All posts by Lauren Coiro

storm drain ocean pollution

First Flush

After learning about Soraya Simi and her work, I checked out her short film First Flush. In just one minute we follow the journey of raindrops hitting the Los Angeles pavement, to the accumulating floodwaters traveling across roadways and down drains, all leading down to the LA River. The drainage carries with it more than just rain: various plastic trash on the streets are carried and gather around the storm drains. The journey ends exactly how we’d expect: at the ocean.

Soraya’s final message to her audience: “If you’ve ever wondered where it all goes…”
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ocean heroes bootcamp

Young Sailors: Are You an “Ocean Hero”?

Young sailors, your sailing education is not just about learning to read charts and pull lines. Your generation faces a whole new set of challenges on par with the great explorers of ancient times. Unfathomably widespread plastic, fisheries collapse, water pollution… the list of problems facing the ocean continues to grow. The mistakes of the past are not your fault, but there is hope: you can be part of the solutions of the future!
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5 gyres plastic pollution scientists

Introducing 5 Gyres: Sailor Scientists Fighting Plastic Pollution

Sailors in every corner of the world are taking the ocean’s plastic problem into their own hands, or rather, into their own nets. Balloons, bags, bottles, ghost nets, and all kinds of plastic trash are being pulled out of the water by boaters everywhere, but what if we could do something more with all that trash?

This is where 5 Gyres comes in. Named after the five swirling masses of plastic “soup” in the world’s oceans, 5 Gyres is a science-to-solutions organization collecting data on the millions of tons of plastic out in the big blue and using the results to pass plastic bans and hold the producers accountable.

I got to catch up with their Advocacy and Education Director, Melissa Aguayo, to learn more about what 5 Gyres is up to and how sailors can get in on the action.

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algae and sustainability

Could Algae Save the World?

Traditionally the boating community associates algae with one word: nuisance. It covers hulls, jams propellers, slimes up fishing poles, and can even make the water unswimmable. Algae is a gigantically diverse group of marine organisms, ranging from tiny single-celled plankton, to kelp that stretches hundreds of feet toward the surface, to the wrapper of your favorite sushi roll.
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sealife tangled in plastic

Ask Lauren: What Do I Do If I See an Animal Tangled in Plastic?

It is always exciting to encounter marine animals in their natural habitat- the vast diversity of creatures in the ocean both pull at our heartstrings and inspires a sense of wonder. We’ve all seen heartwarming videos of sailors, divers, and surfers having amicable run-ins with favorite marine animals like dolphins, turtles, seals… even sharks!

The new trend in viral animal videos is much different: more and more we are encountering marine life entangled in fishing nets or plastic debris, choking on plastic pieces, or stranded onshore from a variety of illnesses and environmental causes. These videos often end with a person coming to the rescue and sending the animal on its way… but was this just a matter of luck? Was the rescuer in any danger? Was the animal placed in even greater danger by this interaction?
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plastic free food

Plastic-Free Provisioning

ASA’s Plastic Pollution Purge campaign asked our fellow sailors to “bring back more plastic than you take to your boat”, and to have fun practicing your crew overboard drills as you recover trash on the water. But to break the vicious cycle of plastic pollution in the water we must prevent it from getting to the ocean in the first place. An analysis of our results from the Landfill Challenge showed us that most of the plastic waste we create in our day-to-day lives comes from the way we eat and drink. Since we usually do this 3 times daily, it’s a great place to start when tackling the reduction of our plastic footprint.
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finding best sailing school

Shopping for a Sailing School

Join Lauren as she continues on her journey to learn to sail. Follow her as she gets her feet wet as a beginner, gains experience, and earns her ASA certifications. The ultimate goal is to complete ASA 104 and go bareboat chartering somewhere exotic.

ASA 103, Part 1 – Shopping for a Sailing School

I passed the ASA 101 course in the spring. I went home, bought a copy of Treasure Island and a pair of dock shoes, and suddenly the summer months had passed with only a handful of days on the water. I got so wrapped up in the idea of becoming a sailor I forgot to get back to the marina!
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