Archive for October, 2011

Got Fertilizer?

October 31, 2011

Have you noticed that people are using less fertilizer on their lawns?

It’s because the “Save the Barnegat Bay” campaign has overcome a huge hurdle to not only clean the Barnegat Bay watershed, but to clean all the water in New Jersey. Fertilizer gets into watersheds during bad weather when it mixes with rainwater and runoff through the sewer systems into the bays.

People in the Barnegat Bay watershed are making an effort to reduce fertilizer in NJ.

Nitrogen and phosphorous in the bays are harmful to the plant and animal life because most water-borne animals use the bay areas to breed. Animals won’t have to fear any longer because the new law has restrictions that will curb dangerous chemicals in fertilizer that will improve their quality of life.

The campaign lobbied for a  new law that requires all fertilizer to be sold with 20% of its nitrogen in slow-release form. This slow-release form is insoluble and will not mix with water. Also, phosphorous is banned in most fertilizer for lawn use.

According to Greenscapes, here are some alternatives to using lawn fertilizer:

  • DO use native landscaping. Native landscaping helps homeowners show off their area’s elements with wild flowers, trees, and rocks. The native landscape will also give nutrients to the soil that is meant for your specific area.
  • DO leave grass clippings on the lawn. Leaving grass clippings on the lawn over time provides the same amount of nutrients as a single use of fertilizer. It is a natural way to get nutrients into the soil. And who doesn’t love the smell of freshly cut grass!
  • DO grow some clover on your lawn. Growing clover is a beautiful, natural way for nutrients to grow on your lawn. Low-lying clover is actually part of the traditional lawn that people see in pictures. Who knows? You might find a four-leaf clover and get lucky!

The Plastiki Expedition: Reduce, Reuse, and Sail

October 31, 2011

Sailing a boat made entirely of plastic bottles and recycled waste products across the Pacific seems like an insane idea. But is it?  Breaking the mold, David De Rothschild and his team transformed this idea into a reality, shocking the media and demanding global attention on the issue of ocean pollution.  With a 12,000 mile trans-Pacific voyage from San Francisco to Sydney the team made major environmental waves by sailing Plastiki, a vessel made entirely of recycled  waste.

De Rothschild and a crew of scientists chartered their voyage right through the Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch, a floating mass of human waste twice the size of Texas. This man-made oceanic plastic soup demonstrates the need for action. Seeking to illustrate the world’s role in the plight of the environment De Rothschild explained,

It is our aim to captivate, inspire and activate tomorrow’s environmental thinkers and doers to take positive action for our Planet and to be smart with waste; ultimately we hope to inspire people to rethink waste as a valuable resource. One person’s waste could be another person’s treasure.

Side view of the hull construction with up-cycled plastic bottles. David De Rothschild to the right. Image from National Geographic: ngadventure.com

Plastiki setting out on her voyage from San Francisco, California to Sydney, Australia Image from National Geographic ngadventure.com

Plastiki defines innovation as ‘off-the-grid,’ and solely relying on renewable energy. This revolutionary catamaran is kept afloat by 12,500 plastic bottles in its hull, making it an Eco-yacht. Plastiki was designed with sustainable thinking seen through the  technologies aboard, such as bicycle generators, a urine-to-water recovery system, rain water catchment, and a hydroponic vertical garden.

Hydroponic vertical garden aboard Plastiki that grows food without soil or land base and recycles water over and over again. Click on the photo to read more.

Along the Plastiki expedition the crew of sailors and  scientists addressed research on issues of ocean pollution, over-fishing, coral bleaching, advocacy, and proactive measures of helping the oceans. The message to absorb is that there are always new ways to reuse, reduce, and recycle. In getting back to nature, no one should undermine the significance of up-cycling and drinking tap water. Plastiki inspires the world to redefine a sustainable future in unexpected places.

For all the environmental go-getters out there, do you think that Plastiki is sailing us into a new recyclable future?

Its Time to Get “Jersey’d”

October 31, 2011

In Jersey, everything is BIG (or so we are meant to think it is!) Big muscles – Big Hair- Big Attitudes – and most of all, BIG DRAMA. These stereotypes of New Jerseyans can be attributed a cultural phenomenon sweeping television airwaves. SORRY fans… its not the Real Housewives! Now concluding its fourth season on air, MTV’s hit reality series Jersey Shore continues to wow audiences across the globe as it follows eight housemates spending their summers together at the New Jersey Shore.

Back Left to Right: Vinny, Pauly D., Mike "The Situation", Ronnie, Sammie "Sweetheart", Deena, Nicole "Snookie", Jenn "Jwow"

Although entertaining, the show is no stranger to controversy. During its premiere in 2009; citizens attempted to have it removed from tv listings on the grounds that it misrepresented Italian-Americans as flashy, over-tanned guidos/guidettes with addictions to partying, booze and hair gel. The HORROR! To date we’ve witnessed the “on again – off again” romance of two house members; we were shocked and horrified as Nicole “Snookie” Polizzi got punched in the face by a man during a bar fight; and watched as Paully D and Vinny continue to build a friendship that is greatly influenced by fast girls and the “Smush” room.

Jersey Shore Beach Property - Seaside, NJ

As the seasons progress, this crazy bunch of eight has become a household name. NJ.comreported on October 24, 2011 that for $2500 per night, the Jersey home in which the entire show is filmed is open to Jersey Shore enthusiasts who want to live it up “Jersey Style”; with full access to all its rooms and amenities. Joe Ambrosini, one of the home’s recent renters from Philadelphia, described his experience to the Asbury Park Press as his opportunity to “buy 15 minute of fame”.

What’s Your Take?: How much do you enjoy the show and would you rent the Jersey Shore house for $2500 per night?

Terrance Johnson

Bleeding Jersey Pride

October 31, 2011

Tourism?

From growing up in Point Pleasant Beach to moving to Long Branch, I think it’s time for a real Jersey Shore perspective. Year after year, I have watched as tourists come on Memorial Day and leave on Labor Day.  Every day in between is spent navigating littered streets and walking underneath the lingering aroma of hairspray.  All of a sudden, there were lines to get into the mall and restaurants, driving anywhere with my family was a mess, and just crossing the street became difficult.  Tourists would throw parties on the beach, leaving behind broken glass bottles and aluminum cans, cigarette butts, and food for the seagulls.  It was the summer, not real life, some saw it as: you can get away with anything.  But people cried tourism, so these things were overlooked.  The then $10 billion plus stream of revenue that tourism brought in helped local stores and communities thrive in the summer.

But after Labor Day, when everyone went back to their own towns and cities to go back to school and work, the beaches became quieter and the streets slowly got cleaner.  My town became a nice, inhabitable place once again.  I was allowed to walk along the boardwalk by myself again.  (During high tourist season, as a kid, my parents didn’t like to let me walk around alone because it was too dangerous, “you never know who those outsiders are”, etc.)  And that’s how tourists were viewed: as outsiders. Trouble-making outsiders, if you listened to my parents and their age group.

Benny Patrol

The Benny Go Home movement can be traced back as early as the late 1970s, when Benny Go Home stickers started popping up everywhere.  Benny is the local slang for tourists from New York and North Jersey who come down to the beaches in the summer, not just the cities named in the acronym. Aside from just trashy tourists, the Benny Go Home campaigns against corrupt cases of eminent domain and supports local businesses.  After all, how does tourism help us in the winter, when they say it’s too cold to go to the beach?  In the past decade or so, the Benny Go Home movement has had a startling revival, coinciding with the increase of reality shows that take place at the Jersey Shore.  Film crews, hair and makeup, and reality stars (who aren’t even from New Jersey, let alone the Jersey Shore), are brought in to “rep the Jersey Shore”.  They’ve started boardwalk brawls, been cited for public indecency, public intoxication, and the list goes on.  This is not what we want to represent us to our nation and the world.  Even now, when I say I’m from Ocean County, people ask if it’s anything like MTV.  The Benny Go Home movement is more about reclaiming the land that we’ve lost to these outsiders rather than kicking out visitors.

It’s never too cold to go to the beach when the beach is your home.

One last thing, it’s not the shore, it’s the beach.

– Suzanne Lee

The Fashionable Choice: Reusables

October 30, 2011

"I'm not a plastic bag" bagLondon designer Anya Hindmarch helped to jumpstart the eco-friendly fashion craze in reusable tote bags with her now-iconic “I’m Not a Plastic Bag” bag in 2006 with social movement We Are What We Do.  Celebrities and models alike have been seen sporting these bags everywhere, causing them to sell out within hours of their introduction to the United States through select stores in 2007.  Why this? Why reusables?

Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle

People use plastic bags for many other things once they get home, like lining the trash bin, bringing wet clothes home from the beach, gathering leaves in the fall and winter, and while walking the dog. But what happens when you lose these plastic bags, or one rips?  In 2005, the Environmental Protection Agency found that approximately 5.2% of plastic bags are recycled (1).  On average, Americans use between 300 and 700 million plastic bags per year – 500 billion to one trillion worldwide.  That’s a lot of plastic bags that just ‘disappear’.  Unrecycled plastic that is burned can yield anywhere between 10,000 to 20,000 btu per pound, which can be used to create electricity and help reduce sulfur emissions from coal.

Compared to paper, plastic bags use less energy, oil and water than paper bags, and emit fewer greenhouse gases and less solid waste.   They only make up 18% of waste by volume and 7% by weight.  But burning plastics can create dioxins and emit heavy metals into the air.  They sit in landfills for centuries.  And when they finally photo-degrade small enough, they mix with our water and soils, affecting the ecosystems of those habitats.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/seaotter22/

Paper or Plastic?

Most of the plastic consumed ends up in landfills where it takes hundreds of years to break down.  Even then, plastic bags do not completely biodegrade, rather they photo-degrade, meaning they break down into smaller pieces when exposed to ultraviolet rays.  Even the most conservative scientists have speculated that it will take several hundred years for plastic to photo-degrade even when exposed to the best conditions.  Made from polyethylene, plastic bags are watertight, can be printed on, and reused many times.  They can be melted and reformed into other plastic products, but while they are recyclable, it is not considered “cradle to cradle”, meaning it cannot be returned to an organic state.

A Fashionable Alternative 

Many companies have since jumped on the reusable bandwagon as a better alternative to paper and plastic, and most large grocery chains now offer reusable cloth bags with their names or sponsors printed on them.  They are not the only ones who are becoming more eco-friendly.  Big names in fashion from Proenza Schouler to Dolce and Gabbana have created reusable canvas and cloth bags to keep you in fashion while doing something as mundane as grocery shopping.

– Suzanne Lee

The Reusable Bag Fad: Why Should You Make the Change?

October 30, 2011

Recently we have all seen the increasing use of reusable bags throughout our local supermarkets and malls. But why bother switching our convenient plastic bags that we use every day for reusable ones? Allow me to answer this question.

I’m sure many of you have seen a photo of the poor seagull with a plastic bag or plastic soda can holders wrapped around its neck.  It is not a secret that the plastic we use and throw away affects wildlife and the ocean environment directly. The Environmental Literacy Council wrote in 2008, “Plastic bags pose a threat to marine life, because, if ingested, the bags can block the stomach and cause starvation. Sea turtles, for example, mistake plastic bags for jellyfish.” By putting a stop to your use, you alone are making a contribution to saving and protecting marine life and their environment. Although it will only make a miniscule dent in the world of plastics, it is a step in the right direction.

Reduce the Amount of Plastic That Turtles Eat!

 

Not only are you benefiting our environment by using reusable bags, you can also gain additional benefits for yourself. If you haven’t already experienced them, it is good to know that reusable bags are actually more convenient than their plastic counterparts.

Ever have your hands full of plastic supermarket bags and have to rummage through your pockets or purse to get your keys and unlock your car? If you had a reusable bag, that inconvenience may be avoided. The comfort design of reusable bags includes a longer strap to be placed on the shoulder; this allows your hands to be free to access those keys easily. Adding to their design, reusable bags are at least twice the size of ordinary plastic bags which in turn enables you to carry twice as much, go figure.

Comfortable Shoulder Straps!

Plastic bags also bring inconvenience when they rip, or become punctured for example, from those heavy milk gallons. Since they are usually made out of environmental friendly fabrics, they do not rip easily. Another advantage of reusable bags is you can wash them to rid of the nasty bacteria that can be transferred from the supermarkets to your home.

Now, after reading all of these benefits, will you take the next step and start using reusable bags? If so, read about which reusable shopping bag is the “Greenest!”

MTV hit Jersey Shore is not so “Jersey.”

October 30, 2011

The Jersey Shore, one of MTV’s biggest hits, packed 8 wild characters into one house in Seaside Heights, NJ. Ever since the start of this drama packed reality show, New Jerseyans have been stereotyped as muscle packed meat heads with spiked hair or tan, gaudy, obnoxious girls with “poofs” on top of their heads. I find this stereotype of Jersey pretty far-fetched since most of the cast members on the “Jersey Shore” aren’t even from New Jersey, let alone even Italian as they claim they are.

Going to the gym, fake baking and doing laundry are the three main responsibilities the cast has on the show besides working at a t-shirt shop on the boardwalk. Now finishing up their fourth season, the Jersey Shore cast has created much controversy through their fights on Seaside boardwalk or getting kicked out of Club Karma. Their drunken nights, and even sometimes days have resulted in many of them getting a black eye, fat lip or even arrested. New Jerseyans are not proud of the fact that we are associated with and assumed to act in the ways of the Jersey Shore cast members.

Ronnie's Entertaining Boardwalk Fight

Not only do New Jerseyans hate being associated with the “Jersey Shore,” but so do brand names such as Abercrombie and Fitch who offered to pay Mike “the Situation” to stop wearing their clothes because of the perceived damage to their image. Also, one thing that I came across recently is the Jersey Shore house is being rented out for $2500 dollars a night. Really, $2500 a night.

Well, hopefully when this show comes to an end, the image and stereotype of New Jerseyans will fist pump its way out with them.

The blog assignment

October 28, 2011

You need to write two posts and post them on our blog.

One may be very short. Both must be good.

One should talk about plastic bags/reusable bags in general OR the Asbury Park campaign.

The second should NOT refer to plastic bags or the Asbury Park campaign. BUT you need to write the second post about the something relevant to the reader of the NJ Surfrider blog (e.g., beaches in NJ, surfing, suntan lotion, sandcastles, your favorite beach walk, fish, beaches in the spring, shore houses, marine issues etc.)

1.You will be more likely to do well if you read my post on how to get an “A.”

2. Read suggestions about blogs, including about the twenty approaches to blog posts.

3. MAKE SURE you read additional guidance about how you should write your blog.

4. Avoid stream of consciousness blogs posts.  Read other effective blogs. For example, read the ones featured on the home page of  wordpress.com

Finally, you must post to our blog. To do so, you must sign up with wordpress.

If you are NOT using your EDEN email, send me the appropriate email so I can add you as an author to this blog. If you are not an author, you cannot post.

Post before class on Tuesday

How to get an A on your blog posts

October 27, 2011

 

I bet some of you are wondering what it takes for get an A from this @#$% professor.  (Note the lead of your blog should be interesting to your target audience.)

I will review the quality of your blog posts based on the following criteria adapted from website 101.com

CHECKLIST FOR BLOGS

  •  Will your posts attract NJ Surfrider’s target audience? 
  •  Is the  topic clear to someone who only reads the headline?
  • Does the lead paragraph grab the reader?
  • Would someone who knows absolutely nothing about this topic understand this post?
  • Is the post interesting?  Zippy?  Will a member of the target audience want to keep reading it?
  • Have  you peppered the headline and the post with keywords and phrases that will be attractive to search engines?
  • Did you  remember to ask your readers a question at the end or  to include something to  stimulate readers to comment?
  •  Is your writing concise and clear?  Did you proofread it?
  • Did you cite appropriately?  (See my blog post about this.) 
  •  Did you write blog posts (rather than a research paper).  Do they look like blog posts?
  • Did you fulfill the requirements of the assignment?  (See below.) 
  • Did your post about the campaign/plastic bags/Asbury Park use appropriate behavioral tools, such as those we discussed for the Surfrider campaign?

Do you think this checklist is too long?   I do.  I included items that I should no longer need to mention.   For example, “concise and clear.”   If you don’t know that yet, you have slept through every class.    “Interesting.”  Isn’t that obvious?   “Target audience.” Where have you been?  However, because I am a kind professor, I included these items rather than say: “Use all the information you learned in class.”

Inserting photo

October 27, 2011

I inserted this photo from creative commons flickr.  First, I needed to make sure the photographer allowed it to be downloaded.  Many  awesome photos were restricted.   I chose the size photo I wanted.  (This is medium.)   I needed to download the photo to  my computer.  Then I used the upload photo function of wordpress to insert the photo.  If I can do this, anyone can.   I bet you can do this much better than I can.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/fontplaydotcom/2704876245/sizes/m/in/photostream/