Come Party with Us and Adopt a Shark!

ShowcaseJoin Beachhouse.com at The Great Shark Affair, a special public awareness event demonstrating the effects of our actions on our oceans, coastlines, bays, reef systems, and the blue eco-systems. Enjoy delicious gourmet food and beverages while learning about sharks & our oceans, bidding on auction items and playing “Shark Jeopardy”!

header-adoptasharkYou should also check out AdoptAShark.com is a fun way to make a difference, learn about the ocean ecosystem, and get involved in conservation. Not only can you actively contribute to their preservation, you can actually track and name your own real, living shark!

Why protect sharks? Sharks are an essential part of the ocean’s food chain, and they are currently threatened by overfishing, finning and bycatch. They are needed to maintain balance by preying on sick and weak animals, preventing the spread of disease and keeping population sizes in check. These creatures seem to have an ability to resist cancers and other diseases, and further research may yield lasting benefits to all humans.

Croix

adopt "Croix" today!

Your Adopt a Shark donation is used to purchase new tags for continued research on the movement and behavior of sharks. You will learn about and be able to see tracking maps of your shark, depending on when and how the shark was tagged. If your tag is “live”, each day you can come back to our website to see where your shark is, and if any new information has been posted about your shark. Satellite track can show movement of your shark for 3-6 months! In addition, you will also receive a Shark Adoption Kit, including an Adoption Certificate, a picture of your shark, an Adoptashark T-shirt, information about your shark, and lots of fun stickers and activities!

What can else can you do to help? Avoid shark products, make responsible seafood choices, keep our beaches and oceans clean, write your government representatives to protect sharks, and spread the word to raise awareness!

Click HERE to adopt a shark now, or find them on Twitter & Facebook!


Click here to Adopt a SharkPowered by SharkBreak.com

Earth Friendly Companies: Seventh Generation

7thSeventh Generation, a Burlington, Vermont-based eco-concious company was founded in 1988 on the idea that:

“In our every deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.”

-From the Great Law of the Iroquois Confederacy

Two decades later, as the rest of the world is now understanding the importance of sustainability, conservation and preservation of natural resources, Seventh Generation became one of the fastest growing companies in Vermont.

The concept that “Every time you use a Seventh Generation product you are making a difference by saving natural resources, reducing pollution, keeping toxic chemicals out of the environment and making the world a safer place for this and the next seven generations” is echoed in their products.seventh-generation

They now offer a complete line of non-toxic household products including:

  • non-chlorine bleached
  • 100% recycled paper towels, bathroom and facial tissues, and napkins
  • non-toxic, phosphate-free cleaning, dish and laundry products
  • plastic trash bags made from recycled plastic
  • chlorine-free baby diapers, training pants, and baby wipes
  • chlorine-free feminine care products, including organic cotton tampons

img_article_7-truthsSeventh Generation does more than creating these amazing and guilt-free products – they aim to educate their customers about making informed choices about how their daily lives can positively effect the world we all live in.  Their Website has a “Learn” section, which included a blog, forums, and even an “Ask Scienceman” section where people can get answers to questions like, “I love to paint my nails. Recently I bought a brand which claimed to be non-toxic. It had the same overwhelming chemical smell the others have. Is there non-toxic nail polish and remover?”  (click HERE for the answer).

Overall, we LOVE Seventh Generation’s products and their principles and are excited to see what products they put their stamp on next.  We use their products every day and many of the owners of the beach vacation rental properties on Beachhouse.com use them and stock their rental properties with them!  And can vouch for how great the products are – we especially love the laundry detergent – it smells sooo good!  We’d love to hear what your favorite Seventh Generation product is!

*Do you know of any other great companies Beachhouse.com’s Blog should highlight?  Send us your ideas!

Surfrider Foundation Announces Premier of Revolutionary Film to Improve Water Management System

KYH2O_LogoA_color-copy-veryOn World Water Day, Monday March 22, 2010, the San Diego Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation will premier The Cycle of Insanity: The Real Story of Water at The Loft on the campus of UC San Diego. This new short film, narrated by actress Zuleikha Robinson from the television series Lost, dives into controversial problems and solutions related to water management and serves as a practical outline for citizens curious about water issues. There will be three showings of The Cycle of Insanity: The Real Story of Water: 4 p.m. (press), 6 p.m., and 7:30 pm. The last time slot includes a free showing of the surf feature, Absolute Mexico.

WATCH THE TRAILER HERE:

The Cycle of Insanity: The Real Story of Water – TRAILER 1 from Surfrider Foundation San Diego C on Vimeo.

The film is free and open to all. Government agencies, elected officials, experts, students and the general public will all find the movie intriguing and informative. Following each showing, there will be a Q & A session for the audience to ask questions and learn more about smart solutions to improve water management and the way we use water. Happy hour specials, including beer, wine, and hors d’oeuvres, will be served all evening.

From beautiful and climate-appropriate ocean friendly gardens, low impact development and safe water re-use, the video highlights comprehensive solutions for economical and environmentally sensitive water management reform. “These approaches to meeting our water demands will simultaneously achieve multiple benefits like pollution prevention, energy conservation, wildlife and habitat restoration, flood mitigation and more. The video, created by Surfrider activists, presents a truly holistic integrated vision of water management meant to provoke debate and reform,” according to Joe Geever, Surfrider Foundation’s California Policy Coordinator.

“With the communities of San Diego County under Stage 2 mandatory water restrictions, this film comes at an important time,” said Belinda Smith, Co-Chair, Know Your h2o. “We really want people to understand that by following the solutions offered, we offer water managers, and communities the unique opportunity to rethink and fix our outdated water management system.”

The basis for the Surfrider Foundation’s Know Your h2o program, the film will be a centerpiece in Surfrider Foundation’s campaign to bring holistic solutions to water management. As Southern California enters another year of drought conditions, changing the way we use water is imperative to the sustainability of our San Diego communities.

Founded in 1992, Surfrider Foundation’s San Diego chapter is the largest within the national Surfrider Foundation. The Surfrider Foundation is a non-profit environmental organization dedicated to the protection and enjoyment of the world’s oceans, waves and beaches for all people through conservation, activism, research and education. San Diego chapter membership totals 5,000 people throughout the county. Nationally, Surfrider Foundation membership includes more than 50,000 concerned lovers of the ocean and beaches. More information can be found at www.surfridersd.org or by calling (858) 792-9940.

Strange things that have washed up on the beach…

1) Giant Lego Man

On October 29, 2008, to the delight of children playing on a Brighton beach, an 8 foot tall man wearing a green top washed ashore…an 8′ tall Lego man that is. Lego denies having any knowledge of the missing giant (although that’s what they would say, were this the result of a genius marketing ploy) and is content to let him remain on the beach where he has become somewhat of a local legend. Other theories surmise that the Lego man started his swim off of the coast of Denmark where there is a Legoland park, while others think he simply fell off of a cargo ship.

2) Rubber Duckies

Destined for bathtubs around the world, a flock of 29,000 rubber duckies ended up getting more of an adventure than they had bargained for.  Boxes of the ducks, along with blue turtles and green frogs, were washed overboard in the eastern Pacific Ocean in January, 1992 on their way from China, where they were made for the US firm, The First Years Inc.  Since then, the little guys – dubbed the “Friendly Floaties” – have drifted over 17,000 miles.  Some circled the northern Pacific, before washing up on the Alaskan shore, while the others traveled through freezing Arctic waters, past the tropical Hawaiian Islands, and even passing over the location where the Titanic sank, before heading down the West coast of Canada and the US.  Watertight and formed from durable plastic, the toys have helped researchers to chart ocean currents, and are now quite valuable.  So keep an eye out for them – the US firm that made them is offering a reward for finding one.

3)  BMW Motorcycles

While en route from Belgium to Portugal, on January 18, 2007, a windstorm brought down the MSC Napoli.  Soon after, the ships cargo began washing up at Branscombe, luring hundreds of people to scavenge the loot, which included several BMW R1200RT motorcycles!  As crowds became unruly and began removing anything that wasn’t nailed down from surrounding personal residences, the police closed the beach, and announced that they would force people to return goods they had salvaged as per the Merchant Shipping Act 1995 such actions constituted an offence equivalent to theft.

4)  Human Feet

On August 26, 2007 a beachgoer was strolling the beach in Jedidiah Island in British Columbia when he stumbled upon a human foot, still in its shoe.  Immediately authorities began looking into missing persons reports and conducting DNA tests in order to find the body that the foot belonged to.  Police remained tight lipped in regards of any findings and the incident was thought to be unfortunate, but not unusual, as human body parts will sometimes wash ashore, victims of plane crashes, drownings, etc.  However, on August 26, 2008, the investigation took an unusual turn as a second food washed up on nearby Gabriola Island.  Since then, 5 other human feet – all wearing socks and shoes – have washed ashore, 7 total, all in relatively close proximity to each other.  Here is a timeline:

1) Aug. 20 2007 – right foot, male, Jedediah Island (Campus brand)
2) Aug. 26, 2008 – right foot, male, Gabriola Island (Reebok)
3) Feb 2 2008 – right foot, male, Valdes Island (Nike)
4) May 22 2008: right foot, female, Kirkland Island, Richmond (New Balance)
5) Jun 16 2008: left foot, male, Savage Rd, Ladner (only left foot) (Nike) (same man as Valdes foot)
6) Aug. 4 2008 – right foot, male, Pillar Point Beach, Washington (hiking shoe)
7) Nov. 12 2008 – left foot, female, Finn Slough in the south arm of the Fraser, near the end of Garden City Road, Richmond (New Balance)

5)  Message in a Bottle

In August 2008 a team of volunteers cleaning up a beach at West Sands in St Andrews happened upon a bottle with a message in it that had been written by an 11 year old boy – 23 years ago.  Donald Wylie had originally thrown the bottle into the sea off Orkney in Northern Scottland.  His message contained his name, age and the request that, if discovered, its finder pass it onto a boy of similar age.  The University of St. Andrews students and staff tracked down the not 33 year old Mr Wylie, who was, remarkably, still living in Orkney.  Once it had been confirmd that he was, indeed, the sender, Wylie went to the University to see the bottle and where it had been found.  Wylie told the students that he had thrown several bottles out to sea after his mother suggested the idea…and that to this day, his mother encourages her grandchildren to do the same.   Other bottles that Donald has thrown into the ocean have been found as well – he has recieved calls from Norway and Denmark – but this was the first bottle to be found so close to where it had started its journey.

6)  Hindu Statues

September 2006 – Devotees in Bombay celebrated Ganesh Chaturthi, a Hindu festival that celebrates the birth of Ganesh.  Traditionally, a few months prior to Ganesh Chaturthi, clay models of Lord Ganesha is various poses are made and decorated, ranging in size from 1 inch to over 25 feet.  On the 11th day, worshipers carry the statues through the streets, dancing, singing, before immersing dozens of these colorful statues into a river or ocean.  As was the case when statues were sent off in the Arabian Sea at night.  The next morning, the tide brought them back, some chipped, some missing appendages, making for a spectacular, if not cartoonishly macabre scene.

7)  Cocaine

Love combing the beach for treasure?  How about $1 million in treasure?  In August 2009 the Indian River County Sheriff’s Office received a call – someone had found a suspicious package that had washed up on the shores of Sebastian Inlet in Florida.  When authorities arrived, they discovered the package contained 60 pounds of cocaine – 24 bricks – with a street value of about $1 million!  And while the owner of the narcotics is not known, the Deputy on duty said that, while the loss would be substantial to the smugglers, they would probably just consider it the cost of doing business.

8 )  Tons of Timber

In January of 2008 thousands of pieces of timber – more than 2,000 tons in all – washed ashore along England’s southern beaches after drifting 100 miles from a cargo ship that sank off of the coast.  The Ice Princess, en route to Egypt from Scandinavia, was carrying thousands of tons of untreated saw timber when she hit rough weather and the cargo shifted causing her to drifting east and eventually sink.  Twenty crew had to be rescued by helicopter and lifeboat.  The local coastguard said that the timber had washed up all the way from Littlehampton in West Sussex to Beachy Head in East Sussex.  Time for a beach clean-up?  Maybe, but not by just anyone…the Sussex police warned than anyone caught removing the timber – aside from contractors authorized by the Maritime Coastguard Agency – were subject to prosecution and arrest!

Save our Beaches: Rain Gardens – An Easy Way to Minimize Storm Water Runoff

Every day water mixes with common household (cleaning products, fertilizers) and environmental pollutants (oil, pesticides) that flow from our homes, offices, roads and landscapes and, eventually, into our oceans.  Compound this daily, times our population, and multiplied over years and years, and our oceans, lakes, rivers, streams and ponds are paying the price.

And when you stop and think how much of a part our water plays in our everyday lives, it behooves us to keep it clean.  On The Surfrider Foundation’s Ocean Friendly Gardens page of their Website, they reports that, “runoff from residential landscapes affects the quality of our oceans and the quality of our lives. The sediment in water reduces clarity; nutrients increase algae populations and red tides; bacteria close beaches; debris can choke and suffocate aquatic species; and pesticides picked up off a landscape can poison fish consumed by humans — all of which degrade the natural beauty, and our enjoyment, of the ocean.”

One of the ways that each of us can do our part to minimize polluted run-off from reaching our waters is by opting to plant a rain garden in your yard instead of a conventionally landscaped garden.

Rain gardens incorporate native shrubs, perennials, and flowers planted in a small depression, which is generally formed on a natural slope of your yard.  The natural design temporarily holds rain water runoff that flows from the roof of your house, patios and the rest of your lawn, allowing your garden to drink from the accumulated water…water that would usually run off into the streets and gutters, picking up pollutants along the way, and eventually landing in our oceans.

Want to make a rain garden at your home or office?  Here are some rain garden tips:

  • Dig a 6 – 12 inch ditch where you want to make your rain garden – typically on the downside of your property so that the water drains away from your house – or you can check to see if your space has a natural depression – any small valley or dip will work perfectly.
  • If you are creating your own ditch, orient it so that it runs parallel (lengthwise) to the widest part of your house – this will help maximise the amount of rainwater runoff you will be able to capture from your roof.
  • Size:  the square footage of your rain garden should generally equal about 20% of the area draining into it – for example, if your roof covers 800 square feet, a rain garden designed to collect all of the roof’s runoff should cover 160 square feet.
  • Any native plants will do well in a rain garden – and they will not need fertilizer to thrive.  Opt for shrubs and grasses over trees and trees tend to hog all of the water.
  • Create your garden at lest 10 feet from your house or basement in order to avoid water damage to these structures.

As rain gardens gain exposure and popularity, many landscaping companies are becoming rain garden advocates and experts and home improvement centers often host “how to” seminars on rain gardens if you need more information.

Rain gardens are effective in removing up to 90% of nutrients and chemicals and up to 80% of sediments from the rainwater runoff. Compared to a conventional lawn, rain gardens allow for 30% more water to soak into the ground, making them an easy and beautiful way to help preserve our oceans and waters.