Archive for the 'Education' Category

San Diego Schools Step Up Their Recycling

At I Love A Clean San Diego, we work to lead and inspire our community to actively conserve and enhance the environment so that our children can enjoy this beautiful region for future generations to come. That’s why we believe in engaging with local schools to instill in them environmental values and habits at an early age.

Did you know that the average elementary school student drinks 133 servings of milk or juice per year? For the average elementary school, that means students consume approximately 75,000 carton beverages per year – that means more than 6 billion cartons are consumed in schools every year!

With carton recycling now available in over 60% of the country, including San Diego, we want to spread the word that you can recycle your cartons and help everyone improve their recycling habits.

Congratulations to Teirrasanta and Cherokee Point Elementary schools for leading by example. Take a look at the great work they’ve already done:

Tierrasanta Elementary won the San Diego Unified School District’s Most-Improved Recycling Award for 2016-17 by boosting their recycling diversion from 10% to 25% (by weight) over the course of just one school year. Through increased classroom recycling efforts as well as lunchtime recycling of cartons, lunch trays, and other recyclables, Tierrasanta students were able to reduce trash service, dramatically improve recycling rates, and save the school money.

Tierrasanta students use a helpful recycling station set up to stay mindful of what goes where when lunchtime ends!

Diverting 95% of all lunchtime waste is an extraordinary feat, and that’s exactly what Cherokee Point Elementary of San Diego Unified School District accomplished last school year. Students and staff joined together to ensure liquids, cartons, lunch trays, and food scraps were kept out of the trash and out of our landfills. The school’s Green Team students encouraged other students to properly sort their waste and take on litter pickup to keep campus clean.

Cherokee Point Elementary’s Green Team helped students sort their garbage leading to a 95% diversion of lunchtime waste!

School recycling programs not only encourage children to learn about the importance of recycling, but they also enable communities to recover large quantities of valuable materials, like beverage cartons. To start or enhance carton recycling efforts at your or your child’s school in San Diego, visit cartonopportunities.org. Our partner, Carton Council, has created materials specifically to help parents, teachers, and administrators get started.

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Zero Waste Parenting: Back to School

As anyone with kids knows, parenthood isn’t always easy. Add in the decision of leading a zero waste lifestyle and it can seem next to impossible. However, being a zero waste parent is not as far-fetched as it might seem. We’ve tackled a few zero waste parenting ideas in the past. And yes, it can take a bit more effort at first, but the small steps you take now will set your children up for a brighter and cleaner future! With that in mind, let’s get into our next zero waste parenting adventure and head back to school!

Go green with your Back to School routine!

Back to School season instantly conjures up ideas of supply lists and packing school lunches. Those ideas are usually accompanied by images of wasteful wrapping, plastic cutlery and sandwich bags, and a graveyard of old school supplies buried in some closet. With a few quick swaps on your supply list and ditching those single use items, greening up your Back to School routine can be much simpler than you would ever imagine.

Reduce, Reuse, or Repair:

When reviewing your new classroom needs for your kids, our first suggestion when it comes to zero waste habits is to reduce, reuse, or repair first. Is that lunch box from last year still in good condition? Can the scissors from years past be utilized again? If supplies from previous years are still usable, you should definitely reuse them! Make your supplies stand the test of time by opting for more classic designs. If you have simple prints and colors for lunchboxes and backpacks, there is less need to replace them year after year. If you have some broken items previous, try to repair them before you replace!

While you may not be able to utilize last year’s supplies every time, there is still the option to invest in reusable supplies going forward. This is especially important when it comes to school lunches. With a few extra minutes a day, you can make every school lunch much more sustainable. Swapping any single use item is a simple rule of thumb – switch from plastic sandwich bags to beeswax wraps or reusable snack bags, opt for a reusable utensil option over plastic cutlery, and ditch your single use plastic water bottles and grab a refillable alternative!

Invest in reusable lunch time alternatives! Don’t forget your reusable lunch bag!

Lunch isn’t the only time you can find sustainable alternatives! Check out the Everlast Rocket Book, a smart notebook that allows you to catalog your notes online. Once you use the notebook, you’re able to upload your notes, effortlessly clean off the book, and reuse the same notebook over and over!

Repurpose, Donate, or Recycle:

When you’ve exhausted your ability to reduce your single use items, repair broken supplies, and reuse anything you can, our next zero waste step on the list is to repurpose, donate, or recycle. Thrift stores are always a great option for Back to School shopping. There is also ample opportunity to donate and recycle your kids’ old supplies. One of the best parts of going zero waste is finding all of the organizations that are trying to make it as easy as possible. Crayola runs a Colorcycle program collecting and recycling old Crayola markers. Old binders of any brand can be donated to Office Depot for a recycling program they’re running in partnership with TerraCycle. You can also save $2 on a new binder when you donate an old one!

Follow these 4 steps from Crayola’s website to be an Eco-Cool School!

There are plenty of ways to go green even during the Back to School madness. With a little extra time, this whole zero parenting thing isn’t really all that difficultwell, no more difficult than parenting in general.

My First (And Certainly Not Last) Clothing Swap Party

When I first heard the idea of a “clothing swap,” I was at San Diego Leaders 2020’s Bites & Bigwigs luncheon with ILACSD’s Executive Director, Pauline Martinson. Over lunch, she discussed her career, ILACSD’s mission, and ways in which San Diego could reduce its waste. When she mentioned swapping clothes with a group of friends as a way to reduce waste and save money, I was instantly hooked. I had a growing pile of clothes I outgrew mentally and/or physically, and I knew my five best friends from college would give each piece a second life. Right after the lunch was over, I sent a group text to my friends and we planned a clothing swap party for our reunion in the mountains.

The concept of a clothing swap was not entirely new to me. I had rifled through my best friends’ clothing donation piles before they were taken to a charity, and my friends were welcome to any clothes I didn’t wear anymore. But I had never thought about doing one with the entire group as a way to help the environment. It made complete sense. One Green Planet summed up clothing swaps perfectly by saying, “Every piece of new clothing (if not made sustainably) can be the product of countless chemicals, dyes, and the like, all of which can be harmful to the earth, air, groundwater – as well as the people making the clothing and even the people who try it on and then wear it.” This doesn’t even include the significant amount of clothing that winds up in a landfill.

The day of the swap, each of us grabbed our overflowing bags of clothes and sat in a circle. I looked around me and thought about what each girl would bring to the pile. I could count on my friend Ollie for soft basics in neutral colors. Mary works at Nike headquarters so I knew I could get some cute workout clothes if I was quick enough to beat out the other girls. Marissa could be counted upon to provide trendy work clothes. And last but not least, Tristan could provide me with colorful dresses and tanks. We seized each other up and poured out the contents of our bags into the middle of the circle.

From the moment the last article of clothing hit the ground, the girls and I jumped into action. Mary picked up Tristan’s puffy vest, excited to wear it during Portland’s winter. Ollie went straight to my old ripped shorts since her pair recently broke. Tristan quickly grabbed Mary’s Nike running clothes to wear for her half-marathon training. Marissa grabbed a long skirt that was suitable for work. I quickly sifted through the pile and threw anything of interest behind me. I ended up with two workout tanks, one black-and-white striped shirt, one off-the-shoulder white blouse, and a soft pink ombre shirt. I was already planning on purchasing a few of these items, but now I had them for free!When the mayhem subsided, I looked around the circle and saw how happy everyone seemed. Everyone got several great new pieces of clothing without much bloodshed and our old clothing found a second life with very happy new owners. We went around the room and excitedly shared what each of us picked up.

After we finished our oohing and aahing at the new clothing each of us got, I turned my attention to the leftover pile in the middle. To make sure everyone had seen everything, I held up each abandoned piece before putting in a charity donation pile. These clothes weren’t picked up for various reasons but weren’t loved any less. There was a dress we thought was too short for us tall people, a pair of jeans that didn’t fit any of us anymore, and random items that we already had in our closets. We donated this pile to charity for others to enjoy.

Here were my key takeaways…

  1. The clothing swap was a lot of fun for everyone.
  2. I love clothes.
  3. I love the word “free.”
  4. It warmed my heart to see perfectly good clothing go to someone new.
  5. My bank account is sure happy about this.
  6. The environment is sure happy about this.

Have the girls and I already planned another one of these for our winter reunion? Yes, we have!

Today’s post was authored by guest contributor, Lia Bruce. Lia is a San Diego native and the Communications Coordinator for Climate Education Partners, housed at the University of San Diego. She enjoys painting, hiking, singing in a community choir, traveling, and searching for the best burger.

Become a Zero Waste Family (Without Pulling Your Hair Out)

The idea of zero waste can seem overwhelming to many, and sometimes just convincing family and kids to pitch in can be enough to stop the most eager zero-waster in their tracks. We’re here to offer some tips and suggestions for getting the whole family on board for practicing (and enjoying) a zero waste life!

Grocery Shopping for the Family:

The key to embracing a zero waste lifestyle at home is as simple as preferring reusable items to disposables. The best place to start is at the store. Grocery stores are full of food that comes prepackaged in disposable wrappers and containers. Most of this packaging, including plastic produce and grocery bags, are considered “soft plastics” and cannot be recycled with other materials. By shopping in bulk and using reusable bags and jars, you are preventing this waste from entering your home in the first place. When you’re done shopping, try making a dish from scratch from the foods you bought and packing lunches for school and work with reusable containers and utensils.

Avoid disposable prepackaged foods. Pack your kid’s lunch with reusable items instead!

Toys, Clothes, and Everything Else that Ends Up on the Floor:

On the topic of shopping, a big culprit of waste can be compulsive buys- things we want in the moment but get minimal use out of before tossing them. This could be anything from clothing to toys to food. To prevent this, buy only what you need or know you are going to use. Yes, this includes all the toys and games your kids probably ask for. It may be tough at first, but encourage your kids to value and take care of what they have (this is a tough one, but we believe in you). When you do need something, use second-hand stores as your first stop to look. Similarly, instead of throwing away good items you no longer need or want, consider giving them a new life through donation.

Buy your toys second hand. When you’re done with them, donate them instead of tossing them!

Cleaning Up that Neverending Mess:

Anyone with children (and without) knows that messes are bound to happen, but they don’t have to set you back on your zero waste journey. To clean up spills or wash surfaces, opt for reusable cloths and DIY cleaning products instead of paper towels and store-bought chemical cleaners. Most DIY household cleaners only require a few ingredients, and chances are you already have most of them lying around! For example, an effective all-purpose cleaner can be made with white vinegar, baking soda, water, and essential oils.

Fill the Calendar with Zero Waste Family Fun:

It’s important to note that zero waste doesn’t have to be all about the stuff you have; it can also be about the things you do! A great way to get the whole family engaged is to have fun doing activities that let you spend time together without creating trash. Some options include visiting a park or beach, checking some books or movies out from the library, exploring a museum or aquarium, riding bikes, crafting using upcycled materials, and, of course, participating in an ILACSD cleanup! San Diego has an endless supply of places to explore, and by living zero waste you and your family can enjoy them while knowing that you are doing your part in keeping them clean and beautiful!

Participate in zero waste activities as a family. Join ILACSD for a cleanup and enjoy the outdoors while improving it!

Don’t forget, zero waste is a journey. You don’t get kicked out of the club if you slip up or struggle. With a family, this journey does take a little more effort, but your efforts will pay off for your kids. By following even a few of these tips, you’re helping leave the world much better off for your children (and eventually their children) to enjoy!

 

This article was authored by our Education Specialist, Alaine!

How to Stay Green on Your Summer Trip

It’s no secret that traveling is one of the best parts of summer, be it a trek over 2,700 miles away to NYC or just 2 miles to Mission Beach, it’s not a stretch to say that getting off the couch and soaking up some sun is on everyone’s to-do list. Unfortunately, when piecing together travel plans, green habits tend to turn a bit gray which is completely understandable. When thinking of sustainable travel, the first image that pops into many minds is one of a lone backpacker cooking a questionable meal on a solar powered burner outside of a ten-man tent. Lucky for us, the reality of green traveling is as easy as making small choices that lessen the impact we have on our destinations and the environments we cross to get there. Here are a few tips to consider to go green on your next summer trip.

Before Leaving

Any change starts at home and if you’re going on vacation for a few days anytime soon, be sure to minimize your home footprint as much as possible while you’ll be away. You can do this by following these few simple steps:

Adjust Your Thermostat

You’re going to be gone for a few days and if there are no pets or people, there is no reason to have the AC on full blast nor should the heat be on. Given we are in the midst of summer your thermostat should be set around 85º F (you could even turn it off if you want) so long as it doesn’t interfere with any temperature sensitive appliances like your refrigerator.

Unplug Electronics

We are constantly using electricity even when we don’t realize it. Any time an electronic device or appliance is plugged in, even if it’s not in use, it is still leeching electricity. That electricity being used is produced primarily through the burning of fossil fuels, 65% to be exact according to the US Energy and Information Administration. So before you go, don’t forget to unplug any gaming system, TV, laptop, toaster, or microwave that would otherwise be leeching power while you’re away.

What to Bring

Deciding what to pack for a trip is one of the most important phases of the pre-trip process. What you bring impacts your choices once you’re there, so why not set yourself up for sustainable success by keeping the following in mind during your packing.

Pack Your Own Reusable Shopping Bags

Simply roll one or two bags up and tuck them into your suitcase or backpack to cut down on the packaging you would otherwise throw away when shopping in a different city. This is also a helpful day bag option if you don’t want to haul all of your luggage around town!

Bring Your Own Reusable Water Bottle

One water bottle takes on average at least 450 years to degrade, and it takes about twice as much water to produce a plastic water bottle as the amount of water inside the bottle. Consider skipping the plastic bottle all together and invest in a durable bottle.

Bring Less, Pack Light

There are a plethora of benefits that come along with packing light, ranging from saving on baggage fees when flying to knowing what you have is what’s by your side. The biggest benefit, however, comes from the shrinking of your carbon footprint when you fly, the less you bring the less weight the airplane carries which lessens the planes fuel use and carbon emissions.

Choose Your Method of Travel Wisely

Let’s get this out the way now: walking is the most sustainable mode of transport we will ever have. Unfortunately, it often duals as one of the most impractical. When it comes to making sustainable travel decisions, the distance you’re traveling is the most important factor.

Local Trips

When heading out to the beach to meet up with friends consider taking the public transportation rather than your car. Not only will you save on gas, but you’ll also help improve local air quality which is often much worse in urban areas where traffic tends to suffer from congestion.

Another option (for those close enough) is to get the gang together and then bike to your destination.

Further Destinations

According to the UCSUSA, when traveling between 100 and 500 miles motor coaches and trains are the most effective form of travel leaving the smallest carbon footprints. On top of saving the environment from additional emissions, you also save yourself of a few bucks with the average Amtrak ticket ranging from $145-170, the average domestic flight ticket landing at $379, and bus services such as Greyhound being considerably cheaper than both.

Long Distances

Now when traveling overseas or cross-country, the practicality of green travel gets a little fuzzy. As much as we’d like to be green, it’s just not really feasible. In the cases you find yourself traveling by air, be sure to fly the most direct route to your destination and always fly coach. Though it may be cramped at times, the more people that can be seated on a plane helps lessen each individuals’ impact on the environment. Not only will this shorten your travel time, but it will also reduce your fuel consumption as your taking less total flights.

Once You’ve Arrived

Stay at a Green Hotel or with Family and Friends

If you’re not leaving the United States, check if the hotel you’re planning on staying at is LEED certified by the US Green Business Council, they judge on sustainability, efficiency, and quality of the way buildings are constructed, maintained and operated. If you are going overseas be sure to find out what that countries green hotel certification program is and what hotels are certified.

If you have any family or friends where you’re going, ask them if you can crash at their place for a few nights.

Keep Your Shopping Habits Local

When staying in a place far from home, we tend to cling to things we are familiar with, be it a certain kind of soap or a certain kind of food. Many of these things must be flown or shipped from overseas, which only contributes to greenhouse emissions. Every time you buy local you not only support the local economy but you also get a unique taste of the local culture and cuisine.

Rethink Souvenirs

For many of us, one of the best parts of traveling is the cool stuff we buy while out globetrotting. While the stuff we buy is cool to look at much of it ends up on a shelf collecting dust. When out shopping, ask yourself if you really need that little knick-knack or if a picture of it would suffice. If you still want to shop around, just follow the advice from above and stay local because who wants something made from assembly line a thousand miles away anyhow?

Getting Around

Though it may be easier to call up an Uber or taxi service to drive you around, the average vehicle still releases about 4.7 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year according to the EPA. As an alternative try renting a bike from either a bike shop or at an automated bike rental stand. Another option would be to take public transportation which reduces the amount of CO2 emitted per person or just walk, eliminating these emissions completely.

Remember that even if you just put to action one of the tips above you will be making a difference and be one step closer to traveling sustainably. Safe (green) travels!

Today’s blog was written by guest contributor, Jessica Lewis. Jessica is your every day, So-Cal based writer with an interest in the environment. 

Vermicomposting: Tips from First Timers

When it comes to going zero waste, composting often seems to be one the most intimidating step to take. Yes, composting definitely requires more time up front compared to swapping out single-use items for reusable options, but the process is not nearly as time consuming or scary as you might imagine. To help ease any fears that might still have you feeling hesitant, some of the ILACSD team is giving you a look into their own experiences with composting for the first time!

Emily showing Lauren and Moriah how to make their own vermicomposting bin!

But let’s get started with a review of some basics when it comes to composting. Composting is the process of converting food scraps and yard waste into compost, an organic, nutrient-rich alternative to fertilizer in your garden or your potted plants. According to the Center for Sustainable Energy’s Equinox Project, organic waste makes up one-third of the waste in San Diego’s landfills. By composting, we can divert organic waste from landfills where it can release methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

In the I Love A Clean San Diego office, we have multiple team members who collect food waste to be brought back to their composting bins. This past June, Moriah and Lauren made their own vermicomposting bins and began their composting journeys! With a few simple tools, we enjoyed time in the sun making the bins and learning all the details of vermicomposting!

Both Moriah and Lauren have been using their vermicomposting bins about a month now. With that experience under their belt, we checked back in to see how the process has been going. Lauren explained, “I have to say it’s intimidating to have another thing to take care of in my household, but the simplicity and beauty of this natural process are what astonishes me the most, day after day.” Moriah shared how having Emily – our Education Manager and composting expert – in our office as a resource impacted her experience:

“Having Emily as a resource has been super helpful. She has even responded to Snapchats I’ve sent to her of the bin to let me know if it looks like it is healthy and thriving. Emily’s help and the resources in our office have led to a pretty healthy bin. The worms are breeding and eating everything much quicker than I expected!”

Worms for the vermicomposting bins!

With a flourishing, healthy bin, Moriah has been able to show off her composting skills with her friends and family. By passing along her knowledge and story, she is creating a community she can be a resource for when it comes to vermicomposting.

“Whenever I have people over, I get to be the “worm girl,” showing off the bin and talking about how easy it has been to set up. They are always amazed that it doesn’t smell, that it’s small, and by all the things the worms eat. When we hosted a 4th of July party, people had fun (I think) digging in the bin to give the worms their watermelon rinds. Friends have even given me their rotten vegetables to put in the bin, saving those from going to the landfill.”

Composting does not have to be the unbeatable zero waste giant some imagine it to be. Finding your community, ask questions, and just taking the first step is really all it takes! So why wait? Start your own composting journey today!

Eliminating Plastic from Your Life

Plastic is ubiquitous, and sadly, it does not biodegrade. Instead, it goes through a process called photodegradation, which means the sun’s UV light actually breaks down the plastic into smaller and smaller pieces until it is so incredibly tiny we can hardly see it. Microplastics and the chemicals and toxins that it takes to create plastic will regrettably be in the environment forever.

We need to move away from plastic dependency.

Today, we will identify some main plastic pollution offenders and then offer suggestions and alternatives you can apply in your journey to becoming plastic free! So let’s tackle a low hanging fruit, straws. The history of straws is built mostly on convenience; they are impractical, not recyclable. It’s easy to say no to straws, simply ask your server or local barista to go sans straw, it might be intimidating the first couples tries, but with enough practice and exposure, it will become second nature to ask for a drink without a straw. If you can’t live without a straw, because driving and drinking smoothies can be dangerous, grab yourself a reusable straw for when you are on the go.

Kick your plastic habit and switch to a reusable straw!

Kick your plastic habit and switch to a reusable straw!

Next, swap out your traditional toothbrush for a bamboo handle toothbrush. Instead of heading to a landfill like a traditional toothbrush, the bamboo one is biodegradable, but remember to remove the bristles from the handle before you toss it into a compost bin. Alternatively, you can purchase toothbrushes that are made from recycled plastic, one of the more well-known brushes is created from old yogurt cups!

Another great area to reduce your plastic consumption is in hygiene products. From toiletries to dish soap to laundry detergent to cleaning supplies, they practically all come in plastic packaging. Rethinking the way you purchase these products will drastically reduce your plastic footprint. Purchase bar soaps for the shower and specialized bar soap for the kitchen sink. Make your own chemical free cleaner and house it in an old jam jar. Craft your own 3 ingredient toothpaste. Purchase powder laundry soap that comes in a cardboard box. Choose to implement just one of these and you are on your way to a plastic free mentality.

Make your own 3 ingredient toothpaste and eliminate excess packaging!

Make your own 3 ingredient toothpaste and eliminate excess packaging!

Next, buy fresh, buy smart, and buy in bulk. When you purchase fresh food, it normally doesn’t come in packaging. So it only makes sense to be smart about your purchasing habits. Instead of reaching for the conveniently packaged and peeled baby carrots, grab a handful of loose large carrots instead. In the mood for trail mix? Instead of purchasing plastic bagged fruits and nuts, search for a grocery store near you that offers trail mix by the pounds in a do it yourself bulk section, and bring your own glass jars to fill it up!

Always prepare to shop smart with reusable bags and jars for buying in bulk!

Always prepare to shop smart with reusable bags and jars for buying in bulk!

So there you have it, a little inspiration to jump start your journey to going plastic free!

Just remember, you are not expected or encouraged to give up plastic cold turkey. Ease into it. Decide to make a couple personal lifestyle adjustments and other plastic free alternatives will seep into your routine naturally, you’ll see.

This article was authored by our Education Specialist, Katie!

This article was authored by our Education Specialist, Katie!

COME TOGETHER: Kids’ Ocean Day 2017

I Love A Clean San Diego once again partnered with the California Coastal Commission for our 19th annual Kids’ Ocean Day. On May 18, 2017, over 900 students, teachers, and volunteers united together to clean up Mission Beach and the surrounding area. These dedicated 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders rallied together from 7 local schools to protect our oceans by collecting thousands of pieces of litter and marine debris. Common items found during the cleanup included small pieces of plastic, snack wrappers, straws, and Styrofoam. The students’ cooperative energy and childlike verve were tangible on the beach that day.

Students from Porter Elementary show off the waste they collected and their shirts decorated with this year’s theme – COME TOGETHER.

Students from Porter Elementary show off the waste they collected and their shirts decorated with this year’s theme – COME TOGETHER.

Following the cleanup, students united with community volunteers to form an aerial art image. One of the most common questions we receive is, “how do you make the aerial art happen?” Here’s a peek behind the curtain:

Each year, I Love A Clean San Diego’s education department designs an aerial art image that follows the statewide theme for all 5 Kids’ Ocean Day partners. On the day of the event, the ILACSD aerial art team assembles before daybreak to produce the much-anticipated image. Equipped with irrigation flags, surveyor’s tape, and extra-long measuring tapes, our amazing staff spend the wee hours of the morning meticulously plotting each and every point of the aerial artwork image. This year’s theme – COME TOGETHER – draws on the power we have when united in our efforts to protect and defend the oceans and coastlines from pollution.

As students began to file into the formation, anticipation was high; everyone was excited to see the helicopter fly overhead, photographer inside, capturing our hard work from the sky. It was a gratifying moment to see all the students, teachers, volunteers, and staff sit in stillness within the image for 10 brief minutes. After months of planning, we were all rewarded with a powerful piece of art so vast it can only be seen from the sky.KAAB2017finalimage

The success of the day could be measured by the faces of the beaming students. They felt a sense of accomplishment from doing their part to help clean up the environment. The students now stand united as true “Scholars for the Sea!”

Kids’ Ocean Day is a magnificent event that helps to bring environmental awareness and stewardship to the forefront of these students’ minds. It is a day of joining forces and demonstrating to the kids what it means to work together as one. The students walked away from Kids’ Ocean Day feeling empowered and armed with the understanding that their personal choices have power and their everyday actions will impact our environment and our future.

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Meet Katie & Alaine – Our New Education Specialists!

Meet Katie & Alaine – Our New Education Specialists!

Hi, everyone! My name is Alaine, and I’m one of the newest Education Specialist at I Love A Clean San Diego!alaine1

I received my degree in Marine Science with a minor in Political Science from the University of San Diego and, within a year of graduating, found that marine and environmental education was the route for me. I quickly realized the joy and fulfillment of inspiring others to learn about their environment and be mindful of the power of their decisions. After working with the education teams at Disney Animal Programs and the San Diego Zoo, I wanted to gain experience in the non-profit world and, as an action-driven organization that shares my values, I knew I Love A Clean San Diego would be a great fit! Since joining ILACSD in mid-March, I have learned so much about everything that goes into creating and implementing successful presentations, programs, and events that help to fulfill our mission of actively conserving the environment.alaine2

Rooted in my work is an underlying passion to understand and spread awareness about our reliance on and connection with our oceans. My love for the ocean began pretty early in my life and has always served as a constant theme in my career. This passion was catapulted in 7th grade when I visited family in Baja California Sur and went diving with whale sharks. Observing and sharing an environment with these giant, incredible animals had an immensely profound impact on me. Even now, more than a decade later, I consider that to be one of the most defining moments of my career and life. My hope as an educator is to ignite that same spark in the students I interact with on a daily basis.alaine3

My favorite part about working with I Love A Clean San Diego is the opportunity to connect San Diegans, particularly youth and Spanish speakers, with the beautiful natural environment we are fortunate enough to live amongst. It is so rewarding to see the burst of interest students have when they are connected with nature, introduced to new topics, or realize that small changes they make can have a huge combined impact. ILACSD truly is passion in action, and I get to see that come to life every day. I cannot wait to be a part of the various events we have coming up this year and continue to empower individuals to improve the health and beauty of our San Diego!alaine4


 

Hi there, my name is Katie and I am one of the newest educators here at I Love A Clean San Diego.katie1

I am excited to work with ILACSD to help educate and inspire San Diego County in taking steps to being the most environmentally engaged community we have been to date. My love for the natural environment has been constantly reinforced by a variety of factors in my life; hailing from a small farm town and exploring the natural world in my backyard, from backpacking and camping in National Parks, to relocating near the rhythm of the ocean, I truly feel how grounding and important nature is to the human psyche.katie2

While obtaining my bachelor’s degree at USD, I completed two senior internships, one at the Museum of Man in Balboa Park and one with a local environmental nonprofit. In tandem with my schooling, both internships gave me increasingly important professional skills that began to open my mind to what career avenue I wanted to take. With that clarity, I found my passion at the intersection of people and the environment. I am a lover of culture and humanity, but recognize the environmental uncertainty we face on this beautiful planet we call home. So I’ve pursued a career in environmental education.

One environmental topic I am particularly passionate about is zero waste – a philosophy that mimics natural cycles in eliminating waste by recapturing resources. I firmly believe in being a conscious consumer and understanding how products are created, packaged, and processed from start to finish. Treading lightly has always been a goal of mine by refusing single-use items, purchasing less packaged foods (I’m currently snacking on trail mix from the bulk section housed in an old glass PB jar!), taking the time to understand how to properly dispose of items, and simply slowing down.

My passion for adopting a zero waste lifestyle stems from a job I held in college as an ocean kayak guide in La Jolla. Spending my days in the “office,” I began to see how much pollution and plastic is floating out there. Our own backyard, in beautiful Southern California where the world-renowned Scripps Research Institute is located, where a Marine Protected Area is designated, where we choose to relax and swim, is spoiled by us. I once heard a sobering comment about humanity and our existence; the speaker said, “Imagine someone drilling a sediment core sample to look at the historical layers of the earth’s soil, our defining layer will undoubtedly be plastic.”katie3

I have a long way to go when it comes to adopting a true zero waste lifestyle, but every step counts. Every choice is momentum forward, and I invite you to join me, join I Love A Clean San Diego, and join your community. Let’s rally together for the health of the planet and all the amazing creatures we share with it.

Join Katie and the rest of the ILACSD staff in our efforts to foster a zero waste lifestyle by attending our second annual Zero Waste Fair on June 17, 2017 in Encinitas! For more information on how to adopt a waste free lifestyle visit WasteFreeSD.org. For more information about our educational programs, contact education@cleansd.org.

Come Together This Kids’ Ocean Day

Today’s blog post was written by Education Specialist, Alaine

We’re counting down the days for the 24th Annual Kids’ Ocean Day on Thursday, May 18th at South Mission Beach!

Last year, 950 students, teachers, and volunteers called for a “sea change” with this powerful image, reminding individuals to be conscious of their impact on the Pacific Ocean:

2016 Kids’ Ocean Day Aerial Design

This year, students from eight Title 1 schools across the county, along with students across four other cities in California, will attend an assembly about ocean conservation, learning how we’re connected to the ocean through the air we breathe, the food we eat, and the beaches we use for recreation. Students will then put their knowledge to practice and get hands-on experience protecting our marine environment.

2016 Kids’ Ocean Day volunteers

They will begin their day picking up litter across the beach to learn firsthand how different kinds of pollution travel through the watershed and harm our ocean. For some students, this unique experience will be their first visit to the beach!

2016 Kids’ Ocean Day volunteer

Following their hard work cleaning up the beach, each student will make their mark with our aerial art image. As small, individual dots in the big picture, they will unite to call humans to “come together” as protectors of our environment. Just how hundreds of people create a beautiful and powerful image in the sand, our combined small actions have a significant impact on the condition of our oceans. With over 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in the world’s oceans, and a Pacific Garbage Patch growing to be twice the size of Texas, this is a crucial time to unite our efforts and address global problems to create a cleaner future.

2017 Kids’ Ocean Day aerial design

2017 Kids’ Ocean Day aerial design

If you would like to be a part of this event, we’re looking for adult volunteers (18 and older) to lead students during the cleanup and the aerial art. If you’re interested, please register here. As a thank you, all volunteers will receive a photo of the completed aerial art image as a keepsake! Stay tuned to our social media channels (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) on May 18th to see the final image.


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