Oct 4, 2009

From the Quench Summit to Alaska and....

In late August, SWoBs Founding Director Loren Luyendyk was a participant in the Quench Summit. The summit was organized by Safe Water International and the Eleos Foundation with the goals of meeting the “300 in 6” initiative to provide safe point of use (POU) water filters to 300 million people in Sub-Saharan Africa in 6 years.

Clean drinking water is lacking for 1 billion people

The panel of international expert participants discussed water filtration and disinfection technologies that are currently available and that fit the criteria of being effective, easy to use, and affordable. Bio-Sand Filters and SODIS (solar disinfection) were considered the two best options based on the criteria. We also discussed the need for basic education about water-borne diseases. click to download the full Quench Summit report here

Alissa Sears of Christie Communications at the Quench Summit

From September 13th to 20th, SWoBs journeyed to Alaska with the Coastal CODE and Alaskan Brewing Co. for a week of beach clean-ups and adventure. Four people were chosen in an essay contest to participate in the trip: Loren Luyendyk of SWoBs, Jared Criscuolo of Below the Surface, Kathleen Egan of Stop the Plastic Wave, and Elizabeth Stergiou of Anchorage.

Make W.A.V.E.S.!

We helped the Marine Conservation Alliance Foundation and the Yakutat Salmon Board to remove, categorize, and weigh literally tons of marine debris in three days. Over the last six years, they have removed over one million pounds from the remote coastlines of Alaska.

The Wrangel St. Elias Range north of Yakutat, Alaska

our national bird abounds in the last fronteir

that's close enough...

The beaches of Yakutat are long and isolated, with the majestic Wrangell-St. Elias range as a dramatic backdrop. Bald eagles soar overhead while seals chase the abundant salmon below.

Mount St. Elias stands foreboding in the sunset

This place is so remote that you would never expect to find trash, but unfortunately that is not the case. The Northern Pacific Gyre and the Alaska current push debris from commercial fishing and recreational boats onto the beaches there.

Small flakes of partially degraded plastic were evenly distributed in the shoreline sand, like imitation pieces of shell. Plastic bottles that previously contained motor oil, hydraulic fluid, and Gatorade gathered at the storm line. We spent several hours cutting up a tangle of nets and ropes that was the size of a small car that had beached itself on an uninhabited island.

Dave Gaudier of the Marine Conservation Alliance Foundation stands aside the net monster

the monster up close- there must have been a thousand feet of rope and nets all tangled together

The locals in Yakutat were pretty darn friendly, and treated us like family. They even went as far as taking us out one morning, and we scored some pretty fun surf! A huge thank you to local rippers Sam, David, and Joey, plus the friendly staff at Icy Waves Surf Shop for hooking us up with boards and suits!

local grom David pausing off the bottom on a peeler

Kathleen lucks into a good one

lots of different waves in Alaska, you just have to show up

From Yakutat we flew to the capital city Juneau, where we spent International Coastal Clean-Up Day pulling out trash from the inner coastal waterway around the city with owners and employees of the Alaskan Brewing Company.

International Coastal Clean Up Day crew posing with the loot of trash

Alaskan Brewing Co. was voted one of America’s 15 best places to work, and hanging out with the owners showed us why this is so. They were so generous and genuine, feeding us fresh caught crab and listening intently to our ideas about ocean conservation.

that's a pot full of crabs caught and prepared by AK Brew founder Geoff Larson, almost ready to eat!

(l to r) AK Brew Co-Owner Marcy Larson, Jared Criscuolo, (squatting) Ak Brew master Steve Sano, Kathleen Egan, AK Brew Co-Owner Geoff Larson, Loren Luyendyk, Elizabeth Stergiou

We left early in the morning on the 20th, exhausted from a grueling schedule, but super stoked on Alaska and fired up to protect the beach! SWoBs was selected to join in this trip based on our work with waste-to-energy technology, specifically the gasification of plastic to produce electricity.

the Hubbard glacier near Juneau, rapidly receding

We are seeking funding for the development of the gasification idea, coupled with a marine debris study of the Gaviota Coast from Point Conception to Campus Point. The goal is to travel the coast by boat (powered by plastic) and collect shallow water and shore debris for categorization and weighing, with the goal of determining the sources of oceanic trash.

Don't forget to register for the upcoming Carbon Economy Series at the Orella Ranch this fall. Courses include Soil Food Web with Elaine Ingram, Holistic Management and Permaculture Design with Darren Doherty and Kirk Gadzia, Zero Energy Research and Intiatives with Gunter Pauli, and Pathways to Relocalization with Joel Salatin. Only three weeks left until the first course! click here to register or learn more...

Or come to the

Climate Action, Stand for Sustainability Community Event!

When: October 24th, 6-9pm (Worldwide Climate action day!)

Where: Faulkner Gallery at the Santa Barbara Public Library

What: An open discussion forum to bring active local organizations together to share their ideas, projects and resources with the public about global warming, sustainable agriculture, permaculture, reduction of ocean pollution and other pressing issues related to sustainability. News will be shared about the upcoming Carbon Economy Series at the Orella Ranch. The goal is to raise awareness, build support and strengthen our community. How: There will be a projector available to show short informational videos about projects, as well as a microphone for speakers.

Cost: Free (donations to pay for the room gratefully accepted).

Thanks for reading- We hope you enjoy it as much as we enjoy writing it! Please comment on our blogs if you feel so inspired- all input is useful and important!

photo credits: Alaska photos courtesy of Jared Criscuolo