Glazer) y lo convirtió en ley, por lo que ahora es ilegal fumar en cualquier playa o parque estatal en todo el estado. Las colillas de cigarros son los objetos más tirado y causan un enorme daño al medioambiente. Están hechas de plástico y cientos de sustancias químicas, son contaminantes y muy notorias en nuestras playas, parques y vías acuáticas. Esta Proposición ayudará a reducir esta basura tan común, y protegerá la salud de los visitantes de playas y parques.

Más Proposiciones que fueron aprobadas este año incluyen:

  • AB 65 – Protección costera y adaptación climática (infraestructura natural)
  • AB 209 – Programa de becas del patrimonio al aire libre
  • AB 762 – Aviso de salud sobre el consumo de mariscos
  • AB 834 – Programa sobre proliferación de algas nocivas
  • AB 912 – Manejo de especies marinas invasoras
  • AB 948 – Programa de conservación de Coyote Valley
  • AB 936 – Respuesta a derrames de petróleo – petróleo no flotante
  • AB 1162 – Prohibición de envases plásticos en hoteles para productos de cuidado personal
  • AB 1583 – Legislación sobre el desarrollo del mercado de reciclaje de California
  • SB 367 – Asistencia Técnica para proyectos y programas educacionales de conservación costera estatal
  • SB 576 – Programa de preparación climática

Aunque la aprobación de estas Proposiciones es un éxito enorme, no todas las propuestas ambientales fueron aprobadas.

El gobernador Newsom vetó la Proposición AB 792 (asambleísta Ting), una Proposición sobre el contenido de plástico reciclado que habría aumentado la cantidad de plástico reciclado usado para producir botellas de bebidas de plástico. Aunque el gobernador apoya este tipo de normativa, la Proposición fue considerada costosa para el Estado, y por eso no se aprobó. Heal the Bay y asociados esperan resolver los problemas de esta Proposición y poder presentar una versión mejorada el próximo año.

También vetado por el gobernador fue el Proyecto de ley del Senado SB 1 (Senador Atkins), una propuesta que habría promulgado la ley de defensa del medioambiente, la salud pública y los trabajadores de California de 2019. Esta legislación habría asegurado las protecciones laborales obtenidas bajo leyes federales, y también que las leyes y regulaciones medioambientales a partir de Enero de 2017 (como la ley de agua limpia o la ley de especies en peligro de extinción) hubiesen permanecido en orden en California en caso de cambios en las regulaciones federales. Básicamente habría sido un seguro medioambiental y de salud pública para prevenir recortes a nivel federal. El gobernador Newsom vetó este Proyecto de ley por discrepancias sobre su eficacia y necesidad. Heal the Bay apoya medidas como las propuestas en la SB 1 ya que son críticas para proteger los recursos naturales de nuestro estado. Desafortunadamente fue vetada.

Finalmente, el Proyecto de Ley del Senado SB 54 (Senador Allen) y la Proposición AB 1080 (asambleísta Gonzalez), también conocida como la Ley de economía circular y reducción de contaminación por plástico de California. Estas relevantes propuestas llegaron muy lejos, pero los arreglos de última hora y nueva oposición hicieron que no llegasen al plazo para ser aprobadas este año. Pero nada de nervios, la lucha no se ha terminado. Estos Proyectos serán elegibles para votacion a partir de Enero del 2020, y Heal the Bay y otros partidarios (¡todos y cada uno de los 426000!) continuarán luchando para que se aprueben estos Proyectos de ley para reducir integralmente la basura desechable y prevenir la contaminación por plástico en el Estado de California.

¿Tienes preguntas sobre nuestro trabajo de apoyo en Heal the Bay? ¿Te interesa saber qué Proposiciones son por las que estamos luchamos (a favor o en contra)? Síguenos en redes sociales (InstagramTwitterFacebook), y contacta a nuestro equipo de Ciencia y Leyes!.


Este artículo fue traducido por Beatriz Lorenzo Botella y editado por Frankie Orrala.

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