The next time you sip on a drink from a straw, you may want to think twice because humans are producing an inordinate amount of plastic waste on straws alone. Plastic straws are one of the leading contributors to ocean trash, they take up to 200 years to decompose and they can’t be recycled. Every year, the US alone uses enough straws to fill up nine baseball stadiums. Plastic straws are pretty much the definition of wastefulness, they serve very little purpose and are terrible for the environment. This week on Sea Change Radio, we speak to two people who are doing their best to combat plastic waste in our oceans. First, Mark Marinozzi from World Centric gives us some important facts about plastic straws and talks about the best ways to fight the problem. Then, we hear from Romain Troublé whose organization, Tara Expedition, has been making scientific ocean voyages for the past fifteen years to monitor and collect data about ocean plastic waste.
When life gives you lemons they say to make lemonade. And what if life gives you sewage released into an enclosed bay, what can you make? Certainly not lemonade, right? Our guest today on Sea Change Radio is NASA scientist and UC Santa Cruz professor, Jonathan Trent. He has figured out how to use algae to turn wastewater pollution into biofuel. This ambitious project, called Offshore Membrane Enclosures for Growing Algae (or OMEGA) not only places algae where it can consume waste and excrete oils for fuel, it also creates spaces for low-impact aquaculture, captures CO2, and cleans pollutants out of bays.
The technology also converts wastewater to drinking water, which, with a little lemon and sugar could even be used to make, you guessed it, lemonade. Listen now as host Alex Wise talks with Dr. Trent, an inventor, pioneer, and visionary whose OMEGA project offers hope for fuel, food, water, and a cleaner world.
Anyone who is on social media knows how often you can be inundated with picayune details of your friends’ daily lives. But what if all that over-sharing could be turned into something productive and beneficial? What if, instead of just being a source of information on what your high school friend had for lunch today, or how great your niece’s new shoes look, social media could work to create a buzz around something really important, like picking up litter?
Today’s guest on Sea Change Radio, Jeff Kirschner, has figured out how to harness the over-sharing tendency of social media users to help us all clean up our act. The new platform Litterati enables everyone with a smart-phone to find litter, pick it up, and deposit it not only into a trash receptacle but into a data repository with a multitude of uses. Kirschner explains how this platform is generating a mountain of detailed data about litter, creating a mechanism for crowdsourced pressure on corporations, and inspiring people of all ages to be better stewards of our planet.