Happy Earth Month 2018

Earth Day is April 22, and we’re celebrating with a month full of events in greater Los Angeles. In honor of Earth Month, here’s a snapshot look at the biggest challenges facing our oceans – and what you can do this month and year-round to make a difference.

PLASTIC: It’s estimated that there will be more plastic by mass than fish in the world’s oceans by 2050.

Drink-related trash forms the bulk of human-made debris found at Heal the Bay cleanups, accounting for over one third of all items found on L.A. County beaches.

In the last 33 years, Heal the Bay volunteers have removed more than 2 million pounds of trash from our shores – that’s the weight of two fully loaded 747 passenger jets! This summer, Heal the Bay will launch a #FoamFree campaign, but you can get started today by saying “No thanks” to polystyrene to-go containers, single-use straws, and plastic water bottles. Go reusable instead.

CLIMATE: L.A. County could lose more than half of its beaches by 2100 due to coastal erosion related to warming seas, according to a U.S. Geological Survey.

Reducing our carbon footprint is obviously a complicated endeavor involving multi-national agreements, but there are steps you can take in your daily life to reduce your impact on the sea. Transportation and food choices are an obvious place to start as a consumer. If you aren’t a vegetarian or vegan, think about skipping meat one day a week, maybe on “Meatless Mondays”. If you still own a car, think about taking public transit one day a week or coordinating a carpool.

OVERFISHING: Approximately 90 percent of fish stocks of large predatory fish like tuna have disappeared globally.

And more than half of all fish stocks have been maximized. That means we should all eat lower down on the ocean food chain. There is much more to fine dining from the sea than limiting yourself to tuna, salmon and halibut! Widen your palate, and the ocean will thank you. Check out Monterey Bay Aquarium’s seafood guide.

WATER SUPPLY: Urban runoff accounts for 80 percent of the trash and bacteria found on L.A. County shorelines.

Even on the driest, hottest summer day, an estimated 100 million gallons of polluted runoff flows to ocean via L.A. County’s massive stormdrain system. That flow carries a sickening slurry of animal and human waste, chemicals and fertilizers, automotive fluid, fast-food packaging and single-use plastics to the sea. To reduce your flow, Heal the Bay suggests you rip out water-thirsty lawns in favor of native landscaping, use a neighborhood carwash (most recycle water) instead of hosing down cars on driveways, and installing rain barrels or cisterns on your property to capture water instead of sending it uselessly to the sea.

At a macro level, L.A. County needs to do a better job of capturing and reusing the water we already have by building infrastructure that captures stormwater and recycles treated wastewater. Heal the Bay is now working to get a public funding measure on the November ballot to build “green street”-style projects in greater L.A.

Get Involved with Heal the Bay this Earth Month

Here is a list of awesome Earth Month and Earth Day events in greater Los Angeles.

ENJOY: Movie Night at the Aquarium
Friday, April 13, 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Club Heal the Bay students will host a special Friday the 13th movie night at the Aquarium to help kick off Earth Month and Earth Day celebrations. There will be a special virtual experience on exhibit that night only. By the way, every Friday at 2:30 p.m. you can feed the sea stars at our Aquarium and learn more about local underwater habitats.

ACT: Earth Day Beach Cleanup at the Santa Monica Pier
Saturday, April 21, 10 a.m. to Noon
Join hundreds of local volunteers in protecting what we all love – our beaches and ocean. No special talent or experience required – just a soft spot for the Bay and the animals that call it home. Cleanup participants also get free admission to our nearby Aquarium.

EXPLORE: Earth Day Celebration at our Santa Monica Pier Aquarium
Saturday, April 21, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Come meet the locals – all the creatures that live in the ocean right off the L.A. coastline. We’ve got small sharks, sea horses, lobsters, moray eels and dozens of other species to investigate. Relax during our story-time sessions, and get grossed out by our pollution exhibits at this special Earth Day celebration weekend.

WATCH: Earth Focus Environmental Film Festival
Saturday, April 21, 9:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
KCET and Link TV Present an all-day festival of films at Laemmle Monica Film Center in Santa Monica on Saturday, April 21 in celebration of Earth Day. The event is family friendly and features local environmental organizations, live Q&As with directors and celebrity-introduced acclaimed films about the environment.

CELEBRATE: Golden Road x Heal the Bay Earth Day Pop Up
Sunday, April 22, Noon – 10 p.m.
On Earth Day, we plan to celebrate our partnership with Golden Road, and you are invited to join us. Check out our Earth Day Pop Up at The Rose Room in Venice. We’ll have an open gallery space featuring local art from Noon to 4 p.m. and a celebratory evening event from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. with food and commemorative glassware. Delicious Golden Road brews will be available for 21+ all day.

CONNECT: Sustainable Quality Awards 2018
Thursday, April 26, 11 a.m. – 2 p.m.
Connect and network with sustainably-minded business leaders, recognize achievements, enjoy sustainable gourmet bites from local establishments and sources, and hear from keynote speaker, Dr. Paul Bunje, Chief Scientist and VP at XPrize.

DOCUMENT: City Nature Challenge: Malibu Lagoon BioBlitz
Saturday, April 28, 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.
Put on your citizen scientist hat – it’s BioBlitz time. The City Nature Challenge is a competition between major cities to see who can make the most observations of nature, find the most species, and engage their residents in the worldwide BioBlitz. Help us represent greater Los Angeles. Install the iNaturalist app, or bring your camera, and head outside with us in Malibu.

DISCOVER: Lecture & Panel: Old Shells, New Insights for Santa Monica Bay
Sunday, April 29, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.
If these shells could talk… Shells sampled from the top of the seafloor can help us decipher human impacts in our southern California coastal waters. Shelley Luce, Heal the Bay’s president, will speak on this topic on a panel with the Surfrider Foundation and California Department of Fish and Wildlife. The thought-provoking discussion will be moderated by Mark Gold (UCLA Associate Vice Chancellor for Environment and Sustainability and Past President of Heal the Bay), and is set to follow a lively lecture by Dr. Kidwell.

PLAY: More Bubbles – Sparkling Wine Tasting
Friday, May 4, 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Heal the Bay is the non profit partner for the EFFERVESCENCE 2018 More Bubbles event, which will transform the historic Avalon Hollywood nightclub into a special tasting experience, with sparkling wines from every corner of the globe, including California’s finest fizz. This event isn’t happening in April, but proceeds benefit Heal the Bay – and, you can book your tickets during Earth Month. ????

Make Your Earth Month Donation

Want to make an impact that lasts all year? Consider making a small donation to our award-winning science and policy programs. A gift of $50 pays for summer water-quality monitoring at one pollution-impacted beach in Southern California.