Monthly Archives: April 2012

Earth Day is right around the corner. Are you ready to Mobilize the Earth™? More than one billion people around the globe are expected to participate in Earth Day 2012, which is on Sunday, April 22nd. It’s a dedicated day for all nationalities to voice their appreciation for the planet and demand its protection in hopes of a sustainable future.

Since Earth Day is a day for action, it’s the perfect chance to show how important the environment is to you. Individuals, organizations, and governments should all do their part.

Stumped what you can do for Earth Day? Here are a few ideas:

  • Bring your own reusable shopping bags to the store. There’s no need for a proliferation of plastic and paper bags, which are so bad for our environment.
  • Pledge to use paper carefully and encourage others to do so, too. Opt to go paperless wherever possible.
  • Encourage healthier eating habits. Try to eat a sustainable healthy plantarian, pure vegetarian, vegan diet. Support your local farmer’s markets for fresh local produce. They usually grow organic vegetables which are better for our environment and your body as they don’t use harmful pesticides or fertilizers. Or better yet, grow your own garden and make sure not to use any pesticides or harmful fertilizers.
  • Conserve water. Take shorter showers. Try to limit showers to 10 minutes or less. Also, switch off the tap while brushing.
  • Conserve electricity. Turn off the lights if you don’t need them, and never leave your laptop ON when not using it. Use ceiling fans in the summer and winter months for climate control. Replace older light bulbs with energy-efficient CFL or LED bulbs.
  • Raise awareness about Earth Day. Continue to educate yourself and others on how to save our resources and act green. A good resource is the Earth Day site:
  • Walk or bike instead of driving places if you can. It will help reduce our dependence on oil.
  • Lower Use of Bottled Water/Beverages. Although it may be convenient, purchasing bottled water should be avoided if possible. Try filling reusable containers with tap water and leaving them in your fridge as an alternative.
  • Finally, plant a tree. Besides producing oxygen and removing carbon dioxide and contaminants from the air, trees provide other numerous social, economic, and environmental benefits.

What will you do to honor Earth Day?

Image by Yann Arthus Bertrand Continue reading

A record number of ISA World Junior Competitors are currently in Pedasi, Panama to compete for individual and team glory. This event, which brings together the best under-18 surfers from around the world, marks the third time that Panama Tourism and the ISA have partnered to host an ISA World Championship event.

Nearly 300 surfers are competing in three divisions (Boys Under-18, Boys Under-16, and Girls Under-18) over the course of eight days of competition at Playa Venao, a beach-break located on the Pacific Ocean side of the country.

The ISA World Junior Surfing Championship, sponsored by Dakine and presented by Billabong, officially began this weekend with the parade of nations and opening ceremony. On Saturday, the streets of Pedasi were flooded with the flags and the colors of the 31 competing nations, making this the largest juniors event in history.

“Regardless of the color of our skin, the country we come from, our religion or anything that may seem to divide us, we are all connected through surfing,” said Fernando Aguerre, the President of the ISA, in his opening remarks.

As a symbol of the global surfing connection, each team sent a flag bearer and a representative onto the stage after the Parade of the Nations came to a close for the traditional ISA Sands of the World Ceremony. Sands from home beaches are poured into a glass container, representing the peaceful gathering of nations through the love of surfing.

The action started yesterday with the schedule devoted entirely to the boys, with 48 Qualifying Round 1 heats running in both the Under-18s and Under-16s. USA’s Trevor Thornton and Hawaii’s Koa Smith emerged as top contenders as they finished their heats.

According to Surfline, the Official Forecaster of the event, waves should be increasing in size for the next couple days, capping out in the six- to seven-foot range. It should make for some interesting competition this week. The event ends next Sunday, April 22nd, when it will be the Finals and Closing Ceremony.

To check out the event webcast live, log onto The day’s webcast begins at 8:00am local time (6:00am PST; 2:00pm in London). Continue reading

American chemist Eric Stroud says he’s found several substances that can repel sharks, and he wants to use his discovery to protect them.

Stroud, 38, used to work fulltime as a chemist in the pharmaceutical industry. Then, in the summer of 2001, after he and his wife noticed that the news was filled with stories of shark bite after shark bite in the Florida oceans, he turned his talents to developing shark repellents. Stroud has now been doing this for more than a decade, founding a company, SharkDefense, which aims to develop and commercialize shark repellents.

When Stroud started, he set up several kiddie pools in his basement, filled them with small sharks, and observed how the sharks fed, swam, and behaved. Then, one day in 2004, he accidentally dropped a large magnet from his workbench. He noticed some small nurse sharks dart away.

“That night, we put magnets into the tank and couldn’t believe [that] the nurse sharks were just extremely distressed and stayed away from them,” he says. It led to an AHA discovery: Magnets repel sharks.

Sharks possess electrical sensors, called the ampullae of Lorenzini, that look like tiny freckles on their snouts. Biologists believe sharks use these sensors to detect the heartbeats of their prey and to navigate using the Earth’s magnetic field. Stroud believes the spinning magnet overwhelms and interferes with those electrical sensors. “It’s probably something like a bright flashlight across your eyes,” he says. “It’s just temporarily blinding, and you’re startled. And it’s not pleasant.”

They’ve tested other substances, too, and have found that some non-magnetic metals also interfere with a shark’s electrical sensors, including rare-earth metals like samarium, neodymium, and praseodymium.

Since many shark species are being over-fished (fishermen trying to catch other fish often catch sharks by accident), and some are endangered, Shark Defense’s main focus has switched to using repellents to protect sharks, and has created a magnetized fishing hook.

“We realized we could magnetize the fishing hook, and we can coat it with a rare earth metal,” he says. “It looks just like a regular hook, and we get the benefit of two repellents at the hook.” Some tests show a 60 to 70 percent reduction in the number of sharks caught.

Stroud received an award from the World Wildlife Fund for his invention, and he’s hoping to soon sell it commercially. In the meantime, he continues to refine the design, trying new combinations of metals and magnets, and observing how they affect different types of sharks.

Holy mackerel! Looks like we won’t need the bat-shark repellant!

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We drew awareness to World Water Day and the troubling statistic that 1 in 8 people do not have access to clean water. Clean water is good, but that doesn’t mean we need to infiltrate the environment with plastic water bottles. Unfortunately, the growth of plastic pollution continues to devastate our earth in alarming rates. Sadly, every square mile of ocean has about 46,000 pieces of plastic floating in it.

Here are a few sobering facts regarding just plastic bags. Yikes.

Fast Facts on Plastic Bags

  • Over 1 trillion plastic bags are used every year worldwide. Look at this link that counts the number of plastic bags consumed this year (as of this writing, almost 113 billion).
  • About 1 million plastic bags are used every minute. The U.S. goes through 100 billion single-use plastic bags. This costs retailers about $4 billion a year.
  • Plastic bags are the second-most common type of ocean refuse, after cigarette butts (2008).
  • Plastic bags remain toxic even after they break down and a single plastic bag can take up to 1,000 years to degrade.
  • An estimated 3,960,000 tons of plastic bags, sack and wraps were produced in 2008. Of those, 3,570,000 tons (90%) were discarded. This is almost triple the amount discarded the first year plastic bag numbers were tracked (1,230,000 tons in 1980). (EPA)

So what does this mean?

The extremely slow decomposition rate of plastic bags leaves them drifting on the ocean for countless years. According to Algalita Marine Research Foundation, these plastic bags then cause the death of many marine animals (fish, sea turtles, etc.), when animals mistake them for food.

Moreover, when plastics break down, they don’t biodegrade; they photodegrade. This means the materials break down to smaller fragments which readily soak up toxins. They then contaminate soil, waterways, and animals upon digestion.

In order to stop this growing environmental hazard, we need to limit our plastic bag use and encourage a cultural shift away from use-and-toss culture. We encourage starting using re-usable bags since each reusable bag can eliminate thousands of plastic bags.

Finally, encourage your home state, similar to California, Colorado, Connecticut, Hawaii, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Texas, and Washington, to enact plastic bag bans, or impose a tax for those who need to use a plastic bag.

We can all make a difference with just these little steps. Let’s ensure the ocean and our marine animals are safe! Continue reading

A Los Angeles City Council committee recommended last Wednesday that single-use plastic bags be banned from food store checkout lines across the city and that paper bags be phased out.

The council’s five-member Energy and Environment Committee unanimously passed a recommendation for a three-phase ban that would, if enacted, become “one of the most-far reaching measures in the nation,” according to Heal the Bay, a non-profit organization that advocates this ban.

The three phases of the ban are:

Phase 1:
For the first six months a ban would be enacted for plastic bags only. These six months would be used to educate the public about the ban.

Phase 2: For the following six months a 10 cent charge would be placed on paper bags.

Finally, Phase 3: After 12 months, there would be an outright ban in all of Los Angeles on both single-use plastic and paper bags.

The recommendation was favored by the committee and supported by environmental groups, although some believe such a ban would be more destructive than helpful, citing a loss of jobs.

According to Councilman Dennis Zine, “The City would provide time to work with retail businesses to help them adjust, and consumers would need to adapt. People will adjust. They’ll adapt … and learn to take [reusable bags] with them.”

A vote on the recommended ban is expected in the full City Council in the coming weeks. We hope this decision will embolden other cities, counties and states nationwide to take action. The time has come to eliminate plastic pollution at its source in order to protect our environment and economy.

Here are some great totes that can replace those plastic bags!

OBEY Full Speed Bag
Price: $20.00

BILLABONG Oshun Lover Bag
Price: $24.50

Sku No: A03018SND
Price: $32.50

ROXY Big Buddy 2 Bag
Sku No: 452N90NAT
Price: $42.00

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