This org is doing some of the most important work of all humanity! They are trying to tackle the problem of plastic pollution that is now found our soil, our oceans, and our bodies. Please help them in any way you can!
Now retired, my career involved water quality issues at many levels. I worked in industry and saw many positive efforts to keep our water resources clean and plentiful. The drastic increases in plastic pollution over the last few decades was not something that anyone thought about. Algalita was the first to put numbers and data behind the issue of plastic pollution, showing the world just how extensive the problem is. From the discovery of the "Great Pacific Garbage Patch", to the publication of PLASTIC OCEAN, Algalita and its founder, Captain Charles Moore, have been at the forefront of understanding and educating the world about plastic pollution. Small, but mighty, and with a voice people listen to, Algalita remains an important part of the fight against plastic's intrusion into our environment.
Algalita Marine Research Foundation is conducting invaluable research on the health of our oceans and the impact that each of us has on the marine environment with our plastic footprint. I discovered AMRF while researching marine debris and its impact on marine mammals, and was immediately struck by the magnitude of what this small research foundation is pursuing: to shed light on one of the biggest problems our planet faces today: plastic garbage in our oceans. I contacted AMRF for an interview and found the staff to be passionate, responsive and excited to help me get more information out to the public about what we can do to help reduce the flow of plastic to the ocean. I was impressed by the Executive Director, Marieta Francis and Media Coordinator, Jeanne Gallagher who both helped me get my facts straight and who were so friendly and helpful in answering my questions. I really appreciated it since AMRF was getting a lot of press at that time and I know the staff was super busy responding to inquiries generated by Dr. Moore's interview on the David Letterman Show and the Colbert Report. This foundation obviously cares deeply about their research and understands the importance of public outreach at the same time. Algalita's research on the 5 Gyres Project will answer the question about whether we are destined to eat our own plastic garbage. This is research I'd like to fund and I hope others are equally interested!
I grew up in Long Beach, CA....a city downhill from one of the largest cities in the world, Los Angeles. While most childhood beach memories consist of building sand castles and collecting sand crabs my most vivid memories are those of collecting trash and rubbing tar off my tiny feet. Where was this pollution coming from? Where was it going? This issue hit me a lot harder as I grew older…and continues to transform me everyday. To me…the ocean is the most beautiful, alluring, and impressive thing on the planet. The life it sustains is extraordinary, the energy is possesses is unfathomable and the efficiency of its labor is imperative not only for human life…but for the wellbeing of our entire biosphere. We are rapidly altering a near perfect system that never needed modification. Instead of ignoring the issue…I internalized it…and soon became completely absorbed. One night, I flipped on The Late Show and was surprised to see uncommon guest. He wasn’t an actor, a comedian or an artist…he was an incredibly passionate scientist presenting the very issue I had become completely overwhelmed by. Captain Charles Moore…Algalita Marine Research Foundation…SEAL BEACH, CA?! His foundation was right down the street from my house! What were the odds? I had to get involved… Volunteering at Algalita has quickly become one of the best experiences in my life. Not only have I learned more about the issue but also I have learned that there are passionate people working to educate the rest of the world. The research this foundation conducts is groundbreaking. To see a “mom and pop” type non-profit accomplish the things Algalita has accomplished is inspiring and I am very proud to help support this organization. I no longer feel overwhelmed…I feel determined and hopeful for change. The fire inside each employee, volunteer, board member, and researcher is contagious. To me, this review is not just about the work Algalita does…this review is about the passion and determination of the entire organization. They are a group of people running forward in a world that is spinning backwards. If we all progressed forward like Algalita…we may be able to correct the spin of the entire world.
Since I have been involved with oceans and watersheds my entire life, I have seen the negative changes caused by human actions and plastic. The Algalita Marine Research Foundation has a core of dedicated people who are researching and making positive changes for our ocean and I wanted to be part of that change process. Being a scientist myself, it was important for me to be associated with a group that has integrity in their research. The organization's early and continuing innovative research brought the plight of our oceans to the forefront of public awareness. We continue to be the authoritative research and education foundation concerning the issue of marine plastic pollution.
I was raised in the country of NYS where my father was a teacher, conservationist, fisherman, and all around outdoorsman. He could have become a very wealthy man, but turned down an opportunity to work in the beginnings of the plastics industry. As an adult, I questioned where all this plastic stuff was going, the stuff we have been buying and discarding over the past 50 years. My father had planted this seed in my mind. I started writing about simpler living in 2002 and avoiding bottled water in 2005. When I met Charlie Moore in the spring of 2009 at the Encinitas Library, I realized that we had been on parallel paths for the past decade... he had actually been swimming in the gyre, while I had been writing about what I knew in my gut had to be a serious concern for the planet, and its inhabitants. How amazing it was to have my intuitions validated by the work of this dedicated pioneer in marine research! I instantly became a fan. A year later I joined his board. I continue to write and speak, promoting ways that we as individuals and consumers can address our plastic addiction.
I first learned about the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, Captain Charles Moore and Algalita in February, 2008. Appalled at the portent of losing our oceans and precious marinelife to a manmade product, I became a volunteer, ultimately a member of the Board and continue to serve the Foundation in that and several other capacities. The plight of plastic pollution, most especially in our global marine environment, is much more serious and complex than is widely recognized. Severe consequences have, and are, arising from the continued introduction of plastic waste debris into our streams; lakes and rivers by our own hand, the least of these consequences is the potential harmful impact on human health. The Algalita Marine Research Foundation is the forerunner in research on plastic pollution in the marine environment. Over 10 years of research voyages to the North Pacific Garbage Patch, Algalita's data gives a foreboding outlook for the future. The plastic pandemic is not limited to the North Pacific Gyre....earlier this year aboard other vessels, we have found plastic in the North Atlantic and Indian Ocean Gyres. In November, we will journey to the South Atlantic Gyre and next spring, the South Pacific Gyre. It will not be remarkable to find the same result. We strive to bring continued awareness to a global audience through our educational programs, and more recently, via invitation to participate in conferences worldwide focusing on this massive problem we all face. We urge each and every one of you to become informed of this evergrowing problem and learn ways in which you can help "stem the tide" of further accumulation of plastic debris into our marine environment. Please visit our website www.algalita.org or call our office. Yours, Jeanne Gallagher
People need to know about the Algalita Marine Research Foundation and what they are doing. The problem of plastic in our oceans is horrible. I had no idea about any of this and I was very shocked to learn. My family and I have been changing our habits because of all the things the people at Algalita told me about and showed me. I am a middle school student and I was thinking about doing a film about helping the environment for a local film festival that was focusing on environmental issues. The problem was, I couldn’t think of any good subjects to do a film about. Then, I found an article about how my city had banned grocery stores from using plastic bags. I saw that some people were complaining and I wondered why the ban had happened. I looked online and started searching on “plastic problem”. That is when I read about the ocean and the “Great Pacific Garbage Patch”. It said the founder of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation discovered it in 1997. That’s the year I was born! I searched on “Garbage Patch” and that is when the videos started coming up with Capt. Charles Moore explaining and showing the problem. I had no idea!! I couldn’t believe it!!! They said 6 times more plastic was found floating in the ocean than there was plankton! What?? I asked my mom to take me out to the baylands and then the creek by our house so I could take my camera and see what it looked like where I live in the Bay Area in Northern California. Then we went to a local beach. More shock at what I saw there. There were plastic bottles, bags, and bits of plastic things all over. I took a chance and sent an email to the Algalita Marine Research Foundation to ask if I could visit them for my film while I was down in Southern California for another event. They said yes! I got to spend nearly 3 hours at their lab and I will never forget what I saw in person and the things Gwen Lattin told me about. I saw everything first hand from bits of plastic through the microscope to big plastic things they had found out in the North Pacific Gyre. It looks like sand, but it’s really tiny pieces of plastic! What’s worse is that birds and fish are eating the plastic bits thinking it’s food and they are dying. And what could this be doing to the food chain? Plastic is full of all sorts of chemicals! And then there’s the big stuff they found floating out there. There was even a whole plastic laundry basket out there! When I show people my short film, they are shocked too. I even won first place for my film in the festival. The Algalita Marine Research Foundation taught me so much about how plastic has become such a problem and I want to do what I can to help them spread the word to as many people as possible. To those people who were complaining about the ban on plastic bags – have I got something to show you.
I have been involved with Algalita Marine Research Foundation since 2002 and I have truly been amazed at what one small group of dedicated individuals can accomplish. Algalita Founder Captain Charles Moore is an exceptional leader who has knowledge of plastic pollution in the ocean, but has extensive personal experience as well. Other Board members have given tirelessly of their time to raise awareness and complete/publish research studies and run the business operations. During the past year, AMRF has been successful in recruiting additional Board members with experience in disciplines that will help move the organization forward.
I have been involved with Algalita Marine Research Foundation for eight years. As a chemical engineer, working in industry, when I first heard about what AMRF was doing, I was skeptical of the problems they were researching. Now, however, after seeing the facts, I know that this organization is trying hard to let people know that improperly disposed of plastic is a hazard to our oceans, and the life that depends on that environment. I also have seen that the organization is run by people who care, and who give tirelessly of their time and expertise to get the message out. It is an efficient organization, and the focus on research and education give credibility to them worldwide. I will continue to support their mission, and hope you will, too.