SOS Plans High-Impact Ocean Events

SOS Plans High-Impact Ocean Events

Highlight: LA Waterkeeper Making Waves Event: Celebrating 20 Years of Protecting  Los Angeles Waterways SOS planned and executed LA Waterkeeper’s 20th anniversary event, Making Waves, surpassing the fundraising goal of $250,000 by $80,000. It’s hard to write about our Making Waves 20th Anniversary celebration and feel like I am doing the event justice.  In short, in raising $330,000 this was easily our most successful event ever! The silent auction tables were overflowing with insanely cool items ranging in value from restaurant gift certificates to international luxury vacations.Over 300 supporters, volunteers, LA Waterkeeper board members and staff, and community leaders all came together to show how much they care about clean water and what LA Waterkeeper does to protect LA’s water.  .  A live call for support far surpassed our goal of $20,000 for 20 years by raising over $30,000. – LA Waterkeeper Highlight: SOS Organizes Ground-Breaking West Coast Ocean Summit SOS has led the collaborative effort in developing a West Coast-wide intergovernmental ocean partnership. The first step of building this partnership was the first West Coast Ocean Summit which brought together over 150 participants, including leadership from West Coast Tribes, representatives from the Governors’ offices of California, Oregon and Washington and state and federal agencies. Regional ocean health priorities were shared and regional ocean coordination and collaboration opportunities were discussed. SOS managed and oversaw all aspects of the Summit, including organizing the collaborative planning team; developing the agenda; conducting communications and outreach; drafting outreach and conference materials including a website and final summit report; coordinating logistics and travel; managing contractors, overseeing budgets and finances, and on-site event management.   Highlight: The Venice...
SOS Hosts Sustainable Seafood Workshop in Miami

SOS Hosts Sustainable Seafood Workshop in Miami

Last week the SOS team, along with Tim Lycke of Incredible Fish and Jennifer Mata of Legend Seafood, hosted a workshop on sustainable seafood for chefs and servers at Soho Beach House in Miami. A few pics from the tour of the chilly Incredible Fish...
Plant-based Motor Oil Can Fight Ocean Pollution

Plant-based Motor Oil Can Fight Ocean Pollution

Motor oil leaks from the engines of eco-friendly hybrids and gas-guzzling SUVs onto our roadways, where rain washes it into lakes, rivers and oceans. Every year 10 billion gallons of petroleum-based motor oil and other industrial lubricants are released into our oceans and environment globally from human activity. Nearly 40% of pollution in America’s waterways is caused by used motor oil. How can you change this? Go Green! Support non-toxic, environmentally friendly plant-based motor oil to protect the environment and us. Replacing petroleum-based oils with safer, cleaner alternatives could dramatically protect and improve the quality of our vital water resources and protect us from having these harmful pollutants enter our body. Once upon a time, bio-based motor oils were unimaginable. Today, scientific advancements have made this petroleum alternative a reality. A recent study showed that bio-based lubricants – from field crop to engine – would reduce greenhouse gas emission by more than 88% compared to petroleum-based motor oil lubricants. Replacing petroleum based lubricating oil with a renewable alternative would be the equivalent of taking 7.5 million cars off the road. If used, plant-based motor oil lubricants could minimize this environmental pollution related to motor oil. Both the environment and the consumer benefits – its keeps engines cleaner, it may require fewer oil changes and the price will likely be cheaper than the petroleum-based, fully synthetic oil currently on the market – with the same great performance! However, currently there are no political or market-based incentives for major motor oil manufacturers to provide consumers with a bio-based alternative. We need support from consumers, NGOs and the environmentally conscious public to...
NYC’s Chinatown is Teeming with Sealife

NYC’s Chinatown is Teeming with Sealife

New York City’s Chinatown is overflowing with ocean life – dried, bagged and ready for sale to those seeking alternative Chinese medicines. I recently went on a search for shark fins in the famous lower Manhattan district. I expected to find shark fins, and I did, but what surprised me the most were the many types and quantities of other sea life lying lifeless in the pharmacies. In Chinatown, traditional Chinese medicine markets are a major business and each storefront is stocked wall-to-wall with thousands of animal parts believed to hold medical cures. These markets are well stocked with some pricey sea life including, shark fins, abalone, sea cucumbers and sea horses. Thought to be the “ginseng of the sea,” sea cucumbers are being sold for $200 a pound and up. According to scientists, the lack of trade information on sea cucumber from both exporting and importing countries makes it difficult to accurately quantify the international trade of this animal. Sea cucumbers or Hai shen, as they are known in Chinese, are pickle-sized relatives of the starfish. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners believe they hold cures for variety of diseases and were one of the eight immortal ingredients used in Confucius cuisine. (The seven others are: shark’s fin, abalone, shrimp, fishbone, fish maw, asparagus, and ham). Fish maw, which is actually a fish’s swim bladder, is also widely available in Chinatown. I came across a bag of dried “extra large” seahorses for $48 per ounce. The bigger, the better, according to Chinese folklore. Seahorses, when steeped in rice wine, are thought to enliven the blood to cure impotence. The reality,...
Plight of the Magellanic Penguin

Plight of the Magellanic Penguin

More than 700 dead penguins have washed up on Brazil’s beaches since June, including more than 500 this week along the Rio Grande do Sul coast in southern Brazil. According to today’s CNN report, the Brazilian Center for Coastal Studies concluded that these Magellanic penguins died of natural causes. I would disagree that these iconic seabirds, named after explorer Ferdinand Magellan, are dying from natural causes. Over the last decade, scientists have observed these seabirds traveling longer distances to find food. With their distinctive white bands that loops around their eyes and down the side of the neck, these birds typically migrate in the winter months from their breeding grounds off the coasts of Argentina, Chile and the Falkland Islands to the waters off southern Brazil, Uruguay, and Northern Argentina in search of food. However, human competition for their main food staples – anchovy, sardines, and squid– as well as changes in the ocean conditions due to climate change and oil pollution, are having a real effect on these animals’ ability to survive. Ocean Indicator Species All Washed Up at Rio+20 This June, along Rio de Janeiro’s famed Ipanema Beach, I witnessed a lone starved baby penguin, far off track in search of food, warmth and rest. This was a particularly interesting find, since the Rio+20 Earth Summit was happening only a few miles away. The juvenile penguin I saw was likely starving to death and headed ashore because it was cold and wanted to be more comfortable and rest, according to University of Washington Conservation Biologist Dee Boersma. “Penguins are good indicators of ocean health because they depend...
Protecting International Marine Diversity Gains Votes in Rio+20 Oceans Dialogue

Protecting International Marine Diversity Gains Votes in Rio+20 Oceans Dialogue

Philippe Cousteau, grandson of famed ocean explorer Jacques Cousteau, opened the Rio+20 Oceans Dialogue today as moderator of a panel of 10 international ocean experts sitting on stage alongside 10 recommendations critical to advance global ocean management. “Oceans are considered too big to fail, but in fact they are failing,“ said panelist Richard Delaney of the Global Ocean Forum at the start of the public discussion organized by the Brazilian government. Each panelist acknowledged the myriad problems facing the oceans – from ocean acidification, unsustainable and illegal fishing to land- and marine-based pollution – with an eye toward sending a strong message to the United Nations delegates charged with producing a final political document on June 22 at the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. We are drawing down on our natural assets,” said Her Deepness Dr. Sylvia Earle. “We now have the knowledge and need to take action while we still have time.” All panelists emphasized the urgent need to utilize science and technology to help mitigate the negative environmental impacts that are degrading the oceans. Others conveyed the need for a strong international global framework to protect the high seas and its biodiversity, which is the 68% of ocean areas not under national jurisdictions or currently protected by international policies. The global blue economy is losing 10-20 million tons of fish a year from ocean mismanagement, according to British Columbia University professor Ussif Rashid Sumaila. His recent study shows that ocean conservation’s return on investment is $3-7 per dollar spent. “The economics are there, we just need the political will,” said Sumalia, who considers fish as an...